When reading an article from The New York Times website written by Hefling and Melinda Deslatte, Testing Based on Common Core Standards Starts This Week (2015), I was able to evaluate the credibility of the resources using the Criteria to Evaluate Credibility of WWW Resources (1998). The article discussed the upcoming Common Core state tests that students will take to evaluate what they know replacing tests in 29 states. The difficulty of the test and students lack of computer skills was a concern as well as the technology needed to support computerized tests. The author also reported that various groups were against the Common Core and the testing system.
The authors of the article did not provide information as to their own expertise on the subject. Melinda Deslatte, who is noted as a writer from the Associated Press and contributing to the article, reports on political issues for the state of Lousiana. The other author was only cited as Hefling. When looking up the first name of Hefling, I found several other versions or the same version of this article on other websites. The Huffington Post and other such sites have the same article, but Kimberly Hefling and Julie Carr Smyth are listed as the authors. Kimberly Hefling is a reporter for the Associated Press. According to her biography on Linkedin, she has worked for the Associated Press since 1997 and is a journalism major.
As I read through the article, I tried to determine the sources used and if they were credible. Two sources are cited in the article. The website to the testing companies, PARCC and Smarter Balanced are what is cited. Three students were cited giving their first and last name as well as the school they attend, Morgan South Elementary School. The students’ teacher was also named in the article, Carrie Young. Superintendent of Winnetka Public Schools, Trisha Kocanda was referenced in the article as well as Tony Alper, executive director for Smarter Balance, and Laura Slover, chief executive officer of PARCC. Lastly, Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, and Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, were also included in the article. Most of the sources gave their opinion on the Common Core testing that is computerized. The students and teacher primarily discussed the use of computers and the comfort level of students with computers. The governor and superintendent stated their views on the test with Kocanda worried about the length and rigor and Jindal tried to stop the PARCC exam but was stopped by a judge who said he could not. Alpert and Slover basically just stated that their tests can compare students from state to state and each state has access to the tests. Arne Duncan said it would have to be “figured” out. Although there are some noteworthy sources, the information gained from them was minimal and pieced together.
The information seemed very biased and one-sided. There was information stated in the article with no evidence or sources cited to support the evidence such as stating the exams are expected to be difficult and the different components of the test. It is not stated where they got this information. It is also stated there is controversy and this seems to be the slant or bias of the article. The article states more than 40 states have adopted the Common Core when the number is 43. The article says several states have chosen not to offer the tests PARCC or Smarter Balanced and some states are introducing other tests. These are very vague comments. If the authors are going to bring it up, they should do a little research and state how many. Give the exact numbers. The article is full of vague information with little evidence to support what is said.
Overall, I did not trust the information. In this case, I did not find credibility with the authors. Information was not supported with evidence and what was cited was weak using partial bits from another source. I do not always take the stance of not trusting bloggers or non-professionals. If a person has good sources and evidence to support what they say, then I will value the article or blog. When the information stated is not backed by evidence and is only opinion, then I will listen to the views of others with an open mind. I always like to hear what other people think, although it does not necessarily mean I will jump on the bandwagon and agree with them. I like to know the facts, look at different points of view, consider all the information I have and make a decision on my views.
I believe that people should be able to state their views, but sometimes this can be harmful. Take the Common Core. This is a hot topic in education. I want parents and the community to be informed, but with accurate information. It disturbs me when people start citing what they heard and have no reliable sources to base that evidence. I think if people want to state their opinion, that is fine but they need to state that it is just their opinion. I will have parents come into my office questioning, concerned, complaining, etc. about the Common Core or what they heard about the Common Core. I try to inform them the best I can. I feel that the more knowledge people have on a subject, the better they can make informed opinions.
Hufling and Deslatee, Melinda. 2015. The New York Times:Testing Based on Common Core Standards Starts This Week. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/02/16/us/ap-us-common-core-tests.html?_r=0