In all of our Common Core materials and in all of the professional development workshops I have attended, they’ve been beating us over the head with the concept of close reading. You’re going to read less, but deeper, they said. So, naturally, I do as I am asked. We’ve been reading shorter texts and taking longer to do so, integrating assessments and discussion along the way to enrich the experience of reading. They underlined important details, noted the paragraph numbers (for citations later on), circled unfamiliar words, wrote their own questions in the margins and created their own claims, backed up by pieces of evidence they found along the way.
I am convinced that those skills are the skills that brought them down on the test.
After months of telling them to dig deeper and allotting the time for them to do so, suddenly my kids were faced with walls of text and an unfair time limit. They weren’t just long, they were too advanced for them. To add insult to injury, the questions were insanely long as well and most of them required them to go back and reread. One girl told me it took her twenty minutes to do the first passage alone, the first of 6 passages. She didn’t finish, and she was one of many.
Next year, I want to know what to do. I want my state to choose a side. Either you want me to teach my kids to dig deeper or you don’t. Don’t force me teach them skills that are going to backfire on them later on. Close reading isn’t compatible with testing. I hate teaching to the test, but this year, I taught against the test and it absolutely kills me.
Are any other New York State teachers out there who are just as frustrated as I am about these tests?
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- 40strongproject answered: This is why we exist.
- everyfiredies said: My freshmen had to answer questions about a rebate application. A REBATE APPLICATION. They’re 14. I’m with you. I can’t wait for assessments that match the common core skills.
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- grayer answered: I’m in NY. I’m just furious they had the same passage and questions for multiple grade levels.
- littlestwampum answered: I’m in Brooklyn! I am a huge bag of mixed emotions when it comes to these tests!
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- grammarchicknyc answered: 63 out of my 111 students were unable to complete the test today. As for the test itself, I didn’t get to see it. It’s prohibited.
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