Skip to comments.Standardized Absurdity: A Preview of Common Core Testing, Part 1
Posted on 01/28/2014 12:40:04 PM PST by Kaslin
Lets put the Common Core to the test. Specifically, lets look at a pilot standardized examination created by Smarter Balanced, one of the two testing consortia formed to create exams aligned to the Common Core, the educational regimen that prevails in forty-five states in the nation. We shall leave aside the questions of why everyone has been so quiet about what these tests will look like and whether states outsourcing testing to unaccountable agencies that will in turn dictate the curricula of the schools constitutes a gross violation of the principle of local control. For now we shall simply try to figure out whether these purportedly rigorous exams will produce the college and career readiness for a twenty-first-century global economy that Common Core proponents have so often promised and proclaimed, or whether the Common Core is both utterly superficial and politically biased. What follows is taken from an eleventh-grade English Language Arts exam. That is the class that used to be called simply English or literature. To shed a little light on what is really transpiring in such a test, we shall add a few of our own questions along the way.
The readings for the exam consist in two-three-page selections followed by several questions. Over the course of two articles, we shall look at excerpts from the first three sections of the exam.
The Science of Meditation
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by people from a wide variety of cultures. Though traditionally a spiritual practice, meditation has more recently been identified by medical professionals as a uniquely effective way to improve mental and physical health. . . .
. . . Here is one of the most commonly taught ways to meditate: start by sitting on the floor or in a chair in a comfortable and relaxed position. Once you are comfortable, concentrate your awareness on your breathing. . . . As you focus on your breathing, notice how your mind tends to wander to other things. . . . When you notice your attention wandering, simply acknowledge this new thought, watch it go by, and then return your awareness to your breathing. Dont try to fight against these wandering thoughts . . .
People who meditate regularly report numerous benefits. They feel calmer and more relaxed, and more prepared and clear-headed when responding to the challenges and frustrations of everyday life. These reported benefits have been supported by scientific research on meditation . . .
Sample question from the actual exam:
How does meditation work, and what does science have to say about its effects on practitioners? [a quotation from the selection]
What is the meaning of practitioners in the text?
a) a person engaged in the practice of a profession such as law or medicine
b) a person who does something repeatedly in order to improve
c) a person authorized to apply healing techniques to others
d) a person who engages in something specified
Before the twenty-first-century global economy, most people handled stress by:
a) praying to God
b) drinking lots of whiskey
c) having intimate and prolonged conversations with their breathing
d) usually a, too often b, and never c, which could have gotten one thrown into bedlam.
The person who regularly practices the science of meditation is most likely:
a) a bum
b) a yogi
c) a hippie
d) a total flake
e) all of the above
Reading selection number two:
Sustainability is a popular buzzword these days, but what exactly does it mean? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony . . . [and] that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. As the idea of living a sustainable lifestyle has become more widespread in recent years, consumers have begun to demand that the products they buy are produced in sustainable ways. Its a trend that has made a new type of clothing, dubbed eco-fashion, very fashionable indeed.
Why has clothing become such a concern for those who want to live more sustainably? Consider that Americans threw away an estimated 13.1 million pounds of clothing and textiles in 2010, or 5.3% of solid wastes that made it into U. S. landfills that year (according to the EPA). . . .
But the environmental impact of clothing involves more than just where our used clothes end up. To calculate the true impact of, say, a cotton T-shirt, we must go back to the beginning: to the farm where the cotton was grown. Cotton is a very water-intensive crop that is typically grown with heavy application of insecticides . . . Cotton that is grown in the U. S. is often shipped off to other countries . . . where it is processed with chemicals and dyes . . . The completed product is then shipped back to America . . . While all that shipping uses up a lot of energy, shipping actually accounts for less than half of the energy that will eventually be used on that T-shirt over its lifetime. According to the Audubon Society, about 60% of the energy cost of a T-shirt comes from washing and drying itand washing adds a water cost as well.
Given this environmental impact, its easy to see why many consumers are bypassing cotton T-shirts for clothing that is produced in more sustainable ways. . . .
Sustainability, however, does not just mean being good to the environment; it also means being fair to fellow human beings. Etc.
Sample question from the exam:
The clothing industry has not been operating in an ecologically sustainable way.
Click on all the details that support this conclusion.
a) Growing cotton uses a lot of water.
b) Cotton growers use a lot of insecticides.
c) Etc. through f).
The adverb sustainably found in paragraph 2 would most likely be found in which resource:
a) Samuel Johnsons Dictionary of the English Language
b) The Oxford English Dictionary
c) The American Heritage Dictionary
d) The Tree-Huggers Guide to the Planet
Though not stated explicitly in the passage, who is least likely to be the friend of the American farmer?
a) A vendor at a rock concert
b) A fashion designer indifferent to Eco-fashion
c) An employee of the Environmental Protection Agency
d) Your mother who wastes energy washing your T-shirts
The term that best describes the activities outlined in paragraph 3 is:
a) The international T-shirt shuffle
c) Commerce and free exchange
d) Economic imperialism
For further rigorous reading selections that lead to college and career readiness in a twenty-first-century global economyand a few answers to our questions about standardized testing under the Common Corewe shall continue this exam tomorrow.
*Dont try to fight against these wandering thoughts . . . “
Why do I picture an angry nun and feel my knuckles swelling up when I read this?...
Say “Ohm” whilst staring at your navel and do not wash your T-shirt so that you can be like your heroes the dirty hippies of the 1960’s.
Finally, the Holy Grail of state “education”! After centuries of research, a test that proves that liberals are smarter than conservatives, most of whose answers are incoherent ramblings like “This is stupid!” and “I never heard such a pile of collectivist bushwah in my life!”
Translation: "Should we determine your life worth preserving, prepare for a life of stinky nakedness, World Citizen."
There goes any doubt that Common Core would be about anything than indoctrination.
So the next lib crusade is going to be against cotton t-shirts? Or is it clothes in general?
This gives even more reasons why parents should send their children to private school.
re: According to the Audubon Society, about 60% of the energy cost of a T-shirt comes from washing and drying itand washing adds a water cost as well.
So the implication is that cotton T-shirts require washing and drying and so are bad. But I am racking my brain to figure out what type of clothing is made up something that doesn’t require washing.
disposable paper clothes?
re: This gives even more reasons why parents should send their children to private school.
Not entirely a solution since Catholic schools across the country have already adopted this curriculum. There are plenty of other private schools which have done this as well. With the alignment of the SAT with the curriculum, more and more private schools will probably be adopting it too.
I was not aware that some private schools have adopted this. Thanks for telling me. I bet Montessori schools would never adopt it.