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.
The Common Core is now front and center in classrooms across the country, and educators and policymakers are focused on getting implementation right. Education First has released a series of briefing papers and a shortexecutive summary that offer guidance for how professional development needs to change to help educators succeed with the standards. The series:
Identifies the new essential elements of professional learning (brief #1);
Spotlights three different approaches to how districts have organized themselves to support teachers using these elements (brief #2); and
Recommends what policymakers can do to advance high quality Common Core-aligned professional development at scale (brief #3).
Achieve Releases Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Sample Tasks Demonstrate Ways Middle and High School Teachers Can Combine Content from NGSS and the Common Core State Standards
Washington, D.C. - November 18, 2014 - Achieve today announced the release of Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks for middle and high school grades. These sample tasks, written by secondary science and math teachers, provide examples of how content and practices from both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Mathematics can be assessed together in classrooms.
Prediction: more than half of students will fall short of the marks that connote grade-level skills on its tests.
"In a move likely to cause political and academic stress in many states, a consortium that is designing assessments for the Common Core State Standards released data Monday projecting that more than half of students will fall short of the marks that connote grade-level skills on its tests of English/language arts and mathematics.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test has four achievement categories. Students must score at Level 3 or higher to be considered proficient in the skills and knowledge for their grades. According to cut scores approved Friday night by the 22-state consortium, 41 percent of 11th graders will show proficiency in English/language arts, and 33 percent will do so in math. In elementary and middle school, 38 percent to 44 percent will meet the proficiency mark in English/language arts, and 32 percent to 39 percent will do so in math."
Mel Riddile's insight:
Level 4, the highest level of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test, is meant to indicate readiness for entry-level, credit-bearing courses in college, and comes with an exemption from remedial coursework at many universities. Eleven percent of students would qualify for those exemptions.
All week we've been reporting on big changes in reading instruction brought on by the Common Core State Standards: a doubling-down on evidence-based reading, writing and speaking; increased use of nonfiction; and a big push to get kids reading more "complex texts."
Whatever you think of these shifts, they're meaningless ideas without a classroom and kids to make sense of them. That's today's story, as we round out our series on reading in the Core era.
Common Core Reading Lessons Focus On Seeking Evidence
In the last of a four-part series on the Common Core’s impact on reading instruction, NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (11/17) reports on efforts to teach students to find evidence within the text of reading materials to answer questions. The segment describes the complexity of the assignments, and narrates on in which students gather in groups to scan through informative texts in search of information to answer a teacher’s questions. Text of this story can be seen here (11/15).
For many elementary teachers, fractions have traditionally sprung to mind lessons involving pizzas, pies, and chocolate bars, among other varieties of "wholes" that can be shared. But in what many experts are calling one of the biggest shifts associated with the Common Core State Standards for mathematics, more teachers are now being asked to emphasize fractions as points on a number line, rather than just parts of a whole, to underscore their relationships to integers.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"Fractions instruction in schools has long been seen as a problem area. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences released a report on effective K-8 fractions instruction as part of its What Works Clearinghouse. The report noted that half of 8th graders could not place three fractions in order from least to greatest on the 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress in math. It also found that fewer than 30 percent of 17-year-olds could convert 0.029 into a fraction."
With EQuIP's Student Work Protocol teachers are able to find ways to strengthen lesson plans. This protocol works in groups or on an individual basis. Watch how a group of teachers use the protocol for Math and ELA lessons.
New Jersey College Chiefs: Common Core Will Cut Down On Need For Remediation.
In an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer (11/25), Camden County College President Raymond Yannuzzi and Cumberland County College President Thomas Isekenegbe write to congratulate New Jersey teachers for their hard work over the past four years to implement the Common Core Standards and the associated PARCC test. The writers lament the heavy need for remediation for students who arrive at college unprepared for the academic rigors, and assert that the Common Core will help to reduce this need.
"I have asked my staff to focus on two things this year: equity in the classroom and deepened alignment to the Common Core standards."
