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Poll: Common Core Test Scores Less Important Than Critical Thinking Skills

A survey of California teachers found most teachers said test scores aligned with the new Common Core standards are far less important than the curriculum itself.

The poll, which was released Wednesday, found four-out-of-five teachers said testing for critical thinking skills is the best way to assess whether students are ready for college. Louis Freedberg is with EdSource, the non-partisan research group that released the poll.

"Their ranking of critical thinking skills is very much in line with the Common Core," Freedberg said. "But they are just saying that the test score itself shouldn't be used as the measure of whether a student is ready for college or ready to succeed in the workplace."


Freedberg said only eight percent believe Common Core's new Smarter Balanced standardized tests are the way to measure success.

Celia Jaffe is with the California State PTA.

"Many parents like having some standardized test scores," Jaffe said. "But the scores need to be taken in context of the whole education."

Scores released three weeks ago show fewer than half of all California students passed the Smarter Balanced test.

The poll also finds only eight percent of teachers say they've been trained on how to prepare students for options other than college.


"The number one resource that they felt was needed was career academies or other programs that link the high school curriculum with a specific career pathway," Freedberg said.

He said there's been so much emphasis on getting kids into college that a lot of the traditional vocational classes in high school have been eliminated. But Freedberg said now the tide is turning to bring back career courses.

"Not the traditional wood shop, auto mechanics classes but other vocationally oriented courses that are tied to the new economy," he said.

Such as robotics and computer programming. He said California is gradually moving in that direction.

Last year, the state created the Career Pathways Trust, an effort to prepare students for real-world jobs.