We Still Are Not Seeing Apples to Apples Comparisons From States

Students in Computer Lab --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

One of the biggest promises of the Common Core State Standards and their aligned assessments was commonality – now, we were told, states can finally have a real comparison.

Not so much as The Washington Post reports:

The analysis by Gary Phillips of the American Institutes for Research shows that it continues to be difficult to directly compare student performance across state lines — one of the key problems that common standards and tests were meant to address.

“This is something I’m hoping will just help policymakers put in perspective what the states are claiming and what they’re doing,” Phillips said. “The states still are setting wildly different standards.”

States still define what is “proficient” differently.

The 50 states gave 50 different tests until last year. Although some were scored rigorously, others were not, making it difficult to compare how students in Alabama were faring compared with students in Arizona and Alaska.

In 2015, more than half the states administered one of two Common Core tests developed with multimillion-dollar grants from the Obama administration. The analysis shows that students in the 11 states (plus D.C.) that administered the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) exam faced a scoring regime that was significantly tougher than students in the 18 states that administered the Smarter Balanced exam.