6th Graders Ask to be Paid for Taking Test to Help Controversial Common Core

Thursday, June 05, 2014
Alan Larouche's 6th Grade cllass (photo: Alan Larouche, Ipswich Chronicle)

Middle school students in Massachusetts have demanded they be compensated for the time they spent as guinea pigs for a new Common Core standardized test.


The demand to be paid came at Ipswich Middle School, where math teacher Alan Laroche jokingly remarked in class that his students should get something out of spending the equivalent of a week’s worth of class time taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, one of the Common Core programs, as a trial. The Obama administration gave $350 million to two groups to create standardized to judge states receiving federal education aid.


About 80,000 students, including Laroche’s class of 37, took the PARCC math and English exams.


“The kids proceeded to tell me that PARCC is going to be making money from the test, so they should get paid as guinea pigs for helping them out in creating this test,” Laroche told the Ipswich Chronicle. “So I said, ‘OK, if that’s the case and you guys feel strongly then there are venues and things you can do to voice your opinion, and one would be to write a letter and have some support behind that letter with petition.”


Demonstrating his math skills, student Brett Beaulieu calculated Laroche’s students should collectively earn $1,628 for spending 330 minutes to take the exams.


Beaulieu offered alternatives to giving the students the money, instead spending the sum on 22 textbooks (Common Core ones, of course) or #2 pencils (about 8,700) or 8½ x 11 paper (175,000 sheets) or calculators (270). He’d rather have the cash, however. “I hope that we can get the money,” Beaulieu said. “I mean it’s really not all about that, but I think it would be cool if we could actually kind of make a difference.”


Laroche sent the letter to PARCC, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone.


Arizona students have also been testing the test. That state announced last week that it was withdrawing from PARCC so that its selection process between that group’s offerings and those of competitor Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium would be free of bias.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Ipswich 6th Graders Calculate a Rebellion (by Kate Evans, Ipswich Chronicle)

Arizona Withdraws From PARCC to Avoid Bias in Procuring New Tests (by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week)

Common Core, an Early Target of the Right, Now Finds Displeasure from the Left (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Everything You Need to Know about Common Core (by Diane Ravitch, Washington Post)


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