Common Core State Standard

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Coming Together
to Raise Achievement
New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards
Updated July 2011
Prepared by the

Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS

Table of Contents
Page 1

Introduction

Page 2

What Will the New Assessments Measure?

Pages 3–4

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Pages 5–6

The Common Core State Standards for English Language
Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science,
& Technical Subjects

Pages 7–12

The Comprehensive Assessment Consortia:
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College
and Careers (PARCC) — July 2011 Updated Design

Pages 13–18

The Comprehensive Assessment Consortia:
SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

Pages 19–21

Finding Solutions, Moving Forward

Pascal (Pat) D. Forgione Jr., Ph.D.
Distinguished Presidential Scholar and Executive Director

Dear Colleague:
We are pleased to provide this updated resource on the comprehensive assessment designs and related activities being launched by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

The Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS (or “the Center”) has created this updated guide to stimulate discussions about the opportunity before us. We begin, as in the February 2011 version, with an overview of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) — what’s new, why they’re needed, and how these standards will drive new designs in assessment — along with descriptions of the two assessment systems being built. We have updated the Consortia membership lists, incorporated the June 2011 revisions to the PARCC design, and added brief summaries of the Supplemental Application grants that were awarded to the Consortia and will support the transition to the CCSS at the local and state levels. Finally, we offer our best thinking on the work ahead in assessment — the most significant and high-leverage measurement and technical challenges within the designs of these new assessment systems.

How fortunate we are to be participants in a historic moment in education reform. The federal Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative has brought forward unprecedented resources to stimulate bold proposals for improving the way our schools operate and the quality of tools available to our students and educators. Used well, it is a much-needed investment in our nation’s future. While the performance of U.S. students has improved over the past two decades, the pace has been too slow. Student performance in major competitor countries is improving at a faster rate — and some have already surpassed us. We must reverse that trend, and do so quickly. One critical strategy in this effort is the RTTT Assessment Program, which has provided funding to two Consortia of states to develop a new generation of assessments intended to yield timely data to enhance instruction, accelerate learning, and provide accurate information on how our students and schools are performing. Each Consortium has more than $175 million and just four short years to push the frontiers of the assessment field and build their new testing and instructional support systems. In addition, each Consortium has received a $15.8 million Supplemental Application grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to support activities with its partner states, districts, lead teachers, and higher education institutions and to develop resources for a successful transition in school year 2014–15 and thereafter. This initiative is about much more than just “better tests.” The adoption of a common set of college- and careerreadiness standards by all but five states, to date, means that more than 80 percent of our nation’s public school students and teachers will be...
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