Common Core Field Tests Under Way; Resources Available for Teacher Candidates

Starting last week, approximately 4 million students across 36 states and the District of Columbia began taking field tests for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments developed by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia. The field tests are scheduled to run March 24 through June 6.

A few states are piloting the tests on a broader scale. Nearly all students in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota will participate in the field tests.

The mission of the field tests is to assess the quality of the assessment items and the accessibility features for individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the field tests will provide valuable information about needed bandwidth in participating schools as well as the feasibility for using multiple devices (iPads, tablets, laptops, etc.) and multiple operating systems. While both assessments will offer paper-and-pencil alternatives for now, that service will expire within a few years with the expectation that every student will take the online assessment by the 2017-2018 school year.

To avoid “double testing,” many states participating in the CCSS field tests received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education granting flexibility from the usual testing required under No Child Left Behind. Data from the field tests will be used for formative purposes and not incorporated into teacher and district accountability measures.

Prepare Your Teacher Candidates!

The assessment consortia’s tests are expected to be completely operational next school year, so current teacher candidates must understand the standards and assessments to prepare their future students for the exams. Both PARCC and Smarter Balanced have released sample testing items to give teachers a deeper understanding of how the assessments are different from current state exams. Starting today, AACTE will also conduct webinars in the coming month, including one featuring leaders from the assessment consortia who will discuss the difference from current state assessments to the new assessments, how this might affect educator preparation, and the resources available for educator preparation programs.

Webinar dates:

Find more information on the assessments here:

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Elizabeth Ross

Manager for State Chapters, AACTE