As for the third day of the ELA:
Even some of those kids who had managed the first two days, decomposed and fell apart the 3rd day of testing. Some vomited, cried, and got asthma all because of unfair, overly long and highly flawed exams that are being used for invalid purposes. There are reports of even more product placements, added to the long list below, including Nike shoes and iPods. I am quoted in the Daily News and the NY Post about how passages pulled straight from Pearson textbooks used elsewhere in the state disadvantaged NYC children, and s the Commissioner to invalidate those items, as he did with the Pineapple section last year. Let's see what he does. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: The reviews are in, and the consensus among parents, students and teachers is that this year's NYS/Pearson ELA exams were even worse than expected.
The tests were too long, the questions confusing even for teachers, and many students ended up in tears. See just a sample of observations below. Is this what Chancellor Walcott meant when he said, "It's time to rip the Band-Aid off" , or Regents head Merryl Tisch, when she explained, “We have to just jump into the deep end"?
In addition, the fact that passages in some of the forms given some children at multiple grade levels most likely disadvantaged those 3rd or 4th graders who had to struggle with inappropriately difficult material -- and these passages apparently appeared at the beginning of the exam (see comment below) .
According to the NY Post, the tests were also replete with corporate logos and commercial product names, like Mug Root Beer, the LEGO game Mindstorms, IBM, the soccer league FIFA, and the comic book and TV show “Teen Titans” – though the state insists that these companies did not pay for that privilege. The NYSED spokesperson explained instead that this occurred because the passages were drawn from "authentic texts." Not to mention that they fell under the category of "informational text" as prescribed by David Coleman, the primary author of the Common Core standards -- or should we call this infomercial text instead?
To make things worse, it appears that passages in both the 6th and 8th grade exams were taken straight from Pearson textbooks in the same grades. Perhaps this is a clever move of Pearson's to persuade districts to buy their products, but it represents an unfair advantage to those students who had already been assigned these passages. (See also the comment from a teacher that a reading passage on the 5th grade exam was taken from a Ready New York CCLS review book published by Curriculum Associates.)
One cannot escape that perhaps conservative Rick Hess is right; that the Common Core is really a political strategy, not an educational one, designed to "shine a harsh light on the quality of suburban schools, shocking those families and voters into action," and "scare" them into embracing the "reform" agenda, including more charter schools and the outsourcing of education into corporate hands. Please post your comments below.