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PARCC costs under median spending for summative math and ELA tests in its 19 member states

PARCC costs under median spending for summative math and ELA tests in its 19 member states | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
After learning the price tag for PARCC tests designed to align with the common-core standards, state officials are weighing their options.

Via Mel Riddile
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In my state of Illinois, I believe the costs of the PARCC assessement to be less than we currently spend. And I belive we are getting a higher quality product. But for some states, I understand the cost will be more. On the other hand, quality costs. I needed a new laptop. The old one I used for presenting workshops continues to be quite expensive, so I purchased less costly maching. A great laptop, but poor for presenting. You get what you pay for.

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Do we need standardized tests? A. Yes; B. No; C. Sometimes (explain) | edu@scholastic

Do we need standardized tests? A. Yes; B. No; C. Sometimes (explain) | edu@scholastic | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Will the new Common Core assessments serve as effective learning tools? Or will they exacerbate the "teaching to the test" anxiety that permeates many classrooms?

I recently spoke with Jacqueline E. King, Ph.D., the Director of Higher Education Collaboration at the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two major consortia creating Common Core-aligned assessments. The other is PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

King says that developments in research and technology are leading to a more "engaging" testing experience for students, allowing teachers and administrators to more accurately gauge students' skills. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

Q: How many states have signed on to the Smarter Balanced assessments?

A: In the 2014-15 school year, 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be using our assessments. Most people focus on the end-of-year assessments, but we offer tools for use throughout the year: formative, interim, and summative.

In the formative area, we provide an online library with a juried collection of resources—everything from sample instructional strategies to professional development. About 1,500 teachers across the country select and evaluate the materials.

The library also has a social media component so that teachers can post comments, ask questions of other teachers, and critique the materials.

Q: How can teachers access the library?

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

A Q & A primer in Smarter Balanced design and delivery.

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Overview | Literacy Design Collaborative

Overview | Literacy Design Collaborative | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

LDC is a national community of educators providing a teacher-designed and research-proven framework, online tools, and resources for creating literacy-rich assignments and courses across content areas.

LDC offers teachers, coaches, and leaders an instructional system for developing students’ literacy skills to prepare them for the demands of college and careers.

LDC does not provide “off-the-shelf” curriculum units or lesson plans and expect teachers to just go implement them. Instead, LDC empowers teachers to build students’ literacy skills and understanding of science, history, literature, and other important academic content through meaningful reading and writing assignments that are aligned to the CCSS. Ultimately, LDC relies upon the wisdom of teacher practice, helping teachers take ownership of their own professional growth to drive more powerful outcomes for their students.

LDC’s basic building block is a module, two to four weeks of instruction comprising a “teaching task,” standards, “mini-tasks,” and other instructional elements described more fully below. Working with LDC’s framework and tools, teachers develop a literacy-rich task and design instruction to help students complete that task.

The LDC tools were designed by teachers, for teachers and have been tested by thousands of educators across the spectrum of school contexts. LDC provides a common framework upon which teachers can individually or collaboratively build literacy-saturated curricula within their content area and for their focus topics. LDC’s framework and tools allow teachers to easily share, adopt, adapt, or obtain feedback on their work with colleagues from their school, district, state, or even across the country, thereby creating a true national community of teacher practice.

Here’s a more detailed summary of how LDC puts educators in the lead.

Modules.  LDC modules are developed in four steps:

  • The student performance task (explained in more detail below) called a “teaching task” that teachers design using LDC templates aligned to the CCSS.  Learn More>>
  • skills list that engages teachers in backward mapping to identify the reading, writing, and thinking skills students will need to complete that task.  Learn More>>
  • An instructional plan in which teachers create or select predesigned student activities, called “mini-tasks,” and instructional strategies that develop students’ literacy skills and guide them toward completing the teaching task.  Learn More>>
  • results section that shows sample student responses to the task and how those pieces scored on an LDC rubric, as well as an option for teachers to design a summative assessment related to the teaching task.  Learn More>>

For each step of the development process, LDC offers tools, supports, and examples and then invites teachers to make the professional choices that create effective designs for rich student learning. 

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I hadn 't visited LDC in quite some time, but after working on the Achieve EQuIP rubric last week, I was reminded of the templates for task tools available here. Since I was last on this site, they have added sample curricula and have plans to add more. Click here to see the samples: http://ldc.org/sample-curricula

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Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus'

Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus' | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core State Standards have led to big changes in the way many teachers approach reading instruction.


The Core standards explicitly require students to read "complex" material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren't doing that before the Core. What were they doing?


Teachers in Washoe County Schools (in and around Reno, Nev.) — and many districts nationwide — once used what they call a "skills and strategies" approach to teach reading. It was particularly common among poor schools where lots of kids struggled.


