Coming Together to Raise Achievement

In 2010 and 2011, the US Department of Education awarded five grants to consortia of states to support the development of new assessment systems.  The two comprehensive assessment consortia are well-known—Smarter Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)—but the other three (two alternate assessment consortia and one for English proficiency) are less known.

To make the connections between the consortia and illustrate how they are working together to improve assessment under the Common Core, ETS’ Center for K-12 Assessment & Performance Management (K-12 Center) has updated and expanded their guide to the Five Assessment Consortia in Coming Together to Raise Achievement: New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards.

The Guide begins with short articles offering guidance on current work to implement the Common Core and to prepare for the transition to the aligned common assessments.  This is followed by updated descriptions of the five assessment development initiatives underway by the individual Consortia (currently in their second year of work).  In fact, the new summaries of Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC), and Assessment Services Supporting English learners through Technology Systems (ASSETS) Consortia are the “first complete profiles of the breadth of assessment development work underway across the country.”

Finally, the guide focuses on a set of “significant forces” emerging in K-12 education that are affecting the work of the Consortia.  There is discussion of what Tom Friedman calls “inflection points” in his book The World is Flat, where large numbers of people access each other’s ideas to collaborate.  The advances in open-source platforms, coupled with the Common Core and the common assessments being developed by the Consortia, “are presenting…an opportunity for an inflection point in American public education,” writes Pascal Forgione Jr., Executive Director of the K-12 Center.

To read the full report, please visit


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