Correcting US News & World Report: More states are using high-quality Common Core-aligned assessments

 

“Opposition to new Common Core assessments have led to their review, revision or replacement in many states,” Nat Malkus, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, claims in an opinion piece published by US News & World Report. “Concerns over the time spent on tests and test prep have boiled over into opt-out movements, in which students refuse to sit for tests in large numbers, and kept the test controversy kettle whistling.”

In fact, states have overwhelmingly adopted high, consistent academic expectations for students and high-quality assessments to accurately measure development. “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline,” Louisiana Superintendent John White said last year. “That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

Likewise, Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote in an opinion piece in USA Today that the results of assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards may be “sobering,” but families should resist the urge to turn back. “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests. They may not be perfect, but they are finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing.”

States’ new assessments are working. A follow-up analysis to the Honesty Gap by Achieve finds most states have begun to close discrepancies between state-reported proficiency rates and those identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). “[States] should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” says Sandra Boyd, chief operating officer at Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”

As Malkus points out, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law in December, ensures states are free to choose their academic standards and student assessments. Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, called the law a “huge win for conservatives.”

In a memo late last year, Karen Nussle explains that the Every Student Succeeds Act “forever ends what has long been an Achilles Heel of Common Core: federal entanglement through Race to the Top and secretarial waivers in state decisions surrounding the adoption of standards and the selection of aligned assessments.”