California Educator

April 2013

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> COMMON CORE SMARTER BALANCED A new generation of assessments Master Plan Developed and Work Groups Launched Formative Processes, Tools, and Practices Development Begins 2010���11 School Year Common Core Translation and Item Speci���cations Completed Common Core State Standards Adopted by All States 2011���12 School Year BY FRANK WELLS C alifornia���s move to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2014-15 will bring major changes not only to curriculum content, but also to the way student learning is assessed. As states grapple with transition issues like ���nding (and paying for) new texts and other resources that match a new curriculum, many teachers are clamoring for information on how to prepare for the coming changes. CTA conference sessions and local trainings on the subject have been packed, sometimes beyond capacity (the CTA Summer Institute strand on the CCSS is expected to ���ll quickly ��� see sidebar). NEXT MONTH You���ve asked for more... ��� Take a closer look at transition and implementation issues. ��� Read feedback from members in schools participating in this spring���s pilot. 30 California Educator April 2013 Fortunately, there are additional resources available now, with extensive support coming from the group behind the new assessments, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). SBAC is one of two multistate member groups being funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop assessment systems aligned to the Common Core standards. California is among 27 states taking part in the Smarter Balanced effort. The next-generation assessments being developed show promise of revolutionizing the content, methodology, and even usefulness of what, to many, has become representative of what���s hurting education today: standardized testing. One of the innovations Smarter Balanced is bringing to assessment is the use of computer adaptive technology, which is touted as more precise and more ef���cient than current testing models. Teachers and schools can get results from computerized assessments in weeks rather than months, and can use information from optional interim assessments throughout the year to adjust their instruction. The use of technology also makes it easier for assessments to move beyond traditional multiple-choice questions. Some of the sample items available now on the Smarter Balanced website ( even use simple animation to set up a question, offering visual representations to enhance traditional math problems. The Smarter Balanced system does not completely abandon traditional test questions or methods. While still including familiar multiple-choice-format problems, the new system expands on them to show more fully not only what students know, but what they can do with that knowledge. The system includes the following types of items: ��� Selected response items: Students choose one or more responses from a set of options. ��� Technology enabled and enhanced items: In addition to more variety in the way questions are asked, such as through the use of multimedia, technology will allow students to respond in new ways, such as editing text or drawing an object. ��� Constructed response items: Students will produce text or numerical responses, rather than just choosing among possible answers. In some cases they will be asked to demonstrate how they arrived at their responses. ��� Performance tasks: Students will demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge across multiple standards. These tasks will vary in length and complexity, and may require students to develop their answers based on multiple sources and media. For example, students might be asked to read a short story or article, watch a short video, listen to an audio clip, or review research data, then answer basic content questions and

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