Common Core Controversy: PARCC Test Underscores Dangers of Standardization
Even though the Common Core State Standards Initiative was meant to strengthen the U.S. education system by ensuring “all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live”, sadly, it appears to be having the opposite effect. The problem? All kids learn and test differently and it’s impossible to capture the myriad needs and nuances of learning under the framework of a “common” set of teaching standards – especially for kids with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). What’s a frustrated parent to do?
The upcoming PARCC exams seem to be piling on the frustration. Aligned with Common Core standards, PARCC has become a lightning rod for controversy by confusing kids (and parents) and as a result, many states have refused to participate in the PARCC exams. Of the dwindling support remaining, an opt-out movement is gaining momentum amidst controversy over corporate ties to Common Core – which begs the question: Who’s really in charge of education in the U.S.?
To its credit, PARCC has been very transparent about its testing procedures, encouraging people to participate in sample tests. But when educated parents struggle with many of the questions, it becomes obvious that “teaching to the test” isn’t the best tactic to make students more prepared to enter the workforce or attend college.
Learning from other industries
Establishing a common set of standards certainly makes sense – on paper at least – to establish credibility, competence and trust for a variety of different industries. SAP is on a continuous mission to improve its certification standards to ensure qualified individuals understand how to implement and operate its software.
According to Mary Bazemore, COO, SAP Education, establishing competency standards for SAP professionals requires input and validation from a wide variety of experienced resources, with the input being tied directly to a specific set of tasks expected to be performed by a given role.
“We do not recommend using our certification test results as an exclusive standard for evaluating an individual’s capability, but as part of an overall evaluation of a candidate’s competency,” said Bazemore. “Evaluating a range of relevant criteria, including certifications, job experience and education has proven to be the most productive means of establishing standards that our ecosystem can use to determine an individual’s overall competence.”
What are your thoughts? Can Common Core learn from other industries to improve testing procedures?