Assessment and the Common Core

In the video linked here, David Pearson, former dean of the Graduate School of Education at University California, Berkeley, moves viewers through the coming PARCC and SBAC assessments and the implications for instruction.

At minute 5:47, he begins an overview of American assessment history and is able to pinpoint when education began to teach and assess skills in isolation. Later at minute 6:29 we learn how commercial materials started the “quiet consolidation of skill based learning” and at 12:37, Pearson shares that one of the consequences of NCLB was that instruction began to look like the assessment. (Click on image for larger view.)

Skill Based InstructionThis groundwork in assessment history then leads to Pearson describing what he favors about SBAC and PARCC and why he thinks they are good tests. He finishes with these important conclusions:

“Students who have learned how to read and write in curriculum that requires constructed responses and real writing will perform well on PARRC and SBAC assessments. They will have developed some transferrable practices that will serve them well in these new circumstances.”  (23:40)


“Students still wallowing in a bits and pieces curriculum will not do well on PARCC and Smarter Balanced. There’s just no way I think it can happen.” (23:57)

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
This entry was posted in SBAC and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s