Connecticut is rolling out a new online practice test shortly on Common Core math and ELA as well as a new paper test as part of a pilot program to include Common Core in state testing protocols.
The Connecticut educators aren’t happy, according to a news story by Eileen FitzGerald, a reporter with the Connecticut Post, feeling they’re being rushed to rewrite curriculum and do intensive teacher training to prepare for the real thing. Full on-line testing is slated for spring 2015.
New York educators, of course, had to introduce not only Common Core but also the Common Core-based tests at the beginning of this school year, and students took Common Core based math and ELA tests last week and this one. State Education Commissioner John King Jr. said he expected the state’s percent of students at or above standards to plummet but refused to put off introducing Common Core for even a year because he said he felt the education situation in New York was too dire to let stand.
What Connecticut is going through right now, according to educators quoted by FitzGerald, was mass confusion since they don’t know whether Common Core based tests will be given next year instead of, alongside of or not at all with the state’s current 3-8 testing, the Connecticut Mastery Tests.
Some districts are taking pilot Common Core-based tests this spring (called Smarter Balanced tests — Connecticut is one of several states using these exams) to test not only the students’ knowledge but a district’s capacity to handle the on-line part. Apparently, the pilot tests also include an “adaptive test” format, which is designed to adjust questions based on a student’s earlier responses, making them easier or harder as needed.
Common Core is designed to be tested on computer, according to its creators, although money for the infrastructure, the software and the hardware hasn’t been part of the equation on federal or state levels. New York has put off any move to implement them online for several years while the details get worked out. In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to keep watch on Connecticut to see where the glitches are.