Bad Teacher and the Common Core
Sep 10, 2014
The creators of Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake summed up how most teachers feel about standardized tests with the above GIF. When testing comes around, I am sure you all feel like curling up in a ball and pretending the outside world does not exist- I am positive that is how your students feel. Now unlike the movie, specific teachers do not win a cash prize for student performance, although some wish they did, but your teacher evaluation and School Performance Profiles are actually affected.
In the movie, Cameron Diaz, a lazy and incompetent middle school teacher, persuades an employee at a testing agency to give her a copy of the test. She then uses the copy to help her students scceed [cheat] on the assessment to achieve her ultimate goal: winning the prize to fund a desired plastic surgery procedure.
Now - I think your desires/goals for having students succeed are a little different than Diaz’s. Obviously, teachers and districts want students to perform as well as they can on the assessments. Now, the job is to prepare the students as much as you can- equipping them with the knowledge and know-how to succeed in school, life and their assessments. The assessment part is a little harsh but in the end we know that Pennsylvania students will need to pass their exams in order to graduate. Preparation is key!
Of course you don't want to "teach to the test" but I can remember being taught how to answer questions for PSSAs in middle and high school. The same applies here- almost more so now than before. Now there is the new Text Dependent Analysis. This, for sure, will require some practice. Students will answer the question with "evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information." [Achieve the Core] This analysis and defense will require some practice beforehand. Students for a long time have been taught- or have learned- to answer the typical essay question certain ways. With TDA, students need to dig deeper. Analyze. Support. Make connections. All of this while providing clear information and referring to the text itself. Yeesh!! I said it before, preparation is key! Practice this type of analysis and understanding across disciplines. Prep your students by taking a some practice exams. [If you use EdInsight- we have our own OHS Core Assessments you may use to prepare students and measure performance.] If you want to create your own TDA questions- there is a wealth of resources- just consult Google. I found the following on Achieve the Core's website. It is a step by step guide to creating Text-Dependent Questions.
They have more information on vocabulary, syntax, structure and strategies. Actually, they have a video to watch and directions on how to create and evaluate TDA questions. They also have materials such as guides and checklists for most of ELA and Math Core Assessments. I found this all by a simple Google search. There are tons of resources, you just have to look!
I know that all of this change must be repressing. You might even have fellow teachers who bad mouth the Core and simply won't embrace it. My advice, take those lemons and make lemonade. If you are bitter about the Core- that's all you will be ... bitter. Embrace it. Prepare your students. [Try to] Have fun! Ultimately it is all about preparing your students to be all they can be. Remember: you don't want to be this [below] bad teacher.