The new administration, Common Core, and the new SAT

Reuters’ Renée Dudley has come out with yet another exposé about the continuing mess at the College Board. (Hint: Coleman’s “beautiful vision” isn’t turning out to be all that attractive.)

This time around: what will happen to the new supposedly Common Core-aligned SAT if Common Core disappears under the incoming, purportedly anti-Core presidential administration? 

As Dudley writes: (more…)

If I were in school today…

A couple of days ago, I came across this article from Boston WBUR, courtesy of Diane Ravitch’s blog. It tells the story of David Weinstein, who has taught first grade at the Pierce School in Brookline, MA, for 29 years but is retiring because he can no longer tolerate being a data-collector for six year-olds.

As Weinstein explains: 

[Retirement is] something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now, just in terms of how the profession has changed and what we’re asking of kids. It’s a much more pressure-packed kind of job than it used to be. And it’s challenging. (more…)

A teacher’s perspective, part 2: when the arc of teaching is lost

A teacher’s perspective, part 2: when the arc of teaching is lost

This is the second post of a two-part series written by a friend and colleague who teaches at large public school in New York City. Part one described some of the changes brought about by the introduction of the evaluation system known as the Danielson Framework as well as the continuing pressure to involve technology in every aspect of the learning and teaching process. Here, the writer discusses some of the effects of those changes, on both a small and a large scale.  

The abandonment of chalk and talk for the Smartboard has had some strange consequences. Screens have a passive, television-like feel to them, which is reflected in students’ reactions. Often, when I write something on a Smartboard, it does not occur to students to take notes from it (why take notes from a TV?), and I have to force them to write it down. (more…)

Is the new SAT really the PARCC in disguise?

In the spring of 2015, when the College Board was field testing questions for rSAT, a student made an offhand remark to me that didn’t seem like much at the time but that stuck in my mind. She was a new student who had already taken the SAT twice, and somehow the topic of the Experimental section came up. She’d gotten a Reading section, rSAT-style. 

“Omigod,” she said. “It was, like, the hardest thing ever. They had all these questions that asked you for evidence. It was just like the state test. It was horrible.” 

My student lived in New Jersey, so the state test she was referring to was the PARCC. 

Even then, I had a pretty good inkling of where the College Board was going with the new test, but the significance of her comment didn’t really hit me until a couple of months ago, when states suddenly starting switching from ACT to the SAT. I was poking around the internet, trying to find out more about Colorado’s abrupt and surprising decision to drop the ACT after 15 years, and I came across a couple of sources reporting that not only would rSAT replace the ACT, but it would replace PARCC as well. (more…)

Who edited the Common Core Standards? (if they were edited at all)

While writing my previous post, I happened to grab an 11th grade Common Core ELA Standard in order to illustrate the fact that rSAT is not in fact perfectly aligned with Common Core.

The standard is worded as follows:

Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis.

I initially just glanced over the standard (I had selected it at random to make a point), but when I read it carefully, I noticed something interesting about its construction — namely, that it doesn’t really say what it intends to say. In fact, it falls prey to a very common error: the misplaced modifier. (more…)