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PARCC Releases More Sample Items | PARCC

PARCC Releases More Sample Items | PARCC | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Although the November 6, 2013  news release from PARCC states, "The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers released new sample test items today. With this release, PARCC has now made public exemplar test items across the grades in both mathematics and English language arts/literacy" there still remain gaps in samples at several grades. Just sayin'....if one is going to publish a news release stating test items are available across the grades, shouldn't they be?

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Denver Public Schools “back to the drawing board” in search for Common Core ... - Chalkbeat New York

Denver Public Schools “back to the drawing board” in search for Common Core ... - Chalkbeat New York | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"District officials say that the textbooks and other academic resources that are on the market right now aren’t up to snuff...


"But Denver is not alone in having not found new Common Core-aligned curriculum and textbooks, said Carrie Heath Phillips, program director for Common Core State Standards at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which helped develop the standards. “Many places didn’t want to rush to buy new materials until there were more quality resources out there.


"She said that’s starting to change: Some states, including Tennessee, Louisiana, and Hawaii, have recommended lists of textbooks that are aligned to the standards...."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

There is just not enough out there...Professionally, I believe that schools and districts could and should form curricular consoritia to identify, design, and house quality texts, assessments, and performance tasks with rubrics and models. Why pay for-profit companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase generic models? Take that money and pay willing and capable teachers to become curriculum and assessment designers able to customize teaching and learning to geographic and cultural needs and interests. d

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Common Core: Educators Say Yes, Lawmakers Aren't Sure

Common Core: Educators Say Yes, Lawmakers Aren't Sure | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Members of the state Board of Education heard directly from teachers this month about the development and the implementation of the state’s Next Generation
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

In reviewing the standards, West Virginia teachers discovered that 80 percent of their existing ELA standards and 73 percent of their existing math standards were "perfectly" aligned to the #CCSS. So, what is the next move? Seems to me an important question is whether that means that they do not teach to 20 percent and 27 percent of the standards now for the most part nationally adopted? Are the standards not within the identified percentages valuable standards? One would think that verging on 1/4 of the standards there would be  valuable concepts/skills left untaught. And the greater question, if existing standards align "perfectly" but are not fully encompassing of what kids need to know, what is the fuss about? Adopt the standards and do as so many have...rename them and let's move forward and quit looking back. 

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Common Core State Standards & Some Thoughtful Practices - EdTechReview™ (ETR)

Common Core State Standards & Some Thoughtful Practices - EdTechReview™ (ETR) | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
After-school enrichment programs are beginning to support this national effort with diverse offerings for young people and their parents.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An insightful podcast interview with Dave Stuart, blogger at Teaching the Core: A Non-Freaked Out Approach and author of a book by the same name. Scroll just under the image of Dave and his book and click on the podcast to learn more about what inspired Dave in his work. 

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Ten things Ohio Common Core opponents don’t want you to know | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

As another legislative assault on the Common Core in Ohio begins, here's a few things you might want to know.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Myth-buster! Share with anti-CCSS proponents.
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Common Core Big Idea 5: Consider Meaningful Assessment

Common Core Big Idea 5: Consider Meaningful Assessment | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
In this fifth of a five-part series, educators Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins discuss how to implement backward design to create meaningful assessments.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This series of posts on the Common Core are not new, but what I am finding is that many people were not reading the valuable insights that forethinkers were putting out there for public consumption and discussion. As a result, time moves forward and valuable insight is lost in the newness of nothingness. 


At a recent conference, I was disappointed to have wasted my time listening courteously to an "expert" on Common Core and its implementation. Evidently, this speaker was a new expert, because he added little to nothing to my understanding. Little is being kind. 


Let's not be hoodwinked that because something is more recent it is better. 

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Common Core Alignment and Instructional Feedback: A Principal's Role in Implementation

Common Core Alignment and Instructional Feedback: A Principal's Role in Implementation | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Common Core Alignment and Instructional Feedback: A Principal's Role in Implementation by Emily Charton Teachers  have poured copious amount of time, energy, creativity, and innovation into revampi...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

All good stuff! Teachers are working hard to meet the mandates of CC expectations. And the question remains, “How will we assess their proficiencies as learners and our own as teachers?” One way that we can better be sure we addressing the standards in assessment is by renaming our units. The Ebola unit becomes “A study in authorial response to conflicting evidence through the analysis of Ebola reporting.” This may not necessarily be the part of RI.8.6 the teacher was explicitly teaching to, but is intended as an example. If we put the language of the target standards in the unit and lesson titles, we will be consistently guided to consider the goals for instruction and assessment.

