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View Diary: There Is Going To Be A Huge, Huge Drop In Test Scores This Year (101 comments)

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  •  There will NOT be a huge drop in test scores (7+ / 0-)

    this year. Despite the OMG headline, your child's test scores will not plunge to the bottom, so breathe easy.

    Those tests are not operational yet; all are in pilot mode, whether they originate from the Smarter Balanced or the PARCC Consortium. Any test results will not count against -- or for -- any students taking this test. Also, Glenn Beck notwithstanding, there are no iris scans embedded in the tests.

    That said, let's be honest. Our children and grandchildren will be competing in a global job market, so their education will have to keep up with the standards other countries set for their students. And you can be sure that students in many other countries have standards just as challenging -- and often more so -- than what you encounter in the Common Core State Standards.

    I was educated in Germany several decades ago. I never saw a multiple choice test in my entire life as student until I came to the US. All tests were open-ended, and we were expected to be able to explain mathematical concepts and grammatical rules with the same ease as we read the musical score of a Beethoven symphony. We had to learn two foreign languages thoroughly -- I had 8 years of English and 6 years of Latin -- and know as much about global history as we did our own. The fundamental goal of education was not to give us job skills; true education was considered to be so much more than that. It was to turn us into civilized, thinking and questioning  human beings. Job skills come and go; the ability to use your brain will stay with you forever.

    When I entered college in the US, I was afraid that not being a native speaker of English might be an obstacle, so I took the CLEP test (some of you might remember that)  to see what my deficiencies might be. That was my first experience with the American way of testing. It was ridiculously easy, and I tested out of 18 credit hours of required freshman courses with my scores.

    Will there be a steep learning curve after decades of coasting along? Yes. Will students -- and teachers -- be left behind? Yes. Will mistakes be made and good intentions go awry? Yes. But rather than running back to mediocrity and huddling in our comfort zone, we need to take up the challenge of becoming involved in the education of our nation's children. Our collective future will depend on it.

    If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

    by heiderose1 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:11:09 PM PDT

    •  Tell NY state about no drops in state scores (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, sayitaintso, qofdisks

      They went down 25 to 30 points. Going from one type of test to CC. Your German educational experience doesn't indicate a time where there was an earthshaking change in how tests are/were given there. This diary title TELLS about numbers changes in the United States, (ethnic diversity) that happen when massive changes are made, and how scores HAVE and WILL drop when the first year of CC testing is introduced.

      •  Then your beef is with NY OSA not Smarter Balanced (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood, NWTerriD

        which the diarist references. Some states are developing their own tests, others work with one of the consortia, and some are doing both.

        That test scores will drop once these standards are part of operational testing is to be expected. Therefore, this is the best opportunity we have in decades to work towards depoliticizing education and to make supporting our schools, teachers, and students a shared and noncontroversial national priority. See how Finland did it!

        No transition is ever easy; however, the Common Core State Standards are not a sudden surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. They have been in the works for many years, and their adoption is even more critical now than it was twenty years ago. The trends to robotize and outsource jobs that do not require much in terms of an education will only accelerate in the years to come; the jobs that cannot be done by machines or workers in other countries will be filled by cheap imported labor.

        The biggest problems in education are not tests but students and their parents handicapped by poverty and neglect, underfunded schools and poorly paid teachers, and the relentless push by selfish individuals and greedy corporations to privatize education for profit while taxpayers continue to absorb the cost.

        If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

        by heiderose1 on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 12:02:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some of us got a similar education in the States. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      I have to agree that open ended tests are superior. In the end writing skills are essential.

      But I found the jargon ridiculous. If you were taking a Latin test, would it contain newly invented words or phrases with no point of reference outside of the test paper?

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 04:26:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have taken the 6-8 ELA SBAC (4+ / 0-)

      What I find in these tests is that almost all being asked is being taught. What we don't do as teachers is to word the questions in a manner that demands the student thinks very critically before answering.

      I have been teaching for 45 years, and I can tell you that in that span, the rigor involved had been diminished drastically. We ask very little critical thinking of our students, we hardly challenge them with vocabulary, and don't demand close reading of texts.

      I am glad that these standards are back. And yes, for a few years the scores may be terrible. But to not look at the reality of how other countries are challenging their students, would be a mistake. It is not that our students CAN'T do this work; it is we do Not demand they do this work.

      As educators we must realize that asking students challenging questions, ones that make them think, is not a bad thing.

      Part of the problem is that many of our students have the attention span of a gnat. They want gratification easily and immediately. That is one lesson I am starting this year- demanding students read carefully and closely, annotating and asking questions as they proceed.

      Our students, for quite a time now, have not had to actually work at anything. Now they do. I, for one, think it is about time. What I expected from my students when I first began to teach is hardly what is expected of them now. Hopefully, the common core will bring expectations back again.

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