How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing?
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How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing?
Common Core Alignment with State ELA Exam
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How Common Core will change testing in schools

How Common Core will change testing in schools | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

"As Jim Crawford has stated, 'With standards come tests; with more standards, more tests'"(letter submitted to the New York Times, July 17, 2012), Stephen Kreshen writes in this article, "How Common Core Will Change Testing in Schools." Kreshen is a professor at the University of Southern California and explains the effect the Common Core Standards will have on standardized testing. 


Kreshen elaborates on "more standards, more tests." As standards for all subjects are being formed, so are assessments of each. "Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in his 2010 presentation 'Beyond the Bubble Tests' states that 'the study of science, history, foreign languages, civics and the arts' should be considered part of the 'vital core' and deserve to be assessed." Duncan's statement, although somewhat valiant for putting importance into subjects that are often cut from budgets, seems unrealistic. Since the standardized tests have perfomance tasks, which can take students several days to complete, how long will testing all of these subjects take? One month? Educators already struggle with time constraints, but there is no simple solution to this issue. PARCC is also creating benchmark assessments for grades 3-12. More testing, less teaching. 


With government funded "Race to the Top" and their support in "value-added," schools almost have no choice but to continue testing, with a possible side effect of "teaching to the test" to raise scores and funds. Kreshen reports that there may be "pre-tests" each school year, but Diane Ravitch is quoted in the text discussing how low-income students do not read over the summer due to lack of resources, which is an unfair and unreliable measure of students' abilities. In the "Summary" section, Kreshen states several things that educators can suspect: more subjects being tested, "P-20" assessments, and testing for students before grade 3. This article provided a very straightforward report of Common Core and what that means for testing. 

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No Need to Fear the Common Core Standards – SchoolBook

No Need to Fear the Common Core Standards – SchoolBook | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

The author of this article, Sana Nasser, is the principal of Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. She weighs in on Common Core Standards and testing. The most important quote I discovered in this article is, "The truth is that when we teach for true understanding, our students will not only be prepared for any examination, but they will retain information far beyond June." This is exactly my belief about education and standards. I do believe that it is stressful to have standardized tests and standards looming over a teacher everyday, but our goal as teachers is to prepare students for much more than a test.

 

The article, although brief, is certainly for one side of the standards and testing debate. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion, no. I believe Nasser has trust and confidence in her school and teachers to do the best they can to transfer lifelong knowledge onto their students. To me, this is something I hope my future principal believes, while also remaining realistic with regard to time constraints and student needs.  

 

If teachers teach students important stategies and provide them many different opportunities for exploration and participation, students should be able to transfer those skills to any test. Personally, I am not the best test-taker, but I know this and use strategies to help myself on tests. I am also still able to apply knowledge from previous courses on the test. 

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5 Reasons Why the Common Core Standards are not Good for Teaching and Learning | The Art of Teaching Science

5 Reasons Why the Common Core Standards are not Good for Teaching and Learning | The Art of Teaching Science | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

Jack Hassard, a professor at Georgia State University, is extremely against Common Core Standards. I do not fully agree with everything he discusses, but I do believe he makes some valid points. His argument begins with: "A very small group of people in the education community are involved in this process. To assume that one set of standards in mathematics and English/language arts will be appropriate to every school, each community, and every student seems very undemocratic." These words really made me think about who creates the standards. What is their background? Are they businesspeople or educators? If the state were not responsible for adopting the standards, who would get to decide? It's unfortunate that not every child in the United States will receive the same quality of education, but this is a known fact. How can one set of standards fit us all?

 

Hassard lists five reasons why the standards should not be used across the country: Standards are like brick walls, the social-emotional consequences, dehumanization of students and teachers, no evidence that the standards will help students learn, and injustice. Under the "dehumanization" section Hassard makes a "Hunger Games" analogy then states, "we are testing the life out of our children and youth." During his last section of "injustice," he discusses how unfair it is to label schools as "failing." Obviously, there are going to be schools who need help, but that title is too negative. I believe labeling also connects with the social-emotional consequences and dehumanization of schools and teachers . 

