Blog home

Common Core vs. Traditional State Tests

Common Core vs. Traditional State Tests

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 6th, 2015

Many parents wonder about Common Core vs. traditional state tests. After all, until just a few years ago each state had its own exam that it administered, and if you moved from state to state you could expect your child to take a completely new test once settled in your new home.

These days, with the Common Core state standards rolling out across the country, the perception is that there is one uniform test given to kids in all 50 states. And indeed that’s the idea of the Common Core. But when comparing Common Core vs. traditional tests, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, the “Common Core” doesn’t actually create one test that’s administered in all 50 states. While the exams are somewhat more standardized, there are still a number of different tests administered across the country.

To start, there are three different types of Common Core consortia: the PARCC, the SBAC or Smarter Balanced, and the AIR. Additionally, a number of states including Texas and Virginia have their own state-specific tests (the STAAR and the SOL, respectively). So in reality, the “Common Core” actually encompasses over 10 different tests. So much for Common Core vs. traditional tests being different!

Of course, in actuality, the Common Core does impose some standards that weren’t in place before. When comparing the Common Core vs. traditional tests, it’s important to keep in mind that the Common Core’s predecessor was No Child Left Behind, which sought to impose consistent standards across different states but didn’t seek to have a uniform test. Before that, state testing was equivalent to “the wild west” – different standards for different states!

The Common Core is still new and subject to changes as it develops. The next time you look to find the difference between Common Core vs. traditional tests, we may be looking at a whole different ballgame!

Share this article

Tell us about your experiences

Need help? - Contact Support