Friday, November 21, 2014

Why is Common Core More Precise About College Readiness in Kindergarten than 11th Grade?

Smarter Balanced:

...a score at or above "Level 3" in 11th grade is meant to suggest conditional readiness for entry-level, transferable, credit-bearing college courses.

I've looked at some of the supporting materials, and I think the 11th grade test is considered at the level of college readiness. It is "conditional" insofar as you might literally backslide so much in the 12th grade year as to be not ready at graduation time after initially passing the test in 11th grade. But if you don't pass in 11th grade, you'd take the 11th grade test in 12th grade to try so show your college readiness. I think! It is clear as mud.

Just the fact that it is ambiguous at all is bizarre. I mean, I'm sure in the logic of American post-NCLB accountability there is a good reason, but in the larger world it is just... crazy. If it is an end of school test it isn't reasonable to present it as an 11th grade assessment. It just isn't. If you want to give the end of 12th grade test to 11th graders fine. Or if it is really an 11th grade test, you should be able to clearly specify how it is different from the final college readiness standards, right?

This is particularly disorienting coming back from spending some time with the K and grade 1 math standards. There it is totally different. You need to learn to count to 100 in K because you need to be able to add within 100 in 1st grade, and it takes some time to learn the numbers in English so you aren't tripping up trying to add threety-four to fivety-seven (or at least that's the argument, as I understand it).

The wacky way this plays out in practice though is that we act as if we know in great detail what a student has to learn when in early elementary school to be on track for college, but once we get to high school, especially in English, it is basically shrugs and hand waving. You would think it would get more specific later.

I suspect the explanation for this is an overload of early literacy experts on the various panels.

1 comment:

Leroy's Mom said...

I'm chatting with the junior in my house about the "necessity" of taking this test.
It seems to ignore one driver of dropping out, students who are "bored" and don't see the point of classes because it's not "real". How worthwhile will senior year look to kids if they're ready for college after 11th grade? They could pretty easily qualify for entry at community college at that point, so why bother with another year in high school,right?

As an elementary teacher, I find this infuriating, since they're pushing all this stuff down to us, then slacking off as the kids are actually able to handle the growth in expectations...