Common Core

Here’s a lol from the NYS Common Core English test…. for THIRD grade (taken from a blog commenter, from an unlocated blog) :

Instead of a question like: “What caused the character to (insert action here) in the middle of the story?” (which, mind you, is hard enough for an 8-year-old to identify as it is), there were questions like:

“In Line 8 of Paragraph 4, the character says … and in Line 17 of Paragraph 5, the character does … Which of the following lines from Paragraph 7 best supports the character’s actions?”This, followed by four choices of lines from Paragraph 7 that could all, arguably, show motivation for the character’s actions…


and yes – this is TYPICAL of the CC materials – both tests and lessons.


I hear a voice in my head asking, “What is WRONG with this question?”

Where’s a child psychologist when you need one?!? This question is fully abstract. Many adults have trouble answering completely abstract questions, much less NINE-YEAR-OLDS.

But it relates to completely concrete concepts, as referenced in the text…?”

This question only seems completely concrete… to a lawyer. Ah! you say – that’s why this seems so reasonable! And yes, that’s why the CC is filled with questions and lessons composed in this obscure manner – it’s configured to meet the requirements of LAWYERS. When the state commissioner of education…. is a LAWYER, you naturally get this sort of materials for children.

The entire question is composed of references TO SOMETHING ELSE, and there are at least 6 of these references to other material in this ONE question. That’s the Abstract quality – many back-and-forth mental exercises must be made, just to comprehend the question!

Never mind actually figuring out the answer – which in these CC tests, can be vague or uncertain – several answers may be right, but one may be seen as better than the others.

Will return with more Common Core critiques – when I have time…..


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