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Questions about the questions on new Common Core tests

May 4, 2013 by

New York state students in several grades recently took new high-stakes accountability tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards (even though there is not yet a Core curriculum in New York schools), and a number of educators who saw the test reported problems with some of the questions.

Some questions, they said, appeared to have more than one correct answer and no single obviously correct one; others were considered so time-consuming to answer that many students couldn’t finish. Some literacy experts said that versions of the English Language Arts 5th grade reading test had some multiple-choice questions that did not really lend themselves to the multiple-choice format.

I have a copy of the 2013 Common Core English Language Arts Test Book 1, Form C, for fifth grade. Because of copyright issues, I can’t publish the whole thing, but I can include a few questions. (The New York Daily News received the test earlier and published some questions, here.)

Look at this question and tell me if you can be sure of the right answer:

Students are asked to read a poem titled “Aloneness,” by Gwendolyn Brooks, and answer questions related to it. One question deals with these lines:

“You make presents to yourself,

Presents of clouds and sunshine”

Q) The poet’s reference to ‘presents’ in lines 26 and 27 suggests that when you are alone you

A) prefer to be outside

B) feel in control of your life

C) are free from everyday concerns

D) can appreciate your environment

Another question features a passage about wind tunnels, with these lines:

via Questions about the questions on new Common Core tests.

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