moving from state assessments to common core kansas act state organization 2012 annual conference
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Moving from State Assessments to Common Core Kansas ACT State Organization 2012 Annual Conference. Tom Foster Kansas State Department of Education. Rate Your Prior Knowledge. 0—I’ve never heard of Common Core Standards. 1—I’ve heard the phrase but know nothing about it.

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moving from state assessments to common core kansas act state organization 2012 annual conference

Moving from State Assessments to Common CoreKansas ACT State Organization 2012 Annual Conference

Tom Foster

Kansas State Department of Education

rate your prior knowledge
Rate Your Prior Knowledge
  • 0—I’ve never heard of Common Core Standards.
  • 1—I’ve heard the phrase but know nothing about it.
  • 2—They are our new standards for math and

ELA but I know little else.

  • 3—I’ve at least scanned the Standards document

and know just enough to be dangerous!

  • 4—I’ve read the Standards document and can use

the terms “anchor standard” and “boxed

subheading” correctly.

  • 5—I know the standards backwards and forwards.
rumor control and burning questions
Rumor Control and “Burning Questions”

In small groups, take two to three minutes to brainstorm a list of rumors you’ve heard and/or “burning questions” that you have about the Common Core Standards.

  • I heard these standards will require second graders to read Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Is that true? (No.)
  • Aren’t these “national standards” and the first step toward a “national curriculum?” (Absolutely not.)
  • Will new tests eventually be created to assess students on the standards? (Certainly, Kansas was due for new standards and new assessments anyway.)


the common core state standards initiative
The Common Core State Standards Initiative
  • Beginning in the spring of 2009, Governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia committed to developing a common core of state K-12 English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards.
  • The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
  • The Kansas State Board of Education formally adopted the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts on October 12, 2010.
benefits for students
Benefits for Students
  • Student mobility—comparable education regardless of zip code
  • Increased alignment between K-12 and post-secondary narrows gap between high school and college and career readiness
benefits to schools
Benefits to Schools
  • New and better assessments that better measure student learning
  • Student mobility—increased likelihood of comparable assessments between states allows for longitudinal data tracking
  • Easier collaboration among states on curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Shifting of resources to focus on improving instructional practices
a new generation of standards for college and career readiness
A New Generation of Standards for College and Career Readiness
  • Advance instruction – shift focus from AYP to CCR
  • Cultivate habits of mind – approaches to learning that are intellectual, practical, and spur student success
  • Facilitate collaboration – among students, among disciplines, among states

These standards are our renewed opportunities to:


English Language Arts


Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

kansas advantages to common core standards in ela and literacy
Kansas Advantages to Common Core Standards in ELA and Literacy
  • A focus on college and career readiness (CCR)
  • Inclusion of the four strands of English Language Arts:
      • Reading
      • Writing
      • Listening and speaking
      • Language
  • The benefits of an integrated literacy approach – all Kansas educators have a shared responsibility for literacy instruction, regardless of discipline or content area.
  • A focus on results rather than means –“the Standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how those goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed” (p. 4).
hallmarks of college and career readiness in english language arts and literacy
Hallmarks of College and Career Readiness in English Language Arts and Literacy

College and Career Ready Students:

  • Demonstrate independence in “the 4 C’s”
        • Comprehend complex text
        • Critique the craft used to create text
        • Construct rich understandings of content
        • Convey multifaceted meaning
  • Build strong content knowledge through research and study
  • Respond to varying demands of audience, purpose, task, and discipline in both writing and speaking
  • Use technology and digital media strategically to deepen encounters with text and to present and share information
  • Come to understand other perspective and cultures

Source: Adapted from “Students Who are College and Career Ready…” (page 7 of the Standards)

key advances for english language arts and literacy
Key Advances for English Language Arts and Literacy


  • Balance of literature and informational texts
  • A focus on appropriate levels of text complexity


  • Emphasis on argument and informative/explanatory writing
  • Writing about sources and supplying evidence for claims and ideas

Standards for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects

  • Complement rather than replace content standards in those subjects
  • Shared responsibility of all educators regardless of discipline
mathematical practices
Mathematical Practices
  • Rewards instructional best practices
  • Clear vision of how students should approach and learn mathematics.
  • Shifts focus to ensuring mathematical understanding over computation skills
mathematical practices the list
Mathematical Practices (the list)
  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
about the critical areas
About the Critical Areas
  • Broad topics that can be used to organize instruction around for the entire year
  • Closely aligned to NCTM’s Focal Points document
  • Can be used as a focus for transition planning

Transition timeline


Document available at:

common assessments for the common core state standards
Common Assessments for the

Common Core State Standards

Tom Foster

Kansas State Department of Education

state led governance


  • Education Chiefs
  • State Legislatures
  • State Boards of Education
  • 2 elected co-chairs
  • 4 representatives elected by governing states
  • Lead procurement state (WA)
  • Higher education representative
State-Led Governance

States Join Consortium as Governing or Advisory State

State Representatives Serve on Executive Committee


WestEd, Project Management Partner

Advisory Committees

state involvement in getting the work done consortium work groups

Accessibility and Accommodations

Work group engagement of 90 state-level staff:

State Involvement in Getting the Work Done: Consortium Work Groups

Formative Assessment Practices and Professional Learning

Item Development

  • Each work group:
  • Led by co-chairs from governing states
  • 6 or more members from advisory or governing states
  • 1 liaison from the Executive Committee
  • 1 WestEd partner

