Education Week reported that state universities in Washington will use Smarter Balanced Assessment for 11th graders in their course placement decisions.
The announcement is significant because it puts teeth into the most pivotal claim of the common-core initiative: that a “college ready” score on consortium tests means a student is prepared to perform well in entry-level, credit-bearing work.
Until recently, this claim lived in the land of abstractia. Smarter Balanced and PARCC have been designing tests that aim to live up to that standard. And in order to get their federal funding, the two consortia had to enlist pledges of support from hefty chunks of their states’ public higher-education systems. In their applications for funding in 2010, both consortia enlisted support from a hefty portion of their states’ colleges and universities.
But those were just pledges in principle; the systems that signed on were pledging support only to the idea of tests that demonstrated college readiness. What they would do once they saw the finished assessments—and the cut scores for college readiness—was anyone’s guess.
You know just because a state university decides to use a particular assessment to determine course placement doesn’t mean a student is “college ready.” It just means a college has determined to use that assessment as their standard.
They could very well be lowering their standard and I believe they are since Smarter Balanced is aligned to the Common Core whose ELA and math standards ability to prepare students for college is highly debatable.
Also this is bad news for private school and home school students in Washington State who are not taking Smarter Balanced.
West Virginia has also decided to use Smarter Balanced in this way, and California state universities are considering it.