Teachers, Parents, and Students Using Common Core Headphones
We’ve come a long way from bubble sheets and number two pencils. Education has changed in broad, noticeable ways. Some of these have been tangible, as with the case of curricular improvement, classroom demographics, and access to materials. Other changes have been intangible, such as the broader expansion of what we consider to be national educational values, as well as the overall scales of consequence that we apply to what happens in our classrooms, hallways, and school offices. Not all of these changes have been simple, popular, or clear in their direction. To be very frank, not all will last.
The more access that more students have in a broader and more diverse range of situations to apply, engage, appreciate, and relate to their education, the stronger our communal yield will be. That is to say- When our students are switched on, given something to care about, and offered a level playing field; they tend to want to show us what they know.
Specific to what we’d like to focus on here is another aspect of our children’s ability to play key, responsive roles in their education. That would be their familiarity with the tools that they’re required to use; equipment that in some cases is also changing quickly. While our generation may not think of headphones as a fundamental, one-at-every-desk element of a classroom; the fact is that they are. And now they’re more important than ever.
Let’s talk Common Core testing. If your school hasn’t already replaced its former tests with digital assessments that align with the Common Core, it’s likely only a matter of time before it does. At the center of the Common Core Standards ideal is the concept that an agreed upon set of benchmarks can help K-12 students to meet clear, achievable standards in English, Literacy, and Mathematics designed to prepare them best for college or career.
Two consortiums are responsible for creating these tests: the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
These tests are intended to evaluate more than just knowledge—they are also supposed to assess communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and creativity. Students will be asked to solve “real world math problems,” compare and contrast, and synthesize information from multiple sources.
Traditionalists may not even recognize these tests as tests. They may look more like games, as the students will be completing them on computers, using headphones and microphones.
Teachers, parents, and the students themselves are getting ahead of the game and familiarizing themselves with this new type of testing, in part by familiarizing themselves with this equipment.
Students will perform best on the tests if they are already comfortable writing on computers. They will need to have mastered basic word processing skills, especially since the Common Core puts a specific emphasis on writing skills. Older students may also need to be familiar with spreadsheets and graphic representations of data.
If you are shopping for Common Core headphones be aware that many students (and teachers) prefer headphones with built-in volume controls. These not only offer a control and precision over the experience, but also help to eliminate the chances of students attempting to adjust their computer’s volume directly through the operating system and thus accidentally exiting the test program.
Beyond the equipment, students can prepare for Common Core testing by practicing writing and by becoming familiar with different methods of research. For example, instead of the old-fashioned “read this paragraph” model, students may be asked to listen to a paragraph before answering questions. Having a flexible, reactive sense to instruction can help students best carry out a test’s questions. Feeling comfortable with their equipment positions them to access that sense.
No matter how effectively changes are implemented; students will have to adapt. Educators are fortunate that most students in the U.S. School system are keen and responsive to change. It will be a learning curve, but over time and with effort, students will likely appreciate this new high-tech trend in assessment.