Regents exams are in question. Who will answer?

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This has been circulating widely. A brave New York teacher has confessed to serious issues with age inappropriate material in the ELA regents exams this week. This begs the question, who is monitoring this? Is this also part of setting these children up to fail so the curriculum agenda is served?

The teacher posted this on social media and received an outpouring of comments from both parents and other teachers.

“I saw the January 11th grade Common Core test today, and it was the most difficult ELA test that I’ve seen in my 17 years as an English teacher. One passage was about string theory in physics, perspective, and realism. Additionally, the students had to read several dry articles on de-extinction and write an argumentative essay on them. There was a poem that had been translated into English from an African language with several strange pauses in it. The part of this test that bothered me most was the excerpt from Thoreau’s On Walden Pond. It had 9 footnoted definitions, but it still contained undefined words that would be well beyond the average reading ability of most 11th graders. The Lexile for this book is 1340L, but the recommended Lexile for 11th grade is 940L to 1210L. After reading this, the students were required to write a literary analysis on it. They seemed to have given up at this point from what I saw. The students who took the test at my school were primarily students who had not passed the Regents or Common Core last year, and they are in danger of being ineligible to graduate without passing one of these CC tests or a Regents test. I know that many are high-risk and go to BOCES for vocational courses. In my opinion, they have little chance of passing this test, and I wonder how the students with special education modifications will do on it. I believe absolutely that this was a test designed to fail students. What will happen to those who face these impossible tests? I am making an official complaint about this.”

Here are some comments that teachers on social media made upon reading this complaint. A significant amount of parents also responded but are not quoted here, though they expressed serious concerns with the new common core testing.

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~~~I think all the English III exams are like this. My students, who were inquisitive and intelligent, bombed this test. I got raked over the coals by administration because of it, but there was NOTHING I could have done to prepare my kids for that test

~~~I saw it today, it was very difficult for the students. The reading choices were dry.

~~~Last year’s 7th grade ELA had a passage with a 12th grade lexile level…. Completely inappropriate and incredibly frustrating for kids…

~~~This aligns perfectly with the government push to convince all Americans how dumb our kids are and how bad our schools are. No doubt these test results will be a gold mine of propaganda for them.

~~~This sounds a lot like the tests I’ve administered at the 5th grade level! Obviously harder, but still out of reach with similar passages and tasks.

~~~So glad to see this comment…I gave this to Special education students today and this comment was so spot on! This test was ridiculous! Advanced students would have struggled with this! Yes by the time they got to the Walden Pond piece they were done! To add insult to injury the State deliberately gave the common core ELA test in the morning and the Comprehensive regents in the afternoon so my students took ELA regents all day long and it was torture exactly what the state wanted!! There is nothing the state is doing here that is really good for students! Also these may be tests to make students college ready but what about the vocational career student this CC regents was not geared to help those students or appeal to their interest in reading!!

~~~Deliberately setting students up for failure so that veteran teachers do not pass new evaluation instruments. Make us teachers appear inept or lazy or unable to do our jobs while destroying the desire of students to learn. For the past five to ten years, we have dumbed down so, with DO personnel coming to model elementary style lessons to middle and ninth grade students. Now, suddenly, their reading levels are all supposed to be above average. Liberals made the mess by making us “dumb” down the curriculum. Now, they plan to take over education by making it appear that most of us have failed in our professions.

~~~This description does sound so much like what we’ve been seeing on the grades 3-8 Common Core state tests. Crazy hard, several plausible choices, passages out of context, and sometimes hard to decipher directions for the written portions. I can only imagine that when all juniors take the Common Core Regents that the state will have to lower the cutpoints. I really don’t foresee average 11th graders being able to pass this test, and how can the state realistically fail 70% of students who need this test to graduate? So much time and money spent on a numbers game.

~~~Oh, no. I thought my kiddos could at least squeak by on this today. Our ELA department was working under the impression that the “rigor” of the test wouldn’t increase until next year. Well played, Common Core. Way to get a jump start failing kids who were attempting this for the second or even third time today, and whose teachers thought today’s test would maintain the level of difficulty of years past.

~~~This is just sad and scary. As a teacher in PA, I am watching NY closely. I believe we are following down the path your government has blazed. This makes me so angry.

~~~Manufactured cut scores and this nonsense and yet people don’t question the fact that it looks like kids that passed prior to cc have suddenly become stupid and can’t read. Even superintendents at a BOE meeting about it. Their immediate response to the scores was “well now we know where to throw the bulk of our money…. Test prep”. Deer in headlights when I stood up and asked why it looks like the kids are suddenly illiterate? And who have taken the time to look into Carol Burris and the cut scores used to manufacture the education crisis? They were not impressed, which I was not surprised by since the 2nd ed super is also an employee of Pearson.

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If you’re a teacher, are you making a complaint on the inappropriateness of these exams? If you don’t, who will? Parents can’t see them so it falls on you to protect the children. They’re pawns in this agenda.

Who will answer to this?

Teachers names have been removed to protect their employment.
They are on a gag order to keep all tests and even criticism of common core a secret, and rendered helpless.

http://nypost.com/2014/10/11/teachers-union-files-gag-order-suit-over-exam-confidentiality-requirement/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/26/1294585/-This-week-in-the-War-on-Workers-Teachers-protest-gag-order-on-Common-Core-tests

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/albany-watch/2014/10/08/teachers-union-challenges-gag-order-common-core-tests/16945407/

http://watchdogwire.com/michigan/2014/04/09/are-teachers-being-silenced/

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/joseph-perticone/ny-teachers-union-files-lawsuit-over-common-core-gag-order

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/04/25/randi-to-pearson-remove-the-gag-order-and-test-secrecy/

http://www.gilbertwatch.com/index.cfm/blog/have-arizona-teachers-received-gag-orders-to-not-oppose-common-core/