The Instructional Practice Guide includes coaching and lesson planning tools to help teachers and those who support teachers to make the Shifts in instructional practice required by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Nearly all American K–12 students are exposed to it every day. It decides, in large part, what students will learn in school and how they will learn it. It is never evaluated for quality in any serious way, but when it is rigorously evaluated, its impact on student achievement is significant.
No, this isn’t another blog about teachers. I’m talking textbooks. We need good textbooks in front of kids just as badly as we need good teachers. However, from a research and policy perspective, improving textbook quality is a lot easier.
A little-noticed report last week in Education Week described a new initiative to be the Consumer Reports of textbooks. A new nonprofit called EdReports plans to post “free online reviews of major textbooks and curricula that purport to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards.” If they’re careful, credible, and diligent, this initiative could turn the lights up on a largely ignored factor in student outcomes that is ripe for analysis and improvement. And it could even blunt some of the more heated criticisms of the Common Core. Here’s why I think EdReports, and textbooks in general, matter:
The Center for Education Policy (CEP) put together this compendium, which very briefly summarizes published research on many different aspects of the Common Core. The objective is to create an accessible and readable overview of current research that can inform implementation, policy discussions, and the development of future research on the Common Core.
This is a video and lesson resource project to assist teachers and principals around the nation. The video modules on this site exemplify the key shifts that the Common Core brings to classroom pedagogy.
America Achieves released 10 new videos of great teachers, along with related lesson plans and resources. All the videos come with the cues for Deeper Learning as well as the Common Core shifts
Student Achievement Partners will introduce an updated version of the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool, a tool designed to support educators and decision-makers as they evaluate the alignment of curricular materials to the Shifts and major features of the Common Core State Standards.Click here to edit the title
One of the highlights in PARCC's Educator Leader Cadre (ELC) meeting in July, was the "Using PARCC Practice Tests to Raise Rigor and Build Assessment Literacy Skills: Deconstructing PARCC Practice Items" presentation by Char Shryock, director of curriculum and instruction at Bay Village Schools in Ohio.
Char stressed the importance of refocusing education discussions away from "too much testing,"and back to the true goal of collecting evidence of learning -- to ensure all students are realizing their potential in the classroom and throughout their lives and careers.
This coming school year, a majority of states will implement the Common Core State Standards and corresponding assessments from either the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. To prepare for the new assessments, both consortia field-tested thousands of test items this spring. AACTE asked each consortium to provide our members with an update on its progress. This post addresses Smarter Balanced; find the PARCC update here. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Deb Gardner's insight:
The scale and scope of this “practice run” of new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards was truly unprecedented; 4.2 million students participated, making this field test the largest online assessment in the nation’s history.
One notion of academic language was that it was any text language (formal book language versus informal oral language). A second conception also separates oral language and text language, but it also sets aside the specialized terminology that belongs to particular disciplines. In that view, words like rhombus and mytosis would be too specialized to deserve much instructional attention. A third conception is that academic vocabulary are the words used to teach and assess, and a fourth is the language that labels the essential content of the various disciplines.
“In my 25 years as an educator, I think our students are more prepared than ever,” said Jennifer Greer, Common Core coordinator for Floyd County Schools. “If you polled my teachers, and you told them you were going to take away Common Core, I think they would be upset, because they have this now.The progression of it makes sense.”
The Common Core State Standards in reading and math have generated lots of attention and controversy, but what do they look and sound like in a classroom? Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez offers a peek at the standards at work in a second grade math class.
“A couple of years ago, I would never have tried such a difficult passage with these kids,” said Papa, reflecting on her lesson. “My students are stepping it up and showing some unexpected successes. I see the light bulbs go on and I see a lot of growth in their comprehension, in their vocabulary and in their confidence. They know they’re doing exactly what their peers are doing right across the hallway.”
Dr. Leslie Suter and Dr. Melissa Comer are faculty members in the College of Education’s Curriculum & Instruction Department at Tennessee Tech University. They will be co-presenting the session “Common Core Literacy Integration with App Flows” at the 2014 Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference this November in Raleigh, NC.
At a time when many teachers and parents (and students!) can feel overwhelmed by the seeming overabundance of standardized tests and educational standards more generally, it falls to the teacher to help the students and parents understand how all of this fits into the larger picture of what students will need to know and be able to do to be successful in the future. This means helping them understand how educational standards fit into 21st century learning, a concept that to many seems contradictory.
The Common Core identifies six instructional shifts needed to effectively implement the standards in ELA/Literacy. Shift 6 suggests an instructional change in the teaching of Academic Vocabulary. While there are many specific vocabulary standards in the K-12 Language strand, it’s helpful and important to look at Academic Vocabulary from the big picture view known as Shift 6.
Like me, you’ve probably noticed that almost every educational website or email you read is talking about Common Core State Standards resources. And rightly so. These standards have and will continue to have an impact on our schools and classrooms. So with all the choices available, whom should you trust? And which resources really offer the guidance you’re looking for?
To begin with, I always want to know the purpose of the resource. Is it to sell, to inform, or to teach? Although there will certainly be times when purchasing materials or resources may be important to me, right now I’m still convinced that I need to be a student of the standards. I need resources that expose the gaps in the standards, put them into plain language, and unpack the technical terms. I also appreciate the sources that address the myths that are often perpetuated by the standards: in other words, knowing what they aren’t is just as powerful as knowing what they are.
So how can teacher educators prepare for the assessments? Just as I’ve written in ASCD’s “Inservice” blog in previous months (see here and here), teacher educators can use the same resources that teachers have been using in the professional learning communities in their schools and districts to connect good assessment with good instruction. PARCC states have produced a number of sample items and documents, from the Model Content Frameworks to evidence statements to scoring rubrics to performance-level descriptors, that demystify the process of assessment construction and provide a bridge from the assessment to classroom practice.
If you're not worried by the direction of recent political opposition to the Common Core State Standards, you should be. Politicians who have worked themselves into a lather about the Common Core are fostering the myth that good standards are by definition nothing like Common Core. This myth is breeding a host of rash and ill-informed actions whose consequences could reach well beyond the standards themselves. When politicians use schools to advance their ideological or political ends, children suffer.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Fave quote: "If an unfounded grudge against Common Core can spawn so much bad policy, then who knows what else is possible? The last thing we need is career politicians seizing control over what our children learn"