Common Core exams have begun

Posted by: cee

Common Core exams have begun - 04/02/14 06:13 AM

Good morning. I haven't seen this topic on these forums, forgive me if I missed it. In my area, there seems to be a lot of hysteria surrounding the NY Common Core standards. Friends on Facebook are pushing a grass roots movement against it. Teachers themselves are complaining, within the classroom! Eventually of course, children start to complain.

Yesterday my 10 year old took Day 1 of ELA Assessment, continues today and tomorrow. These exams aren't new, but this year they are Common Core so a handful in the class opted out.

I was wondering how parents of gifted children approach this issue if they are enrolled in the public schools, do their children hear negative comments at school about it, and how many of you take the tests as usual or participate in the opt-out.

Thank you~
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/02/14 07:37 AM

Honestly, I try to just ignore it. Hysteria is the only term for it in most instances, and frankly... having READ some of the standards, it's not the standards that I object to. I think those are long over-due and a fairly coherent and well-considered thing.

It's the curriculum publishers and the testing industry that has a lot to answer for in implementation-- well, that and stubborn local districts and teachers that have bought into the hysterical imaginings surrounding it.

No, actually, nobody's kids are being taught to be homosexual as kindergarten students. (sigh)

No, actually, they aren't being forced to read pornographic novels in middle school or anywhere else. (sigh again)

No, actually, they aren't being forced to embrace communism. (sheesh-- seriously??)

Anyway. I think that CC is probably destined to fail at this point-- because the hysteria has reached a tipping point. People don't have to be RIGHT to be loud, unfortunately.
Posted by: blackcat

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/02/14 08:14 AM

I worked in a school last year (tutoring) and the school went crazy with the state-standardized testing. They prepped for MONTHS, had rallies, etc. I pulled kids out of classes and one girl always looked depressed when I picked her up (I always picked her up when they were prepping for the test) and said that all anyone ever talks about is the XYZ (state) test and she doesn't understand the big deal about this test. I told her not to worry about the test and the last thing she should do is worry about it, it's just something that the school needs to focus on because they get money from it. As soon as I said it I realized I probably should have just kept my mouth shut, but I can see how some teachers might be making negative comments if they don't buy into the whole thing. At the school I was in, everyone seemed to buy into it and accepted the whole notion of extensively prepping for it, which I thought was rather strange. It really actually bothered me because these educators didn't seem to be even THINKING about it or have an opinion one way or another. Every once in a while I made a snarky comment about it in the break room and got blank stares. And we trust that they are intelligent enough to teach our kids?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/02/14 08:20 AM

Expanding on HK's point, I think Common Core is likely to fail because a whole lot of what's wrong with education today has been lumped into a single label by dishonest politicians and an idiotic media, and that label is Common Core.

Back to the original topic, my DD9 begins standardized testing (which is not related to Common Core, since it hasn't been implemented here yet) next week, and since she's in 4th grade, which is high-stakes per NCLB, she has been hearing negative comments about it for weeks. The G/T students are being told that the learning-disabled children are counting on them to carry the school. She has been doing online study each night that is well-below her level, and she has been vocal in her objections to it. Her class did a practice exam a few weeks ago, and results were poor for the entire class, but the teacher singled out DD for remarks about how her results showed she wasn't ready to be grade-skipped last year, because this teacher has been heavily invested in her confirmation bias all year long.

The week after testing, we're pulling DD out of school for a week and going on vacation.;
Posted by: 1frugalmom

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/02/14 09:06 AM

Our school district is starting "Common Core Assessments" or whatever you want to call them. That is if they can get the system up and going. Last I heard the schools were having some issues with this.

This is the first year of this form of testing for us. With this being just basically a test of the test, I told DD to do her best but not to worry too much about it. I did tell her she will need to do A LOT of "explaining", which she despises doing. I told her there should be a "flag" she can use to flag a question she wants to go back to later - that way if she is tired of all the explaining she can do some then go back and finish it up later. I've always told her she can take as much time as she wants with any form of state assessment, but she is more of a "get in there, get it done, and get on with it" kind of girl, so I doubt this new test will be any different.

As for opting out - We thought about it, but our school really plays up the testing with parties, certificates, even a special fieldtrip, etc. If a student scores high enough they get a big recognition celebration with lots of pomp and circumstance. I know she won't get that this year since no results will be sent out, but she could next year and if we opt out this year she wouldn't have any experience with the test for next year. (hope that all makes sense)

There is a practice test online for at least ELA and Math - http://sbac.portal.airast.org/
Posted by: thestr0ng1

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/05/14 03:17 AM

Here in Florida, kids will take the state-based standards test (FCAT) for one last time -- Common Core supposedly next year, but we'll see... loads of pushback on CC here in FL (for political purposes, if nothing else).

DS8 is in 3rd grade (skipped 1st) and will take the standardized test. His teacher texted me that she is ready for him to "rock the test" -- I definitely have gotten the feeling all year since I put him back in school in October (he was homeschooled for 2nd grade) that his teacher plays up his smarts a great deal in class, and treats him like some sort of messiah who will lift up the entire school.

