professornana (professornana) wrote,

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What's in a Name?

Names and naming have been running through my head of late. I won the rights to name a character in a new Barry Lyga novel some months ago when I bid for items authors auctioned for relief for Haiti (I also won a Skype visit with Barry Lyga which I donated to Room 407 and Mr. Hankins). At Thanksgiving, I announced to family and friends gathered that Natalie (former resident of the back bedroom and now College Girl) would be a detective in Lyga's next book, part of The Killers series. She was, as I suspected she would be, quite pleased.

And then PARRC announced it, too, was interested in names, this time names for its latest test items. In this article (, PARRC announces its latest travesty on educational terminology (as least as it applies to testing) with the PCR or prose constructed response. I had already translated the other two items they have created: the EBSR (Evidence-based Selected-response) and TECR (Technology-Enhanced Constructed-Response). I particularly enjoyed the tech enhanced response that used "technology" to have kids drag and drop items into a chronological order of some sort on the item in question. This is a rather interesting use of "technology" which demotes tech to some sort of mouse maneuver. And now PCR renames the essay.

The PCR will be on early testing only and not on the end of the year assessment (Why, I wonder. though I do have some suspicions). Here is how PARRC delineates the differences between the essay and their PCR: "The PCR differs from typical classroom assessment essays in several ways. First and foremost, the text base that students will be addressing in their writing is novel or new so students will not base their written text on recollection of lecture or experience. Secondly, unlike most combination multiple choice and essay assessments given in class, the multiple choice questions preceding the PCR will be leading the student to think about the text because these two-part questions will be correlated to the PCR prompt. PARCC’s."

A rose by any other name, folks. I recall many tests as a student where I was given fresh material to tackle, where other test items helped me formulate the essay response. What I need to see a RUBRIC. Will this be scored by a human or a machine? What manner of text will be provided? What does PARRC count as an extended response? So many questions about names and labels. And this is one of my key struggles with CCSS and all the related materials: how EXACTLY does a rebranding, relabeling, renaming make kids any more ready for college or career?

I think we need to make up our own acronyms and meanings. Brand them. Sell them. Make $$$. Retire. That is what too many of the architects and test makers are doing.
Tags: acronyms, ccss, parrc, testing
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