Despite the claims of reformers and the companies that pay them, no single test is a measure of college and career readiness. NYS wants to believe the Common Core ELA & Math tests are those measures, but that is simply not the case. In fact, weekly classroom spelling tests are by far a better measure of college and career readiness than the NYS ELA & Math tests.

There is nothing rigorous about a spelling test, provided of course you put the work in and studied. In a spelling test, you are graded on how well you prepare. You are graded on your work ethic. You are graded on the attention you give to a task that you are expected to complete. On the NYS Math & ELA tests, no matter how hard a student works, they are still predetermined to fail. Last year, before a single student took the NYS ELA & Math test it was announced that 70% would fail. Weekly spelling tests make no such guarantee.

There are no tricks on a spelling test. As is the case in college and career readiness, you get exactly what you put in. Not the case with NYS tests. As per NYS Common Core ELA & Math test guide, “students will need to make hard choices between fully correct and plausible but incorrect.”

In a spelling test, students are tested on what they have learned. There is no guarantee that is the case with NYS Common Core ELA & Math tests. Most are under the second year of Common Core instruction and the tests assume mastery of all previous skills taught. The content of the tests seems to escape the grade level on every page. NYS claims this is because the test uses “authentic” materials. Can’t they find “authentic” materials on grade level? Perhaps they should ask a teacher how it is done?

Spelling tests provide instantaneous feedback and cause minimal disruption. They take 5 minutes to administer, 10 minutes to grade, 10 minutes to analyze, and 10 minutes start formulating a plan to adjust future instruction. NYS Common Core ELA & Math tests take more than 1,000 minutes to administer and 6 months to get back. Students are reduced to a number (1,2,3,4) and there is absolutely no item analysis. Opportunities to adjust instruction to meet needs or challenge strengths are lost since the students are in a new grade and being taught new standards.

The spelling test is not only a measure of work ethic, but it tests the most critical skill the multibillion-dollar tests of college and career readiness leave out- listening.

Spelling tests drive instruction. NYS Common Core ELA & Math drive a corporate reform agenda scheduled to privatize schools in the name of profit.

Lace to the Top– as one…

Twitter: @lacetothetop

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