The idea was this: To learn how to be a good reader, kids needed to learn the skills and strategies that good readers use. Those include knowing how to find the main idea of a text, identifying key details, being able to draw conclusions, etc.


Teachers in Reno would begin each lesson by telling students the skill they'd be learning that day, says Cathy Schmidt, who taught elementary school.


"Like, today we're going to read to make inferences. Or, today we're going to predict. Or, today we're going to draw conclusions," says Schmidt.

After going over the skill of the day, teachers would typically give kids a quick summary of the story they were about to read. Then they would define the words that might be difficult for kids, says Aaron Grossman, a teacher trainer for the district who used to teach elementary and middle school...."read on and see how the Common Core shift away from backgrounding texts and teaching single strategies changed the engagement and teaching in one fifth-grade classroom.

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Common Core Reading: The High Achievers

The Common Core State Standards are changing reading instruction in many schools. And that means new challenges for lots of students, even traditional high achievers.
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11-State Coalition To Develop OER for K-12 Math and ELA -- THE Journal

11-State Coalition To Develop OER for K-12 Math and ELA -- THE Journal | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
A coalition representing 11 state education agencies is setting out to create open educational resources to support math and English/language arts in K–12 schools.

The resources will be aligned to Common Core State Standards and will:

  • Include comprehensive instructional materials for each course;
  • Contain "strategies, activities and resources that allow teachers to differentiate instruction"; and
  • Offer a full suite of assessments, "including performance tasks with student work examples, formative assessment guidance, unit-level summative assessments and rubrics to help teachers understand and interpret student performance."

The materials are to be released under Creative Commons Attribution license version 4.0, meaning that the materials can be freely copied and redistributed in any medium without additional cost

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations | Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations | Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

OLYMPIA, WASH. (November 17, 2014) —Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The vote marks an important milestone in the development of the assessment system.

 
“These initial achievement levels were developed with input from thousands of educators and community members, reflecting a diverse cross-section of views on education. Moving forward, the achievement levels, along with scale scores that also will be reported, will help teachers and parents understand student performance and needs for support,” said Smarter Balanced Executive Director Joe Willhoft.
 
The achievement levels serve as a starting point for discussion about the performance of individual students and of groups of students in mathematics and English Language arts. There are other measures that students, teachers and parents can also use to help evaluate the academic progress of students and schools, such as scale scores, growth models, and portfolios of student work. The states also unanimously approved a position paper to provide broad guidelines for how the scores and achievement levels can be used and interpreted by state officials, parents, teachers and other stakeholders.

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Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests

Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
More than half the students who take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test are expected to fall below the cutoffs for grade-level proficiency in English/language arts and mathematics.

Via Darren Burris
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Response: Close Reading Is A 'Life Skill'

Response: Close Reading Is A 'Life Skill' | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Part Two in my series on close reading includes responses from Sonja Cherry-Paul, Dana Johansen, Stephanie Harvey, Julie Goldman, Diana Sisson and Betsy Sisson.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An interesting post and well worth the time to read. The definitions provided broaden the playing field of close reading. However, I am not convinced step-by-step approaches are demonstrative of either close reading or preparation for close reading; on the other hand, for educators and students entrenched in the strategic process of the pillar reading skills, steps are a natural conduit to automaticity.

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In Light of Common Core, Ed. Schools Look to Transform to Math-Teacher Prep

In Light of Common Core, Ed. Schools Look to Transform to Math-Teacher Prep | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
A unique partnership of education schools is exploring ways to adapt secondary-math training programs to the new math standards.
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Cinematic Reading Frames: On Reading Archaic Primary Sources

Cinematic Reading Frames: On Reading Archaic Primary Sources | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Cinematic Reading Frames: On Reading Archaic Primary Sources by Brooke Feldman Many of my students are struggling readers. Not only do many students read below grade level, but the added challenge ...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
An accessible lesson--wish more lesson like this were easily available...archived in a logical & useable fashion.
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Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests

Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

More than half the students who take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test are expected to fall below the cutoffs for grade-level proficiency in English/language arts and mathematics.

"Smarter Balanced based its achievement projections on 4.2 million students’ performance on field-test items last spring. Using cut scores that were set in meetings with hundreds of educators in Dallas this fall, the consortium estimated how many students would score at each level on its test. Two people who took part in that process confirmed that the final cut scores approved by state chiefs, in consultation with top officials in their states, were very close to those recommended by the Dallas panels.

One participant said that when the standard-setting panelists saw the data projecting how many students would fall short of proficiency marks with their recommended cut scores, “there were some pretty large concerns. And it was very evident that this was going to be a problem from a political perspective.”

