The California Board of Education (CBOE) has decided not use Common Core test scores in school performance assessments for the first year of testing.
CBOE suspended the state’s Academic Performance Index to evaluate schools, teachers, and students for the 2014–15 school year.
Larry Sand, a former teacher and founder of California Teachers Empowerment Network, says he agrees with the move.
“The [Common Core] tests are a disaster,” Sand said. “I think using the test to assess student progress and teacher performance at this point is not fair. If I were still teaching, I would be up in arms about this. Of course, the teachers unions don’t want any test used to measure teacher quality. But they are right in this case.”
Bad Standards, Bad Tests
Lance Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, says bad standards such as Common Core inevitably lead to bad tests.
“Critics of Common Core, from education experts to parents to teachers, have focused on the curricular and pedagogical changes that have occurred because of the new national standards,” Izumi said. “However, bad standards like Common Core beget bad tests, which result in bad and misleading test results. The whole Common Core edifice, from the standards to curricula to tests, is a fraud that promises better learning but delivers confusion, misinformation, and dumbed-down education.”
Izumi questions the ability of the tests to measure student knowledge accurately.
“The state says that it will report scores for schools and districts, but just not use those scores for accountability purposes,” said Izumi. “Yet, can parents, students, and teachers be sure that the scores on the new Common Core tests actually measure what students are supposed to know?”
Izumi cites a new report on the Common Core math test, used in California, by Steven Rasmussen, an educational consultant at SR Education Associates. The report states these tests “fail to meet acceptable standards of quality and performance, especially with respect to their technology-enhanced items.”
“If we cannot rely on the accuracy and validity of the tests, then how can the test results accurately inform parents, students, and teachers about the true knowledge and level of achievement of students and be used to measure the performance of schools?” Izumi said.
Chris Neal ([email protected]) writes from New York, New York.
Image by Natalie Freitas.
Steven Rasmussen, “The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Tests Are Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used,” SR Education Associates, March 2015: