Square Peg, Round Hole…Take Two

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As the Common Core “promise” of critical thinking, deeper learning, and college readiness meets the reality of test-centric instruction supporters of the Core may be experiencing a change of heart and buyer’s remorse.

The “emergency response” timeline for implementation imposed by Common Core’s data-driven and accountability evangelists has resulted in misguided test prep that provides a double portion of rigor and not a trace of vigor.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of business leaders, employers, college leaders, and economists, who are questioning the efficacy of the Common Core’s emphasis on standardized testing, and this chorus of voices grows louder every day …

“After 10 years of federal education policies based on test-based accountability, there has been no perceptible improvement in student performance among high school students…There is little doubt—whether test-based accountability is being used to hold schools accountable or individual teachers—that it has failed to improve student performance…

Test-based accountability and teacher evaluation systems are not neutral in their effect. It is not simply that they fail to improve student performance. Their pernicious effect is to create an environment that could not be better calculated to drive the best practitioners out of teaching and to prevent the most promising young people from entering it.

If we want broad improvement in student performance and we want to close the gap between disadvantaged students and the majority of our students, then we will abandon test-based accountability and teacher evaluation as key drivers of our education reform program…”

~ Marc Tucker, President of the National Center on Education and the Economy, “The Failure of Test-Based Accountability”

“Our first realization was that test scores add relatively little to our ability to predict the success of our students…In addition, we know that some potential students are deterred from applying to colleges that require a test score because they are not comfortable taking standardized tests…. ”

~ Thomas Rochon, President, Ithaca College and former executive director of the GRE testing program, “The Case Against the SAT”

“The current focus on testing has tended to make test results the goal of the system, rather than a measure. The change in goal means recognizing that a test is only measure. Using tests as the goal infringes Goodhart’s Law: when measure becomes the goal, it ceases to be an effective measure.”

~ Steve Denning, Program Director, Knowledge Management at the World Bank, “The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education”

“One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation…We found that they don’t predict anything…”

~ Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, “In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such A Big Deal”

Our task as facilitators should be to design non-routine and content-rich learning activities that stimulate the hearts as well as the minds of students while cultivating social and emotional skills that are essential for creative, meaningful, productive, and rewarding lives.

College and career readiness is not simply about understanding a Pearson textbook or filling in the right bubble on a standardized test, but knowing how to behave and collaborate with people in the classroom and on the job.

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5 thoughts on “Square Peg, Round Hole…Take Two

  1. Pingback: What Makes A Good Teacher? | WagTheDog

  2. Pingback: Common Core: A Matter of Perspective | WagTheDog

  3. Pingback: Learning Standards | WagTheDog

  4. Pingback: Common Core Bait and Switch | WagTheDog

  5. Pingback: What makes a good teacher? | WagTheDog

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