Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Seriously, Has Anyone Read the Common Core ELA Standards?

Randy Bennett:

The first implication is that concentrating instruction on the features measured by automated essay scoring is likely to improve a student’s score as well as certain lower-level writing competencies. But such concentration is unlikely to improve student writing with respect to higher-order competencies such as the quality of ideas, argumentation, audience awareness, and rhetorical style, which no extant auto-mated scoring approach directly measures.

Which is why those things are either excluded from the standards entirely, or only peripherally important.

He provides an example of a potentially problematic essay prompt:

Many students have jobs after school.They may work in a store, make deliveries, or do manual labor. Explain why you feel that working after school is a good or a bad idea. Make sure to give reasons and examples to support your position.You will have 25 minutes to write your response.

You don't need to ask a "how do you feel" question to assess the Common Core ELA standards, and arguably you shouldn't (i.e., this is not required for college or career). All arguments can and, within the logic of CC, should be based on textual analysis, which is a much more constrained domain.

1 comment:

tellio said...

Yes, the absurdity of valorizing text over feeling is a logical result of any system that can only measures lower order writing. Where do our greatest texts come from if not from our deepest feelings. There is a reason we have two hemispheres. Assessment of this kind ignores one of these at its peril.

If you get a chance take a peek at Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary for a very clear way to parse the nonsense in these false dichotomies we are continually served up in education.