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Teachers, the Common Core, and the freedom to teach

Teachers, the Common Core, and the freedom to teach | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

There are undoubtedly some teachers who dislike the Common Core, but recent polls suggest that most teachers support the new standards. During my three years of teaching (completed a month ago), most of my colleagues and I liked the Common Core. One reason we supported the new standards was because they gave us more freedom. Detractors claim that standards tell teachers how to teach. But I taught Common Core after teaching Tennessee’s state standards, and while Common Core did give me expectations for what my students should know and be able to do by the end of the year (just like the previous standards did), it allowedme to decide what and how to teach.


Via Deb Gardner
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

During my first years of teaching, the texts we were to teach were dictated as were the objectives for teaching. The curriculum was a good one--I have no doubt that all Common Core Standards would have been met. But...I had no decision making power AT ALL. The #CCSS give the power of choice to the teacher's professional discretion...and that is a good thing.

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, July 15, 2014 9:48 AM

During my first years of teaching, the texts we were to teach were dictated as were the objectives for teaching. The curriculum was a good one--I have no doubt that all Common Core Standards would have been met. But...I had no decision making power AT ALL. The #CCSS give the power of choice to the teacher's professional discretion...and that is a good thing.

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Planning to Assess: How to Align Your Instruction

Planning to Assess: How to Align Your Instruction | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
We’ve partnered with PARCC to bring you a set of tools for analyzing how standards, evidences, and tasks interact and applying these understandings to instruction.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This page appears to have been published just after the first of the year, 2015. If you scroll down, there are a series of videos that could be very useful for PLC studies in aligning instruction to Common Core and assessment tools to PARCC. In my mind, whether a PARCC or SBAC or some other testing state, if you as a teacher get onboard with how your state's assessment tools work and embed their approaches into your daily instruction and formative assessments, students will have a more confident approach to the annual testing that no one likes but all are compelled to complete.

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Planning Instruction with PARCC Tools: Overview

Planning Instruction with PARCC Tools: Overview | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Learn about PARCC and how it is a powerful tool for teachers teaching to the Common Core State Standards. You'll get info on the different tools and how they support classroom instruction.
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A Closer Look at a Math Performance Task From PARCC

A Closer Look at a Math Performance Task From PARCC | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

A group of Maryland math educators take a close look at a 4th grade performance task, and several are surprised by the level of advanced thinking it requires...


"[T]he group listed what students need to know and be able to do in order to complete it. Here's what they came up with:

  • The definitions of perimeter and area
  • How to find perimeter and area
  • The definition of a square mile
  • The properties of a rectangle
  • How to solve for an unknown in a perimeter
  • Multiplication (up to multi-digit)
  • Addition and subtraction (up to multi-digit)

"Depending on how a student chooses to solve the problem, they may need even more math skills (division, for instance). And this is not to mention the reading and writing skills students need for this type of problem. (I admit that when I initially read the problem, I was thinking that 42 miles referred to the area of the park. It wasn't until I re-read it that I realized it was the perimeter.)"


Via Darren Burris
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

As noted in the article, among the skills needed to complete this math based performance task are literacy skills.

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Did You Know: Why Are There Two Parts to the Test? | PARCC

Did You Know: Why Are There Two Parts to the Test? | PARCC | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

"The early spring performance-based assessment captures critical-thinking, reasoning and application skills through “extended tasks.” In English language arts/literacy, students read passages from real texts – fiction and non-fiction, and sometimes watch video or listen to audio. Then they write, using what they’ve learned from the passages and multi-media sources to support their arguments....


"In mathematics, students solve multi-step problems that require reasoning and address real world situations. This requires students to use mathematical reasoning, make sense of quantities and their relationships to solve real-world problems, and show their understanding. Many previous assessments focused mostly on low-level skills only....


"Students participate in the end-of-year assessment shortly before the end of the school year. This consists of innovative, short-answer questions and items to measure concepts and skills. Students demonstrate comprehension of literary and informational texts and give definitions of words based on their reading of texts, rather than on memorization. They also show understanding of mathematical concepts, procedures and short applications...."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

The two-part test makes complete sense to me--assessing students' abilities in reading, thinking, and writing about meaning-making as one sitting and then later in the year taking a more directed closed type of assessment through selected response. As a teacher, I often had several assessments within the confines of a unit. I frequently spread the unit test over two days: multiple choice on one day and writing on a second and separate day. Students appreciated that their time was respected.

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Life Cycle of a PARCC Test Item

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I am currently working with teachers to develop their own Next Generation type test items. And why not? For sixty years we have modeled test items on standardized multiple choice formats with no one contesting the structure. As the format of high level assessment changes so should our classroom assessments. There is no need to prepare students for test formats if the those formats are familiar. By following the processes used by professional test making entities, teachers can have more confidence in their own work.

