NEW YORK – Is this what students should expect on the new Common Core tests?

A test preparation book produced by Carson-Dellosa Publishing titled “Spectrum Test Prep” features a series of questions related to government and political philosophy.

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Most require students to read a brief passage and answer either multiple choice or written questions.

While the book was copyrighted in 2007, the publishers boast that it’s compatible with “national standards.”

Group indentityOne group of questions for 8th graders – unrelated to a specific reading – is titled “Group Identity and Social Class.”

Among the questions students answer are:

    • With which ethnic group do you most closely identify? To which social class would you say you belong?
    • When you watch TV or read newspapers or magazines, are people of your ethnic group, gender, and social class widely represented?
    • When you study the history of America in school, do you learn about the contributions of people of your ethnic group? Your gender? Your social class?
    • If you ask to speak with the manager of an institution such as a bank, a retail store, or another place of business, how likely is it that you will meet someone of your ethnic background or gender?
    • How many of your teachers share your ethnic background?
    • Can you readily purchase greeting cards that feature people of your ethnic group or social class?
    • If you cut your finger, can you easily find bandages that match the color of your skin?
    • What conclusions can you draw about group identity and social class from your answers to questions 1-7?

A sampling of the test prep book can be found here.

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Carson-Dellosa advertising the book by saying, “The Spectrum series has been designed to prepare students with these skills and to enhance student achievement. Developed by experts in the field of education, each title in the Spectrum workbook series offers grade-appropriate instruction and reinforcement in an effective sequence for learning success.”

What bearing do bandages and greeting cards have on assessing whether a student can read or write? And what would the “correct” answer be? The answer key reads, “Answers will vary depending on the ethnic group, gender and social class of each student.”

In other words, there is no “correct” – or “incorrect” – answer.