SBAC, PARCC Remain Options for Common Core Assessment Tests
Around the State
With the implementation of Common Core around the corner, the Florida Department of Education is working to see exactly which assessment test it will use to measure achievement of students.
Two tests in particular were mentioned at the most recent State Board of Education meeting as possible contenders for testing Florida’s students: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
But while the tests maintain some similarities, they differ in their methodologies. So what’s the real difference between SBAC and PARCC?
Technology plays a major role when it comes to the nitty-gritty of the two assessments. Both will have students tested with computers, but each differs in its “delivery,” or how the student takes the test on the computer.
PARCC has a “fixed delivery” test, which means that students will take one of several fixed, equated sets of items and tasks.
The SBAC test, on the other hand, uses “adaptive delivery” technology, which means that the test will adjust itself based on a student’s previous responses on the test. In doing so, the adaptive technology aims to more quickly identify students’ ability levels based on their responses to previous questions.
On top of the computer technology for the assessment tests, PARCC and SBAC differ in their offering of optional interim tests.
PARCC will offer four key components for grades 3 to 11: an initial diagnostic assessment test, a midyear diagnostic assessment test, a performance-based assessment in the last quarter of the school year, and a final, end-of-year summative test.
According to the test’s website, the assessments will “provide students and educators the ability to work with constructed response and machine scorable items for formative purposes.”
The midyear assessments aim to inform curriculum, instruction and professional development and will “focus on difficult-to-assess standards,” including writing effectively when analyzing texts in ELA/Literacy and applications/modeling and reasoning in mathematics.
By offering a midyear assessment, PARCC aims to predict each student’s likely performance at the end of the year.
SBAC has three main components for assessments, which are administered in Grades 3 to 8, and again in Grade 11. These include a computer-adaptive assessment which is administered during the last 12 weeks of the school year, midyear interim assessments and formative assessments which will help teachers “diagnose and respond to the needs of students” relative to the Common Core standards.
It’s unclear whether Florida will ultimately choose PARCC or SBAC as its assessment test. Florida already pulled out of the financial portion of the PARCC test in September, but the test still remains an option for the Sunshine State.
Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, however, expressed concerns that PARCC would be too costly to implement since no district in the state has every one of its schools at the minimum 2:1 student-to-device ratio called for in the PARCC administration plan.
Other states have also developed their own tests to measure student achievement under Common Core, but it’s unclear whether Florida will develop its own assessment test.
Applications for test options are due to the Florida Department of Education by Dec. 12.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.