Monday, September 23, 2013

A Sociological Eye on Education | It’s ‘Opposite Day’ among ed policymakers in Albany

A Sociological Eye on Education | It’s ‘Opposite Day’ among ed policymakers in Albany:

It’s ‘Opposite Day’ among ed policymakers in Albany

Black is white. Day is night. Common Core-aligned tests are just like other standardized tests.
Wait, what? Haven’t we been told that Common Core-aligned tests are a completely different species? That’s been the message across the country, and particularly in the state of New York, which administered Common Core-aligned tests of English Language Arts and mathematics to students in grades 3-8 for the first time this past April. New York’s policymakers-in-chief—John King, Shael Polakow-Suransky, Merryl Tisch and Dennis Walcott—took to the pages of the New York Daily News five months ago to prime parents about the shift. The Common Core standards, they wrote, are much better markers of readiness for college and a dog-eat-dog workforce because they call for heightened critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The new tests aligned to these standards, they claimed, tap new and different competencies than the old generation of tests, which “assessed only basic skills.”
The new tests thus “raised the bar”—a metaphorical phrase that should be banned from every policymaker’s vocabulary, unless it refers to pole-vaulting or rooftop cocktail parties. But New York already raised the bar in 2010, increasing the level of performance required on the old tests to be classified as proficient at grade-level in English Language Arts and mathematics in grades 3-8. The Common Core-aligned tests did more than this—they raised the bar by introducing new dimensions of student performance not previously represented on the old generation of tests.
Predictably, students across the state fared poorly on the new Common Core-aligned tests, as many teachers lacked access to a curriculum designed to assist students in mastering the Common Core