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
Students cringe when teachers mention annotation because they know it’s time-consuming, detail-oriented, and just plain boring.
At least that’s their initial impression. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this reaction at the beginning of many school years, when introducing and requiring annotations on student reading assignments. And I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing those same students automatically and joyfully annotate by the end of the school year.
"Although little overall change is detected, some states have made remarkable strides forward. Tennessee is the most outstanding example. Having been graded an F in every previous report, it made the astounding jump to a straight A in 2011. In 2007, the state of Tennessee recognized that its academic standards were much too lax and that schools were not encouraged to provide students with the skills necessary to compete in the modern job market. With the support of his state department of education and board of education, then governor Phil Bredesen led a concerted, highly publicized effort to revamp the state standards. As a result, state tests were made much more challenging and the percentage of students identified as proficient dropped from 90 percent or more to around 50 percent, a candid admission of the challenges the Tennessee schools faced. The remarkable transition in Tennessee shows that states are capable of dramatic reform when the political leadership is committed to focusing public attention on the problem."
I worry that the inconsistency in implementation occurring in states will undermine the valuable standards. It is clear that the Department of Education will not assume any leadership due to the politics of opposition to a national curriculum. The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are the best hope for consistent implementation, but the two organizations will fail if they do not assure that the unions are equal partners. It is clear to me that the more mistakes we see on implementation, the stronger the case is made for critics of Common Core State Standards.
States with waivers from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are almost evenly divided on whether they will take U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan up on his offer of extra time to begin using new teacher-evaluation systems to decide which educators to hire, fire, or promote.
How can parents take part in their children’s education as the standards roll out? Teachers from College Summit, an organization that partners with 180 high schools across the country to help students toward college and career success, offer practical advice for parents. Here are five tips parents might use to address their state’s implementation of the CCSS:
In K-12 education, we are in the equivalent of a Great Depression. Nearly two-thirds of our high school seniors aren’t prepared to pass freshman English and math in college. In lots of districts, the college readiness rate is in the single digits. The kids who aren’t getting out of high school with college-level skills face grim prospects as to earning power, teen pregnancy and even lifespan.
While a lack of technology equipment and infrastructure forced Oklahoma out of the Common Core assessment game, a recent survey reveals that OK may not be alone! While the IT Pros generally favored the new standards, they voiced five main concerns:
lack of budget (76 percent)
lack of IT staff (69 percent) to support increased technology needs whether the technology is in place to support online assessments (62 percent)
whether classroom technologies are in place to facilitate instruction (60 percent)
whether the existing IT infrastructure (55 percent) and
wireless access (55 percent) are strong enough and reliable enough, respectively, to handle the demands Common Core will place on them.
Mel Riddile's insight:
Schools cannot be expected to jump from paper to online assessments in one step. I know because it took us four or five years to transition from paper to online while administering eleven end-of-course state tests.
1. Schools must have the equipment and infrastructure.
2. Schools must have several years of experience integrating technology to the point that the school has transitioned from viewing technology as a novelty to a nicety, and finally to a necessity. In other words, technolgy should be grounded in day-to-day teaching practice.
3. Students and teachers need experience with online testing--at least two years before they become comfortable. Experience has taught me that scores will suffer in years one and two of the transition.
Despite Common Core, States Still Lack Common Standards
"Note that an A or a B does not indicate a relatively high performance by students in the state. Rather, it indicates that the state’s definition of proficient embodies higher expectations for students. It is best thought of as a high grade for “truth in advertising,” telling citizens frankly how well students are performing on an internationally accepted scale, just as states have pledged to do by joining the CCSS consortium. See the methodological sidebar for further details."
With a Lexile of 950, Bud, Not Buddy was considered a book for 7th and 8th graders a few years ago, but now it's considered appropriate for 5th and 6th graders. Island of the Blue Dolphins used to be placed in the 8-10 grade band, but now Lexile includes it in grades 7 and 8.
Regardless of your school’s access - 1:1, BYOD, or a couple of tablets in the classroom – technology does more than just balance the playing field. It offers opportunities to meet the standards, address 21st century skills, allows for differentiation, provides for creativity and choice, and most importantly, pushes students to reach those higher levels of thinking. Creativity is no longer about those who are skilled in the visual and performing arts. It’s about taking what you know and applying it to new and different situations. It’s taking what was imagined and making it real. Technology helps make that happen.
A substantial body of research clearly indicates that utilizing specific instructional modifications as well as targeted pedagogical strategies can accelerate ELLs’ academic achievement and English language acquisition.
As a result, ELLs’ academic performance can be comparable to their English proficient (EP) counterparts.
Under the No Child Left Behind law, states saw low test scores and the lowering of score standards. Advocates for the more rigorous Common Core standards say it will be harder for states to hide their failing schools.