Fewer Performance Items on Common-Core Exams
By Catherine Gewertz
A group that is developing tests for half the states in the nation has dramatically reduced the length of its assessment in a bid to balance the desire for a more meaningful and useful exam with concerns about the amount of time spent on testing.
The decision by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium reflects months of conversation among its 25 state members and technical experts and carries heavy freight for millions of students, who will be tested in two years. The group is one of two state consortia crafting tests for the Common Core State Standards with $360 million in federal Race to the Top money.
From an original design that included multiple, lengthy performance tasks, the test has been revised to include only one such task in each subject—mathematics and English/language arts—and has been tightened in other ways, reducing its length by several hours.