It’s a tough time to be a state or district testing director: your budget has been cut, you’re supposed to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and you’re trying to get your state ready for new online assessments from PARCC or SBAC but they won’t be out for three years.  What do you do in the mean time?Ellen Haley said “CTB McGraw-Hill has a three prong strategy to help states make the transition to online assessments aligned with the Common Core.” Haley is President and a 20 year veteran of CTB.

Last month CTB launched CoreLink, a big Common Core-aligned item bank that state and district testing directors can use to build a bridge from existing state standards to the CCSS. CoreLink Services include a variety of item formats including selected-response, constructed-response, technology-enhanced, extended constructed-response and performance tasks.  CTB also provides professional development and consulting services to support states in making the shift.

CTB has also made some changes to their existing products to align with CCSS.  The bar was raised on Terranova, the the widely used standardized assessment, to reflect the new expectations of the Common Core in grades 3-8.  The revision creates an opportunity for schools and districts to gain early insight in the transition to CCSS.

On the formative front Acuity helps teachers diagnose, predict, and report individual learning levels.  Acuity is available for English and math in grades 3-8 and for high school and is now Common Core-aligned.  Acuity now has report toggles and filters that allow administrators to view results against existing state standards as well as the Common Core.

For the last five years Acuity has been used in Arizona’s largest district, Mesa Public Schools. “With Acuity, principals and teachers now have the data they need to start meaningful discussions about what they’re teaching, how students are learning, and what the next step is to improve achievement,” said Joe O’Reilly, executive director of student achievement support for MPS.

Common Core expectations that are different and higher.  Lower proficiency rates will be a big shock for some.  CTB has quickly developed innovative products and services that are helping states and districts make the transition.

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