This come from the PDF file: pcast-stemed-report (130 pages) which was the report to the President behind the drive for STEM and it’s incorporation into Common Core… H/t off to CommonCoreDiva for making it available.

From page 48:

“The true meaning of a standard often only becomes clear when one specifies the corresponding assessment. A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo illustrates this point nicely by giving alternative question that might be used to assess a single state standard. The standard reads: “Understand and use ratios, proportions and percents in a variety of situations.” (New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards for Mathematics, Grade 7, 4.1.A.3.) Six different assessment questions that could be said to be “aligned” to the standard are:

1. Identify 50% of 20.

2. Identify 67% of 81.

3. Shawn got 7 correct answers out of 10 possible answers on his science test. What percent of questions did he get correct?

4. J.J. Redick was on pace to set an NCAA record in career free throw percentage. Leading in the NCAA tournament in 2004, he made 97 of 104 free throw attempts. What percentage of free throws did he make?

5. J.J. Redick was on pace to set an NCAA record in career free throw percentage. Leading into the NCAA tournament in 2004, he made 97 of 104 free throw attempts. In the first tournament game, Redick missed his first five free throws. How far did his percentage drop from before the tournament game to right after missing those free throws?

6. J.J. Redick and Chris Paul were competing for the best free-throw shooting percentage. Redick made
94% of his first 103 shots, while Paul made 47 of 51 shots.
a. Which one had a better shooting percentage?
b. In the next game, Redick made only 2 of 10 shots while Paul made 7 of 10 shots. What are
their new overall shooting percentages?
c. Who is the better shooter?
d. Jason argued that if Paul and J.J. each made the next 10 shots, their shooting percentages
would go up the same amount. Is this true? Why or why not?”

(Examples courtesy of study Driven by Data, Paul Bambrick-Santoyo)

All of these meet the New Jersey standard:… “understand and use ratios, proportions, and percents in a variety of
situations.” .  But as you can see there are very different level of degrees that cannot be written down in a “standards form” and therefore the real standards can only be set by administrators through assessments….

“If teachers were only given this standard without clarification and commentary, no one could fault them if they taught only the skills needed to answer the easy problem, even if the end-of-year state test demanded skills necessary to answer a very difficult problem…..”

Hence the assessment must be the determination of the standard. Not the lofty goals written down for public consumption. The assessments must reflect what we want students to learn. As important, assessments need to be fair, valid, and transparent to maintain the public’s trust.


Fair, valid, and transparent….. ?

That is exactly what we do not have.  We have a huge proprietary wall, one which no one can leak information through without being sued, imprisoned, and tortured at Guantanamo. 🙂  This is the gigantic problem with these Common Core driven assessments.  This is why parents have called for governors to take them first, legislators to take them first, and corporate executives to take them first, before putting our own children into the wood chipper.

Furthermore, with the Common Core Assessments comes the call for “approaching a higher level of learning”.  (This gets closer to what Mr. White (now Mr. Murray) was trying to expound for which he got royally pummeled. …)

“Such assessments should measure higher levels of thinking and reasoning as well as students’ content knowledge and skills. They need to help all students achieve at high levels while not holding back students who want to explore a subject more quickly or at a deeper level. Thus, when teachers aim to increase student scores on these assessments, they should foster all the types of learning that the standards emphasize – not merely the factual recall aspects of learning that are by far the easiest and least expensive to test. A good assessment encourages quality teaching and learning. This is no small feat given that excellence in STEM education means cultivating in students not simply the ability to answer predictable questions, but the capacity to pose probing questions and to figure out methods of answering those questions.”….

We have heard this often, and I think this gets to the direct controversy being engaged over Common Core. Common Core is trying to get around the factual recall aspects of learning that are by far the easiest and least expensive to test…. 

What it is attempting to achieve, is teaching “a process of how to think”, without relying on facts…. And I think here is the Achilles Heel of this whole entire program… 

A child needs to learn facts. He secondly needs to learn a structure so he can sort those facts and retrieve them when and if necessary. Then he needs to be taught how to think using those facts and structures accordingly.  Most of us were educated exactly this way.  It is the classical model of education which replaced the Dark Ages version of Common Core in the Renaissance Period. 

As we now have Cat Scans to prove, our brains grow this exact way.  We accumulate facts and lay them on a structure in our brains, and over time we group those together in a very similar way that derivatives got grouped together in the 00’s… When we needed an investment we didn’t go to the individual mortgages and buy them, we put money into large groups of many smaller groups of individual mortgages… Using this model, if needing to know what 2 + 2 is, our body gives us 4 without going through the original thinking that 2 dogs and 2 cats would make how many animals?  Let us count and see, one, two, three, four… Therefore 2 + 2 = 4 … 

But this is exactly the process that Common Core is teaching…. Instead of each child storing the obvious answer, 4, it is pressed with storing steps to a complicated process forcing them to hand count every item in their brain each time to get the answer…. 

We memorize things for a reason.  And classical education tested memorization and recall because that is truly what it is we need to know…. 

Common Core is turning out educated kids with no hard drive….  Instead of having a few failures being unable to count change back at the fast food counter, we are on our way to having all ex-students being unable to count change back correctly… 

“Uhhh, I was given a $20 bill for a sale of $7.98….  (Ok.. so the first thing I have to do is draw circles.  Then i have to put little scribbles in them.. but do I draw 20 circles?  or 798?  I’m so confused…  i don’t have time to draw 798 circles; I’d better draw 20.)  “Just a minute Sir”..(Why didn’t they ever train us on adding and subtracting in Common Core?)

If this is what you teach; this is what they will only remember.

This is every parent’s beef about Common Core.  It is taking the very reasonable goals for training children in their last years of college to ready them for the real world, long after their head is hardwired to quickly retrieve facts and apply the skills they’ve learned, and instilling them in kindergärtners, thereby supplanting the necessary facts and very skills they need to learn… 

Perhaps hidden in their spiels, is the assumption that children can do both.  That is a huge assumption.  We certainly know the problems that can occur when adults try to do two mental things at one time, like driving and texting… Disaster.  But by the principles of yin and yang, as you push one, you neglect the other… Therefore, this idea that you need to get away from facts and skills is very dangerous, especially in k-5…..

But that is exactly what the tests will be assessing…. 

It appears that the only way children can be spared this great error, is for parents to stage a mass demonstration and derail Common Core.  Several states have dropped out.  More need to… All students are to be tested by these Common Core Standards this year, 2014 -2015…. 

If parents say no, and through civil disobedience, hold back their kids from taking this test, so no state has sufficient numbers to hold anyone accountable, then the back of Common Core will be broken… it will take every American fully fired up to do their duty to make it work… 

Plan now to opt out your child in Spring….  Start calling your legislators and tell them we want to go back to the classic model,  That same one that gave us all the technology advances of the twentieth century…. rockets, jets, space exploration, microwaves, 

Don’t take their word.  Get the facts on Common Core. You!  Take the tests….