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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Reason Behind Common Core

Education Week reported the contest for testing companies has begun, and $350 million is up for grabs in the "How much can we exploit from the lives of our young people" challenge.

In an effort to make it sound as if they are going to make changes in the way students are assessed, the competing "consortia" (new buzz word that sounds really smart) claim that there will be components

 ...to provide participating states with formative-assessment tools and data-management systems to help administrators and parents access student-performance information over the course of the year and to help teachers intervene and adjust instruction as it occurs.

They will then have a culminating "computer-adaptive" assessment at the end of the year.  Oooohhhh.  Using computers instead of bubble sheets is such a great advancement in assessment measures.

Here's my favorite part:

And although both consortia would use some form of selected-response questions on their year-end accountability measures, they underscored that their states would explore the use of “technology enhanced” items that gauge higher-order critical-thinking abilities, rather than rely solely on multiple-choice questions that don’t lend themselves to measuring those skills.

Such abilities might be measured, for instance, by using items that require students to interact with on-screen features, such as a graph.

NO WAY - You mean all I have to do is teach my kids to read a GRAPH and that's considered "higher-order critical-thinking abilities!? I've been working way too hard, if "interacting with an on-screen graph" is considered "high and critical"  That's all we're getting for $320 million dollars of federal grant money!? 

Oh, my bad...It's going to be shown on a computer screen.  Now I understand the difference.

My second favorite part of the article:

Education Week obtained the three proposals from the consortia in advance of the application deadline, after officials at the Education Department said they could not make the applications immediately available online. The education department also received a fourth application, from a Texas-based organization called Free to Be, but that application listed no states as consortium members, a required eligibility criterion for the competition.

Experts familiar with the applications noted the similarities between the two larger consortia’s submissions.

“They look a whole lot alike,” said Scott Marion, the associate director of the Dover, N.H.-based Center for Assessment and a consultant to officials in both the SMARTER Balanced and PARCC groups. “They started with very different visions and ended up converging.”

Let me translate, if I may be indulged...There are three companies who want this money (a fourth, from Texas, who can't get other states to buy-in). To get the money, they must show how they would do things differently.  So what did they end up with, the same ideas, that are really no different than what we are already doing, except it is on a computer instead of paper.  Now that's reform we can all believe in.

Mr. Marion consulted with the competing consortia, and wonders why there is converging ideas. I want to know more about Scott Marion.  I know nothing of him, but I wonder what connections he already had to Harvard University, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, The Walton Foundation, The Broad Foundation, and others trying to take over public education for personal gain.

Diane Ravitch explains the Billionaire Boys Club and the fraud that is occurring in public education.

Have we forgotten the sage advice - Follow The Money?  It's the paradox of public education.  For years educators have argued that they are underpaid, yet other are getting wealthy off the business of public education in America. 

Posted via email from Murry's World


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