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
Not long ago, a survey of teachers found large numbers sizing up the Common Core State Standards as pretty similar to what they're already teaching. The architect of the survey, William Schmidt of Michigan State University, saw in this a distressing sign that too many teachers don't grasp the depth of the change the standards represent, so they might well resist embracing it (or, he theorized, they simply hadn't read the standards).
Courtesy of The Hechinger Report's HechingerEd blog.
With American schools focused on raising reading and math scores to meet accountability requirements, writing often takes a backseat.
With 45 states adopting Common Core standards that include writing and specifically grammar, some educators are examining new ways to bring grammar back into the classroom.
We know that [explicit grammar instruction] is a critical component in education said Roberta Stathis, executive director of The Teacher Writing Center, which runs the Grammar Gallery, an online resource for writing and reading instruction.
Business and political leaders are increasingly asking schools to integrate development of skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration into the teaching and learning of academic subjects. Collectively these skills are often referred to as "21st century skills" or "deeper learning."
Education for Life and Work: Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, a new report from the National Research Council, more clearly defines these terms and lays the groundwork for policy and further research in the field. The new report:
TED Talks In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world...
Teachers' expectations about their students' abilities affect classroom interactions in myriad ways that can impact student performance. Students expected to succeed, for example, get more time to answer questions and more specific feedback.
The first psychologist to systematically study this was a Harvard professor named Robert Rosenthal, who in 1964 did a wonderful experiment at an elementary school south of San Francisco.
Rosenthal discovered that the teachers' expectations of these kids really did affect the students. "If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ," he says.
Rosenthat found that expectations affect teachers' moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways including:
Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions
more specific feedback
They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.
"It's not magic, it's not mental telepathy," Rosenthal says. "It's very likely these thousands of different ways of treating people in small ways every day."
Some of the changes in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment will it more difficult to achieve Average Yearly Progress.
"If school officials think making adequate yearly progress was difficult this year, wait until they give state tests this school year."
To make AYP, schools and school districts must meet all AYP targets in all subgroups of at least 40 students.
The changes include:
eliminating a version of the test for certain special education students
replacing the 11th-grade PSSA exams with the new end-of-course Keystone Exams
offering an online version of the PSSA.
In spring 2013, the target will be 91 proficient or advanced in reading and 89 percent proficient or advanced in math. The following spring, it will be 100 percent in each. In spring 2012, it was 81 percent in reading and 78 percent in math.
While 94 percent of school districts in 2011 made AYP, only 60.9 percent did so this year. In 2011, about three-fourths of schools made AYP, but this time it was 50.3 percent.
In math, the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced fell from 77.1 percent in 2011 to 75.7 percent in 2012.
In reading, the drop was from 73.5 percent to 71.9 percent.
Graduation Rates: Changes made in 2011-12 on how graduation rates are calculated will continue to present challenges for schools and districts this school year, including those with special education students who are being educated to age 21.
Under the system used through 2011, the graduation rate was calculated using the "leaver" rate—how many students left their senior year.
The federal government offered an option of an extended five-year or six-year rate, but Pennsylvania chose the four-year rate.
Instructional design is aimed at “intentional” learning as opposed to “incidental” learning. This implies that target goals and desired learning outcomes guide the design and selection of learning activities. Meaningful learning outcomes are a starting and ending point…because it is against accomplishment of the objectives that the effectiveness of the design is measured. (Gagne, R. M., Wager, W.W., Golas, K.C., Keller, J. M., 2005).
I am convinced that the Common Core Standards can ladder up student achievement and school success in the most struggling of districts
The Instructional Goals are the focus of lesson design.
...are not so different from the design of two approaches I have used in the past:
Backward by Design
SAC (Standards Aligned Classroom), an Illinois initiative
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Patricia I. Wright will present to the State Board of Education the restructured math objectives she is calling "aggressive," as Virginia attempts to close the achievement gap between high and low performing schools and students.
Virginia officials proposed the changes after criticism that expectations were too low in the wake of expected poor results on new, more difficult math tests. On those tests, overall pass rates fell from 87% in the 2010-2011 school year to 68% last year.
Already equipped with inquiry-based skills, librarians are helping teachers acquire the instructional methods they need to adopt.
Literacy is the "common ground of the common core" (Janet Allen) and the expectation is that literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers. That means that close reading, writing, listening, speaking, and collaborating should be a normal part of instruction in every classroom every day.
The minute we gave our teachers the results of our school wide diagnostic assessment and taught them how to determine the text complexity of their course materials and the expected comprehension level of the students, they made a beeline for the library. Instead of being a nicety, our librarian instantly became a necessity to quality instruction in every classroom.
"Close reading is an instructional approach that requires readers to re-read a text several times and really develop a deep understanding of the content contained in the text. The purpose is to build the habits of readers as they engage with the complex texts and to build their stamina and skills for being able to do so independently. However, close reading doesn’t mean that you simply distribute a complex reading and then exhort them to read it again and again until they understand it. As part of a close reading, students "read with a pencil" and learn to annotate as they go. In addition, they are asked text-dependent questions that require that they produce evidence from the text as part of their responses."
Deeper learning is the process of learning for transfer. It enables an individual to take what was learned in one situation and apply it to new situations.
The product of deeper learning is transferable knowledge, including content knowledge in a subject area and procedural knowledge of how, why, and when to apply this knowledge to answer questions and solve problems in the subject area.
We refer to this transferable knowledge as “21st century competencies” to reflect that both skills and knowledge are included.
"It's really tough for anybody to police their own beliefs." Robert Pianta, University of Virginia
Teachers' expectations about their students' abilities affect classroom interactions in myriad ways that can impact student performance.
How do we get teachers to have the right expectations? Is it possible to change bad expectations?
Can teacher beliefs be changed by giving them new sets of teaching behaviors?
Pianta thinks that to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors.
"For the most part, we've tried to convince them that the beliefs they have are wrong," he says. "And we've done most of that convincing using information."
But Pianta has a different idea of how to go about changing teachers' expectations. He says it's not effective to try to change their thoughts; the key is to train teachers in an entirely new set of behaviors.
"If you want to change a mind, simply talking to it might not be enough."
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