Common Core Testing: A New Way to Waste my Time
May 22, 2015
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What has standardized testing come to in this state? As I filled out questions imploring about 400 gallon coffee cups, sat back and listened to a lecture that involved what the sun does, and wrote an essay about why it is more desirable to have a small house compared to a big house, I almost laughed out loud. Even my test proctor chuckled to himself as he read the script the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) so eloquently prescribed to be read, while drawing a picture of the sun on the board.
The prescription to California’s education illness, one’s whose symptoms includes an eighth to last ranking in education according to a recent Education Week report, consists of doses of questions that pushes students to the point of nostalgia for the STAR tests of years past.
According to Tom Torlakson, the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the new Common Core standards are designed to “prepare students for the future” and make sure they’re prepared for “college and careers.” What better way to prepare for the real world than to figure out how many paper towels are needed to clean up 400 gallons of coffee that spilled from a coffee cup fountain? Now nothing I face in life will catch me off guard.
For a multitude of problems in the Math section, I thankfully was able to pull on fourth and fifth grade knowledge in order to solve problems ranging from finding the median of a set of numbers, to plotting simple algebraic functions on a graph with a tool that didn’t even allow me to plot the exact point I wanted. It seemed a shame that I wasn’t able to use the skills garnered from years of hard work in Trigonometry and Calculus, but at least I feel prepared to tackle all the real world has to throw at me.
Another key point of annoyance for me was the writing prompt, as Common Core so strangely supplied us with a prompt that almost smacked of socialist dogma, imploring me to write an essay on the benefits of having a small house compared to a big house, while exposing how many wealthy people “feel bad about their gluttony.” I’m all for creating an education system based on analytical thinking and preparing students for college and the real world. But when Common Core fails to even do that, while at the same time giving students hidden messages about the downsides of becoming wealthier than others, I have to shake my head in disgust.
At least we had almost three hours to finish thirty minutes worth of math problems.