What “College & Career Ready” Really Means


Reposted from Inside Higher Ed:

While the Common Core State Standards look good in theory, as long as they are yoked to standardized assessments, we will not have students that are truly college and career ready. High stakes standardized tests conducted on computers, with essays graded by algorithm, actively work against the development of the traits that are necessary for college success.

The most successful students in my class would look at a question on a standardized test, and instead of trying to figure out the right answer, they would ask why they’re being asked this question. They should be able to examine the assumptions behind the choice of question, to analyze the possible biases underneath it. They should be able to consider half a dozen alternate ways the question could be asked. They should be able to take a stab at writing a better question.

CCSS literature says they want to help students think critically, except that to adopt these standards and the testing that must accompany them is to enforce compliance, rather than encourage students to develop critical thinking. This mania for assessment is crowding out much more important experiences when it comes to student development. Curriculum and teaching strategies solely designed to prepare students for standardized assessments actually destroys students’ ability to self-regulate. Taken to the extreme, as in the “no-excuses” schools, we get students that can only act out of fear of punishment from authorities, or a short term bribe.

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