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‘Big 8’ districts launch assessment tools for Common Core*

LA School Report | January 13, 2014

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coreThis story has been updated for clarification.

A group of some of the largest school districts in California is launching an online bank of student assessment tools to help teachers measure learning as the rollout of the new Common Core curriculum gains speed this year.

The 60 “performance modules,” covering multiple grades for both English language arts and math instruction, are free online. They were developed by teachers, then field-tested in a pilot program with 15,000 students last year. (Click here for an overview).

The “Big 8” districts*, which include over one million students from some of the biggest districts in the state including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Fresno Unified — made headlines last year for carving out a special waiver from the mandates of No Child Left Behind, a Bush-era federal law that has been harshly criticized for its over-reliance on testing.

Because of the waiver, the group, known as CORE (California Office of Reform Education), will have a significantly different accountability system than that of other districts in the state, including plans to use student outcomes in teacher evaluations.

Governor Jerry Brown was turned down for a waiver for the entire state a year ago, in part because he refused to use similar accountability measurements, which could result in federal penalties for not complying.

*In all, ten member districts participated in the designing the assessment tools, but two, Garden Grove Unified and Clovis Unified were not included in the waiver. A full list of the ten CORE districts is here.

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