Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An open invitation to all politicians to take Common Core test items.

Politicians! Educators everywhere invite you to try out the new PARCC computer-based sample test items. Illinois is a PARCC state, and students in all public schools will be required to take these tests starting in 14/15. Well, not ALL schools. Not all charter schools will be required to take the PARCC test, but that's another issue.

In fact, I would like to see every state and federal legislator, governor- anyone involved in shaping education policy- take these sample high school items. Those scores should also be published, of course.

Keep in mind: these are the types of items students in our public schools will be required to take, and the standards our schools will be measured against. I'm fine with the Common Core Standards themselves, but the use of these high stakes tests to rate and rank schools (and ultimately individual teachers) worries me. I also fear that these scores will inevitably be used as further evidence of the decline of public education, which is simply not true.


Don't get me wrong- they're really good questions, but they're also REALLY challenging, and if you're a parent, you should be aware that the total amount of mandated testing at the high school level in April and May will be around 10 hours. That's on average. Many students will take far longer to complete these tests. Sadly, others will take much less time because they're going to give up.

Politicians, before you make any education-related decisions, please try these questions for yourself. Before you use these scores to make broad statements about the effectiveness of our public schools and teachers, please know what you're talking about. 

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