Monday, April 30, 2012

Common Core & SBAC

The new Common Core Standards have begun to take the stage and will become the focus of administrators and educators everywhere. While some may see Common Core as just more standards replacing old ones, others will see it as an opportunity to transform the way we teach and learn. There are many layers to the Common Core, professional development and time for teachers to implement these and to re-align their curriculum and lessons to these new standards is paramount. An integral piece to the Common Core which makes my heart flutter is the embedded technology and the potential for shifting to 21st century learning. As Common Core planners begin the process for developing PD training, I hope they have Technology Integration Specialist on those teams who can help guide the process of transformation.
While I see the CC as an opportunity to transform our schools to 21st century learning environments, I'm not blind to the fact that it also continues the traditional testing of student knowledge and understanding. Hand-in-hand with Common Core is SBAC, Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium. Where starting in 2014-15, students will be taking the new state standard tests on computers. This raises many questions, from the hardware and infrastructure required for the computer adaptive testing (CAT) to the deep level of thinking and knowledge that it will ask of our students. The easy problems to address will be the hardware. Here is a link to SBAC's page on Technology. One question I've seen is about using tablets or iPads for the CATesting. According to the SBAC website, they will conform to the specs but may require attached keyboards, not virtual keyboards.