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Reading Roundup: First Curriculum, Then Assessment

Those of you following the common standards and assessments will be interested in a post by Diana Senechal on the Core Knowledge Foundation's blog. The piece articulates the fear—and Senechal's not the only one expressing this fear—that the rush to design assessments for the new standards threatens to shape the curriculum (and not in a good way). A deep, rich curriculum should be developed first, she argues, and then tests that reflect the actual content taught in the classroom, not just the broad skills articulated by the standards.

Senechal, who served on the work group that wrote the common standards in English/language arts, thinks content too often gets lost in the push for skills. (See the American Educator article she wrote about this last spring.) She worked on curriculum maps that Common Core recently put out for the new standards.

Other interesting tidbits of reading for you:

• An EdWeek story, by my colleague Christina Samuels, on the way common standards could play out for students with disabilities;

• A commentary on our site by research scientist Catherine Lewis, exploring how a "proving ground" for common standards might look, and

• A story by my colleague Sarah Sparks exploring what research tells us about the role a "gap year" can play in boosting students' motivation to go to college.

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