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More and More Benchmarking

It is not possible! It is Not Possible! It is Madness! It's Gates! It's Gates I tell you! He's The Devil!


Um... we'll get back to the raving maniac in a bit... just try to ... just don't make eye-contact.

I keep finding more documented benchmarking. It is getting to be a little tiresome actually. I'm wondering if we left anyone out? I'm sure we did. Why benchmark against countries whose idea of rapid math is counting the flies on a dead yak?

This one is kind of a cool find though. It is sort of a closer between Australia and the US. Recall from an earlier post that Micheal Watt pulled up a chair between 2007 and 2009, to watch two countries plan, develop, innovate and benchmark their way through creating Core Standards. He noted in detail the marked similarities and differences between the two teams, and how they proceeded from step to step. He did this across the Internet, as each team would announce their next goal, then publish methods, then publish International Benchmark information that was relevant, and then publish innovations to adapt and utilize, followed by publishing testing, then outcome.


He sounds like he's narrating a soccer match...

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, a project coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, aims to produce common core standards for states in the USA, and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority aims to produce a national curriculum. Content analysis method was applied to summarise information obtained from searches on the web sites of organisations involved in these initiatives and education newspapers. A model for classifying the activities of research, development, diffusion and adoption in the change process was applied to evaluate the two innovations. The results showed that activities involving research and development, at which point evaluation of both innovations was made, were well-defined. Each initiative was preceded by publication of policy documents advocating innovation and research activities to uncover possibilities for change, although these activities were more extensive and substantial in the USA than Australia. The emphases in each innovation for developing academic standards are different.  Benchmarking standards against state, national and international standards, using a research-based process for decision making, reviewing successive drafts by stakeholders, and conducting an independent validation characterise the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Specifying plans and guidelines, inventing and refining standards, using a  consensus-building process for decision making, and reviewing successive drafts by stakeholders characterise the national curriculum initiative in Australia.

I've been wondering what Mr. Watt felt about the final outcome, and then I found this benchmarking, which was done afterward by Achieve, Sept 2010.  Alberta, Canada and New South Wales, Australia and Common Core

A comparison of the CCSS with standards from Alberta and New South Whales reveals many more similarities than differences. While the specific language of grade-level expectations may differ, these documents are similar in rigor and share a similar organizing structure (by outcomes, by strand, by level) and a shared focus on student knowledge and skills in English language arts. All include expectations for reading (both literary and informational texts), writing (both literary and informational texts), speaking, listening, working collaboratively, and research. In a system based on the CCSS, one might see more emphasis on literacy skills across the disciplines, while in systems based on the Alberta and New South Wales expectations, one might see more emphasis on reflection, imagination, and personal response. Overall, however, the expectations are closely parallel across the CCSS and the Alberta and New South Wales standards. All three sets of standards are rigorous, coherent and focused, and policymakers can be assured that in adopting the CCSS, they well be setting learning expectations for students that are similar to those set by the high-achieving nations of Canada and Australia

Sandra Stotsky dismisses this comparison because it was done by Achieve. I ask now, what exactly is she implying with that statement? Because it sounds like she is implying that everyone at Achieve are lying sacks of shit with more interest in money than in education or doing a good job. It sounds very much like she is accusing them of publishing in an Industry Journal, for Peer Review (Something she doesn't do with her accusations) an inaccurate benchmarking.

It really sounds like she should watch what she writes, because at some point, someone is going to get pissed off at the unsubstantiated libel and if she's lucky, they'll just sue her.

And yes, I have in fact read the paper published Mark Bauerlein, and I could almost hear the arguing between the two of them. What I really got a kick out of was the deal with the 50/50. They read Common Core as calling for 50% Instructive, and 50% literary-historical. On page 16 they begin with this problem. First they say that Common Cores reading standards for K-12 are divided into 10 for information and 9 for literature, which you just know sends Stotsky into a fit, since her criteria is nearly 100% literature. Literature, she insists over and over in her publications, is the only way children (never students they are always children) can learn to read and write successfully. She proved it! Didn't you read her evaluation of the 50 states?

Then, she concedes that the 50% information text can include Literary Non-Fiction.

Then, almost as an aside says "although nothing in the standards themselves requires 50/50 teaching"

And does she stop there? No! She bull-rushes onward, as if that statement means nothing. She pushes further into the destruction 50/50 teaching will burn across the land, poisoning the minds of our youth!

And how can you do it? she asks with horror-filled eyes. Because after all, with all of the other subjects the student is reading informative text -- in math, and science, and social studies -- it's all informative text! How can the teacher possibly, in a single English class, get in the 50% literary-historical reading required! It is not possible! It is Not Possible! It is Madness! It's Gates! It's Gates I tell you! He's The Devil!

Pause for a moment, take a breath, and recall that she is saying all of this about a problem which CCSS doesn't have. Ok? It is not there. But by the end of her diatribe, she is calling it the 50 percent Informational text Rule.

By the end of the paper, she has put in Appendix A.

Appendix A.
No Research to Support a 50/50 
or 30/70 Division of Reading Standards

Common Core makes repeated claims that its standards (presumably including the 50/50 division of literary and informational reading) are research-based. But we find no research cited in its own document to support its organizational framework for reading, nor any research cited in NAEP's Reading Frameworks to support NAEP's distribution of text types OR Common Core's distribution of text types...

And then she goes on and on about how this 50/50 is not documented, saying it in a variety of different ways, and expressing her horror in growing terms.

Now, let's say that CCSS is your baby, and you get an email from the madwoman who wouldn't even stay the full day of the Validation, didn't participate at all during the months to May, and then nothing again into June when she began telling everyone how much CCSS sucked. You get an email from this person asking for documentation justifying the 50/50 Text Rule, of which she is clearly incited by.

Anything come to mind on how you are going to answer her?

Now, if it was me -- I would tell her "Well, in the 2008 report we passed out after you ditched us and never came back, titled, 2008 Benchmarking For Success,  you would have noted that the PISA and by examining both China and Finland, clearly demonstrated adding in Informative text reading into the standards was definitely required. But we didn't feel that making it mandatory was beneficial at the present time. We felt that the teachers of our nation knew their kids better than we could, so we left it up to the educator to define the ruling and methodology. Bye-Bye then."

Because... that's the kind of asshole I am.


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