Monday, October 12, 2009

Recent Articles from Kaplan Test Prep Daily


"In the U.S., frequently students are trying to figure out what is in the teacher's mind. What answer is the teacher looking for?" said Patsy Wang-Iverson, a consultant who has studied and written about the Japanese method for a decade and who now acts as the Reed teachers' mentor. "In Japan, teachers are trying to figure out what is in the student's mind -- how they're thinking, what they're thinking and the source of their misunderstanding."

The proposed Common Core Standards for English are an extreme manifestation of the "American" point of view described above. They are entirely and unabashedly about "what is the teacher (or, more precisely, temp working scoring a standardized test) looking for."

If you compare the Common Core standards with well regarded (by conservatives!) Massachusetts Curriculum Framework (as I did yesterday), the biggest conceptual difference is the use of the word "understand." The Massachusetts standards see understanding by the student as the ultimate goal. The Common Core Standards discard the concept of "understanding" almost completely.

Put another way, the Common Core Math Standards are divided into "concepts" and "skills." In English, it is skills only.


So far, there has been no uproar about texts included in (or omitted from) the standards experts proposed last month at the behest of the nation's governors and state school chiefs. That's by design. A full-blown great works debate could scuttle what is a difficult mission: to craft academic standards that can be accepted nationwide without leaving the impression that states and school boards have ceded control of what is taught.

A "great works debate" was never even slightly in the cards. None of the standards currently used by any of the states prescribe texts, at this level of detail -- graduation standards, essentially -- I haven't found one anywhere in the world yet that describes specific texts. Even if you wanted to, what grade levels would you include? All of them? High school? Senior year?

Also, these are "college- and career- ready standards." We know there is no consensus among college English faculty about a canon, and we know there is no canon for starting a career.

It would be nice if someone would write an article about the fact that there are only two kinds of writing in these standards: informative and argument. You'd think someone who makes their living writing would find that a bit odd.

1 comment:

scsweetie said...

If you are considering taking a KAPLAN on-site Test Prep Class you will want to read this first:

6 days before the KAPLAN on-site class was to start we receive a call from KAPLAN cancelling the class. This meant that the GRE would need to be re-scheduled as well. This was approx. 45 days before app's are due for grad school. NOT GOOD!!!

Talk about a dilema! KAPLAN really messed things up~
KAPLAN said they would pay the reschedule fee ($50.00) for the GRE, GREAT!!!
HOWEVER, we couldn't reschedule the GRE because KAPLAN didn't have any classes scheduled beyond early March!
KAPLAN wanted to keep my $1495.00, until they had a schedule ~(of course, why shouldn't they keep $1495.00 and not have a schedule in place)haha. In addition, KAPLAN cannot even give you a firm number of people they need to hold a class, duh! Is it 5,7,10...
I was told, "it would depend."
KAPLAN acted as though they were doing me a favor refunding my money for the class.
KAPLAN even had the nerve to say 'I had cancelled'. REALLY! When I said, "O.K. I will be in class next Tuesday." KAPLAN's response was, "that class has been cancelled." SO, how am I the one that cancelled????
KAPLAN said it was because I wasn't rescheduling, therefore I was cancelling. I would have been happy to re-schedule but KAPLAN doesn't have a schedule beyond early March!!!!
So how do I reschedule... What is your May schedule, What is your June Schedule... answer: "we don't have one."
THIS IS POOR BUSINESS. I could schedule a class in the future and KAPLAN could cancel again. Remember, KAPLAN couldn't give a number of people necessary to have a class. $1495.00 is a lot of money to spend. Preparation for Graduate school, studying, preparing for the GRE LSAT, GMAT..., applying to schools with letters of recommendation, resume, letter of intent, takes a great deal of time.(Usually while still in school) No one needs to be treated by a company (KAPLAN), like this, who is suposed to be aiding you in the effort.