Truth and Consequences: Common Core Aligned Testing

Chester Finn of Education Excellence has written a post on the Common Core Watch blog where he broaches the issue that many education professionals have been contemplating but not talking openly about much: are we actually going to get anything useful out of the first batch of Common Core aligned testing data?

His answer is a definite no.

Finn and others at the Fordham Institute for Education Excellence have been some of the most prominent conservative proponents of Common Core, so his answer has nothing to do with his fundamental beliefs about Common Core. Nor is his criticism really leveled at Smarter Balanced and PARCC, the two main Common Core aligned testing services employed by many states.

Finn is concerned that the way that the results of the tests will be presented to parents (a decision that has been left up to state education agencies) will not do students any justice because they either will mitigate the reality of poor performance, or the results will be given in too ambiguous of a manner to be readily comprehensible to parents.

Following is an excerpt from his post which sums up his fears:

It’s looking as if parents may not actually be told anything explicit as to whether or not their daughters and sons are on track for college and career, at least not until they’re in high school (or maybe eighth grade)—and even then, they’re not likely to have this information pushed hard.

I understand the reluctance to agitate parents regarding their children, and the fear of triggering an even bigger political backlash against standards and testing. But if the point of these standards is to prepare kids for college and career, how can we not tell those closest to children whether such preparation is actually happening? If a fourth grader weighs two hundred pounds, is it not the obligation of responsible adults to let his parents know that this is a problem that menaces his future? Isn’t the same true for parents of a seventh grader whose reading and math skills are at the fourth-grade level, or worse?

Following is the link to the full article: