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Common Core: Is America Over-testing School Children?

Posted October 28th, 2015 at 4:05 pm (UTC-4)
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Testing, So Much Testing

Alia Wong – The Atlantic

On Saturday, President Obama posted a high-profile video message to Facebook in which he called on schools to reduce the amount of standardized testing taking place in classrooms….

What is rather newsworthy about Saturday’s announcement is that it marks what may be the administration’s first explicit, public acknowledgment of its role in the overtesting. It also comes with a straightforward request that schools cap testing at 2 percent of the total time kids spend in the classroom—a recommendation that Obama, to be sure, insinuated in July in his recommendations for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law.

If our kids had more free time at school, what would you want them to do with it? A) Learn to play a musical instrument?B) Study a new language?C) Learn how to code HTML?D) Take more standardized tests?Take the quiz, then watch President Obama's message about smarter ways to measure our kids’ progress in school.

Posted by The White House on Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lots of pundits are skeptical of Obama’s announcement…. Diane Ravitch, the prominent education historian and current president of the Network for Public Education, said: “The Obama administration’s stance on testing is too little too late … It is time for fundamental changes in federal policy, not pointless tinkering.”

How Common Core works from Bloomberg QuickTake:

Forty-one states are using Common Core. The English standards require a fifth-grader to find the theme of a story and describe how a narrator’s point of view influences events. The student also should be able to add and subtract fractions and understand volume. The federal government didn’t write the standards, but encouraged their adoption by awarding $4.3 billion in grants to states that pledged reform. Even though a bipartisan group of governors helped create the standards, there is a backlash in state legislatures that weren’t involved in their development. So some states have chosen to develop their own goals….

Misperceptions about the standards are widespread, and controversies, including whether they’re too hard on kindergarteners, are escalating.

No Common Opinions on the Common Core

Kelsey Hamilton – American Enterprise Institute

To get to the heart of the issue, a new AEI brief turns to two independent and national sources: Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup’s annual poll, and Education Next’s survey….

The first, asked by PDK/Gallup, asked respondents whether they “believe the common core standards would help make education in the United States more competitive globally, less competitive globally, or have no effect?” In 2012, the majority of respondents believed that these standards would make the United States more competitive globally. By 2013, the percentage had fallen to 41%, with these numbers falling even more precariously for Democrats — from a 65% high in 2012 to 46% in 2013….

Education Next asked two similar questions from 2012-2015…. The results are similar. The overall support for adopting the Common Core dropped from 63% to 49% from 2012 to 2015, while the corresponding attitude towards adopting “standards” settled at 54% in 2015 — a 13 point drop from its high in 2012.

Two patterns stand out from these results. First, overall support for the Common Core is positive, but steadily falling. Second, this hit to favorability comes from all sides.

Teacher Erin Gavin listens to students during a group discussion with seventh-graders at a Brooklyn Center School in Brooklyn Center, Minn. on Feb. 4, 2011 (AP file)

Teacher Erin Gavin listens to students during a group discussion with seventh-graders at a Brooklyn Center School in Brooklyn Center, Minn. on Feb. 4, 2011 (AP file)


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