Around the country, students are now taking preposterously lengthy standardized tests related to the Common Core Standards Initiative.
To the chagrin of education bureaucrats, there’s a growing backlash against the test among parents—many of whom are opting their children out of the tests. (RELATED: You won’t believe what happened to this kid’s mom after she knocked Common Core)
There’s also a growing backlash against the tests among teachers and school officials at elementary and middle schools.
New York State is ground zero for this phenomenon. By the score, teachers and administrators across The Empire State have taken to the internet to vent their frustrations about the ELA, the state’s standardized test in English Language Arts which is specifically designed to align with Common Core.
A third-grade teacher writing in Slate only as Anonymous ripped the grueling multi-day test for being a useless exercise in process of elimination that cannot be expected to make sense to a typical third-grade kid.
Instead of a question like: “What caused the character to (insert action here) in the middle of the story?” (which, mind you, is hard enough for an 8-year-old to identify as it is), there were questions like: “In Line 8 of Paragraph 4, the character says … and in Line 17 of Paragraph 5, the character does … Which of the following lines from Paragraph 7 best supports the character’s actions?” This, followed by four choices of lines from Paragraph 7 that could all, arguably, show motivation for the character’s actions…
As Anonymous notes, teachers are forbidden from exposing the low-quality test material—produced, teachers say, by educational publishing behemoth Pearson.
Nevertheless, at a website called Testing Talk, teachers and administrators (and parents) have been venting about the awful quality of the ELA test.
“It is not a valid measure of students’ reading comprehension,” wrote one frustrated teacher concerning the questions and, particularly, the appalling array of answer choices.
“There were several that I did not know exactly which choice was correct and could have justified an answer for all the choices and I’m a reading specialist and have been teaching for 24 years, so how are kids supposed to do this?”
A third-grade teacher calling herself Rebecca concurred, saying, “There were questions I believed could have had two or three answers.”
Rebecca and many other teachers also criticized the test writers for their inability to ask grade-level appropriate questions. “One question seemed to have been worded for high school or college students,” she complained. “Even my strongest students (students reading at almost a 5th grade level) got stumped and frustrated by this exam. I did as well.”
A fourth-grade teacher, Megan, agreed
“Students spent so much time trying to decipher strangely worded questions, only to discover that two answer choices sort of fit what the question was sort of asking,” she said.
While the multiple-choice questions were awful, a set of “vague and unreasonably difficult” questions requiring written responses caused even more misery.