Common Core Testing and Value Added
Many states and districts are implementing Common Core State Standards. In the 2014-2015 school year, most of these states will see new tests aligned to Common Core. These assessments, being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), will test students in math and reading according to the new standards.
Educators who work with value added may be asking how value added will account for the new tests. Value added uses at least two years of test data to determine student growth over a year. That means that test scores from 2014-2015 will need to be combined with test data from 2013-2014 to make the first value-added estimates with these new assessments. Researchers will have to consider several factors in calculating value added with Common Core assessments:
- How well does the old state test (used before the 2013-2014 school year) align with the new assessments? If there is overlap in the content of the old state assessment and the new Common Core assessment, then value added can be calculated. However, the quality of the value-added estimates will depend on how much overlap exists between the two different assessments.
- Do the new assessments measure the Common Core state standards? Value added, like other measures relying on student assessments, is only as good as the tests themselves. If the new assessments measure the Common Core state standards well, then value added can better estimate student growth during the academic year.
Educators are anticipating many changes with the new Common Core assessments. For educators who use value added (and other growth measures that will be based on the new assessments), the relationship of the new assessments to the old state assessments will determine whether or not value added is calculable for the transition year.