Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Bluegrass Institute reports on KERA at 20 have implications for pending state assessments

The Bluegrass Institute’s new reports on Kentucky’s 20-year experience with Progressive Education ideas create concerns that two national efforts to create the Common Core State Assessments may already be running into heavy water.

These two separate efforts are trying to create assessments of student performance for all the states to evaluate performance against the new Common Core State Standards.

Those Common Core State Standards were developed by a partnership of the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Kentucky rushed to adopt those standards before they were even finalized in a failed effort to win some Race to the Top money.

Unfortunately, both of the new test creation efforts seem to be headed down the same dead end streets that Kentucky’s now failed KIRIS and CATS assessments traveled.

Both of the Common Core State Assessment creation teams are talking about using a lot of open-response written questions and even “performance tasks/events.” That’s very disturbing because Kentucky’s history in those areas, as the new Bluegrass Institute reports show, is very unsatisfactory. Inaccurate scoring, high expense, slow results turn-around, and outright failures were rampant with some of these ideas.

You can read about the many concepts and issues concerning the new assessment creation activity in two new freedomkentucky.org Wiki items.

The first one is for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) effort.

The second one covers the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium.

We think these efforts have a lot of unfinished homework, and a good part of that needs to include a thorough study of our new KERA at 20 reports.

For sure, if they intend to use a lot of open-response questions and performance event items, the people doing PARCC and SMARTER need to tell us, in great detail, how they are going to avoid the mistakes and failures that plagued not one, but two now-failed Kentucky assessment systems.

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