Maryland Tested Kids on Material It No Longer Teaches, Guess What Happened?

CryingMiika Silfverberg / FlickrMaryland is in the midst of a shift to the Common Core national education standards, but even though schools are currently teaching a Core-aligned curriculum, they are still testing students on the old material.

What happens when public schools teach students one thing and test them on another? Unsurprisingly, scores plummet.

The Washington Post has more:

Students’ scores had been steadily inching up until 2013, when there were sharp declines in reading and math scores, a slide that continued this year. In 2014, overall proficiency scores in reading and math among elementary students fell 5.2 percentage points to 80 percent proficiency. Middle-schoolers fared worse — 71.4 percent proficiency, a drop of 6.5 percentage points. Drops in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties roughly mirrored the state averages.

During the past two years, the state has shifted its instruction to prepare for the tests by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which are aligned with the Common Core and were recently field-tested in Maryland.

Note that the differences between the Core-aligned curriculum and the one it's replacing are substantial. Key areas of study are shifted to different grade levels. The approach is entirely new.

It seems idiotic—cruel, even—to submit kids to mismatched standardized testing. Legislation was proposed to cancel this year's tests, but federal requirements made that unfeasible, according to The Post.

Of course, some students had the privilege of serving as unwilling product testers for practice Core-aligned exams in addition to their regular, misaligned standardized tests. The results were not promising.

Kids must be pretty sick of being treated like guinea pigs by standardized testing makers and mandaters.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Burning through the 'Crying Children' folder on Wikimedia Commons waaay too quickly

    We have the same pastime!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Has your privilege been sufficiently checked now?

  • ||

    After all that introspection I discovered how dead I was inside

  • UnCivilServant||

    Part of me wants to be surprised that there's a category for it, but the rest of me knows better.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    They stopped teaching reading and math?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Yes, neither of those are actually tought in the common core curriculum. Take a look at what they put in their place, you'll be horrified.

  • UnCivilServant||

    *taught.

    as a writer you'd think I'd know how to spell.

  • Jordan||

    "If Laquanda has 3 apples and John McSlavemaster has 2, who is more privileged?"

    "How many microaggressions can you spot in the following sentence..."

  • Brian D||

    Trick question. John McSlavemaster will always be more privileged by virtue of being white and male. If he's also heterosexual, he's more privileged than God.

  • Ted S.||

    2+2 no longer equals 4 in Maryland.

  • toolkien||

    Unfortunately, as a CPA, no one cares that 2+2=4 anywhere; 7'ish is good enough. It's tough to be accountable in a world that doesn't give a shit. That is until shit hits the fan, then it's all tears. Everyone wants all the lines to be nice and blurry when accountability is being assessed, but if their piece of pie seems too small, then they give a shit about precision and want a detailed explanation after the fact. This applies in the private sector as much as the public sector.

  • MJGreen||

    From what I've seen, it's better: they're taught math through reading poorly constructed scenarios.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

  • ||

    I take it that kid is a Brazil fan.

  • Jordan||

    I thought he was John Boehner's son.

  • ||

  • Brandybuck||

    The problem here is obviously "teaching to the test". How about just teaching them, without the teachers (and administrators) knowing what questions will be in the tests?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    *covers microphone, whispers with teachers union*

    The teachers union says no.

  • Response||

    yep

  • ||

    So the only way kids test scores improve are if educators teach to the test? Kinda makes me sad for America's youth.

    It seems idiotic—cruel, even—to submit kids to mismatched standardized testing. Legislation was proposed to cancel this year's tests, but federal requirements made that unfeasible, according to The Post.

    No it doesn't. When it comes to math and English, basic principles translate pretty easily. And unless they're testing kids on advanced material, those principles should provide the basic tools for kids to succeed. The failure here is that common core or other standards create environments where instructors only goal is to check off boxes of material that will be on a test. Mothers is no longer an education system. Instead we have a memorization system.

  • ||

    Mothers=Now there

  • sarcasmic||

    If they taught principles instead of memorization, then the kids might learn to think for themselves. That would be dangerous.

    My kid is approaching five, so before long it will be off to the indoctrination center. I plan to supplement her education and deprogram when necessary. Not sure what that will do for her test scores, but I guess at some point I will find out.

  • ||

    I've long-since given up the fight to get my two older kids out of public schools. And I think I've chronicled it enough here, so I won't go into it and end up blowing a gasket. But with Reason and Liberty, there's probably a less than 10% chance that they'll end up!in a public school. It's either homeschooling or a private school we select.

    I refuse to subject them to the mass idiocy that is our public school system. And there's just no way in the world it will get better.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wish that was an option for us, but it's not. Homeschooling is off the table, and there aren't any decent private schools around here that cost less than my annual salary. So I'm going to have to supplement and deprogram as much as I can. If the kid is willing. So far she fights me when I try to teach her stuff, where I was a curious lad. I'm trying to teach her to read simple words (Hop on Pop for example) and she is resisting, while when I was her age I was already reading and begging my dad to teach me cursive. I've got this taped to the fridge.

  • Ted S.||

    Frankly, they should be giving kids tests like that at the beginning of the year, so people can find out what the kids don't know that they should.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    This is promising - thanks to studying the new, more rigorous Common Core curriculum, the kids are doing more poorly on the old tests.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Help me out here, I don't have an education degree, but if they're giving more rigorous instruction, wouldn't that mean getting better scores on *any* test which honestly measures knowledge of the material?

  • Rhywun||

    The article says they're teaching different material than what's on the old tests. I can see how that would be problematical for the kids - maybe not so much for reading but definitely for math.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Math hasn't changed in the past couple of years...

  • Rhywun||

    Right but the order in which they teach certain things matters. It's right there in the article. If the old test has trig and the kids aren't scheduled to learn it until next year, how the hell are they going to pass the test?

  • sarcasmic||

    The old tests were biased against people who are taught a shitty curriculum.

  • ||

    Wait, so it was biased against kids that go to public schools.

  • antisocial-ist||

    All part of the plan.
    Step 1. Start teaching memorization for common core test instead of actual math and reading.

    Step2. Give actual math and reading test for 2 years, scores plummet.

    Step 3. Begin common core BS testing, scores will slightly rise since you've spent 2 years memorizing generic common core answers.

    Step 4. Claim sweeping success of common core for raising test scores in just one year.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I actually wasn't sure if the result was going to be "no change" or "scores improved". Good to know they can at least teach to a test.

  • toolkien||

    I say the kids who score below a certain level be put on buses and sent down to El Salvador and Guatemala...

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    Teach the kids A, then test them on B, then berate them for being stupid. Sounds like perfect preparation for the Brave New World our betters have planned for us.

  • Audrey||

    How could one even think of something like that? Teaching kids one thing and then testing them on something else completely is just silly. Tests already put lots of pressure on children but this is just completely out of any sense. I just wonder what do you expect to see? I would wait for much. I was always against the Common Core and now I am simply finding more and more reasons why it was like that. Like the government, like its people. Crazy world of the US standards.
    Audrey from Essay Online Store Service

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement