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Will this be on the test?

I’d like to have been at this NYPL panel on nonfiction put together by Betsy Bird. The four panelists are among the best of our nonfiction writers, and I would have loved to ask them how their  job prospects were looking under the Common Core State Standards. With the CCSS (have we agreed this is the short form?) emphasis on using author-driven nonfiction in the classroom, you would think the outlook was rosy but I am worried. Already, I’m hearing people complain that the standards do not provide enough in the way of books approved for use, a wrongheaded whine that ignores the fact that the books that the CCSS documents do list are only meant to be examples. We tut about spoon-feeeding to students but some teachers seem to be eager to ingest by the same method. (And, as always, we will have publishers and other “content producers” happy to serve them.)

But to be fair to teachers, they and I are wondering just how the success of the CCSS is going to be evaluated. How is standardized testing going to measure the results of what is supposed to be unstandardized teaching? If I thought I was going to have my effectiveness measured “the old way,” I wouldn’t want to try anything new either.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Roger:
    As one of the authors on the panel, I can tell you that I’ve had a definite uptick in school visits. Teachers and librarians seem especially interesting in hearing how authors do their research and other aspects of the stories behind the books that we write.

    Susan Kuklin will be writing more about the panel on I.N.K. this Friday.

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