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The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing


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Things have certainly been hopping week with various multi-state organizations preparing to spend millions of dollars from the Department of Education to develop the “next generation” of state testing. There are two tracks going on — one primarily geared towards more “mainstream” students and the other focusing on English Language Learner assessment. seemed to be a good time to bring together a few posts and articles about what’s been going on. Feel free to contribute other suggestions.

The past posts that I’ve written and have included in “The Best…” list also include links to other excellent related resources.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Common Core Standards & English Language Learners.

Also, The Best Resources On ELL’s & Standardized Tests

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing:

One of the reasons I’m writing post is because the state of California announced that they were joining the SMARTER Consortium — one of the two groups developing the tests for more “mainstream” students. I’m pleased with that decision (my posts on list give the reasons why). You can read more information about that decision here. You can also read California Takes Sides in Assessment Development Work at Education Week.

You can read about some of the politics going on behind that choice at the Thoughts on Public Education blog.

A Vision for ELL Inclusion in Tests Pegged to the ‘Common Core’

Making ‘Common Core’ Tests Accessible to All Students is by Mary Ann Zehr at Ed Week.

Common Assessments: More Details Emerge is from Education Week.

New Details Surface About Common Assessments is from Education Week.

New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards has the latest information (April, 2012) for the upcoming “next generation” standardized assessments.

A Test Worth Teaching To is from The Washington Monthly.

New online tests hold promise, perils is from The Hechinger Report.

The Best Picture — So Far — Of What The Next Generation Of Standardized Tests Is Going To Look Like

More Samples From The Next Generation Of Standardized Tests

Here are my previous posts on the topic:

The Next Generation Of State Tests

Consortia Flesh Out Visions for Common Tests comes from Ed Week.

Want To Learn About The Next Generation Of Tests We’ll Be Giving Our Students?

How Should Teachers Respond To The Development Of New State Assessments?

States Anticipate Technology Challenges With Common Tests is from Ed Week.

“New Tool to Provide Tech Inventory for Common Core” — I Can Hardly Wait (NOT)

Standardized Tests Of Tomorrow Behind Schedule, According To Insider Survey is from The Huffington Post.

Common Assessments: More Than Two Games In Town is from Education Week.

ELL and Spec. Ed. Advisors Named for Common Assessment Group is from Education Week.

What to test instead is from The Boston Globe, and is very interesting. It’s subtitle is:

A new wave of test designers believe they can measure creativity, problem solving, and collaboration – and that a smarter exam could change education.

I’ve got to say, though, I’m a bit skeptical of some of their claims….

Smarter Balanced, PARCC Team Up To Fund Future Operations is from Education Week.

Two Versions of ‘Common’ Test Eyed by State Consortium is also from Ed Week.

Are new online standardized tests revolutionary? Decide for yourself is from The HechingerEd blog.

Are You Tech-Ready for the Common Core? is from Education Week.

Adaptive Testing Evolves to Assess Common-Core Skills is from Education Week.

Common Core Tech. Demands Raise Budget Worries
is from Education Week.

Great uncertainty over direction of state standardized tests
is an article over at Ed Source that does an extraordinarily good job at describing the many challenges involved in the “next generation” of state testing. It specifically discusses California, but I suspect the issues are similar in many other places.

Will school computers be able to handle new testing technology? is from The Hechinger Report.

Assessment Group Cuts Back Diagnostic, Formative Work is from Education Week.

New student tests to focus less on memory is from The San Francisco Chronicle.

Common Assessments Hold Promise, Face Challenges, Study Finds is from Education Week.

Common Core State Standards: 2014 is a Year Away is from Learning First.

Testing Group Scales Back Performance Items: Fewer Performance Items on Common-Core Exams is from Education Week.

Commission Calls for ‘Radically Different’ Tests is from Education Week.

Assessment Group To Begin Testing Common Core Platform is also from Ed Week.

Murdoch Company, Which Just Unveiled Tablet To Sell To Schools, Gets Contract From Testing Consortium — I Don’t Have A Good Feeling About

Are Schools Prepared for Online State Assessments?
is by Peter DeWitt at Education Week.

