With one set of academic standards now serving as the educational guideposts in nearly every state, questions are hovering about what the tests for those standards will look like. But gradually, details are emerging that show plans that could fundamentally change the U.S. testing landscape.
Documents issued by the two groups of states that are designing the tests show that they seek to harness the power of computers in new ways and assess skills that multiple-choice tests cannot. Those plans are very fluid, however, since several years of design, dialogue, revision, piloting, and reworking lie ahead before the assessments are ready in 2014-15. But early documents offer glimpses of the groups' thinking.