Latest posts by Lennie Jarratt (see all)
Common Core aligned testing for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has moved more heavily to the computer, and the question format is moving away from multiple choice in order to include more essays. This presents a grading issue the makers of the tests must solve.
Pearson, CCSS test implementer and textbook publisher, along with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are working to resolve problems created by the evolving question format by hiring hundreds of people whom they train to grade the tests. According to a report in The New York Times:
“There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience.” [emphasis added]
Pearson Vice President Bob Sanders compares the training methods to those implemented by major corporations, such as McDonalds and Starbucks:
“McDonald’s has a process in place to make sure they put two patties on that Big Mac,” [Sanders] continued. “We do that exact same thing. We have processes to oversee our processes, and to make sure they are being followed.”
According to Diane Ravitch, a well know Common Core opponent, the quick fix is no fix at all:
“Most of the graders have never been teachers. We know that Pearson and other testing companies hire test graders from Craigslist and Kelly Temps. … So, if you want test scoring by readers who are paid by volume, who are not teachers, and who are trained like employees of McDonald’s and Starbucks, the results of Common Core testing should please you.” [emphasis added]
I agree with Ravitch on how the PARCC tests are being graded. The grading lends itself to much subjectivity in what is actually being learned. This is the same for CCSS itself. CCSS does more teaching of emotions and feelings, rather than those pesky things called “facts.” The CCSS tests are the direct result of these methodologies. It is no surprise inappropriate standards lead to a substandard curriculum and poor testing.