Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today my kindergarten took a test called the Common Core MAP.
BY:  BAT Teacher 3/20/14 post
 We had been told to set up each child with their own account on their numbered Chromebook. The Teacher on Special Assignment came around and spent about an hour in each c...lass doing this in the previous weeks.

We didn’t know exactly when the test would be given, just that some time on Thursday or Friday, the proctors would come and test. I set out morning work for my kids today but before the bell rang, the proctor arrived. I quickly swept off the tables and she said we’d begin right away. I went out to pick up my class.

While the proctor set up the computers (disregarding what we had done -- that hour the TOSA spent in each class was unnecessary), I went through the usual morning routine. Parents who happened to be in the room scrambled to unpack the headphones, which had arrived in the office that morning, and distribute the computers. We started a half hour later. The kids were excited to be using the computers. That didn’t last for long.

The test is adaptive. When a child answers a question, the next batch of questions is slightly harder or easier depending on the correctness of their answer. The math and language arts sections each had 57 questions.

The kids didn’t understand that to hear the directions, you needed to click the speaker icon. We slipped around the room explaining.

Answers were selected by drop and drag with a trackpad, no mouse was available. A proctor in one room said that if a child indicated their answer, an adult could help. Other proctors didn’t allow this. I had trouble dragging and dropping myself on the little trackpads.
Kids in one class took five hours to finish. Kids were crying in 4 of 5 classes. There were multiple computer crashes ("okay, you just sit right there while we fix it! Don't talk to anyone!"). There were kids sitting for half hour with volume off on headsets but not saying anything. Kids accidentally swapped tangled headsets and didn’t seem to notice that what they heard had nothing to do with what they saw on the screen. Kids had to solve 8+6 when the answer choices were 0-9 and had to DRAG AND DROP first a 1 then a 4 to form a 14. There were questions where it was only necessary to click an answer but the objects were movable (for no reason). There were kids tapping on their neighbor’s computers in frustration. To go to the next question, one clicks "next" in lower right-hand corner.....which is also where the pop-up menu comes up to take you to other programs or shut down, so there were many instances of shut-downs and kids winding up in a completely different program.

Is this what we want for our youngest children?

10 comments:

  1. In what state? ? This is terrible.

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  2. This is absolutely maddening!!!! No this is not what I want for my children. I am so angered by all of this...as I have 2 small children that will be entering the public school system. I do not want this chaos for them. This will only make them full of anxiety and they will develop a hatred for school. Thanks for posting this...I am sharing in our fb group..Common Core in Mississippi.

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  3. Awful!! Just another way to make money and waist valuable learning time. SMH

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  4. Awful!! Just another way to unnecessarily spend money and waist valuable learning time. SMH.

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  5. This is horrible. Why are we as parents allowing our children to be put through this unnecessary torture. Well I for one am not going to allow my five year old to participate. I hope that other parents have the common sense to join me!

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  6. The new for profit charter schools opening in my city do MAP tests all grades three times per year. Welcome to the new dystopia.

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  7. Common Core is Child Abuse, especially for young children. Early Childhood organizations, teachers and academics were deliberately excluded from the process of developing CC standards.

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  8. Does the test come with suicide nets just a monetary kickback to the proctor for assessment of devices on behalf of some computer company?

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  9. Common Core isn't Child Abuse. TESTING Kindergarten students is Child Abuse! Although there are parts of Common Core that are a bit developmentally inappropriate for Kindergarten students, Common Core has actually allowed many Kindergarten teachers to get back to developmentally appropriate practice in their classrooms. We have to teach the standards but we can choose how we teach them (at least that is how it is in the district that I teach in.) So if we want to teach a child to count to 100 by 1's and 10's by playing a board game or by manipulating toy dinosaurs, we have that freedom. We can use checklists to keep track of who mastered a standard. The problem I have had is that the pressure for children to come into Kindergarten already knowing their letters and sounds is what is happening in our preschools where the 3 and 4 year olds are drilled on letters and sounds so that they can pass their assessments so that the preschools can get funding from the state. Children are drilled on letters, sounds, and sight words and come in knowing how to tell you what they are, but unable to use that knowledge to sound out words when they are writing or reading because they have been taught them out of context. These things are being taught instead of teaching the children social skills. Behavior problems are rampant in Kindergarten these days due to children coming in with few social skills and also because there isn't time for free play time to learn how to interact with their peers and socialize. Many of the state mandated assessments are developmentally inappropriate, are often invalid, take up WAY too much teaching time, and aren't even helpful to the teachers to plan instruction (which is what good assessments are for). Then we still have to do the assessments we need to use to help us know what the child knows and can do so we can plan the next step in their instruction. It is very frustrating to be teaching in a situation like this. I don't know what the solution to this situation can be, but I think it starts with parents being informed as to what is best for their children and then going to the polls and voting for legislators who will bring sanity back to the educational system.

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  10. This is fascist, autocratic insanity. I didn't join the Marines in 1965 and end up fighting in Vietnam to protect this kind of so called freedom promoted by a few billionaire oligarchs---for instance, like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Bloomberg, the Walton family or the Koch brothers.

    Maybe it's time to fight another war but this time the target is anyone who supports the CCSS testing agenda----not some peasant in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan who still lives a lifestyle equal to what most peasants lived a thousand years ago.

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