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Jeb Bush Resigns from All Boards, Including His Own Education Foundation - Breitbart News

Jeb Bush Resigns from All Boards, Including His Own Education Foundation - Breitbart News | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has resigned from all his corporate and nonprofit board memberships, including chairmanship of the education foundation he founded--more evidence that he is considering a 2016 presidential bid.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

At least in Jeb Bush education has a friend--but I guess that depends on which fence you lean against. In my mind, he has been active in education rather than merely paying education lip service. But then, I know many would prefer government stayed out of the edu picture. Had government stayed out of education, would we have IDEA?

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Did You Know: What is Construct Validity? | PARCC

Did You Know: What is Construct Validity? | PARCC | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

Construct validity is the degree to which a test measures what it claims to measure. For example, to determine if someone can drive a car, a test should include driving, which is the best way for a person to demonstrate their ability. Driving is the main construct, but driving is made up of many smaller constructs such as turning a corner, maneuvering in heavy traffic, and obeying the rules of the road. A driving test that only requires driving on a straight road without any traffic or traffic signals would have low construct validity. A better test would require entering and exiting a major highway during rush hour and parallel parking, because it is made up of multiple skills needed to drive.

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Educators say ACT scores alone aren't adequate predictors of college success - Reflejos

Educators say ACT scores alone aren't adequate predictors of college success - Reflejos | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
As the largest and longest running bilingual Latino publication in the NW Chicago Suburbs, Reflejos highlights the Latinos in our communities.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

No single assessment has the right (even though some have the audacity) to claim sole proprietorship as the measure of college readiness. Finally, some data (albeit soft) to support what teachers have long known: college success is not dependent upon a tests score alone.

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Larry Ferlazzo's Nine education predictions for 2015

Larry Ferlazzo's Nine education predictions for 2015 | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

1. E-Rate federal monies will result in thousands of more schools connected to high-speed Internet.

2. Bill Gates will announce that the foundation will cease its support of Value Added Measurements as a tool for teacher evaluation.

3. Governor Jerry Brown’s revolutionary funding formula for public education it will still be praised by many (including me) and other states, inspired by the idea that high-needs schools deserve more support, will begin developing their own similar plans that no one in their area can figure out, either.

4.The Vergara decision will wind its way through the courts during 2015, 2016 and eventually be successful in 2017, thereby leaving teacher tenure and due process unchanged in California.

5. Education will not be much of a topic in Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president.

6. PARCC and Smarter Balanced will be wrecked on the rocks of money, bureaucracy and lack of imagination; they will not be rigorous, but will be harder; the tests will certainly not, as the consortia claim, “measure higher-order thinking skills.”

7. The rise in public activism and awareness about issues of race will offer a challenge to us teachers and our schools.

8. Much of the energy opposing  the Common Core State Standards will burn itself out.

9. I borrow this last one from educator Bill Ivey every year. He predicts that “Each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country.” That sure sounds good to me…

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

These predictions sound on the money to me. I am just wondering once that PARCC and SBACC "wreck on the rocks of money, bureaucracy, and lack of imagination..." what will take their place?

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Twitter Competition! What’s your top teaching tip for the PARCC and SBAC ELA assessments? - Routledge

Twitter Competition! What’s your top teaching tip for the PARCC and SBAC ELA assessments? - Routledge | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Tweet your top teaching tip for the upcoming exam season and enter to win a free book!
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Quiz: Can You Tell SAT, ACT Fact From Fiction? - US News

Quiz: Can You Tell SAT, ACT Fact From Fiction? - US News | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
When it comes to college standardized tests, see if you can determine what's true and what's a myth.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Take a quick 10-point quiz on your knowledge of the ACT and SAT testing methods and uses.

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EDITORIAL: Standardized tests necessary evil - Asbury Park Press

EDITORIAL: Standardized tests necessary evil - Asbury Park Press | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Asbury Park Press
EDITORIAL: Standardized tests necessary evil
Asbury Park Press
...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I know many parents who believed their child's taking of the ACT (Illinois' NCLB compliance assessment since 2000) was a waste, but there was no "opt out" movement then. Why, now that standards have changed to be unified is the uproar so heated? Could it be fueled by political machines?

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Maggie McGuirk Veres's curator insight, December 26, 2014 9:28 PM

A look at another opinion.

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We Want to Give You a Choice of State Tests, Wis. Legislators Tell Districts

We Want to Give You a Choice of State Tests, Wis. Legislators Tell Districts | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
A Wisconsin bill backed by powerful state legislators would give schools a choice of certain state assessments. What are the complexities and consequences of that proposal?
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Although Wisconsin is a Smarter Balance state, I decided to post this because if indeed they provide options for standardized assessment other states (or vociferous opponents to PARCC and SBAC) may begin looking at this option, too. The issue: once again politicians offering choices that in the real world don't exist...at least not yet. As Brad Carl, associate director at the U-W research center points out, SBAC hasn't even been given so to think there may be correlations between that assessment's results and those assessments that have preexisted the Common Core is reaching into the unknown. Why can't people take this one step at a time? Let's give the new assessments before drawing conclusions on their efficacy.

