Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 28, 2013

NY Daily News: Release The NY State Common Core Exam Questions

Even the Daily News editors, in another attack on children, teachers and schools today in their latest "Common Core Reveals How Stupid Children Are And How Clueless Teachers Are!" editorial, say the test questions should be released:

Opponents will do what they can to undermine the exams’ credibility, no doubt pointing out that Pearson, the test preparation company, has an unenviable record of glitches. Those include the nonsensical pineapple question on last year’s English exam and a scoring botch this year that shut thousands of kids out of gifted-and-talented programs.

Transparency will be key to maintaining trust.

When releasing the scores, the department should publish as many of the actual test questions as can be given out without compromising future exam integrity. It should also include data on how many kids got each question right or wrong.

The more parents know about what’s expected of their children, the better. As for fears that releasing the questions would encourage teaching to the test: They’re so demanding, there’s little chance of that. In fact, if instructors did teach to these tests, they’d wind up teaching an awful lot, particularly in how to master reading comprehension.

One line in the editorial is absolutely true:

"Transparency will be key to maintaining trust."

Pearson has a documented track record of problems that Alan Singer does a great job of laying out here.

Yes, there was the infamous Hare and the Pineapple episode from last year and the infamous Gifted and Talented test grading screw-ups from this year.

But there are also rumors that Pearson pulled whole chunks of this year's tests from their own Pearson Common Core practice books.

And then there is that little problem about the children not having enough time to finish the tests and somebody at Pearson deciding that the NY State Common Core tests would serve as advertising vehicles for Mugs Root Beer ("Mugs Root Beer is the leading line of root beer!" the children were told in a testing footnote) and other corporate products.

All of this is on top of the fact the tests contained material children had never seen because the Common Core curriculum has not been fully developed and given to teachers - a stubborn fact of reality which the Daily News and other corporate media outlets refuse to admit to in their pro-Common Core propaganda pieces.

There is much to disagree with in this DN editorial, but one thing I can agree on with the DN shysters posing as informed education editorialists - "Transparency will be key to maintaining trust" around these tests.

So release the tests to the public. 

Let's see the material, let's see the questions, let's see how much time was given for each section.

And stop threatening teachers with losing their licenses if they talk about the test material or worse, sending out Common Core KGB agents to infiltrate the Internets and the Twitterverse to find and root out alleged crimes against the Common Core regime.

Otherwise parents, teachers and the general public will just have to assume that Pearson, the Regents and the NYSED are hiding something.

Like the tests were not ready for prime time and they should not be used to make high stakes decisions for students, teachers or schools.

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