The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday (2.26.2015) printed a very informative article on the Common core high-stakes testing debate going on across the nation. A teacher of the year in Ohio recently resigned rather than give the tests. The whole faculty of Nathan Hale in Seattle, Washington, says, ‘Hell, no, we won’t administer them!”
Do you know much about all that testing – called “high-stakes testing” – in your children’s schools? Well, do not feel badly, many of us could join you in that confusion. But there are efforts to make things more clear.
As mentioned the article by Patrick O’Donnell from the Plain Dealer is worth reading.
A brief history on the testing consortia In 2010, with the creation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the associated need to develop new assessments aligned to the new standards, two multi-state assessment consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) were created. Both consortia are working with states to create computer-based K-12 assessments in mathematics and English language arts/literacy. PARCC and Smarter Balanced conducted field testing of their assessments with states in the 2013-14 school year and anticipate being ready to administer their assessments during the 2014-15 school year. Due to the changing political climates, consortia membership has been anything but consistent since the consortia’s inception in 2010. During the past four years, more states have migrated out of participation in a consortium.
Some states have opted out. Some states allow parents to opt out. Some do not. Some are ambivalent. Here is a thumbnail of what is going on this year.
What is going on across the nation this year?
2014-15 school year assessments*
12 states and Washington, D.C. are administering PARCC assessments in some capacity, with all 12 states testing students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 states testing in any of grades 9 through 12.
18 states are administering Smarter Balanced assessments, with all 18 testing students in grades 3 through 8 and 15 states testing in any of grades 9 through 12.
20 states either never joined or have left the consortia entirely and are choosing to use state-developed assessments.
2 states (Massachusetts and Missouri) will administer a combination of consortium and state-developed assessments.
Interested in the whole landscape of which state is doing what? See this most summative chart” title=”State Chart of Testing”>Check and see what is going on in your state with regard to testing kids:
*Derived from the Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3460 • 303.299.3600 • www.ecs.org
What about parents’ rights to opt their children out of these tests?
A CASE STUDY: Colorado
One of the authors of the new book, Fixing Public Education, Angela Engel, has helped prepare a succinct set of guidelines for Colorado parents wanting to opt out of these tests. Perhaps you could do this for your state? It would be quite a service to do in your state what Angela and her band of Angel-Warriors have done in Colorado, a hotbed of the old Standards-Centered Reform Movement vs. the new Learner-Centered Reform Movement in education.
Opting Out in Colorado: A Simple Kit to Do It!