Pearson Essay Using PARCC Test Words

From Diane Ravitch:

A teacher wrote this little essay and dedicated it to Governor Andrew Cuomo:
“There is a man in Albany, who I surmise, by his clamorous paroxysms, has an extreme aversion to educators. He sees teachers as curs, or likens them to mangy dogs. Methinks he suffers from a rare form of psychopathology in which he absconds with our dignity by enacting laws counterintuitive to the orthodoxy of educational leadership. We have given him sufferance for far too long. He’s currently taking a circuitous path to DC, but he will no doubt soon find himself in litigious waters. The time has come to bowdlerize his posits, send him many furlongs away, and maroon him there, maybe Cuba?
She added:
I’m not supposed to say this, but all these insanely hard words appeared on the 4,6, and 8th grade tests last week.

Ridiculous? Or just hard?

Hard? Or just ridiculous?

I can say, with no embarrassment, that I did not know at least half those words until high school (a few in college). 


Anonymous said…
Melissa, do you know whether there will be an opportunity for public testimony at this week's special School Board meeting?

--OldSchool Music
Anonymous said…
I guess I don't quite understand the point of including most of those particular words--sure, they are in the English language, but they aren't really in common usage. "Methinks"? C'mon. What's the goal here? Pure memorization?

North End Parent
Anonymous said…
I thought the sell was on critical thinking? This looks like rote memorization of word definitions is the game.

seattle citizen said…
Even I didn't know there was a noun form of "posit."
: (
I fail. I'm a failure. I have to try harder. Susie is better than me. Will I be ready for college and career? What will my parents think? I've let my teachers down. They will get bad evaluations. My school will be called "failing." What's wrong with me?
OldSchool, the regular Board meeting was last week. They just have work sessions this week but no public comment is allowed at them.
Anonymous said…
I'm not a fan of testing, but there's the possibility that these words appeared to test using context clues to determine meaning. Without the context in which they appeared it's impossible to tell.

Glad I left
Po3 said…
I parsed through several sample ELA SBAC tests for several grades and thought all the vocab was appropriate for the grade level.

So unless the actual test is a complete departure from the sample tests, words like "methinks" are not used.

This feels a bit gimmicky to me and doesn't help advance the thoughtful, intelligent conversation that is needed right now.
As I said, this is the PARCC test, not the SBAC.
Anonymous said…
I think the tests (PARCC and SBAC) use vocabulary in context, plus the CCSS include some standards on primary sources, some of which could be US foundational documents or speeches, so I'd expect some more obscure words in that context. Methinks it okay (though I wonder how the teacher had access to test content, and question posting it while students are still testing).

Po3 said…
Ok, just took some PARCC practice tests and noted that the vocab all seemed grade level appropriate. On the 11th grade test I saw that many "big" words were underlined and and provided a definition when you clicked on it.
Great for students accessing the test on the computer; unfair for those using paper and pencil.
Anonymous said…
Thank you!
That's what I thought since April 29th would not be a regular board meeting, but someone I know said otherwise regarding testimony.
I decided to ask you because you would know.

As always, I thank you for the work you do on behalf of the people of Seattle.

--OldSchool Music
Anonymous said…
I like the response by Daniel Willingham on CC assessment. He's doing a series in the Washington Post. His first several paragraphs are so full of common sense relating to how student learn and why testing doesn't always show everything. It harkens to why so many people don't understand cultural bias in tests and how that might affect test results. Why having cultural and broader knowledge matters in learning.

Instead, here we have a test parsing out use of antiquated cant and arcane words to posit knowledge. Gah! Methinks we have nodcock test writers who are showing off their plumy brilliance by trying to stump 3rd graders. Really what I would give for a Junie B. Jones storyline on common core testing.

lunchtime reader

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