After taking the Smarter Balance fourth grade on-line sample test for math, I was curious about what the test was testing. I know, “Enough of the tinfoil hats!” However, the following example shows that the only way to answer this test item correctly for full points was to have been taught a certain method or be smart enough to figure it out. As adults, disseminating the answer seems easy, but to a 9 or ten year old it is different.
When people complain that new national, Common Core aligned tests will dictate curricula, this is what they are talking about. I know it seems small, but if your math program doesn’t contain whatever place value strategy included above, your students and teachers will be unfairly evaluated.
Would a teacher be considered ineffective at teaching multiplication of two digit numbers if their student got the bottom right and the top part wrong? Would a student only receive a 2 not a 4 because they only got the answer on the bottom right by doing it with the standard algorithm on a scratch piece of paper? Are they not considered “on-track for college and career” because they don’t know how to answer the question this prescribed way? What do you think?