Liz Phillips is not alone. Here is another principal, commenting on the Testing Talk website:
Day 3 of the Common Core NYS ELA is absurd. The third grade test includes an excerpt from a book that, according to Scholastic, is written at a Grade Level Equivalent of 5.2. Its Lexile Measure is 650L, and it’s categorized as a Level X Guided Reading selection. Yet, it appears on a test that has been written for third grade students.
Day 3 of the Common Core NYS ELA is incongruous with Common Core Learning Standards. The same third grade test asks students to identify how specific paragraphs support the organizational structure of a selected piece of literature. The Reading Standards for Literature in Grade 3, with respect to Craft and Structure, state that Grade 3 students should be able to: Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections. It is not until Grade 5, according to The Reading Standards for Literature, that students should be able to: Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
Day 3 of the Common Core NYS ELA is ill-conceived. A short- answer question that appears on the Grade 4 exam calls upon students to explain why a specific piece of text is effectively written. Regardless of what the Reading Standards say, or don’t, about evaluating text, how in the world can a test be created around such an entirely subjective question?
An administrator of a suburban public school, I take seriously my responsibility to students and teachers. It seems to me that the most responsible thing that I could have done this morning would have been to excuse teachers and students from being bullied by an absurd, incongruous and ill-conceived test.
Here are the observations of another principal, Kate Matthews:
I am the Principal of a 3rd and 4th Grade diverse building, and I am highly disappointed in these tests. While Days 1 and 2 were challenging for our students, Day 3, particularly for 3rd Grade was poorly written, developmentally inappropriate and soul crushing for our students and their teachers. Students did not have enough time on ANY of these books. I do not think I am permitted to speak specifically about the nature of the questions, and who knows whether or not NYS will ever release these questions.
However, the very first passage with highly technical language was a terrible example of non fiction writing. Where were the text features that our students have learned to use with such proficiency? To ask students to define and understand two terms that are deeply buried in a text is developmentally inappropriate. The amount of time it took students to answer this question left little time for the remaining 2 lengthy passages with 3 short answers and 1 extended response.
I am left to wonder if Pearson made a mistake: was this truly intended for 3rd Grade students?
Many more scathing critiques of the NYS ELA exams on the Testing Talk website here.