Students need individualized attention, not standardized tests, Kasiar says
The number of states planning to use the new tests developed under Common Core State Standards fell 62 percent since 2011, a new report concluded.
Common Core refers to the national education standards that establish what students should know about English language arts and math at the end of each grade level. The U.S. Department of Education set aside money in 2010 for two groups — the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) — to develop tests that fit the standards. But participation in the consortia has dropped, Education Next, an education journal published by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, reported in its fall edition.
Six years ago, 26 states participated in PARCC and 32 states were members of SBAC. While only three states have officially revoked Common Core, only 20 now plan to use the tests developed by the consortia — down from 45 in 2011.
Jason Kasiar, the Republican candidate for state House in District 118, and president of the Eldorado Unit No. 4 School Board, told Southwest Illinois News he’s not surprised to hear states are ditching the new tests.
“We’ve discussed time and again how teachers are having to teach for the test because you want to do well on the test instead of teaching more in-depth on something that may be more important to you later on in life,” Kasiar said, adding that teaching to a test leaves some students behind.
Illinois adopted Common Core in 2010 and implemented it in the 2013-14 school year. Illinois participates in PARCC and has posted dates for assessments that will take place in the winter and spring. The state serves on the consortium’s governing board.
Kasiar said he agrees with critics who say uniform standards may not be the best way to improve student learning.
Coming from a school system with significant numbers of children receiving free or reduced-price lunch, Kasiar said student learning is impacted by what’s going on in their lives — their home life, nutrition and stress levels. Rather than a standardized test, they need individual attention to learn material at their own pace.
“I believe the teachers who are in the front lines are best equipped to handle what is best for each child,” he said. “They’re with that student doing everything they can.”