Testing Time

04.18.13 | Ralph Kerr | Comments[0]

Testing Time

                In July 2010 the New York State Board of Regents adopted the Common Core Curriculum. The purpose of this curriculum was to standarize school curriculum across the State.  The Common Core requires advanced problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, more aligned to the demands of the modern job market. School officials throughout the State widely agree that adopting the Common Core was the right move. The tests administered in grades 3 through 8 that are required to demonstration the level of student learning of the curriculum however have incited a struggle between state and local communities, parents, teachers and students. Is the uproar really warranted? Not in my opinion!

                Isn’t it important that all children be exposed to the same curriculum or knowledge base?

                Isn’t it important to measure the amount and breadth of student learning that has taken place?

                Isn’t it important that students learn accountability for their level of learning?

                Isn’t it important for teachers to be held accountable for the instruction given to students?

                Isn’t it important for parents to acknowledge to their children that they are facing a world that holds people responsible and accountable for the investment that others make in them?

My answer to each of these questions is YES! Let’s look at each question individually.

It is important that all children be exposed to the same curriculum and knowledge base. Teachers have stated that in the past curriculum has been”miles long but inches deep.” In other words lots of material to cover but none of it in much depth. Also teachers may have an area of the curriculum that they particularly enjoy and have developed favorite lesson plans to cover these areas but this is done by sacrificing time spent on other important topics.

It is important to measure the teaching and learning that is taking place. How else do teachers and parents know how the students are doing?

It is important to teach students that they are accountable for their learning.

It is important that teachers are held accountable for the teaching that occurs in their classroom and the level of learning by the students. Some would go so far as to say, “If the student hasn’t learned the material, the teacher hasn’t taught it. I know there are multiple factors that impact student learning that are outside the teachers control but within reason there still needs to be accountability for the instruction that goes on in the classroom.

It is important that parents help their children realize that in life we are responsible and accountable for the investment others make in us.

To help readers get a feel for the test questions I have selected two examples. Do your best to give the correct answers. If you are discouraged remember you have not received the instruction that the students will have received prior to sitting for the tests.


Below is a sample question from the 5th grade Math test.

Bob needs to purchase 5.6 meters of tape for a project. If each roll of tape contains 80 cm and costs $5, what is the total cost of the tape that Bob must buy?

Answer $ ___________________


                Below is a sample question from the 6th grade English Language Arts test.

Which word is closest in meaning to “expedition?”

A - display

B – contest

C – trip

D – report

                The tests are being administered to students this week and the week of April 24. Please be encouraging to anyone you know who is involved in this testing and let me know your thoughts on this whole situation.



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