I met with the other teachers in our fifth grade team. They, too, delved head-first into Common Core, spending additional hours researching and planning to fully implement it during the 2012-13 school year. We all drank the Common Core kool-aid.
As far as CC math went, I had all of my students "do the dew." This meant to solve a problem they had to Draw a picture, write a horizontal number Equation, and a Word solution sentence.
While there is nothing wrong with these expectations, they should not be mandatory. Some students can "see" the answer in their heads and do not need to do all this work. Some math problems do not require all of this work. It is more difficult to draw the picture than solve the problem. Actually, many of the students worked backwards and solved the problem before drawing the picture.
When the TCAP tests were administered, all of our students did as we trained them to do. They drew pictures to solve problems. I do not know what the problems on the test were, but I'm sure they did not all require them to "do the dew". Solving their problems in this manner slowed them down so none of the students in my classroom completed the test in time. They were very frustrated and disheartened.
I know my students did their best. They did as they had been taught. I taught Common Core fully and rigorously, as I was trained to do. This did NOT transfer to TCAP, even with all the so-called rigor. Most of these students scores dropped from the previous year. This reflected harshly in my TVAAS score. I was rated a level 1 this year. The previous two years I had been a level 4 and a level 5. Hmmm... this says something.
The teacher that I co-team teach with had the same TVAAS scores as I did. Her scores dropped from 5 to 1 as well. She taught Common Core wholeheartedly for English Language Arts that year. It obviously did not transfer to any test. Actually, most of the other teacher's TVAAS scores in our school dropped to 1s, as well.
This year, we analyzed why we has such a drop on scores. The main consensus was that we taught to the wrong test. Why should we teach to a test? Why shouldn't the test match what we teach? Why were we told that teaching the "rigorous" Common Core would allow students to excel at any test???
We learned from our mistakes and we are teaching the old SPIs to prepare the students for TCAP this year. So, this school year, we have not taught Common Core at all. This was a decision made by teachers and administrators. We made this decision in hopes that the students scores would improve, for their sakes, as well as for our TVAAS scores.
One point I think needs to be made right now is to clarify the lies the state board of Ed is making. They are saying it's too late to stop Common Core because it has been implemented for 3 years. Not true. We have received training on it over a three year period of time, but very few teachers have implemented it because TCAP is still the test being used. Technically, we are still teaching the SPIs we always have. I haven't taught any Common Core standards at all this year. I have asked others across the state and they said the same thing.
I just hate that they are using this as an excuse to say why we need to keep going with Common Core. It's a bunch of lies.
- A teacher in Tipton County, TN
FYI: Indiana just completely withdrew from Common Core. They didn't have any fiscal notes attached to their decision.
Question of the day...
If Common Core is supposed to be "VOLUNTARY" and "STATE-LED", then why can't we VOLUNTARILY LEAD ourselves out of it???
Do the math... no matter which math method you use to arrive at your answer, a $10 million dollar fiscal note on the bill would prevent a $40-50 million dollar wasted expense! Clearly, it is the better situation for our state and students!
Hey, Legislators: How about letting the voters decide? Pause Common Core and hold a state-wide Referendum to let voters make that choice. That would totally be "state-led" and "voluntary."
"Stopping Common Core would cost millions of dollars, but implementing it will cost Tennessee millions of scholars." - a TN parent