Performance Tasks


Work group responsibilities:



Technology Approach

  • Define scope and time line for work in its area
  • Develop a work plan and resource requirements
  • Determine and monitor the allocated budget
  • Oversee Consortium work in its area, including identification and direction of vendors


Test Administration


Test Design


Transition to Common Core State Standards


Validation and Psychometrics





higher education partners involved in application
Higher Education Partners Involved in Application
  • 175public and 13 private systems/institutions of higher education
  • Representing 74% of the total number of direct matriculation students across all SMARTER Balanced States
  • Higher education representatives and/or postsecondary faculty serve on:
    • Executive Committee
    • Assessment scoring and item review committees
    • Standard-setting committees
  • Two directors for higher education engagement to start in mid-October; higher education advisory panel now forming
seven key principles
Seven Key Principles
  • An integrated system
  • Evidence-based approach
  • Teacher involvement
  • State-led with transparent governance
  • Focus: improving teaching and learning
  • Actionable information – multiple measures
  • Established professional standards
a balanced assessment system
A Balanced Assessment System

Summative assessments

Benchmarked to college and career readiness

Teachers and schools have information and tools they need to improve teaching and learning

Common Core State Standards specify

K-12 expectations for college and career readiness

All students leave high school college and career ready

Teacher resources for

formative assessment practices

to improve instruction

Interim assessments Flexible, open, used for actionable feedback

using computer adaptive technology for summative and interim assessments

Faster results

  • Turnaround in weeks compared to months today
Using Computer Adaptive Technology for Summative and Interim Assessments

Shorter test length

  • Fewer questions compared to fixed form tests

Increased precision

  • Provides accurate measurements of student growth over time

Tailored to student ability

  • Item difficulty based on student responses

Greater security

  • Larger item banks mean that not all students receive the same questions

Mature technology

  • GMAT, GRE, COMPASS (ACT), Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
assessment system components

Summative Assessment (Computer Adaptive)

Assessment System Components
  • Assesses thefull range of Common Corein English language arts and mathematics for students in grades 3–8 and 11 (interim assessments can be used in grades 9 and 10)
  • Measures current student achievement and growth across time, showing progress toward college and career readiness
  • Can be given once or twice a year (mandatory testing window within the last 12 weeks of the instructional year)
  • Includes a variety of question types: selected response, short constructed response, extended constructed response, technology enhanced, and performance tasks
assessment system components1

Interim Assessment (Computer Adaptive)

Assessment System Components
  • Optional comprehensive and content-cluster assessment to help identify specific needs of each student
  • Can be administered throughout the year
  • Provides clear examples of expected performance on Common Core standards
  • Includes a variety of question types: selected response, short constructed response, extended constructed response, technology enhanced, and performance tasks
  • Aligned to and reported on the same scale as the summative assessments
  • Fully accessible for instruction and professional development
assessment system components2

Performance Tasks

Assessment System Components
  • Extended projects demonstrate real-world writing and analytical skills
  • May include online research, group projects, presentations
  • Require 1-2 class periods to complete
  • Included in both interim and summative assessments
  • Applicable in all grades being assessed
  • Evaluated by teachers using consistent scoring rubrics

The use of performance measures has been found

to increase the intellectual challenge in classrooms

and to support higher-quality teaching.

- Linda Darling-Hammond and Frank Adamson, Stanford University

assessment system components3

Few initiatives are backed by evidence that they raise achievement. Formative assessment is one of the few approaches

proven to make a difference.

- Stephanie Hirsh, Learning Forward

Formative Assessment Practices

Assessment System Components
  • Research-based, on-demand tools and resources for teachers
  • Aligned to Common Core, focused on increasing student learning and enabling differentiation of instruction
  • Professional development materials include model units of instruction and publicly released assessment items, formative strategies

assessment system components4

Data are only useful if people are able to access, understand and use them… For information to be useful, it must be timely, readily available, and easy to understand.

- Data Quality Campaign

Online Reporting

Assessment System Components

  • Static and dynamic reports, secure and public views
  • Individual states retain jurisdiction over access and appearance of online reports
  • Dashboard gives parents, students, practitioners, and policymakers access to assessment information
  • Graphical display of learning progression status (interim assessment)
  • Feedback and evaluation mechanism provides surveys, open feedback, and vetting of materials

support for special populations
Support for Special Populations
  • Accurate measures of progress for students with disabilities and English Language Learners
  • Accessibility and Accommodations Work Group engaged throughout development
  • Outreach and collaboration with relevant associations


Core Tests

to Have Built-in


- June 8, 2011


Master Plan Developed and Work Groups Launched

Formative Processes, Tools, and Practices Development Begins

Item Writing and Review Activities Completed (Summative and Interim)

Field Testing of Summative Assessment Administered

Final Achievement Standards (Summative) Verified and Adopted


School Year


School Year


School Year


School Year


School Year

Operational Summative Assessment Administered

Preliminary Achievement Standards (Summative) Proposed and Other Policy Definitions Adopted

Pilot Testing of Summative and Interim Assessments Conducted

Common Core Translation and Item Specifications Complete

Common Core State Standards Adopted by All States

state implementation timeline
State Implementation: Timeline

Teams of teachers evaluate formative assessment practices and curriculum resources

Technology readiness tool available

Field testing of summative assessment, training school- and district-level staff in formative tools

Full implementation of assessment system


School Year


School Year


School Year


School Year

Formative tools available to teachers

to find out more
To find out more...

...the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium can be found online at