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Worries Rise As Students Prepare to Take Common Core Tests

As 12 Million Students Prepare to Take Common Core Tests, Worries Arise

This spring, 12 million students in 29 states and Washington D.C. are expected to take Common Core-aligned computer-based exams. These new tests, however, have raised concerns involving Internet bandwidth and student readiness.

So says an article on USNews.com which starts out looking at a tech savvy sixth grade student named Kayla Hunter. Hunter, the article said, "has a computer at home unlike about half her classmates at her elementary school. And it matches up well with the one she'll use this week to take a new test linked to the Common Core standards."

Hunter, however, was worried when she participated in a practice exam at her school in Ohio, the article said.

"It wouldn't let me," she said in the article. "It kept saying it wasn't right, and it just kept loading the whole time."

According to the article Ohio "will be the first to administer one of two tests in English language arts and math based on the Common Core standards developed by two separate groups of states."

"The exams are expected to be more difficult than the traditional spring standardized state exams they replace," the article said. "In some states, they'll require hours of additional testing time because students will have to do more than just fill in the bubble. The goal is to test students on critical thinking skills, requiring them to describe their reasoning and solve problems.The tests have multimedia components, written essays and multi-step calculations needed to solve math problems that go beyond just using rote memory. Students in some states will take adaptive versions in which questions get harder or easier depending on their answers."

According to the article, there has been "controversy."

"The tests have been caught up in the debate playing out in state legislatures across the country about the federal role in education," the article said. "Although more than 40 states have adopted Common Core, which spells out what reading and math skills students should master in each grade, several have decided not to offer the tests — known as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. Some states are introducing other new state standardized tests this year."

According to the article "the Common Core tests fulfill the requirement in the federal No Child Left Behind law for annual testing in reading and math in grades three to eight and again in high school. But as Congress seeks to rewrite the education law, there's debate over whether the tests should be required by Washington, and whether students are being tested too much. Parents in pockets of the country have joined a movement to 'opt out' of these standardized tests."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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