Op-Ed: New test scores show students lost a lot of ground in the pandemic. Overreacting won’t help.
Parents, beware. The biggest reason your students lost ground is that they weren’t taught how to deal with it.
This week two research studies released by the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) demonstrated that the United States continues to fall behind not only in math and reading but also in English. A New York University study concluded that CCSSI “lacks national-level rigor with respect to the key writing and critical thinking skills required for 21st-century STEM education,” and a Stanford study found that the standards haven’t really changed over the years, at least with respect to the ability of students to read.
But one of the best ways to boost math and reading scores is to keep students engaged. In other words, don’t just read; get them actively involved in their learning.
Instead of offering a “test” on a single topic and then comparing test scores according to the student’s interest, why not have the student become more invested in their own learning by providing a genuine context for understanding a topic?
The problem is that learning and teaching are inextricably linked through the curriculum.
Most of the time, when the CCSSI gets to the teaching end of the curriculum, it’s designed by the test writers and/or the math and reading teachers – most of whom are not even CCSSI-certified. But when it comes to the learning end – which is actually what teachers are supposed to do – the problem is made much worse.
According to the CCSSI’s website, the standards are:
Concerned that current standards for the content of language arts and mathematics are insufficient to meet today’s needs for strong reading and math instruction.
Concerned that current standards for the content of science are insufficient to meet today’s needs for strong knowledge of scientific principles, experimental design, and analysis, and the ability to apply scientific principles to innovative thinking and learning.
Concerned that current performance assessments for these content areas are too narrow and not at all aligned with the needs of 21st century learners.
For the test writers, it’s all about getting the students to have the requisite knowledge