Consortium Releases Technology Guidelines for Common-Core Tests

One of the two consortia designing tests for the Common Core State Standards has released new guidance on the minimum technology standards states will need to meet to give those tests, beginning in 2014-15.

The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers said the guidance, unveiled late Friday afternoon, is meant to provide direction to states and districts on the extent to which current technology meets testing standards, or whether upgrades will be required.

The document offers both “minimum specifications,” that would satisfy the consortium’s tech guidelines at least through 2014-15, and “recommended” ones, which would be expected to meet the state group’s standards through the 2018-19 school year.

Earlier this month, the other group leading states toward the development of tests to match the Common Core, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, released its own list of technology requirements and recommendations for 2014-15.

The new PARCC guidelines are “very similar” to the Smarter Balanced requirements, said Susan Van Gundy, associate director for assessment technology at Achieve, an organization that is managing the partnership consortium’s work.

One of the requirements focuses on test security. All devices used during the tests—whether laptops, netbooks, tablets—and operating systems must have the capability to “lock down” and temporarily disable features that present a security risk while exams are being given. Certain features would also need to be controlled during test administration, including unlimited Internet access, certain types of cameras, screen captures, e-mail, and instant-messaging, the requirements say. (Read more.)

Via Sean Cavanagh, Education Week.

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ACT to Roll Out Career and College Readiness Tests for 3rd-10th Grades

ACT Inc. announced today that it is developing a new series of assessments for every grade level, from 3rd through 10th, to measure skills needed in college and careers.

The tests, which would be administered digitally and provide instant feedback to teachers, will be piloted in states this fall and scheduled to be launched in 2014, says Jon Erickson, the president of education for ACT, the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit testing company.

The “next generation” assessment will be pegged to the Common Core State Standards and cover the four areas now on the ACT: English, reading, math, and science.

“It connects all the grades—elementary school through high school—to measure growth and development,” says Erickson. “It informs teaching, as students progress, to intervene at early ages.”

The assessment would look beyond academics to get a complete picture of the whole student, he says. There would be interest inventories for students, as well as assessment of behavioral skills for students and teachers to evaluate. (Read more, including the comments.)

Via Caralee Adams, Education Week.

It will fill a niche as the first digital, longitudinal assessment to connect student performance across grades, both in and out of the classroom, according to the ACT. The hope is to get information on students’ weaknesses and strengths earlier so teachers can make adjustments to improve their chances of success.

Posted in Students, Testing. Tags: , . Comments Off on ACT to Roll Out Career and College Readiness Tests for 3rd-10th Grades