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September 7th, 2013
Why Were ELA Common Core Tests Created?
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom
With the large number of standardized tests being administered to students today, many parents (and teachers) are wondering why yet another battery of tests, the ELA Common Core tests, has been introduced.
In order to understand the importance of these tests, it’s crucial to understand the situation which they were created to improve.
Poorly Educated Graduates
For many years it has been public knowledge that a disturbing percentage of United States high school seniors lack some very basic skills. More disturbing is that these students are not in remedial classes or planning to attend summer school in order to obtain their diploma – they are graduating along with the rest of their classes, often with astonishingly good GPAs. Clearly, something was very wrong.
When tested, a surprising number of students could not perform simple tasks which are crucial to competing and thriving in today’s higher education and workforce worlds. Things like preparing a resume using proper English and completing simple math problems without the use of a calculator were shown to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. For more opinionated information on this phenomenon, visit http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/28/public-high-schools-are-not-doing-their-jobs.
Inadequate Grade Advancement
In order to end up in their senior year of high school without these basic skills, it’s obvious that students had ‘fallen through the cracks’ of the education systems. There are many scenarios which can result in students being advanced throughout grades without having learned the basic skills of a particular year.
While the ‘whys’ may be open for debate, the need for a country-wide set of agreed-upon standards was clear. The ELA Common Core tests are administered at each grade level, beginning with either kindergarten or pre-kindergarten. These tests ensure that each student has learned the basic skills taught in each grade.
Due to varying opinions on the importance of certain subjects, application of the ELA Common Core tests is up to the educational authorities of each individual state.