Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Common Core Curriculum Map, Grade 9 Unit 3, first sample activity:

Write an essay that compares and contrasts aspects of the use of a literary device in two different poems. Discuss at least three aspects. (RL.9-10.4, W.9-10.2)


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of several word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

RL.9-10.4 is not about literary devices. The phrase "literary device(s)" does not appear in the Common Core standards. Nor, for that matter does it require you to make a comparison between texts. The standard does not ask you to do an open ended analysis of the "aspects of use" of language.

It asks you to do two very specific tasks, and that's it. The rude awakening is going to come when high school principals start looking at each class's scores on RL.9-10.4 every six weeks, and they realize that their 9th grade teachers are using a completely misaligned in-class assessment. Or, based on this month's buzz, when teachers start not getting their performance bonuses because the school's assessments are significantly more difficult than those specified in the standards.

An analogy to a similar sloppy hypothetical alignment in early elementary literacy or math in general would be helpful here, but I can't really generate one.

No comments: