These Action Briefs for school leaders are a starting point, designed to increase awareness of the standards, create a sense of urgency around their implementation, and provide these stakeholders — who are faced with dramatically increased expectations in the context of fewer resources — with a deeper understanding of the standards and their role in implementing the standards. Achieve, in partnership with College Summit, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, released this with support from MetLife Foundation.
MLive (7/24) reports that former Michigan Gov. John Engler (R), former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), and former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) released a set of online videos Wednesday in support of the Common Core Standards, noting that the videos were released by the Collaborative for Student Success.
The videos stress that the Common Core is “a state, not federal, effort.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
The videos were released by the Collaborative for Student Success, a group supporting the standards and backed by the Gates Foundation, feature Engler along with former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas.
"Common Core does make technology a priority for many schools."
“the field test was an opportunity not only in helping us gather the information we needed on how well the test questions were performing, but also an opportunity for schools to do a full practice run of administering an online assessment.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
Online testing "will require significant administrative preparation from schools"
..."especially for those with less technology in the classroom."
“It’s certainly spurring us to improve our technology, but how quickly can we really do this?”
Note: "online assessments can test technological savviness in addition to academic concepts."
For all of the talk about how different reading instruction is meant to be in the Common Core era, and for all of the hand wringing over the critical “instructional shifts” embedded in the new literacy standards, a glimpse at the world of classroom implementation reveals that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
"new evidence suggests that the monumental effort required to change math instruction may pale in comparison to what will be needed to change another invisible yet formidable barrier to improved student math achievement—an irrational, culturally induced fear of mathematics..."
It has been four years now, since the release of the Common Core standards in Mathematics. We have sought to understand, to implement, to adjust to the shift in practice and expectation. But as Grant Wiggins points out in his recent blog, I'm not sure we have really put our collective mind around the true intent and value to our students.
During the Rethinking Accountability conference last month in Washington, D.C., Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that by supporting the Common Core State Standards – which he calls “an important part of driving equitable change in our public school system” – we are also supporting greater investments in education to prepare effective teachers and provide the resources students need to succeed.
If I asked you to multiply 12 x 50, would you grab a paper and pencil? Not if you were a student at Hyalite Elementary School in Bozeman, where students participate in “Number Talks” relying purely on mental math strategies. During one recent session, a Hyalite fourth-grader used a technique called “doubling and halving” to conclude that since 12 x 50 is the same as 6 x 100, which is the same as 3 x 200, the correct answer is 600. Another classmate related the problem to money, reasoning that 50 cents is half of a dollar, and that 12 half-dollars equals six dollars, or 600 cents. A third student decomposed 12 into 10 and 2 (numbers she said her brain liked) to deduce that 10 x 50 is 500, and 2 x 50 is 100, and adding 500 and 100 together totals 600.
Peabody of Vanderbilt U. professors reflect on the Common Core
"Most agree the idea of standardized learning across the states is a lofty, yet necessary goal. How to accomplish that is another question. At Peabody, opinions on Common Core are as mixed as elsewhere in American society."
Mel Riddile's insight:
" The ultimate outcome remains to be seen, but the focus on teaching students to move beyond memorization to thinking independently and creatively is a positive step—at least in theory, according to Marcy Singer-Gabella, professor of the practice of education and associate chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning."
"Common Core is a set of education standards -- for English and math -- that were adopted in 2010. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia decided to follow the new guidelines. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia opted out, while Minnesota decided to only adopt the English standards (with others perhaps joining them soon). These states began implementing the standards last year.
The standards haven't created national curricula -- state and local educators are still in charge of that. Instead, they establish benchmarks that make it easier to compare how students are doing across state lines, and to make sure students across the country are learning the same essentials."
"The two assessments have one key difference: SBAC tests are computer adaptive, meaning the technology “customizes assessment to each student,” explains King. At the beginning of the test, all students start with questions of medium difficulty, which “get a little more or less difficult until the test hones in on the student’s knowledge level.” PARCC tests are “fixed,” meaning that all students will get similar questions.
This distinction points out another difference: Computer adaptive testing requires technology. SBAC assessments must be taken on internet-connected technological devices, while PARCC tests can be offered both on devices and on paper."
Mel Riddile's insight:
Who benefits from "computer adaptive" testing?
Some experts contend that "computer adaptive testing is especially helpful for struggling students. “In fixed testing, you learn a lot about what the struggling student doesn’t know how to do, but not very much about what the struggling student does know how to do.”
Here’s a suggestion for something to include in Wisconsin-specific education standards for Wisconsin children: By the end of first grade, children will know that two Badgers plus two Badgers equals four Badgers. You want Indiana-specific standards for Indiana kids? By the end of first grade, children will know that two Hoosiers plus two Hoosiers equals four Hoosiers. North Carolina standards for North Carolina kids? You got it—two Tar Heels plus two Tar Heels equals four Tar Heels.
As state policymakers continue to grapple with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) decisions and debate which tests will be used to assess students’ progress with the new standards, educators face moving targets as they plan for the 2014–15 school year.
The Common Core should finally improve math education. The problem is that no one has taught the teachers how to teach it.
Mel Riddile's insight:
We don't need more ideas. Implementation is the key! We simply need to implement what we already know with fidelity.
" The trouble always starts when teachers are told to put innovative ideas into practice without much guidance on how to do it. In the hands of unprepared teachers, the reforms turn to nonsense, perplexing students more than helping them."
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) With the Legislature's repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they're concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 state which have implemented the standards.
For the past year The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida have taken you into two schools to hear what preparations for Florida’s new Common Core-based standards sound like. The standards outline what students should know in math and language arts. When classes start this fall every grade in every Florida public school will use them. …
"Let me give you a math story problem." This sentence often strikes fear in many middle grades students as well as some teachers. As international comparisons, national commissions, and state assessment results confirm, students have difficulty solving mathematical applications problems (Lester, 2007; U. S. Department of Education Institute of Educational Science, 2007; TIMMS, 2003; McREL, 2002; National Research Council, 2002; Illinois State Board of Education, 1997). Improving students'...
In 2012 I moved from Mississippi to New York City to teach at a charter elementary school in Harlem. My 27 fifth grade students had reading levels ranging from third to eighth grade. They grew up speaking 14 different languages in their homes, which were scattered from the far reaches of Brooklyn to the South Bronx. I had spoken word poets, Lego masters, dancers, and chess fiends. One gave me a hug every hour, on the hour. Others had to be coaxed into speaking.