Ada — Imagine sitting down for your last college final in English. Whatever grade you make on this test determines whether or not you get to don a cap and gown, walk across a stage to hear your first, middle and last names declared in front of a large audience while simultaneously being handed a rolled up piece of paper to show your proud parents their investment in your education was not a colossal waste of money after all. You graduated!
But first, the test.
Nervous? Of course you are. Truth be told you’ve been having nightmares for weeks in which you discover you overslept and missed the exam. It’s not true. It was only a dream. But now real tension begins as you read the first question, as follows:
“Write an opinion piece in which you introduce the topic or name the book you are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.”
It gets worse. The second question is: “Write informative/explanatory texts in which you name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.”
As if that’s not enough, the third question is: “Write narratives in which you recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.”
This would be a challenge for any graduating college senior. The real problem here is these questions are not for college seniors at all. They are part of Common Core’s English Language Writing Standards for first graders.
Let’s put it another way. These are topics for six-year-old boys and girls to grapple with, courtesy of the good folks responsible for sculpting Common Core Standards.