“The scores that came out of those rooms were close to the rigor level of NAEP,” said another participant, referring to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federally administered test given to a nationally representative sampling of students that is considered a gold standard in the industry. “That was sure to freak out some superintendents and governors.” He had anticipated that the state schools chiefs would lower the marks significantly before approving them, and he said he was “impressed and pleased” that they didn’t. 

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I repeatedly hear adults, parents and educators, ask what is the motivation for students to take standards assessments seriously. This question makes me wonder if the subject of the question is really student performance OR if the adults themselves see an absence of reason for students to perform to the highest potential. What happened to doing "things" well not because of carrots or sticks but because of an internal motivation--a desire to have only the best of one's ability associate with related outcomes. Does a question using "student" as subject reflect more on the adults doing the asking? 

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Tennessee’s Common Core backtrack strands teachers, students - The Hechinger Report

Tennessee’s Common Core backtrack strands teachers, students - The Hechinger Report | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Kingsport, Tenn. – On a hot August day during the first week of school, Heather Hobbs, a 26-year-old teacher at Andrew Johnson Elementary School in Kingsport, Tenn., asked her third-grade class to do something she knew that they wouldn’t be able to do. She handed out two passages, one about Eliza Scidmore, a writer and …
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In this article, teachers document the value of the Common Core Standards and the professional development they have been provided and furthermore, implemented to achieve student growth. Why would a political system choose to undermine richer, deeper learning?

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Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat

Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Backers of the Common Core say it's important for kids to tackle complex texts. Critics argue that reading shouldn't be a struggle for kids. We'll visit one classroom that borrows from both sides.
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Jeb Bush, Common Core and 2016

Jeb Bush, Common Core and 2016 | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's support for Common Core national academic standards will be center stage this week as he hosts his educational think tank's annual conference.
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AFT Awards Grants for New York, Connecticut Teachers to Have Voice on Standards

AFT Awards Grants for New York, Connecticut Teachers to Have Voice on Standards | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers announced today it has awarded AFT Innovation Fund grants for teachers in New York and Connecticut to offer solutions to problems with their state's rollout of the Common Core State Standards.The New York State United Teachers and AFT Connecticut were awarded the grants in a competition that was announced in July at the AFT convention.

"These grants are about giving educators some seed money to take their ideas about educational standards and convert them into practice. Many educators support higher standards but are concerned about particular aspects, especially the Common Core standards' poor implementation and their developmental appropriateness, particularly in the early grades," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "We wanted to give the people closest to children a chance to do something different, as long as we were all focused on how to help students secure the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that the Common Core standards are supposed to be about." - See more at: http://www.aft.org/press-release/aft-awards-grants-new-york-connecticut-teachers-have-voice-standards#sthash.aAQuUDhd.dpuf

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Iowa task force recommends new state assessment | Iowa Department of Education

Iowa task force recommends new state assessment | Iowa Department of Education | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

Members of the Assessment Task Force today recommended that Iowa lawmakers adopt the Smarter Balanced assessments as Iowa’s new state test for public and accredited nonpublic schools starting with the 2016-17 school year.

The task force also made recommendations around preparing schools statewide to give online assessments, funding for professional development and assessment tools, and monitoring effectiveness of the assessments.
                                                                                     
The Smarter Balanced assessments were developed by a consortium of states whose work was guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system aligned to rigorous academic standards can improve teaching and learning and can help prepare students for success in college and career training.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An Iowa committee tasked with selecting a new state assessment has chosen the SBAC test over an updated version of its current test because of SBAC’s computer-adaptive format and its alignment to the CCSS. The committee recommends that Iowa continue to use its current assessment through the 2015–16 school year and provide funding for professional development and assessment tools to ease the transition to the SBAC assessment during the 2016–17 school year.

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PARCC assessment a step forward

PARCC assessment a step forward | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

The new Common Core-aligned exam tests the right things


Via Darren Burris
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Response: Close Reading Can Be 'Fun or Awful'

Response: Close Reading Can Be 'Fun or Awful' | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Today's guest responses on the "what, why and how" of close reading come from Christopher Lehman, Cris Tovani, Pernille Ripp, Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris.
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Teacher Champion Blog

Teacher Champion Blog | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Just a couple of days ago, the Rules & Reference Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives voted a bill out of committee that would repeal the use of the Common Core State Standards in Ohio’s...
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PARCC's Katrina Santner Talks About Implementation Resources - YouTube

Katrina Santner, program associate on the summative assessment team, has been busy working with educators from the PARCC states on developing new test admini...
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Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus'

Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus' | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core State Standards have led to big changes in the way many teachers approach reading instruction.
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A response to Carol Burris and Rick Hess on Common Core math in the elementary grades | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

A response to Carol Burris and Rick Hess on Common Core math in the elementary grades | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Their criticisms don’t add up. Robert Pondicio and Kevin Mahnken
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