[Ed. – The author is a high school student in Illinois.]
Recently I was “selected” to participate in a “test of the test” for the new Common Core state test (the PARCC) which is set to replace the PSAE in the state of Illinois. On paper, Common Core sounds like a good idea, asking a student to explain how they got the wrong answer to a math problem and if they can explain their answer giving them credit for their work; however, in the long term, this will only undermine the American education system. We all (I hope) have been taught that 2+2=4. Under Common Core, if a student answers with 5 instead of 4, and can explain their answer, the student will receive credit.
School officials have said that Common Core is meant to drift towards the “how” and “why” questions instead of correct computation.
On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, I took the PARCC test.
The test administrator handed out the test booklets and answer documents. Once time began all the students started working on the test. The first part of the test banned the use of calculators. I did not mind this because I usually prefer to write down my work, so I was not overly concerned. Then I saw how the rest of the test was going to go. In order to find the answer to one of the problems I needed to know the square root of eleven (which is a prime number) and it rendered the problem unsolvable.
This was the proverbial tip of the iceberg.