In our town, life is going on just about the same. We still have Everyday Math and only those kids with help at home will get to algebra I in 8th grade and have a chance of getting to a STEM career. High school kids still pack their schedules with honors and AP classes while ignoring the meaningless state tests. The CC PARCC test will be no different. Students worry about the PSAT and SAT, but ignore the state tests. They are meaningless for them.I attended the SRO Common Core shindig in my district last night.
However, there are still many kids who will now have to meet these state test standards to get their high school degree. These are tests that try to judge one's thinking and understanding abilities, not just mastery of basic skills. They are the ones most hurt by these fuzzy tests. Classroom teachers should be the ones best able to judge these qualities, but it's now turned over to test makers who try to boil that ability into a few understanding-type questions on the state test.
Why should students fail to graduate high school when they pass high school courses but flunk a fuzzy state test? This is a failure of the school or the test. Why should minimal passing grades be based on fuzzy understanding rather than mastery of basic skills? How do these tests give teachers any feedback on how to improve? When my son was in first grade, I was a member of a parent-teacher team that evaluated our state test results. The test gave thinking-type questions where they (magically) split the results into areas like number sense and problem solving. Rather than directly test to see if students can add, subtract, and handle percentages and fractions, they test to see if they "understand".
So here we were sitting around a table discussing what could be done to fix a lower school score in "problem solving". The answer was to spend more time on, you guessed it, problem solving. If they tested something directly, like fractions, that would give them much better feedback. But then again, they should be doing that already. A state test should only be used as a last-resort check for systemic school failures, not as a means to check for "understanding".
The downside to CC is that many more will point to it as rigorous path that is meaningful to the development of their kids. I'm also waiting to see if our 7th and 8th grade math texts are watered down. A few years ago, we managed to get rid of CMP and replace them with the same strong algebra textbooks used by our high school. Common Core might now force us into a less rigorous path.
Irvington kids are going to be inferencing for 13 years.
Inferencing and problem-solving because, in the real world, math has more than one right answer.