What is common core?
Common core is the latest education reform for students enrolled in grades K-12. States are free to choose whether to implement it. So far, most states have adopted common core with California (CA) being among them. Common core aims to create common national academic standards and prepare students for the global economy.
Opponents of common core are concerned about the costs of implementation. Common core is entirely computer-based which means replacing paper-based evaluations with new computer equipment, materials, and staff training. The computer-based tests will also replace staff who were previously employed to administer the old paper exams. Another downside is "double testing" which means some states, including CA, will keep the old tests and begin to experiment with the new core exams simultaneously. Also, accessibility features may not be ready for computers using Google's 2009 chrome operating system.
California's Accommodations for Special Education Students
The special education community is also concerned that accommodations for students with disabilities will not be ready in time for California's official launch in 2014-2015. CA enlisted the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to build accommodations for students with disabilities, but some of these accommodations are not yet ready. As of November 18, 2013, tools not yet developed include1:
•· Notepad tool for students
•· Word-prediction software (bank of frequently or recently used words)
•· General masking to eliminate onscreen distractions
The controversy over common core has caused some states like Florida to drop it all together. Other states like Massachusetts give schools the option between administering old tests and common core exams.
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1 Hack, Ryan. "PARCC Online Assessment Field Test Encounters Accommodation Setback." Wowzers. Wowzers.com, 18, Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://blog.wowzers.com/parcc-online-assessment-field-test-encounters-accommodation-setback>.