I've questioned the ideas behind PLCs for some time. Currently I've been mulling over the idea of common assessments. This year our school has a focus on common assessments and my team has been using them in math once a quarter. It's got me thinking about the purpose of these assessments.
Unless I am mistaken, common assessments are often used for assessing students. As surprising as it may sound, I don't think that's an appropriate use for them.
A lot can be learned from a common assessment, but it should not be used to judge the students. Assuming that every student in a grade level is ready for an assessment at the same time, or that they should all be assessed in exactly the same way, makes no sense. At least not if we really want to assess their understanding.
When we look at our common assessments we learn about misconceptions or language gaps our students have that we can address to help them understand the concept. We identify flaws in the assessment in order to improve it for the future. Sometimes we find that one teacher was really successful with a concept and should share his/her strategies.
But we don't learn much about what our students understand. There are infinitely better ways to do that than a common assessment.
It's possible I am completely misunderstanding the intention of common assessments or how they are frequently used.