QOD: N.J. Teacher of the Year Explains Why Our Kids Need Common Core-aligned PARCC Tests

Maryann Woods-Murphy, New Jersey's 2010 Teacher of the Year, explains how the National Network of State Teachers of the Year arrived at the consensus that our children are best served by Common Core-aligned testing like PARCC and Smarter Balanced:
In near unanimous agreement, our work concluded that consortia assessments—PARCC and Smarter Balanced—do a better job of measuring student understanding, based on what they need to know to become ready for college and careers, and that they better reflect what teachers are teaching to meet higher academic expectations.  
From a teacher's or parent's perspective, those findings are important on several levels. Unlike old bubble tests, consortia exams require students to demonstrate they understand their material. Gone are the days when a student could guess his or her way to a right answer. Now they must work through a progression of questions, which provides insight into the logic behind how they arrived at an answer... 
In my work with children, I witnessed students rise to the high expectations set forth by New Jersey's Common Core Standards. Equipped with the best assessments available, educators will help more students reach those goals. PARCC and Smarter Balanced may not be perfect, but they are an improvement over New Jersey's old tests, and they put us on the right trajectory to ensure more students develop the skills and knowledge to succeed in the educational careers. 

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