"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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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Finish Line For K-12 Education - SAT/ACT

Home schooling families and private schools have not been able to completely ignore Common Core because the threat at the finish line, the SAT, was poised to align to CC. The question we have not been able to answer is how big an impact that would have on the curriculums for these non-public school options . The New York Times reported recently on what we might expect from the revised SAT.
 “The heart of the revised SAT will be analyzing evidence,” David Coleman  said. “The College Board is reaching out to teachers and college faculty to help us design questions that, for example, could ask students to use math to analyze the data in an economics study or the results of a scientific experiment, or analyze the evidence provided within texts in literature, history, geography or natural science....
... it shouldn’t just be about picking the right answer,” he said. “It should be about being able to explain, and see, the applications of this math.”
The biggest change will probably come in the essay portion of the test.
"Most likely, he said, the outlines — sections on critical reading and math and a 25-minute essay — will remain the same. But Mr. Coleman has made known his discomfort with the essay, which puts no premium on accuracy. Students can get top marks for declaring that the Declaration of Independence was written by Justin Bieber and sparked the French Revolution, as long as the essay is well organized and develops a point of view"
The ACT has been left out of some of the discussions about Common Core since it was Coleman, as President of the College Board, who made the much publicized statement about aligning the SAT to CC.  However, the ACT has been on board with CC all along. From a press release dated June 2010

"The Common Core State Standards Initiative is led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with ACT, the College Board, and Achieve."
ACT's site looks like they have been aligning all along. The NYT reported, "ACT plans to start yearly testing as early as third grade to help guide students to college readiness."

The ACT and SAT are becoming more like mutual companions on a journey toward one national college readiness testing track.  With Pearson helping the ACT move towards computers for testing and tracking, it is very possible that the Pearson/ACT/SAT alliance was the plan all along. SBAC and PARCC were just a way to make it look "state-led."   

It is interesting to note that a thirty year executive at ACT came out of retirement last year to work with SAT.  These two powerhouses could eventually merge and become the alternative "independent" testing company for the Common Core as states pull out of SBA or PARCC.

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