Consorting with consortia is from CCSSI Mathematics.

Test Groups Weigh Unified Accommodations Policies is from Education Week.

Why Common Core tests won’t be what Arne Duncan promised is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

A Tough New Test Spurs Protest and Tears is from The New York Times.

PARCC Releases Draft Policy on ELL Accommodations is from Education Week.

The end of the testing consortia as we know it?
is an intriguing post from The Fordham Institute.

Standards-based tests and public schooling is from The Economist.

Common-Core Online Practice Tests Unveiled is from Education Week.

Schools Test-Drive Common Core

PARCC Approves Testing Policies for English-Language Learners is from Learning The Language.

PARCC Adopts Spec. Ed. Testing Policy For Common Core is from Ed Week.

Testing Group Delays Some Components for One Year is also from Ed Week.

PARCC Releases Final Version of Accommodations Policy for ELLs is from Ed Week.

ELLs Need More Attention in Common Assessment Groups, Reports Say is from Education Week.

Assessment of ELLs on the CCSS is from Colorin Colorado.

New Common Core tests: Worth the price? is from The Washington Post.

PARCC Test Cost: Higher for Nearly Half the States is from Education Week.

AFT Analysis: K-12 Testing Is Pervasive, Costly is from Ed Week.

ELL Advocates Call for PARCC Tests in Spanish is from Education Week.

A Look at ELL Performance So Far on Common-Core-Aligned Tests is from Education Week.

Testing Consortium Previews Test With Sample Items is from Ed Week.

Smarter Balanced Moves Ahead on Testing Tools for English-Learners is from Ed Week.

College Board Enters Expanding Common-Test Market is from Education Week.

Analysis of a PARCC ELA Assessment Task Through an ELL Lens (Part 1) is by Diane Staehr Fenner.

Common Assessment Group Launches Spanish Webpage is by Lesli Maxwell at Ed Week.

Here are some good recent posts about education policy issues: Schools struggle to shift to computerized tests is from The San Francisco Chronicle.

Thorny Questions Arise About Use of Field-Test Results is from Ed Week.

Smarter Balanced Approves Testing Supports for English-Learners is from Education Week.

A Deeper Look at Smarter Balanced’s Assessment Supports for ELLs is by Diane Staehr Fenner.

PARCC’s Common Math Tests to Be Translated Into Spanish is from Education Week.

Assessment Consortia: Who’s In And Who’s Out? is from Education Week.

Transition to Online Testing Sparks Concerns is from Education Week.

Exploring the Cost of Common-Core Tests is also from Ed Week.

‘Read-Aloud’ Assistance on Common Tests Proves Contentious is from Ed Week.

Is Robo-Grading Driving the Design of Common Core Tests? is by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

The California Educator, which is the bi-monthly magazine of the California Teachers Association, recently published a chart (and article explaining the chart) the accommodations the SMARTER testing consortium is planning to make available to English Language Learners and learning disabled students in their electronic testing.

States Grapple With Common Test-Score Cutoffs is from Ed Week.

Teachers’ Unions, Testing Consortia Team Up on Grants From Helmsley Trust is from Education Week.

L.A. Unified unprepared for computerized state test is from The Los Angeles Times.

Language Supports for English-Learners Ready for Smarter Balanced Field Tests is from Education Week.

An Even Sadder Tale of D.C. Common Core Testing is by John Thompson.

“Testing Talk” Is A Forum For Feedback On “Next Generation” Of State Tests

Common Core revolt goes local is from Politico.

Three Practical Questions About PARCC & SBAC Testing is by Rick Hess.

As California standardized testing gains steam, help center ‘inundated’ with teacher calls is from Southern California Public Radio.

Students are test-driving new Common Core exams. You can too is a post from The Hechinger Report. It includes links to practice tests from the two testing consortia. The ones from PARCC have an answer key, though, at first glance, the SBAC ones do not (let me know if I just missed it).

More Research Needed on Proper Use of Common-Core Tests, Report Says is from Education Week.

Common-Assessment Groups Differ on Accommodations is from Education Week.

