Grade inflation has been a story for some time but we may now have to face the possibility that entire fields of study have been inflated beyond their value. “I do worry somewhat about the assessments—I’m concerned that we may be headed for a train wreck there,” Charlotte Danielson, “a highly respected mainstream authority on teacher evaluation,” according to Rethinking Schools, said of the Obama Administration’s Common Core education reforms. “The test items I’ve seen that have been released so far are extremely challenging.”
“If I had to take a test that was entirely comprised of items like that, I’m not sure that I would pass it—and I’ve got a bunch of degrees.” With all due respect to Ms. Danielson and her hard-won credentials, many degrees just don’t have much gravitas. “The academic part, it’s like you have to try to fail,” Georgia defensive end Arden Key said of the college of his choice—the University of South Carolina.
In fairness, that assessment could be made of many so-called institutions of higher learning. As well, it brings us back to the anxiety the education establishment has over Common Core.
While conservatives may fear indoctrination in the still-developing standards, teachers and administrators worry about any kind of standard. Their angst spills over into the student body itself.
“This spring students, parents and teachers in New York schools responded to administration of new Common Core tests developed by Peason Inc. with a general outcry against their length, difficulty, and inappropriate content,” the editors of Rethinking Schools claim. “Pearson included corporate logos and promotional material in reading passages.”
“Students reported feeling overstressed and underprepared—meeting the tests with shock, anger, tears, and anxiety. Administrators requested guidelines for handling tests students had vomited on.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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