States Form Common Assessment Partnership

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NEWS STATEMENT

CONTACT:

Sandy Boyd, (202) 419-1542, sboyd@achieve.org

WASHINGTON – January 19, 2010 – As a number of states submit round one “Race to the Top” applications to the U.S. Department of Education today, Achieve has, so far, brought together 27 states in a partnership committed to comparing assessment results against common standards across a maximum number of states. Working in partnership with other states to develop common assessments aligned to common standards is a key part of states’ efforts to compete in the federal “Race to the Top” grants program. A copy of the partnership’s “Statement of Principles,” as well as the initial list of participating states, is attached below.

Through this partnership, the states have committed to building on the common core standards efforts by pursuing shared assessments, anchored in college and career readiness, which can be used to measure more ambitious learning goals and compare performance across states. Achieve has long advocated the importance of college- and career-ready standards, curricula, and assessments, and has been a key partner in the development of the common core standards.

The partnership was formed at a moment when other assessment consortia are also emerging, prompted by incentives in the “Race to the Top” competition. The Achieve effort is not intended to be competitive or duplicative of these efforts. In fact, a number of states in the Achieve partnership are also part of other assessment consortia.

"States in the partnership have expressed a strong desire to explore areas of common ground and work toward a model that allows a maximum number of states to compare student performance on common college- and career-ready standards,” said Michael Cohen, President of Achieve. "We look forward to helping states in this important endeavor."

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Created in 1996 by the nation’s governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. Achieve is leading the effort to make college and career readiness a national priority so that the transition from high school graduation to postsecondary education and careers is seamless. To make college and career readiness a priority, in 2005 Achieve launched the American Diploma Project Network. Starting with 13 original states, the Network has now grown to include 35 states educating nearly 85 percent of all U.S. public school students. Through the ADP Network, governors, state education officials, postsecondary leaders and business executives work together to improve postsecondary preparation by aligning high school standards, assessments, graduation requirements and accountability systems with the demands of college and careers. For more information about the work of Achieve, visit www.achieve.org.

 

Comparing Student Performance on Common College- and Career-Ready Standards Statement of Principles

Our state is committed to an education system that prepares all of our students for success in college, careers, and life in the 21st century. We believe in setting high expectations for our students and schools that are firmly grounded in what it takes to be successful. We believe in setting common expectations across states, and are committed to working with like-minded states to adopt common standards and assessment systems anchored in college and career readiness.

Our state supports common assessments that meet the following principles:

  • Aligned to the common core standards
  • Anchored in college and career readiness
  • Allow for comparison of student results across a maximum number of states
  • Enable to the maximum extent possible benchmarking performance against NAEP and international standards
  • Cover grades 3 through 8 and high school, including college/career ready measures at the end of high school
  • Address three overarching goals: measuring student proficiency, ensuring accountability, and improving teaching and learning
  • Enable measurement of student achievement and growth
  • Are summative in nature but designed in a manner consistent with more comprehensive assessment systems that also include interim and formative assessments
  • Provide valid and reliable measures of student knowledge, understanding of, and ability to apply crucial concepts through the use of a variety of item types and formats
  • Leverage technology and economies of scale in order to minimize costs and create assessments that accurately measure student performance
  • Provide for timely release of results to better inform practice and support decision-making
  • Include the assessment of students identified with disabilities and English language learners and to the extent feasible, use universal design principles

We understand that Achieve will work with other national partners to build on the work of the common core standards and convene states to pursue a common assessment strategy that meets these principles. We are prepared to work with Achieve and its partners in as large a consortium of states as possible to explore the development and implementation of summative assessments that are aligned to the common core standards, that can be used within states as part of statewide assessment systems, and that will enable comparability of results across states. We understand that in pursuing this effort, Achieve and its partners will work closely with other consortia that have been formed to explore areas of common ground and determine whether and how efforts could be combined to achieve comparability of results.

States Committed to Partnership: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin