Virtual Institute: Assessments and the Common Core: An Overview


Download a collection of Freddy's responses to the presentations recorded at Institute 19 at the 2013 International Reading Association annual conference.

Institute 19: Assessments in the Era of the Common Core State Standards.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) mean that the assessments of many states will be replaced by those developed by two state-led consortia—PARCC and Smarter Balanced. The CCSS include some departures from previous state standards, such as an increased emphasis on evidence-based comprehension, addition of a standard devoted to students’ capacity with complex text, and a balance of narrative and informational texts. As well as new directions in content, the new assessments may represent a shift in the tasks from many previous state assessments. PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments are modeled after those of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The passages of the NAEP are more extended than texts of many state assessments. Further, the NAEP includes open-ended response questions, not simply multiple-choice questions.

Many educators have questions and apprehensions about the new assessments. In this Virtual Institute on Assessments and the Common Core, educators get to view the presentations of national experts who were involved in the design of the CCSS and others who have been involved in the design of assessments, including PARCC and Smarter Balanced.

These presentations were originally given as part of an institute at the International Reading Association in May, 2013. The National Council of Teachers of English generously paid for the presentations to be videotaped. I facilitated the Institute presentations and also have written summaries of the presentations to serve as overviews for viewing.

In viewing the presentations, participants are encouraged to follow the sequence of the Institute. Frequently, a speaker refers to comments made by previous speakers. Opportunities to interact with colleagues about ideas in the Virtual Institute presentations are strongly encouraged (breakout discussions were a feature of the original Institute).

These presentations are intended to support implementation of the CCSS in educational units and to prepare students for the new assessments. As these presentations indicate (as well as other resources on assessment at, educators don’t have to wait for the assessment results in 2016 to understand the content and tasks of the new assessments.

Click here for more information about Institute 19: Assessments in the Era of the Common Core State Standards.