The Thomas B. Fordham Institute commissioned and published an evaluation of the “content and quality of the next generation assessments,” specifically, the Common Core assessments (PARCC and SBAC), as well as ACT Aspire, and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). The report’s introduction was written by Michael Petrilli and Amber Northern of the Institute; the report itself was written by researchers Nancy Doorey and Morgan Polikoff. The introduction and link to the report appear in this post; the following posts will debate the study and its findings.

This link takes you to the introduction.

This link takes you to the full report.

The authors of the report concluded that the Common Core assessments (PARCC and SBAC) were superior to the ACT Aspire and the MCAS.

This is the central finding:

Here’s just a sampling of what we found:

Overall, PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments had the strongest matches to the CCSSO Criteria.

ACT Aspire and MCAS both did well regarding the quality of their items and the depth of knowledge they assessed.

Still, panelists found that ACT Aspire and MCAS did not adequately assess—or may not assess at all—some of the priority content reflected in the Common Core standards in both ELA/Literacy and mathematics.

The report is long, but the meat of the report can be easily accessed. It is important that you wrap your mind around the report because the next post will challenge its findings.

Since many of you are teachers and have administered some of these tests, feel free to add your voice to the debate.