I haven't thought about opting out at all. He's already taken IQ tests, achievement tests, SCAT test (for Johns Hopkins CTY), and at some point he'll take the Explore test to see if he qualifies for DYS... what I stress instead at home is plain old smart test-taking strategies, being relaxed and confident and not buying into the hysteria around him. He is naturally laid-back, so the mania at school amuses him more than anything else.

For the standardized writing test in February (which 3rd graders don't take), they actually had the other kids line up in the halls cheering the fourth graders on!!! I was momentarily speechless when he told me, and had to settle for clamping my mouth shut and rolling my eyes.

He did say his teacher yelled at the class earlier this week after grading the sample math test, which only 3 kids passed -- one "by the skin of her teeth" (DS8 asked me what that meant!). DS8 missed one question on the sample test, and when it was sent home there was a sticker on it for parents to sign reminding them that a Level 1 on FCAT means your kid will be retained.

Cue the eye rolling...
Posted by: Saritz

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/05/14 07:15 AM

We have 2 gifted kids in public school. I have a friend who told her son to not stress out about the tests because "they are just fundraising for your school, honey."

I think that for a parent of a gifted kid (one who does well in school, of course), that's the attitude to take. It's going to be lots of quiet time and waiting, and more than a little boring, but it's a week out of the school year.

Do I approve of all the testing? NO. But in the grand scheme of things, public school has been a better fit overall than I ever dreamed of, not perfect, but pretty good. And in our market with 2 kids its saving us at least 40 grand a year in tuition.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/05/14 09:17 AM

Sorry to hear of these testing (pre-testing?) experiences.

Originally Posted By: thestr0ng1
... at some point he'll take the Explore test to see if he qualifies for DYS...
EXPLORE is being discontinued: http://www.act.org/products/k-12-act-explore/. Previous threads here and here .
Posted by: thestr0ng1

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/05/14 03:55 PM

Thanks indigo for the update on the Explore test. Good to know!
Posted by: Aqx3

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/10/14 05:15 PM

My 4th grader is scheduled to take the online Social Studies test this year, being administered by Pearson. There is a sample test for 4th graders to take, to get adjusted to the format and style of question. It is a dry run this year so no jobs on the line this time.

I tried it myself, and I think the entire 4th grade will fail if the real test is like that. It is poorly written, using vocabulary most 4th graders will have no clue about ("opportunity cost," "economic incentive" are examples). It requires a level of inference and logic that would challenge most high schoolers and perhaps college students.

And the kicker is that the local temp agency hires test evaluators from ads on craigslist. You don't have to be a credentialed professional to grade these, just a college grad without a job willing to work for $11/hr. How rigorous is that?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/10/14 06:55 PM

Some may say the described grading practice raises a concern for the integrity of a relatively high-stakes test, if tests may be seen by the masses during the grading process.

As a separate issue, there have been questions raised as to what information students may be required to answer in order to access their online test.

Some families are opting out of testing.
Posted by: ConnectingDots

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/10/14 07:18 PM

I've seen some friends who are teachers posting about how they are all geared up for the tests. This news of cheering/pep assemblies is at once appalling and ludicrous. Seriously? What's the point? Are the students going to be so excited that they do better on the tests? Is there research showing that cheering on children before tests helps their performance? I Rather Doubt It.

The idiocy of crowds.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/10/14 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
... geared up for the tests. This news of cheering/pep assemblies is at once appalling and ludicrous.
Chilling. Counterintuitive to cheer when feeling apprehension; not a cultural norm. Sounds like instilling propaganda in school children.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/10/14 09:05 PM

Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
I've seen some friends who are teachers posting about how they are all geared up for the tests. This news of cheering/pep assemblies is at once appalling and ludicrous. Seriously? What's the point? Are the students going to be so excited that they do better on the tests? Is there research showing that cheering on children before tests helps their performance? I Rather Doubt It.

The idiocy of crowds.



ICK. eek
Posted by: cee

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/14/14 09:00 PM

Later this month the 6th graders are taking 3 days, probably 2 hours, of math common core. My son's dreaded subject because of the repetitive boredom. Kingdom of Pain. I definitely don't encourage these feelings, I just listen, and remind him how next year it's an advanced 2 classes in 1...

But I am wondering, should we just opt out of this year's exam? Has anyone considered it?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/15/14 07:33 AM

I don't know. I would look at it as a risk v. benefit thing. What are the risks to him if he is opted out? Will you burn goodwill that you need elsewhere?

What are the risks if he takes them?
Posted by: callaghan

Re: Common Core exams have begun - 04/15/14 08:18 AM

DS8 had opportunity to take a PARCC Pilot this year. This is the last year of the state standardized testing before moving to PARCC. The pilot is used for the district and state readiness, not for scores.
That being said, we asked for DS8 to take the pilot PARCC, as we wanted him to get a glance at the test. There are people opting out in our school for both the state and PARCC, we told him to do his best. It was more important that he get a look at the new test. He can answer math in his head, but struggles with explanation, "I just know it" is his rote answer. So any practice on explanations are encouraged. It is also his first look at a computerized test, so more focus on keyboarding.

Callaghan