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Assessment Consortium Fleshes Out Vision of Standards

There's no doubt now: The season of putting meat on the bones of the common standards is here.

We got our first indication last week, when PARCC, one of the two assessment consortia, released draft content frameworks that offer early signs of its vision of what it looks like to translate common standards into instruction and tests. Today, the other consortium weighs in with something similar.

The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium has released draft "content specifications with content mapping" for the English/language arts standards. (Someone please tell them they need catchier names for these things. Have pity on us.)

In a nutshell, this document describes the "evidence of learning" students will need to demonstrate to show that they've mastered the common standards in English/language arts. In doing so, it details what the consortium views as the most important aspects of the standards and tips its hand—in a preliminary sort of way—about what its testing system could look like.

Lots of folks are waiting to pounce on documents like this, and like PARCC's content frameworks—not least of all vendors waiting for a chance to submit proposals to build these testing systems. And as we move into fall, we can expect to see the consortia issue Requests for Proposals and other documents that will offer a more detailed view of what they have in mind.

SMARTER Balanced seeks feedback on the content specifications in English/language arts until Aug. 29. Then it will issue a revised version and take feedback on it until late September. A final version is slated for release in early October. The consortium will release draft specifications in math on Aug. 22 and conduct two rounds of feedback, with a final version scheduled for release in mid-October. For a more detailed timeline, check its press release, which is available, along with information about providing feedback, on its resources page.

[UPDATE, Aug. 10:] Our story about the PARCC and SBAC documents is online.

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