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.
"Common Core Exam Lengths, Limited Number Of School Computers Pose Problems.
In its Answer Sheet blog, the Washington Post (9/28, Strauss) reports on logistical issues expected with extensive computerized Common Core testing. PARCC has released its exam time guidelines, ranging from 9¾ to 11¼ hours per student, increasing with grade level. Despite these guidelines, one million students field-testing the exam took no more than 7½ hours, making it unclear if kids raced through knowing there were no consequences. PARCC tests will be given twice a year: three-quarters into the year and again near the end. Similarly, SBAC has said it estimates students will need between seven and 8½ hours to complete its exams. Because testing is computerized and must fit into pre-existing class day schedules, administrators are struggling to schedule testing of every student in every grade on a finite number of computers.
Mel Riddile's insight:
How much time are we currently spending on end-of-year tests compared to these estimated testing guidelines? In VA, which is not a Common Core state, high schools have had 11 end-of-course exams to administer for at least a dozen years.
Online testing, which is here to stay regardless of the Common Core, has been and will continue to be a logistical problem as long as schools have inadequate technology. The school system in WA with 750 students and 125 computers should be ashamed. Those sound like 1994 figures not 2014 computer-to-student ratios. After all, this is the second decade of the 21st Century.
NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all New Jersey students through effective governance.
"NJSBA (New Jersey School Boards Association) has developed this web resource to help local school board members and administrators provide accurate information to their communities about the Common Core State Standards and what they will mean to our students and teachers. The webpage will be updated periodically."
The AP (9/26, Rathke) reports that Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe announced on Thursday that “average science test scores of students in three grades have dropped slightly in Vermont from last year, with the greatest dip among eight-graders.” The article adds that Holcomb said that stagnant science scores suggest “that an emphasis on English language arts and math in the federal No Child Left Behind Act may be overshadowing science instruction.”
Vermont Public Radio (9/26) reports that Holcombe “says she is not satisfied with scores from standardized science tests given last spring.” The piece notes that “44 percent of fourth graders scored as proficient or higher, but only 25 percent of eighth graders and 30 percent of eleventh graders reached that mark.” Scores across all grades showed a decline. The piece notes that “a section that requires students not only to solve problems, but to explain their reasoning,” seems to be the part that gave students the most trouble.
WCAX-TV Burlington, VT (9/26) quotes Holcombe saying, “We’re concerned about the heavy emphasis on No Child Left Behind and whether it might be discouraging some districts from really investing in science from the earliest grades.”
Most Tennessee teachers now oppose the academic standards, new statewide survey shows.
Survey: Fewer Tennessee Teachers Support Common Core.
The Tennessean (9/24) reports that according to a new survey released by the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development, a majority of Tennessee teachers now opposes the Common Core Standards, noting that the survey “could provide more ammunition to those who want to roll back the standards.” The Tennessean reports that the number of teachers who said that the Common Core “will improve student learning” fell from 60% to 31% over the course of the past year. Meanwhile, 56% of respondents “want to abandon the standards, while 13 percent would prefer to delay their implementation.”
Pennsylvania Approves “Flexible Instructional Days” For Snow Day Classes.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (9/25, Boccella) reports Pennsylvania has announced schools can offer up to five “Flexible Instructional Days” annually, allowing teachers to employ nontraditional methods such as cyber education when students cannot attend school, for reasons such as snow days. For nontraditional learning to count toward the 180 school day count, plans must meet 22 state objectives and approval. If instruction requires public broadcast or Internet options, comparable alternatives must be offered to those without access. The decision follows unprecedented snowfalls. The remainder of the article cites the reactions of various school leaders.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) â€" Pennsylvania has redefined the concept of the snow day, announcing that schools can offer "cyber days" when kids can't make it into the classrooms. For up to five days a year, the "Flexible Instructional Days" pilot program will allow schools in all 501 school districts, including Philadelphia, to use nontraditional instruction methods, such as cyber school, when bad weather or other emergencies shut down school buildings. After last winter froze out schools for seven or
"Common Core has come under attack. Critics say the standards enlarge federal control of education -- and do a lousy job teaching math.
Joseph Almeida has taught math for a decade, first in New York and currently in Massachusetts. In 2008, his students had the second-highest math test scores among charter school children in Manhattan. While he taught successfully even before Common Core came along, Almeida describes the standards as a positive development, primarily due to a winnowing in what teachers are expected to cover in a given year.
“They give the teacher a way to teach in-depth, and give a limit to what the teaching is,” Almeida told The Daily Caller News Foundation."
Many teachers have yet to begin assigning harder, Common Core-approved books. According to a recent Thomas B. Fordham Institute report, a survey of teachers shows that, while many are aware of Common Core’s requirement for assigning harder books, few have yet to implement the changes because they are more focused on reading skills.
Oklahoma School Officials Frustrated By Untimely Common Core Repeal.
The Houston Chronicle (9/29, Talley) reports Oklahoma school administrators have expressed frustration over the Legislature’s decision to Common Core weeks before being implemented. Furthermore, Oklahoma’s waiver denial has reduced the state’s financial sovereignty. State education officials are planning a series of town hall meetings to address subsequent concerns across the state. The article provides a history of Common Core and an overview of concerns from various school districts. Oklahoma lawmakers have employed 2010 standards until adopting new standards by 2016. The article closes with further complaints over the politicization of education.
"General interest in the Common Core has gradually increased with large spikes around politically charged events and news coverage. As a proxy for the level of public interest in the standards, CAP used data from Google Trends, which measures a topic’s popularity by comparing the number of unique searches for that subject with the total number of searches overall. The graph below tracks the interest in the Common Core from January 2010 to August 2014. Google normalizes the data to range from 1 to 100, with the higher value corresponding with greater interest."
New figures, based on field-testing data, show that schools will have to allot 10 to 11 hours to allow students enough time to finish the tests.
PARCC Bumps Up Recommended Testing Times.
Catherine Gewertz writes at the Education Week (9/26) “Curriculum Matters” blog that the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers announced on Thursday “that schools will need to schedule about 10 hours of testing time this spring for elementary school students, and nearly 11 hours or more for middle and high school students,” noting that this is “higher than the estimates that PARCC issued in March of 2013.” Gewertz explains that the new numbers reflect the results of the field testing of the assessments last spring.
Students, teachers in NFDL embrace education under Common Core Standards.
Wis. educators say common core has changed teaching, learning Some Wisconsin educators and students say Common Core State Standards have increased the rigor and depth of instruction. In writing, for example, sixth-grade teacher Lee Skaar said students must support the claims they make in their research, but he is responsible for choosing the reading materials. "There are times we struggle, but they are worthwhile goals so I can't think of any reason to complain," Skaar said. The Reporter (Fond Du Lac, Wis.) (9/20)
Maureen Downey writes about the move at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (9/24) “Get Schooled” blog, suggesting that the request for a delay is an indication that the state promised to unattainable goals when it got its Race to the Top grant. Downey writes that she was “astounded” when the state revealed the list of promised reforms at the time, saying that they “did not seem doable, especially overhauling teacher evaluations by holding teachers accountable for student performance.”
Common Core: 5 Technology Tools To Measure Text Complexity
"This post specifically addresses one aspect of text complexity — what the Common Core terms “quantitative evaluation.” It’s important to recognize from the onset that other measures must be in place to adequately explore complexity.
Currently, there are many web-based tools that help with the quantitative evaluation of books (for example, you can use Barnes and Noble to search by Lexile measure); however, as our students will likely be reading a combination of print and digital materials (especially in states giving the PARCC test), tools that help identify scales for online or digital text are also necessary. Here are five (mostly free) web-based tools that might be helpful as we curate reading content for students."
Educators throughout Illinois have spent the past four years preparing for the new Common Core learning standards by developing curricula, adopting new textbooks, and prepping themselves to teach challenging material. Yet just as Illinois is about to reap the rewards of this long planting season, some want to backpedal. This effort is led by the Chicago Teachers Union, which reversed its earlier support for these new standards.
"At the local level, school districts are still working through a range of technical problems.
In Los Angeles, principals and test coordinators have identified problems such as not having enough iPads, laptops or desktop computers at some schools for students to take the test in a timely manner. In some instances, Lim said, the field tests were spread out over a six-week period so students could take the tests on a staggered schedule. School personnel said that lengthy period of time was too disruptive of school routines, and that the testing period should be shorter. Officials also reported that students experienced “log-in issues” with Smarter Balanced software, and students “were regularly kicked off.”
Diane Hernandez, director of the Assessment Development and Administration Division at the California Department of Education,said that the report to be presented to the State Board of Education in November will give a fuller picture of problems at the school site level. She said there were “some gaps” in broadband access at some schools, but mostly in small rural districts. To fill those gaps, the department last month announced a fund of $26.7 million, known as the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant program. The state last week released a preliminary list of 300 schools – many in remote locations – that may be eligible to apply for the money."
Our current system of letter grades works well for many kinds of students. These are the students who learn to play the game. Form relationships with teachers. Can see the rules and parts of the games–which assignments matter, what the teacher values, how to format responses, how to use a rubric, how to study, and so on.
If you know the Common Core Standards you know that “The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. In like fashion, research and media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.” Common Core Learning Standards for ELA & Literacy, Key Design Considerations
Innovative educators know that when used in the right way, social networks and other online technologies are great tools to conduct such research and gain knowledge. Not only do they leverage resources students already know and love, but they can also encourage learning in a way that is less restrictive and more open and natural. For example, collaboration in an online group creates relationships “in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives learn and work together” as called for in the Common Core Standards.