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School Technology: Important for Teaching, Learning

School Technology: Important for Teaching, Learning | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
As school districts work to prepare students for careers, education and life beyond high school, teaching and using technology in schools has become increasingly important. This doesn't mean simply purchasing and using new devices in school....
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Though this article focuses on New York's recent technology policy, it also emphasizes the important relationship of technology and #CCSS. I was recently speaking at a New Jersey high school. The teachers were opposed to the technology emphasis of the #CCSS and next gen testing. Why? They didn't feel they needed tech to teach. But if we want our kids prepared for real world work and college upon HA graduation, technology must be a part of school. I don't care if that means teachers need to learn something new. Technology is the present & the future.
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Bring Play into the Common Core State Standards

Bring Play into the Common Core State Standards
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Common Core Standards do not tell teachers how to teach--they merely set out end of grade goals. This article provides ideas for how to approach teaching high caliber content and skills using engaging techniques and tools.
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What does the Common Core mean for special ed?

The Common Core is presenting a new challenge—and offering little guidance—to special education teachers working to keep their students on pace with their peers.

“We have a lot of kids who have not
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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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Rand Paul: Jeb Bush’s Common Core support would be ‘big problem’ in primary

Rand Paul: Jeb Bush’s Common Core support would be ‘big problem’ in primary | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
"I think most conservative Republicans think that education should be more at the local and state level."
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Does Common Core really mean teachers should teach differently? - The Hechinger Report

Does Common Core really mean teachers should teach differently? - The Hechinger Report | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The Common Core wasn’t necessarily supposed to change how math is taught, but in many schools that’s exactly what’s happening. Many – some might argue most – American math teachers once followed a simple format: Explain a formula to the class, show an example on the board, then let students practice on worksheets. Now, many …
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

The comments are as or more interesting than the article. What a divide we have among our educational professionals. 

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Are we on the verge of an end to test-based accountability?

Are we on the verge of an end to test-based accountability? | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Protests continue to grow, but what will they up to in the end?
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Though the author would like to say we are moving away from standardized assessments, he acknowledges until parents, teachers, students, POLITICIANS, and taxpayers all raise their expectations and provide alternatives, the stud quo is just that.
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3 Reasons to Celebrate the Common Core State Standards, and 3 to Be Cautious

3 Reasons to Celebrate the Common Core State Standards, and 3 to Be Cautious | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
By Rita Platt The debate about the pros and cons of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is raging! At this point most of the arguing is fueled by policy-makers and academics, and as is often th...
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes!
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Thinking Notes: A Strategy to Encourage Close Reading

Thinking Notes: A Strategy to Encourage Close Reading | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
By making Thinking Notes, or metacognative markers, consistent between students when they are reading, you prepare them for a better discussion of the text. Watch how to use this simple strategy to help your students better understand texts.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Agreed. Too many students begin to highlight without noting why the highlighting occurred. I do the same thing on occasion, highlight thinking I'll remember but then...I forget!

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Schools Teach Common-Core Math to Two Generations

Schools Teach Common-Core Math to Two Generations | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
Through parent math nights, letters home, and videos, schools are providing a quieter counterpoint to media critiques of the math standards.
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Parents, legislators push back against Common Core

Parents, legislators push back against Common Core | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it
The debate against Common Core is moving into the state legislatures, even as more parents plan to opt out of spring tests.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:
I am finding that many states rejecting the Common Core and replacing the 2010 standards with their own state standards are merely renaming the standards. If you follow me, you know I support the standards. I list opposing views because I know that in order to form an intellectual view/opinion, I must read & understand multiple perspectives of the issues.
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As Testing Debate Continues, Some N.J. Schools Scale Back Assessments

As Testing Debate Continues, Some N.J. Schools Scale Back Assessments | Common Core ELA_Literacy | Scoop.it

"One New Jersey high school has canceled midterms and final exams in an effort to cut back on the time students spend taking tests.


"That change will mean that students will no longer have to spend a week in January (half-days ) on mid-terms and another week in June on finals. 

"The high school, which made the decision last week, is among less than a handful of other schools and districts in New Jersey that have take similar action or are contemplating dropping some of the multiple assessments that students take annually.


"They include Livingston High School, which announced in October that it was canceling midterms, and Millburn High School, where finals will be a thing of the past. Pascack Valley Regional High School District and Northern Valley Regional High School District have also discussed the possibility, according to the paper."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Great move! As a matter of fact, this is something I am working on with several schools as we try to make sense of standards aligned instruction and assessment. Standards are not as much about content as they are about problem solving--granted--content is important but if one cannot use the content the knowledge is wasted. My answer: focus on performance tasks (grouping appropriate standards) that use the standards as guides for instruction and assessment. Then, using cold texts (including math and science), assess students through similar though novel tasks.

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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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