Pearson Wins Major Contract From Common-Core Testing Consortium is from Ed Week.

My Reaction to the PARCC & SBAC Responses is by Rick Hess.

State’s new computerized exam tryout plagued by glitches appeared in The Los Angeles Times.

Less Than Half of U.S. Students Slated to Take PARCC, Smarter Balanced Tests is from Ed Week.

Common Core’s testing framework is crumbling is from The Washington Post.

New Twist In Common Core Wars is from Politico.

The NAEP has started having students write essays online. Though they are not the Common Core tests our schools will have to be taking, its experience is useful to know as our students begin to take standardized tests online this year. Here are some articles about it:

4th Graders Struggle With Icons, Directions on Computer-Based Tests is from Education Week.

The End of Paper-and-Pencil Exams? is from The Atlantic.

Big Year Looms for Common-Core Testing is from Ed Week.

Money Flowing for Common-Core Assessments is from Ed Week.

Under half of students projected to test well is from Ed Source. Here’s how it begins:

Between a third and 44 percent of students in California and 16 other states taking the same test next spring on the Common Core standards are expected to score at grade level in math and reading, according to projections released Monday by the creator of the states’ tests.

Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests is from Ed Week.

There has also been a lot of recent movement in a parallel effort by states seeking funding from the Department of Education to develop common tests for English Language Learners. I’ve previously written about the concerns I have about move at Wasting Money On New Tests For English Language Learners.

The Learning The Language blog at Education Week has been providing excellent coverage of the two multi-state groups leading that effort (I haven’t taken the time to compare these groups with the mainstream testing groups, but it would be interesting to see if the make-up of each is similar). Here are recent posts and articles:

Draft Rules Point Way to Consistency in ELL Policies

Calif., Wis. Take Lead to Propose ELL Tests for ‘Common Core’

WIDA Tally: Montana and Maryland Join Consortium

At Proposals for English-Proficiency Tests for the ‘Common Core’, Mary Ann Zehr at Education Week links to the proposals to create new state assessments for English Language Learners.

“Common Core ELL Assessment Will Be Developed by Wisc. Consortium”

Questions Arise Over Grants for ELL Tests is from Education Week.

California Works on New English-Language Development Standards is from The Learning The Language blog at Ed Week. It includes some important information about the next generation of language testing.

Ore. Wins Federal Grant for New English-Language Proficiency Exam
is from Learning The Language at Ed Week.

“California Drops Out of ELL Assessment Consortium”

Push Is On for Common Ways to Identify ELLs is from Ed Week.

WIDA Forges Ahead With New English-Language Proficiency Test is from Learning The Language.

A Closer Look at ELL Assessment Group Led by Oregon
is from Learning The Language.

ELL Assessment Groups Move Ahead on Standards, New Tests is from the Learning The Language blog at Education Week.

What Will New English-Language-Proficiency Tests Cost? is from Education Week.

Florida Could Shift Alliances for English-Language-Proficiency Standards, Tests is from Ed Week.

How much time do school districts spend on standardized testing? much. is from The Washington Post.

Seven facts you should know about new Common Core tests is from The Washington Post.

New York to Seek Federal Waiver to Test English-Learners in Native Languages is from Education Week.

Language Supports for English-Learners Ready for Smarter Balanced Field Tests is from Education Week.

ELLs Test-Drive New English-Language Proficiency Assessments is from Ed Week.

Feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Larry: This looks like a great resource for people who want to better know the enemy, which in my mind is the test culture and what it does to turn off kids and teachers. I hope your readers devote as much time reaching out to policy makers to see if we can stop the madness sooner as opposed to later. I lead a conversation at EduCon 2.5 last week on what we can do while we are waiting for the tests as we know them to go away. Here is the link to what thirty educators from all over the U.S. came up with. Keep up the great work and thanks for all you do.

  2. Just finished piloting the SBAC for 9th ELA. It’s interesting. Better by far but way more mental work for the kids and still a test judging random things rather than classroom based instruction. Probably can’t do much more detail than that but I see a ton of challenges ahead in terms of simply the infrastructure of it with every kid needing a computer.

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