Fordham’s PARCC v. MCAS Report Falls Short

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Guest post by Richard P. Phelps

The Fordham Institute has long been at work on a study of the relative quality of tests produced by the two Common Core-aligned and federally funded consortia (PARCC and SBAC), ACT (Aspire), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MCAS).  What Fordham has produced is only in the most superficial way an actual analysis – in fact, it reads more like propaganda and lacks the basic elements of objective research.

It takes only a little digging under the surface to reveal pervasive conflicts of interest, a one-sided sourcing of evidence, and a research design so slanted it cannot stand against any scrutiny. In developing their supposedly analytic comparisons of PARCC, SBAC, Aspire and MCAS, the authors do not employ standard test evaluation criteria, organizations, or reviewers. Instead, they employ criteria developed by the Common Core co-copyright holder, organizations paid handsomely in the past by Common Core’s funders, and predictable reviewers who have worked for them before. The authors also fill the report with the typical vocabulary and syntax of Common Core advertising – positive-sounding adjectives and adverbs are attached to everything Common Core, and negative-sounding adjectives and adverbs are attached to the alternatives.

No reader should take the report seriously; those who produced the report did not. Fordham Institute used to do serious work; in the area of assessments and standards, sadly, that is no longer the case.  

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