Like it or not, the Common Core and the associated Smarter Balanced testing are on their way. As the Statesman Journal wrote last week, the Smarter Balanced test will cost Oregon about $4.5 million more than the old Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
As the story says:
Students are expected to master more critical thinking and problem solving skills under the new standards. They have to demonstrate that they understand concepts rather than just memorizing math equations, write opinion pieces at a younger age and more.
Changing student learning goals meant that states, including Oregon, needed a new test that would measure whether students were grasping these new standards.
"We believed very strongly that we wanted an assessment that had more student construction and writing and that those elements would require human scoring and would mean an assessment that was more expensive," said Crystal Greene, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Education.
In Portland, the school board has decided not to submit "acheivement compacts" connected to Smarter Balanced tests, meaning that Portland schools won't use the test scores to measure student achievement level.
Here in Eugene School District 4J, the district has set up a series of information nights for parents who have questions about the Common Core. Tonight is the fourth and last session.
According to 4J's website:
Things are changing in your student’s classroom, in homework, and in assessments of his or her learning. Oregon and more than 40 other states across the country have developed and adopted shared academic expectations, called the Common Core State Standards. They are clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level in math and English language arts in order to be ready to graduate with an Oregon diploma, ready for college, careers and life. It’s all to help students develop the knowledge and higher-level thinking skills they need for their future success.
Tonight's session is 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the cafeteria of Sheldon High School, 2455 Willakenzie Rd. 4J's website says that the sessions will start with an informative talk and then parents will break into groups.