Connecticut isn't alone in wanting to toss out the consortium test for a college-admissions exam. As my colleague Alyson Klein reported, New Hampshire is also aiming to switch from Smarter Balanced to the SAT. And Arkansas is dumping the high school PARCC exam in favor of the ACT.
One weird little hitch in the giddyup, though, is that these states—and others that win federal permission to switch tests—will have to prove to the feds that the test is of high quality. This has long been a routine part of states' assessment burden, since federal law requires them to show, through the peer-review process, that they have rigorous standards and high-quality tests that reflect those standards.
But as we've reported, and Alyson noted in her post, peer-review has been in limbo since the department suspended it in December 2012. We keep hearing that final drafts of peer-review criteria are finally being finalized [ahem], but nothing is out yet. That leaves a question mark over how states will demonstrate quality without a set of criteria to judge them against, or panels of experts to judge them.
Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Arkansas are just a few of the states that have moved, or are moving, toward using college-admissions tests for high school accountability. According to the ACT, 11 states use that college-entrance exam for federal accountability purposes. For an exploration of some of the issues involved in that choice, see this story by my colleague Caralee Adams.
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