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EDITORIAL: Give PARCC a chance, prepare for the worst - Asbury Park Press

EDITORIAL: Give PARCC a chance, prepare for the worst - Asbury Park Press | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
As opposition to new standardized tests grow, critics should focus on the stakes
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
This editorial is truly balanced. Although the author seems skeptical about PARCC, a logical conclusion is drawn: we need new assessments to measure proficiency in new standards; the unknown is uncomfortable but time will clarify the value of this change.
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December @PARCCPlace Office Hours Q & A on Storify

For the #askPARCC December Office Hours, PARCC’s Director of ELA/literacy Bonnie Hain joined Callie and Emily to tackle your big questions about the standards, task types, rubrics and more—with even a few helpful resources shared along the way.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I appreciate PARCC's attempt to communicate with the public via an open ended Q & A. From this discussion we know that more materials will be released in August 2015....A bulleted list of the information would be useful...maybe I'll blog it out!

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Learn from Bonnie Hain, PARCC's Director of ELA/Literacy: Life Cycle of a Test Item - YouTube

Classroom teachers and local educators are involved at every step, including test design. The process of developing test questions is unprecendented for its...

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Writing Rubrics | Partner in Education

Writing Rubrics | Partner in Education | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
@DavidHochheiser @PARCCPlace @dgburris @dgraebe I have grade-level rubrics aligned 2standards & PARCC's rubrics http://t.co/djyMO2jFYW
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Helpful tool for teachers and students!
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Fresh Off the Press: PARCC Planners w/Audio Files

Fresh Off the Press: PARCC Planners w/Audio Files | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

Performance Task Planners: don't reinvent the wheel. Use your content texts & these planners 2cut down design time: http://t.co/Z2APUU9XjQ


Via Darren Burris
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Yes, this are my work and so I am using my own ScoopIt website to promote my own own work. But....I believe in these planners as tools to develop standards-aligned customized curricular assessment and corresponding learning activities. There you go! Check them out and share feedback. These planners are a revisioning of my original planners which had to be changed in fall 2014 when PARCC made content updates to their assessment blueprints.

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What will sink and what will survive as states test Common Core? - PBS NewsHour

What will sink and what will survive as states test Common Core? - PBS NewsHour | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
In 2008, a set of academic standards for U.S. public schools called the Common Core was created for states to voluntarily implement.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Just keep your sense of humor with this one!

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Local Assessment vs. Standardized Assessment: Value Added & Student Growth | Partner in Education

Local Assessment vs. Standardized Assessment: Value Added & Student Growth | Partner in Education | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
My most recent blog shares some interesting discussion among practitioners & researchers on the use, misuse, and purpose of standardized assessment.
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New survey: High school grads feel unprepared. Are their schools at fault or ... - Salina.com

New survey: High school grads feel unprepared. Are their schools at fault or ... - Salina.com | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it

"A new national survey released by Achieve — Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? — shows that approximately 50 percent of recent high school graduates report gaps in preparation for life after high school.

 

“Recent high school graduates are telling us that they left high school unprepared for the expectations they faced in college or in the work place,” said Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer of Achieve.

 

“Policymakers should take note and create an environment where college and career ready standards — which all states now have — are translated into high expectations for all students. Until states set gradation policies that match their academic standards and support rigorous instruction, too many recent graduates will continue to feel underprepared for their next steps.”

 

The survey, which is a follow-up to an earlier survey conducted by Achieve in 2004, found that the perceived rigor of high school is largely unchanged in the past decade.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Read the full survey report here: Rising to the Challenge

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PARCC Attrition from 2011 to 2014: Not Looking Good for Pearson - Huffington Post

PARCC Attrition from 2011 to 2014: Not Looking Good for Pearson - Huffington Post | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
Pearson will not come close to testing even half of the 22 million PARCC students advertised on the PARCC website in February 2014- the time of the above-cited Pearson earnings call. That must be a real bummer for a Pearson CEO with no Plan B....
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Even though states are bailing from PARCC assessment, I believe it to be a quality assessment. Unlike the types of assessments we have conventionally used, PARCC requires students write for several purposes; it acknowledges that single correct answers are not the reality in either understanding print text or in making decisions about how to solve mathematical problems; it values authentic text over trite text generated to meet an assessment's goals. Why PARCC has been the beneficiary of negative press while SBAC has avoided the same, is a conundrum to me.  

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Some schools in North Jersey dropping midterms, finals - News - NorthJersey.com

Some schools in North Jersey dropping midterms, finals - News - NorthJersey.com | All Things PARCC | Scoop.it
The motive is partly to regain instruction time as standardized tests take up more days each year. But school officials say they’re also tossing out the traditional, high-stakes exams as they look at the larger issue of how to determine what students have learned.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I tweeted this article out several days ago and noted that several of the high schools I am working with are trying to figure out how they too can eliminate mid-terms and finals. With states going to a growth model related to teacher evaluation, students must have pre and post assessment that focuses not on attainment or achievement but on the differences between what they could do when they entered the class and what they can do after having had the teaching and learning experience offered in a class. In my humble opinion, this is what we should begin reporting to parents rather than a percentage grade that reflects far less in relation to the individual.

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