Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sandards and "Teaching Reading as a Skill"

Robert Pondisco and Dan Willingham both argue (as Robert puts it):

The draft reading standards put up for public comment this week by the Common Core State Standards Initiative can’t “stick” because they are built on a flawed model of reading as a transferable skill.

If this was true, you'd expect that countries that use similar standards would have low scores on international assessments, and high scoring countries would do something substantially different. As far as I can tell, everyone writes their Language Arts standards pretty much this way, and it is not really possible to do otherwise. Standards are just a limited tool. You can't do that much with them. This is what English Language Arts standards look like.

Of course when England writes:

Students should be able to relate text to their social and historical context and to the literary traditions of which they are a part

It is implied that substantial prior background knowledge in social, literary and political history is necessary. I just don't think in England they have to have such endlessly tiresome discussions of this fact, and I doubt they have people as smart as Robert and Dan making arguments that they should not include that standard because some teachers might try to teach to it improperly.

2 comments:

Mary said...

Tom,
The public needs to take a look at the IRA 2010 Draft Standards. Those Standards will guide the education and preparation of K8 classroom teachers of reading, reading specialists, literacy coaches, reading teacher educators, and administrators, as well. Those Standards absolutely need to be scrutinized by the public.

Tom Hoffman said...

Will they be used, or will they be supplanted by entirely new core standards drafted as part of the new process? My understanding is that we're starting over and working our way down.