We received several inquiries following a recent post about year-end evaluation options and requirements. As Common Core continues to penetrate public education, many test publishing companies are aligning to these new and controversial standards. Homeschoolers want to know how to avoid Common Core aligned assessments
This is one of Common Core’s subtle threats to homeschoolers and few are aware of it. Major tests are aligning to CC and may soon be the only type of assessment available. Not only do the new standards impact what students are expected to know and when, but also the terminology and methodologies. This is reflected in the assessments and may be unfamiliar and confusing to students not taught to Common Core standards. Many principals and teachers admit that the tests are not grade-level appropriate, yet must administer the assessments. According to some math educators, Common Core emphasizes concept over content, so the students are trying to learn the “why” at the same time as learning “how” and will struggle to master either. Although math can be objectively scored as correct or incorrect, the Smarter Balanced Assessments and other Common Core aligned standardized tests, are needlessly confusing. Below are good examples of Common Core aligned worksheets that would probably confuse traditional math students.
Fortunately, not all tests have switched and many alternatives are still available. There are older test editions and some exams have not indicted that they intend to align to Common Core. If it is uncertain whether or not the test is CC-aligned, homeschooling parents should ask the test provider for clarification. The Homeschool Resource Roadmap has an extensive list of materials and tests that may be independent, correlated, or aligned to Common Core. They also update it regularly.
As more tests align to Common Core, homeschoolers may wish to use evaluations that do not require standardized testing. NH homeschool law allows the option of a teacher evaluation to determine whether the student is performing “commensurate with age and ability.” Parents can screen for an evaluator who is not exclusively supportive of Common Core. This is a way to fully satisfy the New Hampshire homeschooling law while avoiding these controversial standards.