"The “trick” in the 2014-2015 school year is for our school to understand that the adopted standards inform an aspect of our students experience of their educational path, but that the whole journey has to be devised, created, and implemented by our team. We could make that journey single-minded and not embrace the diversity within our community or we can make that journey a robust one; one that pauses for clarity, embraces difficult conversations, and encourages the development of cultural competencies in all of our community members."
Mel Riddile's insight:
Principal: "I have learned the most difficult thing to do as a leader is shift mindsets. I am charged with shifting our staff’s mindset"
Depending on whom you ask, the Common Core emphasis on informational text seems to mean the end of creativity in the classroom. But a focus on informational text doesn’t automatically mandate filling in blanks, answering multiple-choice questions, or writing a traditional three-paragraph essay. In fact, when teachers choose to allow students to explore informational text independently, the opportunity for engaging, creative, and thinking projects emerges!
Renaissance Learning, which tracks the reading habits of some 10 million US students, has released a report that not only tallies which books kids are reading, but also analyzes the complexity of the reading material.
Students Reading Below College Readiness Standards.
The Christian Science Monitor (11/18) reports that according to Renaissance Learning’s latest “What Kids Are Reading” report, US students “are reading more nonfiction, but not as much as Common Core standards recommend, and their reading tends to be far less challenging than it should be to prepare them for college or careers.” The report indicates that only roughly 25% of US students read enough sufficiently challenging material to “experience the most growth in reading.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
In most secondary classrooms, I see very little reading and almost no writing! This report confirms what I have known and observed for years!
"25% of US students read enough sufficiently challenging material to “experience the most growth in reading.”
Research indicates that students who spend at least 30 minutes a day reading independently, at an appropriate "challenge" level (where they can understand at least 85 percent of what they read), experience the most growth in reading, according to the report. And yet just over a quarter of students in Renaissance's study read that often, and nearly half read for less than 15 minutes a day.
But by the end of high school, the average complexity of the books that 12th-graders are reading is 5.2 on the ATOS scale – a far cry from what standards say they should be reading – between 9.7 and 14.1 for high school – and far lower than the complexity of the average New York Times article (10.6) or college textbook (13.8).
"A key cornerstone of reading comprehension is vocabulary. Over time, boys are at a disadvantage because they're just not getting enough exposure to vocabulary."
By high school, less than 15 percent of students read one or more books in their target range.
since Common Core standards were announced, the percent of reading that is nonfiction has moved up by about 5 percent for every grade level, Stickney says. But it's still far below the recommended level
Students' reading amount peaks in sixth grade, when they read about 436,000 words per year in books, and then falls to the low 300,000s by the end of high school. Girls, however, tend to read a lot more than boys: The average girl reads some 3.8 million words between Grades 1 and 12, about 25 percent more than the average boy, who reads about 3 million.
Core Ready Schools is a tool designed to assist you in benchmarking implementation efforts in your school against a comprehensive roadmap for fully implementing the Common Core State Standards (or your state’s college- and career-ready standards).
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New Math Criteria Has Parents And School Districts Worried.
The Dallas Morning News (11/15) reports that the Texas State Board of Education is adding a discussion on the state’s math standards over a “widespread” but “not universal” outcry over the state’s new math standards. Some people argue that the new standards “demand too much of young students” while an education official noted that for every complaint they receive there are reports that things are OK. This is the first year for the new standards, which introduce some concepts in much earlier grades and have resulted in frustration from teachers, parents, and local officials.
"There are lots of great apps for gathering information about current events and finding stories that are of high interest to your students. NPR has an easy to navigate website and high quality iPad app that makes it easy to find articles and interviews. In addition to accessing print content that you might find in other newspapers, NPR has audio recordings that students can listen to straight from their device. Not only is this a great option for students who may struggle to follow along with the vocabulary in a news story but it also helps students grow as listeners."
"Starting in early December, approximately 30,000 high school students in six states will take PARCC tests for the first time. These are students who attend schools with “fall block schedules” – that is, they take courses that include a full year of content in a single semester."