Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wait, What's a Standard Again?

Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin:

We know that the CCSS has led to a shift in reading assessments that have been around for a long time. For example, reading experts Fountas and Pinnell used to suggest that ending kindergarten in the A-C of books range was okay. Now, with the CCSS-informed shift, if a student has not progressed past level B by the beginning of first grade, he is designated as requiring “Intensive Intervention.”

One reason even the most cold-blooded, cost/benefit analysis-driven, technocratic discussions of the Common Core are so ungrounded is that not enough attention is paid to the point McLaughlin makes at the end here: that failure to meet a standard should by definition be regarded as something that requires fairly specific, directed intervention. Or... perhaps not?

Recent standards tend to be aspirational in their drive for more "rigor." They delineate things which are demonstrably possible for some students, and perhaps desirable for all. But particularly at the early elementary level, what we don't know is if they are so necessary that a failure to meet the standard indicates a deficit with serious long-term implications. We don't know if we're investing untold millions in "remediating" students unnecessarily, particularly when considering the opportunity cost in not spending money on, say enrichment for the same children (without even getting into the web of related issues like the psychological effects of unnecessarily telling a student they are "behind").


garrett said...

Tom, would be interested knowing your thoughts. A very well-liked film critic has recently written:

"There is an educational feel to the movie, almost as if it was made for a high-school-aged audience....*And while that means the film lacks some of the nuances that could raise it to true greatness*..."

Doesn't this smack of elitism to you? What the fuck is 'true greatness?' At least five books I read while at a shit little rural high school are tons-load better than anything on the current NY Times bestseller list, a list of books that get regular media press with retarded praise such as "True Greatness!" So much more to say, but I'm clogging up the blogging so I may as well get a real job, something like logging. Or what does Bloooomburg suggest? Be an wealthy uneducated plumber? Puhleeze.

Tom Hoffman said...


Stop giving Jack a hard time. What do you think this is, Wikipedia?

garrett said...

You're very kind to reprint my screed. I've heard something about Wikipedia petty grievances, or maybe I'm confused. I did look at Wikipedia the other day in regard to a musician who had died a few years ago. Maybe he was in Pitchblend? Anyway, wiki said he had written for Entertainment Weekly. You wouldn't happen to know how to read those articles (I'll email you privately his name)? I really think Entertainmemnt weekly is a stellar magazine. Whenever a per-schooler asks me for something Scholastic to read, I always hand them an issue of EW, or redirect them to blogs with a heavy Hollywood presence. Think of the youth!