Thursday, July 22, 2010

Colleges and the Common Core

Original Article

Common assessments is the question!
Actually, I think the most important question raised by the article is the common assessments.

If we assuming, for a moment, that the assessments is accurate. Is there any reason to against the common assessment? For me, I don't see any reason to against it ( I will address Donald Asher's comment later). The question left is, then, how can we make these assessments reasonably accurate. Ideally, the assessments will provide useful information on various measurements. There is no reason to limited to, say, one score for math. There could have one score for algebra, one score for trigonometry ... etc. There is also no reason to limit depth except to limited the number of questions students have to answer.

With these assessments in place, the rest is history. Do we need common core? Will college using these assessments for admission? The answer to these two question are obvious. We do not need common core since these assessments will drive the curriculum and schools can pick whatever way to teach their students. If these assessments are accurate, I can't see why college would not use them.

Now to the comment of Mr. Asher: the creativity. Apparently, Mr. Asher is very proud of the American innovation machine. The thing I would like to point out is that, at this point, it may be true that American have been innovated. But I am not so sure this is directly linked to the American education system. Also, for a long time, China and India have to fight for their survival first. Mr. Asher's arguments on teaching to the test is also questionable. Personally, I went through all these test preparation culture and I can tell you that those people who standout are those really understand the material. Teaching to the test does not work - especially if the assessment is well designed. The entrepreneur argument isn't without a flaw either. In American there are plenty of foreign born entrepreneur and much of them are in the hi-tech field. Besides, Microsoft and Cisco are created by nerds who are of no typical American kids.

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