Reading & Reacting: Common Core Tests are Not Good for Children or Other Living Things

By Anthony Cody @ EdWeek’s Living in Dialogue blog

In a follow-up to his piece about test-based accountability being a scam, Anthony Cody digs even deeper into some of the forces that are at play in some of the edreformy efforts at dismantling public education. Here he builds off some other responses to the New York Testing Fiasco, probing a handful of flawed notions further and itemizing a list of falsehoods.

Exposing one primary flaw in the process is the ignorance exhibited in establishing the cut score, ultimately determining which students made the grade and which did not. This is something that has triggered a lot of response, but Cody harnesses and articulates with great clarity.

The bottom line is that the key tool being used to determine the cut score is the SAT, and this test is much more like an IQ test than a criterion referenced test. Which means that coaching does not matter much. TEACHING does not matter so much. Student scores on this test will ALWAYS take the shape of a bell curve, and we have, in essence, placed the cut score for the Common Core test on the right side of that curve, condemning the bottom two thirds of our students as “not college ready.”

Moreover, Cody links to another excellent blogpost that details the perils of trying to use a norm-referenced test as a benchmark for a criterion referenced test, which are essentially incompatible assessment types.

What is most interesting is the conclusion that Cody draws from listing the slew of myths that are being packaged and sold by like-minded accountability demanding edreformers and policymakers alike.

As wealth has become ever more concentrated, and social mobility has declined, it is ever more important to create a social rationale for that inequality. People who are disenfranchised and deprived of meaningful opportunities must somehow be convinced that their second-class status is THEIR FAULT (Bold and All Caps text from the original text).

While he acknowledges that there might be those that believe in the Common Core and desire what is best for students with good intentions. Yet he summarily dismisses the intentions as irrelevant after two-thirds of students will be harmfully labeled as subpar and not “college ready.”

All of this reminds me very much of the kind of Social Darwinism and its conflation with notion of “survival of the fittest” witnessed in our nation’s previous Gilded Age that straddled the last century. Then too wealth was consolidated into the hands of few elites, while the rest labored to slide further away. Perhaps more on that parallel another time.

Image: iPad

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