Information Related to the Assessment Consortia
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NCSL Resources on the Common Core State Standards
Other Resources for the Common Core State Standards
States will need new assessments to measure student progress against the Standards. In 2010, in recognition of this need, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded two assessment consortia $330 million in Race to the Top competitive grants to develop assessments aligned to the Standards:
To ensure that the assessments match individual state needs, states participate in each consortia either as a governing state or as a participating/advisory state. Governing states developed the initial proposals to ED seeking Race to the Top grants to develop the Standards-aligned assessments. Additionally, governing states currently participate in the consortia by overseeing—through the appointment of state leaders who sit on a consortium’s governing board—their respective consortium’s development of the assessments. Participating/advisory states, meanwhile, pledge to employ the assessments as developed by the governing states.
When states joined one of the consortia, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to implement the consortium’s assessments for purposes of federal accountability testing. Because states collaboratively oversee the development of the assessments vis-à-vis the consortia, the assessments are referred to as state-developed and the consortia are referred to as state-led.
States independently opted to join PARCC or SBAC, and in a handful of cases, opted to join both (see table below) based upon each state’s individual assessment needs. In each state, the chief state school officer, the president of a state school board, or the governor signed a MOU with the consortium.
State Participation in the Assessment Consortia*
(21 states, DC & VI)
(25 states & VI)
District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands (affiliate member)
|*States in bold indicate the consortium's fiscal agent.
With a few individual state exceptions, states will administer fully operational end-of-year summative assessments in grades three through 12 in the spring of 2015. Results of these assessments will be available the following fall. Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, states will administer formative interim or mid-year assessments to track students’ proficiency against the Common Core State Standards throughout the school year. Below are descriptions of the two assessments.
The PARCC assessment will test student proficiency in mathematics and English language arts from third grade to high school. The assessment is comprised of five components:
- Formative diagnostic assessment (optional)
- Formative mid-year assessment (optional)
- Summative performance-based assessment (mandatory)
- Summative end-of-year assessment (mandatory)
- English/literacy assessment to test listening and speaking skills (mandatory but not summative)
To learn more about the PARCC assessment and to see sample item and task prototypes, click here.
The SBAC assessment will test student proficiency in mathematics and English language arts utilizing interim and summative assessments from third grade to eighth, and in the eleventh grade; for the ninth and tenth grades additional supporting assessments will be administered. The SBAC assessment is comprised of the following:
- Two separate interim computer-adaptive assessments that will include performance tasks (optional)
- Summative, end-of-year performance tasks (mandatory)
- Summative, end-of-year computer-adaptive assessment (mandatory)
To learn more about the SBAC assessment and to see sample performance tasks and questions, click here.
The U.S. Department of Education, through the Office of Special Education Programs, awarded smaller Race to the Top grants to four separate state-led consortia to develop alternative assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities and for English language learners (about one percent of the student population in the United States). These consortia are:
- Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)
- Member states (14): Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
- National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC)
- Member states (16 and DC): Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming
- Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems (ASSETS)
- Member states (29, DC and VI): Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and U.S. Virgin Islands
- English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century Consortium (ELPA21)
- Member states (11): Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia
The Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS has multiple useful resources for state legislators and legislative staff, including its Guide to the Assessment Consortia.