Principles for CCSS-Aligned Quality Assessments

 The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has released a set of principles to help in the creation of Common Core-aligned tests. Chris Minnich, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers, writes, the principles “help states hold themselves and their assessments accountable for high quality.”

A review of the principles reveals a tight alignment between what is emphasized with the instructional shifts and what is being expected of SBAC and PARCC. The principles include:

  1. ASSESSING STUDENT READING AND WRITING ACHIEVEMENT IN BOTH ELA AND LITERACY:  The assessments are English language arts and literary tests that are based on an aligned balance between literacy and informational texts.
  2. FOCUSING ON COMPLEXITY OF TEXTS: The assessments require appropriate levels of text complexity; they raise the bar for text complexity each year so students are ready for the demands of college‐ and career level reading no later than the end of high school. Multiple forms of text are assessed, including written, audio, visual, and graphic as technology permits.
  3. REQUIRING STUDENTS TO READ CLOSELY AND USE EVIDENCE FROM TEXT:  The assessments consist of reading  and  writing test  questions, tasks,  and/or  prompts,  as appropriate, that demand that students read carefully and deeply and use specific evidence from increasingly complex texts to obtain and defend correct responses.

The remaining principles and introductory front matter can be found here. The CCSSO were instrumental in moving the Common Core from an initiative to a set of college and career ready standards.

About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at
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