Thank you to A.P. Dillon for pointing me to this article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail about West Virginia’s ongoing review of the Common Core State Standards. You may remember that any meaningful repeal bill was sacked by these folks and so they are left with a review that will probably be meaningless.
Part of the issue with changing the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, is that West Virginia’s current Smarter Balanced standardized summative assessments for math and English are based off the standards. Burch said that any time standards are changed, there’s a risk of putting those learning requirements out of alignment with tests.
“That’s going to be the next big question: If the new standards are adopted, is the current assessment aligned?” he said.
The statewide summative exams, those that test students’ knowledge around the end of the school year, don’t count toward students’ grades or hold them back from graduation. However, 11th-graders who score “proficient” on them — something only about a fifth of juniors managed statewide in math last school year, and only about half managed in English — can stay out of remedial courses in college. Students also can prove they don’t need remedial courses through other tests, like the ACT.
The exams, which allow West Virginia to compare itself with other states taking Smarter Balanced tests, also are supposed to be used eventually to assign schools and counties A-F grades and become part of evaluations for math and English teachers. However, the state school board has delayed both of those efforts, and it’s unclear what the federal government will require states to do for teacher evaluations, if Congress passes an update to No Child Left Behind, the central federal law that regulates K-12 education.
Until they rid themselves of Smarter Balanced and the Feds quit interfering in the state’s education affairs it is hard to see any meaningful change taking place.