Common Core State Standards & Assessments

Early Results from Common Core Tests Show Academic Gains

Some states have begun to report the results of their Common Core-aligned state standardized tests from the 2014–2015 school year, and so far, most are showing increases in student achievement.

States that have reported results so far include Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia. Of those, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia were part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, while Arizona, Missouri and New York used their own state-administered assessments (AzMERIT, MAP and EngageNY). Results from Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are not yet available.

Arizona

For the first time, Arizona students in third through eleventh grade took the AzMERIT test, and the state released preliminary results this month. As many educators expected because of the test's increased rigor, the results show that most students aren't proficient in math or reading. The state will release final results in October.

Idaho

Idaho students in grades three through eight and grade 10 took the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) by Smarter Balanced. While the state will release its final results in October, preliminary results released in July show that students outperformed the projections set by Smarter Balanced. In English, fourth-grade students had the lowest average scores, with 46 percent of students scoring as proficient or above; and 10th-grade students had the highest average scores, with 61 percent of students scoring as proficient or above. In math, 10th-grade students had the lowest average scores, with only 30 percent of students scoring as proficient or above. Third graders had the highest average scores, with 50 percent of students scoring as proficient or above.

Missouri

Missouri students in grades three through eight took the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests after taking the Smarter Balanced field tests the year before. On average, students performed better on this year's MAP tests, which included SBAC items, than they did on the Smarter Balanced field tests last year. According to preliminary results, about 59.7 percent of students passed the English language arts MAP test, but just over 45 percent passed the math test.

New York

New York students in grades three through eight took the EngageNY tests in English language arts and math for the third year in a row, and preliminary results show that they made slight gains this year.

Oregon

In Oregon, third- through eighth-graders and eleventh-graders took the Smarter Balanced tests this year, and preliminary results show they performed "better than anticipated," according to a statement from the Oregon Department of Education. Students are scored on a four-point scale, and those with a score of 3 or 4 are considered on track to graduate from high school prepared for college and career. In English language arts, third-graders had the lowest average scores, with 47 percent of students scoring 3 or 4; and 11th-graders had the highest average scores, with 69 percent of students scoring 3 or 4. In math, 11th-graders had the lowest average scores, with 31 percent of students scoring 3 or 4; and third-graders had the highest average scores, with 47 percent of students scoring 3 or 4. The state expects these scores to drop as final results come in.

Washington

Students in Washington generally scored better on this year's Smarter Balanced assessments than they did on last year's field tests. In English language arts, third-graders had the lowest average scores, with 53 percent meeting standards; and 10th- and 11th-graders had the highest average scores, with 62 percent meeting standards. In math, 11th-graders had the lowest average scores, with only 29 percent meeting standards; and third-graders had the highest average scores, with 57 percent meeting standards.

West Virginia

Students in West Virginia exceeded national projections in English language arts, but not in math, except in third grade, where students exceeded projections in both tests. Students in grades three through eleven took the Smarter Balanced tests this year. In English language arts, ninth-graders had the lowest average scores, with 38 percent scoring as proficient; and fifth-graders had the highest average scores, with 51 percent scoring as proficient. In math, 10th-graders had the lowest average scores, with only 15 percent scoring as proficient; and third-graders had the highest average scores, with 44 percent scoring as proficient.

Chad Colby, director of Strategic Communications and Outreach for the education reform organization, Achieve, said he expects to see similar results when the final scores are released later this year.

Karen Nussle, executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success, is similarly optimistic. “As we’ve seen in states like Washington, Oregon, Missouri, West Virginia and now New York, when states raise the bar, students are prepared to meet the academic challenge — and have shown that they are on track to becoming better prepared academically for life after high school,” she told Politico.com.

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