This is the fourth in a series about the report released by American Principles in Action, ThePulse2016, and Cornerstone Policy Research Action. Permission has been granted for text from Common Core Report: Grading the 2016 GOP Candidates to be published on Stop Common Core in Washington State. The Executive Summary from the report was published in the first post. The second post in the series was The Need for a Scorecard. The third post in the series was The Public-Private Partnership: How Private Entities Developed the Common Core and Enlisted the Federal Government to Drive It Into the States. Here is the third section.
3. Common Core System
The Common Core Standards do not exist in isolation. The stated plan of Common Core’s owners and funders and of the federal government is that the assessments required by No Child Left Behind would align with the Common Core and that teachers, schools, and school districts would be evaluated in significant part according to how students perform on those assessments. The states would continue to build out massive student databases that the federal government had incentivized beginning in 2002.45 The data from the assessments (and from other sources) would be, and is, fed into these databases. The goal is to track teacher-student connections for purposes of performance evaluation, and to track all students from early education into the workforce.46
Standardized testing deserves special mention. From kindergarten through 12th grade, depending on the state, district, and school, children may be subjected to as many as 113 standardized tests.47 In a single year, class time devoted to preparing for and taking such tests can amount to over one month. This is in large part due to No Child Left Behind’s testing requirements and attempts by administrators to prepare children to do well on those tests, sometimes by providing for additional tests.
But it gets worse.
Often, such tests have very little instructional value. As Prof. Christopher Tienken explains, to be useful for instruction, test results must be returned quickly to teachers and parents, who need to see a child’s actual questions and answers.48 Standardized tests fail on these counts. For most Common Core students, the lost instructional time is precious time wasted. This will not close achievement gaps, nor will it prepare children for college.
The footnotes are available in the full report. You can download the full report by clicking on Common Core Report: Grading the 2016 GOP Candidates.