 

It is too late for us to turn away from the Common Core, but as an educator, I can have these concerns in the back of my mind when I discuss testing and standards with my students. I think it is very important to share this type of information with one's classes. 

 


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New Standardized Tests Behind Schedule: Survey

New Standardized Tests Behind Schedule: Survey | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it
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Common Core standards drive wedge in education circles

Common Core standards drive wedge in education circles | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

This article first discusses the opposing sides of Common Core Standards. Some saying Obama made the standards "all but voluntary" because of certain grants and funding that are available through them. Many teachers are supportive of the standards because they "'offer students the ability to think and persuade and communicate' rather than just fill in blanks on standardized tests." David Coleman, on of the creators of Common Core, says that these standards will insist that teachers are using rich lessons, instead of NCLB's push on raising test scores. 

 

That last statement is the reason I included this article. Teachers are now supposed to put critical thinking and analysis into their lessons. Even with NCLB's guidelines, I thought this was already apparent. However, because the standards really push college and career readiness, critical thinking, and analysis, hopefully teachers are truly implementing them into their lessons. The standards also require students and teachers to think deeply about each subject, instead of covering something for the sake of covering it. 

 

With the push for schools to incorporate literacy into all classrooms, the Common Core Standards seem to be a good place to start. Because of this, students will then be using different and useful strategies from one class to the next, which will inherently help them on their standardized tests. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bankstreet - Martha Foote

Martha Foote is a founding member of "Time Out for Testing" and provided this commentary on Laura Kates' study: "Toward Meaningful Assessment: Lessons from Five First-Grade Classrooms." As Foote's group name suggests, she is opposed to testing. It seems each time I read a differing argument on the topic, I am more confused than I was before. This commentary by Foote really made me think about my true beliefs about education. 

 

Foote first begins her discussion by giving information about PARCC and their assessment techniques and goals. Along with her hesistations about standards Foote states, "As professionals, teachers need to have the opportunity and support to develop curriculum and assessments that work for them and their students." With nationalized standards and tests, educators no longer have the ablility to differentiate or gear lessons toward their students' needs. Foote also states that the PARCC assessment will also measure school and teacher effectiveness. "If they are, indeed, used to judge teachers, principals and schools, then a host of problems can be predicted as pressure will undoubtedly escalate to raise scores in attempts to save jobs and reputations." With an uncertain future and not enough knowledge about the new standardized tests, schools and teachers may become less effective. 

 

 "...teaching and learning are not simple linear mechanisms. They are complex activities that involve myriad variables, including student backgrounds, school resources, and teacher experience. Therefore, just because an assessment demands deeper learning, it does not mean that deeper learning will suddenly permeate a classroom." This statement was the most important in the article. Teachers are taught in their education that every student learns differently and at a different rate, and here we are giving a "one-size-fits-all" test and standards. The same is true for students' backgrounds, which is perhaps why some states have not adopted the standards. As for her last point concerning deeper thinking and learning, this is a scary thought. With mandates such as NCLB, teachers have been under a tremendous amount of pressure and guidelines which may not have left time open for deep learning. The same is true now of the Common Core. Although the PARCC tests claim to assess deep thinking, do teachers even have time to prepare their students for that type of thinking? 

 

 

 

 

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Anxious teachers, sobbing children  | ajc.com

Anxious teachers, sobbing children  | ajc.com | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

Stephanie Jones, an associate professor at the Univeristy of Georigia, weighs in on the mental and emotional consequences of high-stakes testing. Because my topic is about Common Core Standards and their affect on testing, I thought this article was an appropirate choice to go beyond the basic stresses of new mandates and guidelines and truly see the human reactions to these stressful situations. 

