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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why Common Core Sucks

As the Obamas know, the Common Core test questions are outsourced to companies like APass, who pay "consultants" piece meal rates to produce questions, generally between $5 and $15 per question, with the low-end going to multiple choice and the high end for essay questions. Projects generally run a week or two, and speed is of the essence. There are only a set number of questions associated with each project. The more questions you can write, the more money you get out of that project (and the less the other writers assigned to that project get). The questions themselves are often edited and approved by a different group of piece-meal workers under the same conditions.

Now, the questions have to include all kinds of "competencies" from various competency lists (if they don't pass the "internal standards", you don't get paid for the question), so the test question writers and editors are essentially being given a test of their own when they write - how many buzz words from the competency list can you fit into a question in the shortest amount of time so that you can maximize your income?  

So, the test questions aren't about what 7th graders can do. The test questions are all about how much piecemeal test creators can earn. Nobody really cares if the questions are appropriate or adequate. All that matters is that each question match the checklist that is required to get paid. The idea is to crank out as many of the damn things as you can in the shortest amount of time.

The people doing this generally have to have a minimum of a graduate degree, so it's adjunct professors all the way down. It is a timed test with a check at the other end. But we aren't testing public school students. We are testing adjunct professors' "speed writing" competencies. Can they produce enough copy to pay their mortgage? That is what is being tested.

You know the old saying: "There are three aspects to any job: good, fast and cheap. Pick any two." The government picked "fast" and "cheap." They got it. Why is everyone complaining?

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