Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Common Core Rant - not a video...

While I agree with the concerns of many parents that over-testing is damaging to children and subverts the purpose of education, I don't believe that the Common Core has set the bar too high, at least in math, my area of expertise. I know from direct experience with children that we can expect far more thinking of them than is commonly held. That is the Core Belief of my blog.

The problem is that teachers have not received the necessary preparation and the testing has been rushed and lacking in quality control.

We're trying to set the bar higher for children without raising the bar for those responsible for implementing these changes. That is irresponsible at best and criminal at worst.


Sue VanHattum said...

Dave, do you think some of the early grade level stuff is possibly developmentally inappropriate? I don't know enough developmental psych to know, but I do know that different kids develop at different rates, and having common core say they must all do x at a certain time concerns me.

Dave Marain said...

Excellent point, Sue, but there will always be issues of developmental readiness. Mandating *proficiency* of higher-level content and deeper understanding for ALL children K-3 does not make sense which implies that STANDARDIZED TESTING of Common Core skills should start later. Further it is insane for us to be discussing high-stakes CC assessments until the curriculum and training of teachers have been entrenched for at least 3-4 years. If assessment actually had something to do with helping children learn and develop there would be no issue but we know this is not the reason states have been rushing this through. We know it is not only the students who are being assessed.

However, *raising the bar for all* children is still reasonable. I see what is currently happening in many K-5 math classes and I'm disappointed to say the least. Of course some children will struggle. Finding ways to help them has always been our primary role. I need someone to enumerate some *specific* K-3 CC proficiencies so that I can respond directly to them. Is there a particular one that you believe is inappropriate?

Sue VanHattum said...

No. I have followed this through other bloggers, but I have not researched it myself. (I feel like these conversations have taken away from lots of other great conversations that we all could have been having. What a time sink for all these great teachers to be studying the CC standards.)

I know the process standards are good. I worry that there are too many topics among the other standards.

The next time someone posts about this as a problem, perhaps we could get good teachers, pro and con, together to discuss.

Dave Marain said...

Below is a copy of a couple of the Grade 1 standards. They seem reasonable to me. I'll have to look again at the overall breadth and quantity of these to see if they're too ambitious for Gr 1. Again, my major concern is that when teachers are evaluated according to the progress students make in these areas, we all know the primary focus will be on 'teaching to the test'. Hey, we all saw this coming, didn't we Sue!

Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.

Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.