 

I've heard many times that there aren't enough "good" or "effective" teachers in our country. Although there will always be a need for improvement, I think this is far too negative of an outlook. Teachers work very hard to prepare their students for the future, and of course, they want them to do well on standardized tests. These teachers are also probably reminding students that testing doesn't mean everything for their educational careers. How can we keep this up when we are constantly given new stresses and expectations? Having your career on the line based on your students' test scores seems hardly fair. I believe teachers are torn between their true passion for teaching and expanding students' minds and meeting standards and AYP. "The choices are soul-crushing: 1) Slow down, teach creatively and get students excited about a topic, but fall behind the pacing guide and receive a poor evaluation and possible humiliation and job loss; or 2) Move on with the pacing guide and ignore students’ pleas for help or their yearning to learn more, and evaluations might be fine, but students suffer," Jonse states about the dilemma teachers face everyday. 

 

Teachers are not the only ones suffering from testing stakes. Students of all ages also have a tremendous amount of pressure on them. Jones discusses many sobbing children she has seen and, "When children hold it together at school, they often fall apart at home. Yelling, slamming doors, wetting the bed, having bad dreams, begging parents not to send them back to school." These actions by children, which cannot be blamed on them, often transfer to the parents and now the parents are stressed! 

 

Jones mostly argues a "one-size-fits-all" curriculum and standards. Common Core Standards and PARCC/SBAC assessments? What choice do educators have? The government believes they are making wise decisions, but they don't have any education background besides being students themselves. The roles of educators are becoming more difficult each day. There is more need for balance than ever before, with much more on the line than ever before. 

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Emerging America · Emerging America Blog: A voice for quality history education

Emerging America · Emerging America Blog: A voice for quality history education | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

This website is a great resource for all teachers. There are wonderful materials on the website compiled by teachers in Massachusettes.  I am focusing on the Blog portion of the site, which mostly deals with Social Studies discussions, but I find it important to my inquiry. 

 

The most recent blog, "NY Common Core Sample Test Questions for ELA Lacking" is troublesome to teachers. Rich Cairn, the author of the blog, points out many ambiguities and errors in the test questions. I find this important to discuss because students are already held to new and different standards which are tested on state assessments and now even the sample questions have errors. Many people are already skeptical about standardized test scores and these examples do not make one feel any better about them. 

 

"Teachers and students must become comfortable engaging minds, modeling and practicing skills of analysis and organization, asking penetrating questions, drafting, reviewing, and revising real-world work." This quote comes from another blog on the site by Cairn, "Performance Assessment: Definition and Free Assessment." He discusses PARCC and SBAC, the two developers for standards-aligned tests. 

 

The drawbacks to standardized tests are very real, but what would we do without them? A push for performance assessments may be a step in the right direction, but when there are mistakes in the tests, what affect does that have on our students? 

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A review of the PARCC ELA content frameworks

A review of the PARCC ELA content frameworks | How Do the Common Core Standards Affect Testing? | Scoop.it

This article, written in September 2011 by Kathleen Porter-Magee, reviews the two different agencies responsible for creating Common Core-aligned ELA exams. SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released frameworks for both of their assessments. Porter-Magee critiques PARCC and shares interesting insights.

 

PARCC's release was "to inform curriculum planning." Because of this, many people are worried PARCC is stepping too far over its boundaries by creating a curriculum, rather than really giving any information about their test. However, Porter-Magee insists that PARCC is not overstepping, but instead offering assistance for "curriculum planning," not an actual set curriculum. This resource also provides "five priority areas: 1) close reading, 2) writing about texts, 3) research, 4) narrative writing, and 5) reading and writing." Teachers can use this information, although very broad, to guide their teaching along with the Common Core to prepare students for this assessment. 

 

I think this review of one type of standard-aligned test is important to think about when planning lessons and units. Teachers should be critical consumers with educational information and products. Realizing positives and negatives of certain tests is invaluable. Some people probably do not know where the state tests come from in the first place, so this is a great starting point for research about Common Core and testing. 

 


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