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Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests

In a move likely to cause political and academic stress in many states, a consortium that is designing assessments for the Common Core State Standards released data Monday projecting that more than half of students will fall short of the marks that connote grade-level skills on its tests of English/language arts and mathematics.

The establishment of cut scores, known in the measurement field as “standard-setting,” marks one of the biggest milestones in the four-year-long project to design tests for the common standards. It is also the most flammable, since a central tenet of the initiative has been to ratchet up academic expectations to ensure that students are ready for college or good jobs. States that adopted the common core have anticipated tougher tests, but the new cut scores convert that abstract concern into something more concrete.