"So, we've covered no mandate for curriculum, no mandate for textbooks, no national assessments," said Department of Education Deputy Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq nearly 20 minutes into a Monday hearing.
Recognizing the need for example assessment items that teachers can use for professional learning, Smarter Balanced developed online practice tests for grades 3–8 and 11 in English language arts/literacy (ELA/literacy) and mathematics. The practice tests are available through the Smarter Balanced website.
The practice tests include test questions with the same features that students will experience in 2014–15, including
Technology-enhanced items; and
Performance tasks—extended activities that challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to real-world problems. (Currently, the practice tests include performance tasks for ELA/literacy; math performance tasks will be added over the summer.)
The report finds that, although a direct federal role in implementing the Common Core State Standards has been controversial, a majority of states in the survey support legislative and/or regulatory changes to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act to help them with their implementation efforts. The report also addresses the issue of within-state opposition to standards and finds that the vast majority of survey states do not anticipate their state’s decision to adopt the standards will be reversed, limited or changed in 2013-14.
On the surface, some educators might think the higher level thinking skills needed to be successful on the Smarter Balanced Assessments are too much to ask of special education students, but I propose those higher level thinking skills are just what special education students need.
Common Core advocates make a big deal out of the idea that questions should be text dependent. This means you shouldn’t be able to answer a question without reading the text. By all means ask questions that require reading.
"However, this is a very low standard. Many text dependent questions simply aren’t worth asking."
"The key is to ask questions that are not only text dependent, but that guide the reader to accomplish those interpretive goals. To do that the questions have to emphasize what is important in the universe of the text."
Shout it from the rooftops, tell all your friends: The Common Core era signals a return of history, civics, literature, science, and the fine arts to the elementary school curriculum
"Student scores on language arts tests are the single most reliable academic predictors of later income. The new language arts standards of the Common Core represent an historic opportunity for beneficial change in American schools—if they are put into effect intelligently.
On Google's advanced search page there is a tool for refining searches according to reading level. This tool on its own can be very helpful in helping students locate materials that are appropriate for their reading abilities. It can also be helpful to combine use of the reading level refinement tool with a domain level refinement. For example, if my students are studying the American Civil War they might search for materials hosted on a ".k12.me.us" domain and refine that search according to reading level
From bandwidth issues to playing nice with assistive technologies, there's a lot that can go wrong in the world of high-stakes online testing. Our new legal columnist shares why it's not just states and testing companies with a lot on the line.
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