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Author: admin, 17.12.2014. Category: Quote About Positive Thinking

Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high-needs middle school. As we read of the 17 states across the country where a strong backlash has grown against Common Core, my own state of California is conspicuous by its absence. Another big question has to do with the qualities of the tests, and how we are measuring skills.
Today, a Sacramento teacher and blogger, Alice Mercer, took a detailed look at some sample questions on the Smarter Balanced test. The item above comes from a sample item on the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) website, and it's supposed to assess the writing  of an argument (what used to be called persuasive writing).
I'm sharing this because this week I administered a similar writing task at my site recently. When we were previewing the tasks, it seemed questionable to give students a list of "arguments" since this would make this a much lower-level cognitive task, and not require any analysis on the part of students. Of course, in the past writing was only assessed at a state level in 4th and 7th grade in California, and now we're including it every year in tests.
I read these things and even now they seem perfectly reasonable at first, but then they worm around in my brain for a day and a half or so and stop making sense.
There has been talk about computer grading of these assessments, including writing, since they were first being developed. Even if my assertion that the standards were written to accommodate testing, and more specifically machine scoring of writing are wrong, these are still lousy tasks that are very low-level and not "rigorous" or cognitively demanding. When we, as teachers, write tests we will grade ourselves, we can offer open-ended questions, because we are able to understand a wide range of responses. Tests have become so consequential that every one of them is in essence a training exercise. This reveals one of our basic fears as educators and parents about the Common Core and associated tests. Here we are beginning to see the ways in which grading technology may be shaping the tests, and the very way we ask students to show how they are applying the skills they have learned.
We hope that you enjoy our many free educational materials for kindergarten through high school. A National Board- certified teacher, he now leads workshops with teachers on Project Based Learning.


There has been a strong emphasis on the new standards being "more rigorous." In other states, that has translated into difficult tests, and a sharp drop in the number of students considered proficient.
One of the selling points of this shift has been that these tests will be better able to measure critical thinking, less prone to narrow the curriculum to test preparation.
Students were given a sheet of facts and statistics, and a sheet of arguments for the two positions they had to choose from, to write a 5 paragraph essay. I know, I know, teachers in classrooms, and many sites, were doing summative writing assessments, but there's a difference. This piece that appeared in the NY Times a while back talks about some of the limitations of robo-readers, but Tom Hoffman gives a delightful example of the shortcoming here, Computer Scoring Open Ended History Questions - Tuttle SVC. The project is an attempt to align and standardize instruction and assessment on an unprecedented scale.
If this is the "Smarter" test, it seems far less intelligent than a qualified teacher, capable of challenging students with an open-ended question. The State Superintendent of Education, Tom Torlakson, has taken the slow approach recommended by leaders like Randi Weingarten.
English learners, who are numerous in California, have done very poorly on the Common Core tests used thus far in other states. So California teachers are using the extra time we have to take a closer look at the questions on these tests.
Basically, the programs can judge grammar and usage errors (although I suspect it will lead to a very stilted form of writing that only a computer could love), but it's not in the position to judge the facts and assertions, or content in an essay. But when tests are standardized, and even more when they are designed to be scored by computer, they are training our children to think like the computer and predict what the computer wants them to write. The future, according to the technocrats who have designed these systems, involves computer-based curriculum and tests, and frequent checks, via computer, on student performance.
In fact you can find simple ways to foster a love of writing during everyday adventures and activities. With education at a crossroads, he invites you to join him in a dialogue on education reform and teaching for change and deep learning.
As a result, California students will take only trial tests from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for the first time this coming spring, and they will not be used for accountability purposes.
The tests are designed to be scored by computer because this is by far the least expensive means available -- and it will yield uniform results.


When I was in the classroom, I was always trying to encourage students to become strong writers through simple discussions and the way I talked to the children.
And the state will not ask students to take the old STAR tests, aligned to the old state standards. It would also explain the love for a certain type of closed-reading instruction in Common Core, and the hostility to background knowledge and information, that's written about in this piece by Paul Horton: Common Core and the Gettysburg Address - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher. It was common for parents to ask how to encourage this same desire at home with their children, so I have compiled 10 simple questions you can use to foster writing with your learners anytime, any age, and at any skill level. The California Teachers Association has thrown its support behind Common Core implementation, and the state is spending $1.25 billion to prepare for the transition. It would explain much about why the standards have been structured the way they were, and why some of the tasks we're seeing are the way they are, but it also ensures that what we're asking students to do will be so constrained by the parameters of the testing environment that they will be useless to judge authentic student learning.
We can fix it later.The key to teaching and fostering a love of writing is to guide children in their writing. Don’t expect perfection, correctly spelled words, and all the details on the first go. These simple questions and prompts can help you as you guide them to make discoveries about alphabetic principle and the ways of writing.Want to keep these writing prompts handy? I have made a handy printable sheet you can hang, laminate, or place in a reference binder until they become part of your daily conversation. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Meet Dayna Choose Your Adventure Recent Posts Irresistible Lemon Lime Trail Mix Helpful Sensory Processing Books Every Parent Should Read 13 Helpful Phrases You Can Say to Calm an Anxious Child 18 of the Most Supportive Facebook Groups for Parenting High Needs Children 5 Must Have Items for Road Trips with Babies Stay Connected: Follow on Instagram Adult supervision is recommended for every project and activity featured on this blog. Please read the instructions for each activity thoroughly before deciding whether is is appropriate for your child(ren).
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