A number of new state tests have come on line in the past four years as a result of adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Several being used in more than one state include the ACT Aspire tests, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests. Other states have adopted their own, unique Common Core tests such as Kentucky’s KPREP tests.
A key concern about all of these new tests is whether or not they provide useful information about real readiness for college and/or careers. Today, we’ll take a quick look at several of those new tests. One is the ACT Aspire where we examine results from Alabama. The other is Kentucky’s “home grown” KPREP. We use the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as the linking measurement for this analysis after presenting interesting evidence that the NAEP seems useful for this approach.
Key takeaways from this blog include:
• Grade 8 NAEP results from 2015 for Kentucky agree surprisingly well with the state’s ACT EXPLORE test scores. EXPLORE is a well-established college readiness test leveled for Grade 8 use. As in past years, Kentucky’s 2015 NAEP proficiency rates correlated rather closely to the state’s EXPLORE college readiness benchmark scores. This provides some evidence that the 2015 NAEP is useful to examine new Common Core aligned tests because Common Core supposedly is all about college and career readiness.
• In 2015 both the Kentucky-unique Common Core aligned KPREP tests and the Alabama results from the multi-state Common Core aligned Aspire tests show considerably higher proficiency rates than the NAEP reports. Given the close correlation of NAEP to Kentucky’s EXPLORE results and the much worse correlation of NAEP to both KPREP and Aspire, it appears both of these new Common Core aligned tests could be providing inflated indications of educational performance.