The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) supporting school leaders in helping all students become college and career-ready and to succeed in post-secondary education and training
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.
More Than 12 States Report Problems With Computerized Tests.
The “Answer Sheet” blog of the Washington Post (4/25, Strauss) reports that according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (“FairTest”), several states have reported issues in administering their computer-based Common Core standardized tests. Citing a list of headlines from across the US, FairTest says the ongoing problems “reinforces the conclusion that the technologies rushed into the marketplace by political mandates and the companies paid to implement them are not ready for prime time.”
“Whether it’s the English test or math test, there’s a great emphasis on constructing responses to questions,” says Jeff Nellhaus, chief of assessment for PARCC.
That stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It’s one of two multi-state consortia that shared $360 million in federal grants to create tests aligned with the common core standards. The standards focus on critical thinking, problem solving and analytic skills. Nellhaus says the old measures won’t do.
Educators Bill Zahner, Ben Spielberg, Gladis Kersaint, Denisse R. Thompson, Maria Montelvo-Balbed, and Denise Huddlestun share their suggestions for how teachers can best handle the challenge of teaching Common Core Math to English Language Learners.
"You might be thinking that it has become hard to track just what states are doing with respect to reconsidering or taking a second look at the common core. Fortunately, Dan Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy map tracking reviews, executive orders, and other state actions with respect to the standards. Click here for the most recent version of that common-core map; a version of the map updated April 23 is below, with the key included:"
Three states impacted by a widespread system crash with New Hampshire-based Measured Progress. Nevada, Montana and NorthDakota contract with the company to administer the tests that are linked to hotly disputed, federally backed education standards.
Parents in the wealthiest school districts are the ones behind the movement to boycott the state’s Common Core standardized exams, a new analysis shows.
Nine of the top 10 school districts where students were pulled out of taking math and English exams in grades 3 through 8 last year were in affluent Long Island communities, the study by education-advocacy group High Achievement New York found.
The median income in these school districts is $97,571, far higher than the $58,003 state average.
About 60,000 students in the state opted out of at least one of the Common Core exams in 2014. That number is expected to increase greatly this year as more parents and teachers rage against what they claim is an overemphasis on high-stakes exams and test prep.
Civil Rights Groups Fight To Retain NCLB Testing The Washington Post (4/11, Layton) reports “Advocates for poor and minority children are pushing a novel idea: standardized tests as a civil right.” The Post says civil rights groups assert that Federally required testing is a “tool to force fairness in public schools” by spotlighting the gulf between scores of poor, minority students and “their more affluent counterparts.” In addition, the articles says that the civil rights groups are battling legislative efforts to roll back testing as Congressional legislators begin to rewrite “No Child Left Behind,” the country’s main Federal education law. WPost: Education Bill Reduces Federal Government’s Role Too Much. The Washington Post (4/11) editorializes that a “bipartisan senate bill to revise No Child Left Behind...goes too far in rolling back the federal role in setting standards and consequences.” The Post says “some states don’t need prods from Washington, but others have catered more to education bureaucracies or teachers unions than to students.”
The Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal (4/11) reports that “tens of thousands” of New York students in grades 3-8 “and maybe more” will be opting out of taking Common Core-aligned math and English language arts tests, noting that a “parent-led effort...appears to have gained momentum in recent weeks.” The piece notes that the state DOE has threatened sanctions against districts “if participation rates on the exams are low.”
You’d think this would be old news by now, right? I can’t think of an education company out there that doesn’t purport to have CCSS-aligned products. And yet just last month, EdWeek reported that 17 out of 20 math series that claimed to be aligned to Common Core still fail to live up to their…
Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham answers the question.
"These two facts—background knowledge is crucial to reading comprehension, and most elementary curricula are insufficiently focused on building background knowledge—are behind the emphasis on knowledge-building in the Common Core standards."
School Cuts AP Testing Requirements, Passes As Many Students As Before.
The Washington Post (4/27, Mathews) reports that Oregon’s Corbett Charter School, which the Post previously deemed one of the most challenging high schools in the US, has decided to take “the unusual step” of reducing AP offerings, “illuminating a controversy about how much challenge students in top schools need.” Corbett fell from one of the top 10 toughest schools to 41st this year because the school’s leader “softened” his approach to AP tests, which drive up the score for the rankings. Superintendent Bob Dunton said that the change came as seniors were “overwhelmed” by AP courses, often “against their wills,” which he said was “unlikely to produce positive results.” The school allowed students to opt out and take non-AP courses this year, but the school had as many passing exams as before and a record rate of passage.
Handle tasks head-on to speed student success. By Christine Fax-Huckaby
"As the Common Core State Standards have been implemented this school year, with many states in the midst of using the new standardized tests, the transition has been mired in challenges. The Common Core is a critical step toward ensuring students have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life beyond graduation, but teachers and students alike have been apprehensive and overwhelmed. They need greater support, more empathy, and better communication from school and district leaders to help them overcome their anxiety.
This anxiety is even more prevalent in the special education community, and as a special education academic support teacher, it’s my job to make sure teachers and students in my district are as prepared for Common Core as possible. Here’s what’s working well in our district:"
1. It diminishes the joy of reading. One of the things we love about reading is how layered the text is. If you don’t understand what’s going on in a text, it’s just less engaging. What practitioners have found is close reading can become as engaging as a video game, as students look at the vocabulary or patterns of words, at the structure and plot elements. It’s really that deep engagement that brings joy to the reading process. It becomes like a treasure hunt—in a good wa
Such across-the-board, state-level higher education support for a set of K-12 standards makes history, certainly in California and quite likely in the nation. Even so, California is not alone in higher education in making a public commitment to the common core; the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and a new organization named Higher Ed for Higher Standards, among others, have signed on. The support seems to be growing, despite state and local politics around state standards and high-stakes assessments tied to accountability.
Seven Strategies for Engaging Middle‑Schoolers in Complex Texts
With all the changes happening in middle school students’ lives, keeping them engaged can be challenging. How can you help them stay focused to develop the strong analytical, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills required by the new standards?
Our guide, Seven Strategies for Engaging Middle-Schoolers in Complex Texts, provides insight from curriculum and early adolescence experts on the best ways to help students develop close-reading skills: the ability to dig deeply into challenging texts, analyzing every detail and grasping both literal and inferential meanings.
Download our guide to read the seven strategies and help students dig deeply into complex texts.
Two Arizona teachers share their thoughts on testing with new aligned assessments.
Because [the new tests] are asking for a much higher level of thinking and application of skills, the only kind of instruction that can truly prep our students is really high-quality application and high-level teaching throughout the year, not a test prep two weeks before.
Earlier this month, higher education leaders in Colorado took a significant step to close the persistent gap between the number of students who enroll in college and the number who graduate.
Officials at the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) on March 8 announced that Adams State University and Aims Community College will begin using PARCC, the state's K-12 assessment of college and career readiness, to determine whether entering college freshman are prepared to take college level courses.
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