Blog: Common Core

Many billions have been spent, and continue to be spent, promoting the Common Core Standards and their associated consortium tests, PARCC and SBAC. Nonetheless, the “Initiative” has been stopped in its tracks largely by a loose coalition of unpaid grassroots activists. That barely-organized amateurs could match the many well-organized, well-paid professional organizations, tells us something...
Guest post by Richard P. Phelps The Fordham Institute has long been at work on a study of the relative quality of tests produced by the two Common Core-aligned and federally funded consortia (PARCC and SBAC), ACT (Aspire), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MCAS).  What Fordham has produced is only in the most superficial way...
When it comes to the "confidence game" that has been played around the country to advance Common Core standards, there are few places where connivance was more on display than in West Virginia.  As noted in a post in March of 2012, you had there "noted national standards boosters" including "former Governor Bob Wise, now...
We applaud the Baker administration for proposing that Massachusetts retain its academic independence and testing autonomy, but the Commonwealth should reject any further participation in the PARCC consortium. MCAS has served Massachusetts very well for nearly two decades. The test and the pre-Common Core standards were the key to Massachusetts' leadership position that was forged...
Guest Post by Richard P. Phelps On November 17, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will decide the fate of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and the Partnership for Assessment of College Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in the Bay State. MCAS is homegrown; PARCC is not. Barring unexpected compromises...
An op-ed in Tuesday's Boston Globe urges Massachusetts policymakers to adopt the Common Core-aligned PARCC test because MCAS is supposedly too outdated to help prepare our schoolchildren for future success. But as Pioneer has argued in our recent book, and numerous reports, op-eds and public appearances, Common Core and PARCC are academically mediocre and inferior...
The release of 2015 MCAS results together with a patchwork of preliminary 2015 PARCC testing results provides little new information to help Massachusetts choose between the two tests. PARCC supporters claim the test's rigor is evidenced by the fact that fewer students scored in its top two categories compared to those who took MCAS at...
Before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) officially decides to adopt PARCC’s testing system in place of the testing system that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) developed in the 1990s and early 2000s, local school committees, state legislators, and parents should be able to peruse the test items used...
Economies of scale are when a large operation can provide advantages by spreading fixed and overhead costs over a greater number of units sold, thereby reducing the per unit price. A simple concept, and one that proponents of national K-12 testing consortia made repeatedly. One of Pioneer’s favorite expressions of this economies of scale euphoria...
It is difficult to find any public analysis and comments by teachers, parents, researchers, or literary scholars on PARCC’s “practice” and “sample” test items for English language arts for grades 3-11.   Taking the bull by the horns, that is what I decided to do in my invited testimony before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary...