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.
The New Hampshire-based company Measured Progress, which developed online Common Core tests used in Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, has acknowledged a major problem with the test’s rollout.Technical malfunctions, such as servers crashing during testing, resulted in only 37 percent of Nevada students being able to take their exams. Montana and North Dakota only managed to test 76 percent and 84 percent of students online, respectively.Though Measured Progress admits the online test completion
Mel Riddile's insight:
Company Admits Problems With Online Common Core Test Rollout.
The New Hampshire Union Leader (7/1) website carries a piece from the Spectator saying that Measured Progress, “which developed online Common Core tests used in Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, has acknowledged a major problem with the test’s rollout.” The New Hampshire-based company admitted “the online test completion rate in all three states failed to meet the federal mandate of at least 95 percent of 3rd through 8th graders,” but denied breach of contract.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's new superintendent of education on Tuesday stepped outside the GOP box on Illinois' new standardized test.
Illinois Education Chief: PARCC Currently Best Option.
The Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph (6/25) reports that Illinois education chief Tony Smith “stepped outside the GOP box” saying that the state’s PARCC test, which has sparked controversy in the state, could stand some improvement but is the best option currently on the table. The piece quotes Smith saying, “This is the best current opportunity to create a high-quality assessment.” Smith “made it clear during a stop in Bloomington to address educators that he wants to improve PARCC rather than kill it and bring back the elementary Illinois Standard Achievement Test and high school Prairie State Achievement Exam, as opponents have requested.”
Testing groups point to strict training and criteria for Common Core grading, but the use of temps for increasingly complex tests is being questioned.
Pearson, which operates 21 scoring centers around the country, hired 14,500 temporary scorers throughout the scoring season, which began in April and will continue through July. About three-quarters of the scorers work from home. Pearson recruited them through its own website, personal referrals, job fairs, Internet job search engines, local newspaper classified ads and even Craigslist and Facebook. About half of those who go through training do not ultimately get the job.
But don’t get too excited. It’s the same as the old one.
Professor Says Common Core Math Standards Are Staying In Place.
Jordan Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, writes in the New York Times (6/16, Subscription Publication), that despite popular objections and moves by several governors and state legislators against Common Core, what they have replaced it with is “the same thing in a new package.” The states also “aren’t dumping high-stakes testing; they’re just switching to new tests.” That’s because of “federal funding requirements,” and state laws “long predating the Common Core.” He also points out that Common Core math standards are “the way math was taught before,” so while South Carolina’s new state standards “are 92 percent aligned with the Common Core,” its previous standards were “97 percent aligned” with the Common Core that replaced them.
Visit High School classrooms who have begun to adapt to the new Common Core State Standards. Learn what changes High School teachers are making in their teaching techniques to adapt to the new standards.
Students who took the exam on Saturday made clear on social media they were unhappy with the College Board's decision to let the exam results stand.
SAT Mistake 2015: College Board Won't Score Two Sections Affected By Printing Error, Students Remain Upset
Mel Riddile's insight:
SAT problems + AP problems for @CollegeBoard
Henninger Criticizes Proposed AP US History Framework.
Daniel Henninger writes in his column in the Wall Street Journal (6/11, Subscription Publication), on objections being raised against the revised Advanced Placement US history framework, including a petition posted on the website of the National Association of Scholars, and a move in the Oklahoma legislature to cut funding for teaching AP US history courses. In response, the College Board issued a statement that the responsible committee is reviewing the revisions, and will produce another revision this summer. Henninger urges parents, students, and state legislators to read the proposed framework. He argues that it is part of the continuing effort to view American history entirely through the lenses of class, gender, ethnicity, and identity.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Hunt Institute have produced a series of videos to help teachers better understand the mathematics skills students need to succeed in college, life and careers.
The videos are based on the principle that understanding numbers and operations, ratios and proportions is part of the process for building a solid foundation in mathematics.
The series starts with early grades and continues through higher level math. It includes interviews with elementary classroom teachers, secondary mathematics teachers, instructional leaders and coaches, principals, parent leaders, national mathematics experts and college mathematics professors and researchers.
As school districts wrap up administering new online assessments aligned with the Common Core, educators now face another challenge: how best to share with millions of parents how their children fared on the tests.
At stake is whether parents – and by extension students themselves – will be able to understand what the scores on the new tests mean. Without that understanding, test scores on the new online tests could raise anxieties among both parents and students, including whether students are being adequately prepared for the next grade, college and the workplace.
Today, New America’s Education Policy Program released the first in a series of College Decisions Survey briefs that analyze new survey data about what prospective college students know about the college-going and financing process. Part 1: Deciding to Go to College focuses on why students decide to pursue college in the first place and the factors students consider when deciding to apply to a specific college. It looks at how financial concerns are one of the major drivers in deciding whether a
As the school year draws to a close, many students are taking standardized tests tied to the Common Core. But in some communities there has been a strong backlash, with parents deciding to opt out of having their children participate. The NewsHour’s William Brangham talks to special correspondent for education John Merrow and Motoko Rich of The New York Times.
"It is important to consider that unless assessments are independently verified to adhere to basic standards of test development regarding validity, reliability, security, accessibility, and fairness in administration, the resulting scores will be meaningless and should not be used to make claims nor conclusions of student learning, progress, aptitude, nor readiness for college or career.
Please consider the following questions and evidence as you determine public communication and next steps regarding test score data provided by the SmarterBalanced Assessment Consortium.
Q1: How is standardization to be assumed when students are taking tests on different technological tools with vastly varying screen interfaces? Depending on the technology used, (desktops, laptops, chromebooks, and/or ipads), students would need different skills in typing, touch screen navigation, and familiarity with the tool."
Idaho Releases First Results From Common Core Testing.
The Idaho Statesman (7/1) reports that for years after adopting the Common Core standards, the Idaho Department of Education is releasing the first set of test results from aligned exams. The piece notes that “only half of students or less in grades three through eight and 10th grade are proficient in math and English.” Noting that the state is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the article reports that the exams have been “criticized by opponents of Common Core.”
The AP (7/2, Kruesi) reports that overall proficiency levels in the state were higher than “national benchmarks,” adding that “Idaho students exceeded projected proficiency levels in all grades for English language arts, with high school grades scoring much higher in the top two advance levels.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
A comprehensive statewide literacy initiative, principal training, and ten years of experience with online testing contributed to the state's better than expected results.
New York and Kentucky, which gave common-core tests before other states did—and navigated the public reaction—share their experiences as dozens of other states get ready to do the same.
Even without the alignment issue, there's the trendline issue: most states gave new tests this year, so that makes year-to-year comparisons impossible. Unavoidably, people will want to make year-to-year comparisons. They'll yearn to make year-to-year comparisons. And while those comparisons might tell you something about the relative rigor of each test, they won't tell you much about students' progress over time.
Common Core Testing Fails Due To Software Problems.
The Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal (6/18, Milliard) reports that on Thursday two-thirds of Nevada students were unable to take Nevada’s first online standardized exams due to software problems. Because “Federal law mandates that public schools annually test at least 95 percent of students in grades three through eight,” the article explains that this failure put the state’s federal funding in jeopardy. However, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga asserted that penalties were unlikely.
The Las Vegas (NV) Sun (6/18, Whitaker) calls the Standardized Common Core testing in Nevada a “complete disaster,” pointing to the failure of the servers of Measured Progress, the state-contracted testing company. The Sun similarly cites Erquiaga as asserting that penalties are inappropriate as “Nevada schools and educators are not at fault,” and that he may take legal action against Measured Progress.
Seven years ago, when Erica Bohrer, a first-grade teacher from Long Island, New York, started selling her lesson plans on the website Teachers Pay Teachers, she just wanted to make a few extra bucks here and there. Item on the site, a kind of Etsy for educators, go for an...
"The point of setting higher standards is to help students achieve them over time, not rush to premature judgment. Realizing that it's too soon to attach stakes, policymakers in 24 states already have hit the pause button on various consequences from these assessments for students, teachers, and schools. Let's move toward a more thoughtful approach that puts testing in its rightful place—and returns spring to a season of growth, not failure." - Randi Weingarten
Mel Riddile's insight:
NASSP has taken a strong position against using student test scores to make key personnel decisions.
"A group appointed by the CT governor, however, wants to reduce the burden on students and is seeking to eliminate the common core test for eleventh-graders and have them all take a college readiness test like the SAT instead. Rabinowitz worries that wealthier students, who can afford tutors and spend hundreds of dollars on prep classes, will have an unfair advantage on the SAT."
High school counselors are showing no strong consensus on advising students about taking the current SAT, the new SAT, or the ACT, according to a survey from Kaplan Test Prep.
Counselors Divided On SAT Versus ACT.
Caralee Adams writes at the Education Week (5/26) “College Bound” blog that according to a new survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, high school counselors “are offering a range of advice to students about whether to take the current SAT, the new SAT in the spring of 2016, the ACT—or a combination of the three.” Roughly one third are urging “students to take more than one of the college-entrance exams to see which might help them most in getting into their top-choice school.”
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