Evidence that our state’s standards and curriculum are invalid under Common Core   Leave a comment

When I started to study the Common Core initiative just a few weeks ago, I was told by the local school board, the Utah State Office of Education and the official websites of Common Core and the U.S. Department of Education that “we have local control,” (not true) and that Utah could easily change any strand of the standards by a majority vote of our State School Board (true but irrelevant since our standards will never be tested).

How do I know?

I contacted the test writers themselves.  WestEd is the name of the group.  Their senior researcher wrote back, saying that “In order for this [testing] system to have a real impact within a state, the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards.)” -April 2012 statement from WestEd Assessments and Standards Senior Research Associate

There are, you see, two sets of standards.  The UTAH COMMON CORE is our current educational standard.  It is not the same as the CCSS (common core) standards, although it was based on the CCSS.  We were “allowed” to ad 15% of our own content.  But the tests hold the power because as soon as teachers realize the kids are being tested on something other than Utah’s Common Core, they’ll have to shift to adjust to the test to produce competitive scores and get merit pay.

Here’s the letter:


Letter from WestEd to a me, a Utah educator:

To: esato@wested.org, ccarrol@wested.org

Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 4:44:12 AM



Dear Edynn Sato and Cathy Carroll / WestEd,


Please help me understand how differents states’ standards will be “crosswalked” or taken into account, on the SBAC assessments.


Please help me understand how the individual standards of a member state of SBAC will still be relevant in light of the fact that all the SBAC states take the same test.


For example, if  Colorado added 15% more calculus to their math standards than the federal standards had, while Utah added 15% more geometry, how will those individual state standards be addressed by the test?


If the WestEd’s test contains neither Colorado’s calculus nor Utah’s geometry, because their standards were actually higher than those of the federal government’s, how will the test benefit the SBAC states?


Thank you.




Date: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Cc: Edynn Sato <esato@wested.org>


Dear Christel:


Thank you for the question regarding assessment alignment within the Consortium. Consistent with the terms of this Race to the Top grant, the Consortium will be developing an assessment system that ensures comparability across member states. To that end, the Consortium is developing, through state-led input and consensus, test blueprints that measure the Common Core State Standards that are the same across all member states.


If a state chooses to add their state-specific 15% to the Consortium test, then that additional information can be included in their local reporting, but is not considered the Smarter Balanced test.


In order for this system to have a real impact within a state the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards).


As a condition of the grant, all member states participating in the assessment must adopt the Common Core. In our discussions with member states regarding the desire to implement the additional 15% we have found that most interest comes from states with standards that fall outside English language arts or mathematics (e.g., Native American history).


If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me directly or email SBAC@wested.org


Thank you.


Christyan Mitchell, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Assessment and Standards Development Services


phone:  415-615-3115

fax: 415-615-3200

email: cmitche@wested.org





Posted April 6, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

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