On the Road to Assessing Deeper Learning: The Status of Smarter Balanced and PARCC Assessment Consortia
UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) is monitoring the extent to which the assessment development efforts of both the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are likely to produce tests that measure and support goals for deeper learning. This report summarizes CRESST findings thus far, describing the evidence-centered design framework guiding assessment development for both Smarter Balanced and PARCC, as well as each consortium’s plans for system development and validation. This report also provides an initial evaluation of the status of deeper learning represented in both consortia’s plans. Study results indicate that PARCC and Smarter Balanced summative assessments are likely to represent important goals for deeper learning, particularly those related to mastering and being able to apply core academic content and cognitive strategies related to complex thinking, communication, and problem solving. At the same time, the report points to the technical, fiscal, and political challenges that the consortia face in bringing their plans to fruition.