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State Tests: Education Week's Interactive Breakdown of 2015-16 Plans

Dig-Computers-Classroom.jpgBy guest blogger Catherine Gewertz. Cross-posted from High School & Beyond.

Since the common core was adopted by more than 40 states almost six years ago, the assessment landscape has been undergoing a profound reorganization. Education Week has been tracking these changes, and this year, we see some of the biggest shifts happening at the high school level. We report in detail on those changes today in EdWeek's chart of states' 2015-16 testing plans.

We surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia, asking what math and English/language arts tests they're using in 2015-16. The results are online, in an interactive format that allows you to see, quickly and easily, the answers to these questions:

  • Which states are using PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests, and which ones chose some other assessment instead?
  • Which states chose PARCC or Smarter Balanced, but are using them only in elementary and middle school?
  • Which states are mixing PARCC or Smarter Balanced questions with their own, state-designed items, or are giving districts a choice of which test to give?
  • Which states require all students to take the SAT or ACT? And which ones use those college-entrance exams for federal accountability (a growing trend with significant implications)?
  • Which state have exit exams (a test that students must pass to graduate)?

Our research points to three key trends in assessment this year:

PARCC and Smarter Balanced strength continues to wane. Fewer states are giving PARCC or Smarter Balanced than did so last year. See our story and chart to find out the numbers.

PARCC and Smarter Balanced participation is particularly weak in high school. We see those tests more often in grades 3-8 than in high school.

High school testing now tilts more heavily toward college-admissions exams. States are increasingly requiring the SAT and ACT, or using it as their high school exam for federal accountability.


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