Can Common Core Meet Its Goals without Common Assessments?

In addition to raising the academic achievement for all students, another goal of the Common Core State Standards was to allow interested parties (legislators, educators, parents, etc.) to compare student progress across the nation. AP reporter Christine Armario contends, though, that due to the differing natures of the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments, plus the number of states developing their own tools, that true comparison is currently not possible.

"The whole idea of Common Core was to bring students and schools under a common definition of what success is," said Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in the article. "And Common Core is not going to have that. One of its fundamental arguments has been knocked out from under it."

Furthermore, while even when states are using the same exams, they can describe the results differently. “States using the Smarter Balanced tests are using the same cut scores but different descriptors. What is ‘below basic’ in one state might be ‘slightly unprepared’ in another", writes Armario. Perhaps more important, of the states that administered the new assessments this past year, not all have released the results in time for the new school year. 

The good news is, says Armario, while states expected a drop in scores due to new assessments, the results have not been as poor as expected.

Read, “A Major Goal Of The Common Core Is Going Unfulfilled,” by Christine Armario, Huffington Post (August 31, 2015)

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Educational Standards