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Troy Patterson

The Test of the Common Core | E. D. Hirsch, Jr. - 0 views

  • Here's the follow-up post to "Why I'm For the Common Core." It explains why we should be leery of the forthcoming "core-aligned" tests -- especially those in English Language Arts that people are rightly anxious about.
  • These tests could endanger the promise of the Common Core.
  • The first thing I'd want to do if I were younger would be to launch an effective court challenge to value-added teacher evaluations on the basis of test scores in reading comprehension. The value-added approach to teacher evaluation in reading is unsound both technically and in its curriculum-narrowing effects. The connection between job ratings and tests in ELA has been a disaster for education.
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  • My analysis of them showed what anyone immersed in reading research would have predicted: The value-added data are modestly stable for math, but are fuzzy and unreliable for reading.
  • Math tests are based on the school curriculum. What a teacher does in the math classroom affects student test scores. But reading-comprehension tests are not based on the school curriculum. (How could they be if there's no set curriculum?) Rather, they are based on the general knowledge that students have gained over their life span from all sources -- most of them outside the school.
  • The whole project is unfair to teachers, ill-conceived, and educationally disastrous. The teacher-rating scheme has usurped huge amounts of teaching time in anxious test-prep. Paradoxically, the evidence shows that test-prep ceases to be effective after about six lessons.
  • the inadequate theories of reading-comprehension that have dominated the schools -- mainly the unfounded theory that, when students reach a certain level of "reading skill," they can read anything at that level.
  • The Common Core-aligned tests of reading comprehension will naturally contain text passages and questions about those passages. To the extent such tests claim to assess "critical thinking" and "general" reading-comprehension skill, we should hold on to our wallets. They will be only rough indexes of reading ability -- probably no better than the perfectly adequate and well-validated reading tests they mean to replace.
  • The solution to the test-prep conundrum is this: First, institute in every participating state the specific and coherent curriculum that the Common Core Standards explicitly call for. (It's passing odd to introduce "Common Core" tests before there's an actual core to be tested.)
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