Assessment Report Roundup

Testing

By Catherine Gewertz — February 16, 2016 1 min read

The PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments do a better job gauging the depth and complexity of important academic skills and knowledge than do the ACT Aspire or Massachusetts’ MCAS exam, according to a study released last week.

The study, performed by teams of assessment and content experts for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, evaluates two aspects of the tests at the 5th and 8th grade levels: how well they emphasize the content that’s most important at each grade for students on the path to college readiness, and how well they require students to demonstrate a wide range of thinking skills, especially the higher-order skills, which have historically been shortchanged in states’ tests.

A report by the Human Resources Research Organization, or HumRRO, also released last week, examines the same tests at the high school level.

The two research teams fashioned their studies to reflect the priorities in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ “Criteria for Procuring and Evaluating High-Quality Assessments,” released in October 2013. The Fordham study was funded by seven foundations that support the Common Core State Standards, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also supports Education Week‘s coverage of standards and curriculum.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 17, 2016 edition of Education Week as Testing

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