Below is an excerpt from a guest blog written by Carol Burris, Principal at South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2010 she was named the New York State Outstanding Education by School Administrators Association of New York.
In a nutshell she knows her stuff. Valerie Strauss published her blog post at The Answer Sheet which is Strauss’ education blog at The Washington Post. Burris writes about a recent Common Core aligned test given to first graders in New York.
My speech teacher came to see me. She was both angry and distraught. In her hand was her 6-year-old’s math test. On the top of it was written, “Topic 2, 45%”. On the bottom, were the words, “Copyright @ Pearson Education.” After I got over my horror that a first-grader would take a multiple-choice test with a percent-based grade, I started to look at the questions.
The test provides insight into why New York State parents are up in arms about testing and the Common Core. With mom’s permission, I posted the test here. Take a look at question No. 1, which shows students five pennies, under which it says “part I know,” and then a full coffee cup labeled with a “6″ and, under it, the word, “Whole.” Students are asked to find “the missing part” from a list of four numbers. My assistant principal for mathematics was not sure what the question was asking. How could pennies be a part of a cup?
Then there is Question No. 12. Would (or should) a 6 year old understand the question, “Which is a related subtraction sentence?” My nephew’s wife, who teaches Calculus, was stumped by that one. Finally, think about the level of sophistication required to answer the multiple-choice question in No. 8 which asks students to “Circle the number sentence that is true” from a list of four.
Keep in mind that many New York State first graders are still 5 years old at the beginning of October, when this test was given.
Be sure to read the whole thing.