Is the college board dooming higher education

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This ran last summer on the Results-only learning blog. Because of its popularity, I decided to cross post it here.

According to Education Week, the College Board is aligning four of its testing programs with Common Core State Standards, in an effort to assess students’ mastery of skills in literacy and math, as outlined by the standards.


Instead of making a move to evaluate students on their body of work, the College Board is falling into line with bureaucrats and the publishing lobby, in their move to label students’ abilities and achievements, based on ill-conceived learning outcomes and high stakes tests.

Am I the only one who finds this decision more than a little confounding? What possible incentive could the College Board have to align itself with a system that has not proven that it can effectively evaluate students?

For years — mainly since No Child Left Behind was enacted — professors have complained that students enter college unprepared for the intellectual challenges it brings. Now, they will assess so-called mastery of skills with standards that claim to be different, yet have no history of success.

In fact, the Common Core is under so much fire that some states are considering abandoning it completely. It seems that the College Board is taking an “If-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them” approach, which may ultimately doom higher education as much as the Common Core may doom K-12 schools.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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