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.
When George Washington University announced last month that it was adopting a “test-optional” admissions policy, it repeated a standard line made by colleges that allow prospective students to opt out of sending SAT or ACT scores. “The test-optional policy should strengthen and diversify an already outstanding applicant pool and will broaden access for those high-achieving …
Mel Riddile's insight:
In practice, however, colleges have used these policies to become even more exclusive than they previously were. Here’s how schools do it: by freeing prospective students from having to provide SAT and ACT scores, they tend to attract more applicants, many of whom may have scored poorly on the tests. (The University of Georgia study found that these schools “receive approximately 220 more applications, on average, after adopting a test-optional policy.”)
Under fire from conservatives, changes are made to AP U.S. History framework.
Facing Conservative Pressure, College Board Revises AP History Test.
The Washington Post (7/31, Layton) reports that on Thursday the college board released “a new version” of its AP history course, noting that it has been “under fire during the past year from conservatives for revisions it made” to the course in 2014. The piece notes that conservatives “slammed the 2014 Advanced Placement history course saying it overemphasized negative aspects of US history.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/31) also covers this story.
A new survey conducted for Achieve shows that most college instructors and employers believe students come to campus and the workplace with at least some gaps in preparation.
Mel Riddile's insight:
More than three-quarters all all college instructors polled said they were dissatisfied with their students' abilities in critical thinking, comprehension of complicated materials, work and study habits, writing, written communication, and problem solving. This reflects a level of dissatisfaction that is 10 percentage points higher than when instructors were pollled by Achieve in 2004.
As many educators predicted, scores on the state's standardized tests plummeted this year, the first time the exams were aligned with the rigorous Pennsylvania Core Standards.
Pennsylvania Test Scores Drop In First Year Implementing New Standards.
The Allentown (PA) Morning Call (7/15, Palochko) reported Pennsylvania test scores “plummeted this year, the first time the exams were aligned with the rigorous Pennsylvania Core Standards.” Many educators predicted the lower scores, especially in math, which fell by 34%.
Ohio's new math and English tests will take a combined six hours next year, down from the 10 or more spent on the Common Core exams from PARCC this past school year.
Ohio To Limit Common Core Tests To Three Hours Per Subject.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (7/13) reports that Ohio Department of Education testing director Jim Wright told the state Board of Education this week that his department is working with the American Institutes for Research on limiting next year’s Common Core tests to three hours per subject per year. The article contrasts this with the “10 to 11 hours students spent on the PARCC Common Core tests this just-finished school year.”
The testing consortium approves cut scores for the high school test, but can't disclose yet what they are, since the point system--and spring performance data--are still being finalized.
"The threshold scores for each high school performance level were recommended by panels of teachers who were nominated by their states and convened in Denver last month. They examined test questions, analyzed their difficulty and suggested cut points that would place students in the five performance levels, which describe how ready they are for college. The "mid range" recommendations of those teachers were the levels that were adopted by PARCC representatives today, Nellhaus said."
"Neither university faculty nor employers believe that American public high schools are preparing students for the expectations they'll face in college and career.
In fact, compared to 2004, the assessment is even more dismal. More than a decade ago, for example, only 28 percent of college instructors stated that schools were doing an adequate job of readying students for what came next after high school. That count is down to 14 percent in 2015.
Among employers, 49 percent in 2004 said that schools were adequately preparing students for what they would need for work; in 2015, the count was 29 percent.
Part of the challenge, say students themselves, is that their high schools don't set academic expectations high enough. Fifty-four percent said that they were only "somewhat challenged"; 20 percent said it was "easy to slide by.""
The Governor's Council on Common Core Review, chaired by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, arrives at a bold conclusion: The Department of Education needs to review Common Core.
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Arkansas Common Core Task Force Votes To Keep Standards.
The Arkansas Times (7/30) reports that the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Common Core Review voted this week to recommend that the state retain the standards while the Arkansas Department of Education conducts “a comprehensive review of the standards with the goal of revising, improving and replacing” them “as warranted.” The article points out that the panel took 40 hours of hearings around the state to essentially punt the decision back to the state DOE, suggesting that the lack of action can be attributed to the standards being “a political hot potato.”
The AP (7/30, DeMillo) reports that the panel approved “recommendations that called for the state’s ‘complete and unfettered control’ over the standards, but didn’t call for an outright end to the use of Common Core.” The piece reports that Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who chaired the panel, “said he didn’t think it makes sense for the state to drop Common Core before it reviews how to replace the standards.” KTHV-TV Little Rock, AR (7/30) also covers this story.
A new study found that in two-year colleges, only 4 percent of instructors found students "most generally able to do what is expected." The number was slightly higher in four-year schools: 12 percent. The rest reported that students had arrived to higher ed with at least some gaps in preparation.
A pro-Common Core coalition of business groups has a series of recommendations for the state as it soldiers on with the standards, including the use of an independent review to gauge their effectiv...
Mel Riddile's insight:
“The educators and parents in this report are sending a clear message – higher standards are working in their classrooms and for their children,” said Steve Sigmund, High Achievement’s executive director. “Despite cynical voices whose solution is to ‘opt out,’ we know the standards and assessments are needed, and there are real improvements that will help make them more effective for millions of kids. We must continue moving forward to ensure that New York’s students are ready for college and 21st century careers.”
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