Since his company published my favorite math software package (Geometer’s Sketchpad) I have a lot of respect for Steve Rasmussen, though we’ve never met and I once worked for a competitor (Géometrix, originally a French geometry program).
Steve has many of the same concerns I have about the sample Common Core test items that we’ve been looking at. You can read his entire report here.
Here is a list of what he saw as flaws:
Flaws in the Smarter Balanced Test Items
What happened? Despite elaborate evidence-centered design frameworks30 touted by Smarter Balanced as our assurance that their tests would measure up, the implementation of the tests is egregiously flawed. I wish I could say the flaws in the Smarter Balanced tests are isolated. Unfortunately, they are not. While the shortcomings are omnipresent and varied, they fall into categories, all illustrated multiple times by the examples in this critique:
- Poorly worded and ambiguous mathematical language and non-mathematical instructions;
- Incorrect and unconventional mathematical graphical representations;
- Inconsistent mathematical representations and user interfaces from problem to problem;
- Shoddy and illogical user interface design, especially with respect to the dynamic aspects of the mathematical representations;
- Consistent violations and lack of attention to the Common Core State Standards; and
- Failure to take advantage of available technologies in problem design.