"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Common Core Tests, FOIAs and Is This the Education You Want for Your Children?

Reprinted with permission.  Parents take note and take action:

          Common Core Tests
          How are children are being “Dumbed down”
                                                By Jessica Chiong

          Recently I requested through an FOI (Freedom of Information Act) to have access to see my Children’s “Secured” tests that are not sent home and are adopted through the CC Standards. A couple days ago I was able to see two of my three children tests. I have a kindergarten, first grade and second grade children. The tests I saw were Kindergarten and First grade. I will start with Kindergarten.

          In Kindergarten in just homework alone, I have seen her come home with adding and subtracting, reading and writing, shapes and comprehension. I am fortunate that my daughter is a quick learner and has had no problems with homework in fact she is ahead of most students. But 75% of her classroom is not so lucky and some of them did not know how to use a pencil, speak English among other things. In the Comprehension tests (with prompting and support) she had to Identify characters, settings, and major events of the story.

          In one of the tests for Math, they score on a point level. One point if you get half of the question correct. Two points if answered correctly in full. I noticed in her tests that she did not “comply fully” and only received one point. For example the teacher would read aloud to her 2+4=? In this test she had to use a space allotted to draw two cookies, and then draw four more cookies to come up with the answer and then write the equation down after with the answer. My daughter already new what 2+4 was and did not draw the “cookies” and simply wrote out the math sentence and answered six. So because she did not draw the cookies she only received one point and did not pass that question in its entirety. (dumbing down)

          Next she was asked to write in number sequence starting 10-20. She was able to do it in the correct order but because her number 7 and number 9 was written in backwards for 17 & 19 she got it wrong. (dumbing down)

On the over all sheet that shows where she was “Core standards” or not “Core standards” they let me take this paper home where it was not an actual test.  It is broken down as a graph from Beginning of the year, middle of the year, and the end of the year. Here is the break down of this graph:
·       TRC (comprehension)
·       FSF (this was not broken down for me)
·       LNF (Letter Naming)
·       PSF (word sounding out)
·       NWF (Nonsense Words)
·       TRC (reading) Beginning of year was fiction, Middle of year was Non-Fiction, and End of year is Fiction

All of these tests are done on a one-minute time allotment. The ONLY thing she did not do well in was Nonsense words to sound out like “BIF”. Here we see the dumbing down of making our children read nonsense words and get tested on them. Also for them to realize in Kindergarten the difference between Fiction and Non Fiction books is to me the rigorous part of testing (She was not “Core” in Fiction, but was on “Core” with NON fiction). Each time there is a unit to be taught. There is a Pre-Test, The Actual Test, and then the Post-test. The only test recorded and graded on is the Actual test. I noticed on the tests they were not called Quiz, or test but they are now using the term “Dipstick”

          Our school has adopted Common Core standards in their curriculum and are using codes like:
·       CCKRF.1.D
·       CCKRF.3.A
·       CCKRF.2.A
·       CCKRF.3

Now onto First Grade, here it was I discovered that I found very alarming and I will discuss it before I go on too what I saw for his tests. The way First Grade is tested is they start at a “Kindergarten level” with homework and testing. Once they have “Mastered” those they then move up to the First grade level. What I saw is that even at the end of the year he has only “mastered” a few out of the “Kindergarten” and has not technically moved up to First grade levels, because he has to “Master” all Kindergarten levels first, so here we are at the end of the year. And my child is technically onto a “Kindergarten” level and will be moving onto Second grade. (Dumbing Down)

Let’s start with Symphony Math, which is what our school uses. And example of the kindergarten level math is this:

·       26+22= (but they are 26 on top and 22 on bottom)
He did not pass this test. Next was a question showing an Ice Cream Cone asking what shapes in the Ice Cream Cone make 3D shapes, this he did Pass.
          For Reading, he was read a story, in which he had to answer several questions about the story. For the most part the were easy, except for this one question:

·       What is the root word of climbs? (He did not get this right)
·       Is this story Fiction or Non-Fiction, or a Poem? (He did not get this right)

Everything else I saw was basically the same thing my kindergarten student is doing including the Nonsense words, but their lists on the yearly report differ. They still show if you are at “Core Goals” or “Strategic” (meaning not core) and of course the part of the testing that is bringing his grades down are the “Nonsense words”

Here is what his report graph states with codes:
·       TRC (actual grade or they use “letters” like PC=Far Below, RB=below, C=below, E=Far below, J=Proficient
·       LNF (letter naming)
·       PSF
·       NWF (Nonsense words)
·       DORF (reading levels)
Again same thing with the testing for First grade, there is a Pre-Test, Actual test, and a Post-Test. The Actual test is what they are graded on.

So in my opinion the dumbing down is clearly shown in some tests but the fact that my First grader is actually learning on what they call a Kindergarten level is what I find most upsetting. I printed out from my local School Board Website what they list and break down for curriculum. I will post the link on here. But I suggest to better “understand” your school’s curriculum is to go on your school website and take a look around:

Any questions please feel free to email me at lukychrm77@yahoo.com or visit my two Common Core sites on Facebook

Thank you and I hope this will be helpful. Please remember your rights as a parent and contact your local school board and request to see your children’s tests. If you have to use an FOI (Freedom of Information Act) they have the tests in the school locked away. They can’t deny you your rights to see the tests. They just will not allow you to take copies because they are “secured” tests.

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