NY principals: Common Core tests fail

New York’s new state exams are supposed to be aligned with the new Common Core Standards, but a group of principals says they’re poorly aligned, unbalanced, take too much time and often confuse students.  

The English Language Arts tests focused mostly on one skill — “analyzing specific lines, words and structures of information text” — while ignoring other “deep and rich” skills.

. . . the testing sessions—two weeks of three consecutive days of 90-minute (and longer for some) periods—were unnecessarily long, requiring more stamina for a 10-year-old special education student than of a high school student taking an SAT exam. Yet, for some sections of the exams, the time was insufficient for the length of the test.

Students faced more multiple-choice questions than ever before, the principals complain. “For several multiple choice questions the distinction between the right answer and the next best right answer was paltry at best.”

The math tests contained 68 multiple-choice problems often repeatedly assessing the same skills. The language of these math questions was often unnecessarily confusing.

The principals also object to “putting the fate of so many in the education community in the hands of Pearson – a company with a history of mistakes.”

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  1. Crimson Wife says:

    Hmm, it sounds like I may very well be opting my kids out of the new version of the STAR test in 2015. I’m not anti-test, but I’m not going to have my kids serve as guinea pigs while the bureaucrats figure out this Common Core thing.

    • Bad tests are a big problem. New York is apparently better off than some states, though. In Georgia, teachers are forbidden to even look at the tests as they administer them. That might not be a big deal if test questions were ever released for general review, but they aren’t. It doesn’t have to be that way. If we are really giving important tests and are supposed to regard the results as meaningful, teachers, parents, and the general public should be able to see what’s on the test.

      • Richard Aubrey says:


        What is troubling is the asserted minimal distance between right and almost right in the multichoice questions. We don’t even know, in some cases, which is actually right, if it’s not some open and shut issue.
        “Which came first…?” would be okay. Was the South generally to the south of the North in the Civil War would probably be okay.
        Math, some hard science, probably.
        Making up tests is hard. Resources, such as time and personnel, should be available to do it right, considering the stakes.

  2. SuperSub says:

    This is what happens when you trust a group of individuals who can’t have a cup of coffee in the morning without taking a bribe to make major decisions. NY has a government that is effectively run by three individuals, and all the have shown a tendency to enrich themselves and their associates through their governing.