Since the fall, our district has been looking at our current alignment compared to the Common Core. For schools in Michigan, there does not appear to be a lot of changes. We have put together a plan on how to make the changes we need to over the next couple of years. The first Common Core assessment appears to be in the spring of 2015 (2014-15 school year).
So what will the assessment look like? Our state is part of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The other consortium is Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). A brief summary of SBAC is here. This one gives a more in depth overview of both SBAC and PARCC along with a possible timeline. It also goes into more detail on what the tests will look like.
The SBAC assessment will include a substantial percent of performance and constructed response items and they intend to assess understanding, skills and processes. This does not look like the usual state multiple choice test. Some key points:
- Use computer adaptive technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers.
- Use one test at the end of the year for accountability purposes.
- Create a series of interim tests used to inform students, parents, and teachers about whether students are on track.
We have had some information shared with us on what the end of the year test will look like. It will be adaptive. If you are familiar with Aleks then you have an idea of what adaptive is. Basically, when a student answers a question the next question is chosen based on what happened on the previous question. This means part of the assessment will be on a computer.
A preliminary break down of the item types include: 22% selected response, 41% technology-enhanced constructed-response, 14% traditional constructed response and 23% performance (1-2 class periods).
Here are some example items SBAC had in their grant application. Looking through them you see some of the usual MC questions. What is new are the constructed response (our state dropped constructed response a few years ago due to cost). Some of them involve using an applet. The last example is one for the performance question.
Based on the example constructed response and the performance task some folks are in for big changes. This is not the usual memorize and regurgitate questions. If you have not yet done so, there is going to be some changes in what you ask students to do in your classroom. Educators have talked before on what we ask our students to do vs what other countries ask their students to do. Like many of you, I too went straight to my grade level in the Common Core to see what the standards were. Looks like we need to pause and talk more about the Standards for mathematical Practice starting on page 6.
One question comes to mind, for our school how do we get 1400 kids on computers? It was mentioned the first couple years will be a transition with schools able to choose to go the "paper" route until technology is updated. With states slashing our budget, who is paying for it?
I am curious to see how this plays out.
Update (May 4):
Came across some additional supporting materials at Tools for the Common Core Standards. It has information such as progression of topics through the common core as well as a more interactive display of the common core.
Update (May 5):
CCSSM and Curriculum and Assessment: NOT Business as Usual An article from the NCTM president outlining the Common Core.
Furthermore, these standards include both Standards for Mathematical Content and Standards for Mathematical Practice, and students’ mastery of both the content and the practices will be assessed in the designs being created by the two assessment consortia.
NCTM President J. Michael Shaughnessy
He mentions how many conversations are focusing on the standards themselves when we should be looking at the practices. He includes some additional resources.
- Presentation of assessment plans from both assessment consortia. More detailed info than what I summarized in the post. Also gives some reasoning and explanation.
- Performance tasks are available to the public from the MAP project on the MARS website and can be downloaded for noncommercial use.
- Another collection of assessment tasks from Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative.
- NCTM assessment resources from the Assessment Sampler series.