The Washington Post has published a letter from a group of New York school principals explaining that in their view the Common Core Assessment Tests were not in fact aligned with the Common Core Standards:
In both their technical and task design, these tests do not fully align with the Common Core. If one was to look closely at the Common Core Learning Standards and compare them to the tests, it is evident that the ELA tests focused mostly on analyzing specific lines, words and structures of information text and their significance rather than the wide array of standards.
As a result, many students spent much of their time reading, rereading and interpreting difficult and confusing questions about authors’ choices around structure and craft in informational texts, a Common Core skill that is valuable, but far from worthy of the time and effort given by the test. Spending so much time on these questions was at the expense of many of the other deep and rich common core skills and literacy shifts that the state and city emphasized. The Common Core emphasizes reading across different texts, both fiction and non-fiction, in order to determine and differentiate between central themes—an authentic college practice. Answering granular questions about unrelated topics is not. Because schools have not had a lot of time to unpack Common Core, we fear that too many educators will use these high stakes tests to guide their curricula, rather than the more meaningful Common Core Standards themselves.
I pointed out that more than 40 states adopted standards which had not been written, which required new curriculuum that had not been developed, and which were keyed to assessment tests that had not been written yet. Is anyone really surprised it’s not working out that well?
I would also note that the technical claim the local schools retain control of curricula is misleading, because if teachers are assessed based on a test written and controlled by a central authority, then schools will have to teach to that test. I wish Common Core advocates could engage the reality here and defend it, instead of pretending it’s not true.