Are the Common Core Tests Worth the Price?

As many have predicted the major initial fallback we were going to see with the Common Core State Standards are with the tests and their costs.

From the Answer Sheet blog by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post, an excerpt:

On Monday, the 21-state Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, announced how much it would cost for the Core-aligned test: $29.50 a student for summative math and reading tests. More than half of the states in the consortium now pay less for their current assessment tests. When officials in Georgia heard the numbers, they pulled out of the consortium, given that they now spend a total of $12 a student for math and reading tests. (They also cited concerns about having the technology to give all the tests to all students on computer.) Oklahoma left PARCC too.

The other consortium, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, had released funding information this past spring, offering two options: $22.50 per student for summative tests and $27.30 percent for summative as well as formative and interim tests. It said that two-thirds of the consortium states now pay more for testing. However, the two consortia — funded collectively by the Obama administration with some $350 million — are not offering identical services; for example, PARCC promises to score the exams for each state, while Smarter Balanced would have states do it for themselves. There may be other costs associated with these exams, which are supposed to be ready for the 2014-15 school year.

So how good will these new exams be? It is important to remember how these tests were initially portrayed and what they will wind up delivering.

Strauss reports that these tests are not even advanced as originally touted.  She also reports that the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education said that another generation of tests will be needed.

I think we can expect that to cost even more money yet.

Are they worth the price?  I don’t think so.