Assessment, aggregated demand and the slow revolution

Yesterday, I spent the day learning more about the work of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC).

From their website:

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year.

Combined with the other consortium — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) — this represents a  $330 million dollar investment in next generation assessments.

Over at Getting Past Go, Bruce Vandel has some thoughts on how this will impact postsecondary education.  While you’re there, check out the guest post from PARCC’s Allison Jones.

“The [PARCC and SBAC] assessment will determine the extent to which students have mastered the core competencies in Common Core State Standards identified by postsecondary education faculty as key to success in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in English and mathematics.  It will then signal placement into “General Education types” of English (101) and College Algebra if the student is college ready.”

This project will impact students all across this country and fundamentally change how we measure “college readiness,” but my fear is that postsecondary educators are not currently engaged at a level that they need to be.  Both consortia have robust plans in place for engagement, but more engagement can always help.

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