Common Core Standardized Testing

Politico: Ohio Critics Complain that Too Many Were Allowed to Pass Common Core Test

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Here is an interesting item from Politico.com:

OHIO FACING COMMON CORE CRITICISM: Critics say the Ohio State Board of Education is practicing some fuzzy math on the Common Core, having voted earlier this week to depart from general benchmarks on the PARCC exam. Students who are “nearing expectations” according to PARCC benchmarks will be given a promotion of sorts in Ohio, where they’ll be considered “proficient.” If Ohio stuck with PARCC’s benchmarks, about a third of students would be meeting standards, according to the early data, which includes only students who took the online tests. The board’s change roughly doubles the number of students meeting standards. “This discrepancy should give pause to parents, community leaders and policy makers who expect transparency in Ohio’s transition to higher standards and new tests,” Karen Nussle, executive director of the pro-Common Core group Collaborative for Student Success, wrote [http://bit.ly/1gvjPer] in a memo earlier this week. It “suggests that Ohio has set the proficiency bar too low and undermines the promise of ensuring kids are on track for college and career.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer has more on the change: http://bit.ly/1iSCOBq.

Now, if I understand the critics correctly, they truly wanted 2/3 of all students to fail. They are disappointed that the state board of education created a level called “nearing expectations” that raised the proportion of students who met standards.

The critics thought that Ohio had watered down the “rigorous” standards of the Common Core and PARCC. They want more kids to fail! No excuses!

Begin with the fact that no one knows whether the Common Core or the PARCC/SBAC tests measure “college and career readiness.” How could anyone know? No one has actually gone on to college or career after using these standards and tests.

Maybe the tests have set their passing mark so high that most kids will fail them every year. What will we do with the kids who never get promoted? And the kids who never graduate from high school? Will students be allowed to advance if they have not met the “proficient” level of PARCC? Proficient on PARCC is aligned with proficient on NAEP. In no state other than Massachusetts have 50% reached proficient. That’s over a 23-year time span, since NAEP started assessing the states in 1992. If the same pattern is reflected in the schools with PARCC and SBAC, only 1/3 of students will ever be promoted or graduate. Maybe it might rise to 40%.

Will this generation of students stay in the same grade in school until they drop out? New kids will keep coming into kindergarten. At some point, one of these deep thinkers should think through the logic of their demands. Why are they so insistent that 2/3 of students must fail? Have they ever looked at the research on how children are affected in their motivation to try when they fail and fail and fail?

Maybe the Common Core and the tests measure who will be ready for an elite Ivy League university. But what about the students who plan to go to a state university or a community college? How do the tests measure readiness to work as a nurse, a construction worker, a retail salesperson, a medical technician, or any of the other occupations that will create the most new jobs (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) in the next decade?

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