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Consortium: Buy-In for Field Testing Has Been 'Really Hard'

With five assessment consortia all trying to field test around the same time, at least one group is saying it's been tough to find willing participants to try out the new exams. 

In addition to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium—the two groups developing content tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards—there are two additional groups creating English-language proficiency exams and two creating assessments for students with severe cognitive disabilities, also all based on the common-core standards. Field testing for all of these exams except for one—the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century, or ELPA21—begins this spring. 

World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, the other consortium developing English-language proficiency tests, starts field testing today. However, Carsten Wilmes, WIDA's director of assessment, told me in a recent phone chat that it's been difficult getting schools involved. "Since there are so many consortia all field testing now, it's been really hard this year to get buy-in for an optional field test. The consortium idea is really good, but it also sometimes means people don't feel as responsible as if it were just a state test. We're working hard to recruit." 

The field tests will run through the end of June and should only take about an hour, according to the group's website. WIDA will do additional field testing next year to be ready for a December 2015 rollout. 

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