The survey found that despite the political turmoil plaguing some states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), 90% of school district leaders agree that the new standards are more rigorous than their state's previous standards in math and English language arts. In addition, about three-quarters of these leaders agree that the CCSS will lead to improved student skills. The percentages of district leaders who agree with these sentiments have increased considerably since 2011.
Nevertheless, district leaders are experiencing both minor and major challenges when implementing the CCSS in areas such as professional development, CCSS-aligned curriculum and instructional materials, and preparation for the new CCSS-aligned assessments. More than half of the districts indicated that they do not expect to complete important implementation milestones--such as adequately preparing teachers and implementing a CCSS-aligned curricula--until the 2014-15 school year or later. Nearly 90% of districts cited challenges with having enough time to implement the CCSS before consequences related to student performance on the CCSS-aligned assessments go into effect.
Using Web-Based Annotations to Engage in Close Reading Reading Today Online Not only is the content unfamiliar and conceptually challenging, the texts themselves contain features such as visual representations that are often crucial for gaining a...
But teachers in states where the math and reading standards have been in place longest say that, in spite of the criticisms, Common Core is going well — and that most teachers feel prepared to teach new kinds of lessons.
The only way to improve data-driven scores en masse is to use public policy to address the main cause of low test scores: poverty. The only way to improve them in a given school is to teach to the test....
Read how Nancy Barile, an English language arts teacher at a low-income urban high school in Massachusetts for the last twenty years, is using the Common Core to help level the playing field for low-income students.
New Common Core tests to cost $27 per student Education Week News "We think it's really important to give tools to the classroom teacher that they could use on a daily basis or at any point during the year so they know they are teaching materials...
As publishers continue to flood the market with “Common Core” aligned materials, the task of sifting through and weeding out the good from the bad becomes increasingly more difficult. Educators are particularly concerned about which materials to purchase to support students’ ability to read “closely and carefully.” In response to this growing concern, we offer you the following three questions to ask as you evaluate and vet the materials you are considering for your school.
"Renewal of a key contract will be a stern test for education giant Pearson (Xetra: 858266 - news). Most people have, at some point in their lives, felt a bout of nerves as they awaited a crucial set of exam results. Pearson’s chief executive, John Fallon, could be forgiven for having the same feeling.
Next (Other OTC: NXGPF - news) month, the London-listed education giant will face its own version of this peculiar kind of torture, as it learns whether Texas plans to renew its contract for Pearson to provide testing in schools. The deal is a valuable one, worth around $500m (£310m) over five years. It is also a matter of particular strategic importance.
Texas is amongst America’s biggest and most influential states when it comes to education spending the linchpin in the North American market, which accounts for 59pc of Pearson’s revenues and 66pc of its profits. And it has a long history of doing business with the British company, whose chief executive cut his teeth in the US textbook market, and whose former boss, Dame Marjorie Scardino, is herself American.
If the educational testing business were an election, this would count as Pearson’s safe seat. Yet there are signs Pearson may be about to lose its grip on its traditional stronghold. An audit of the Texas Education Agency recently found problems with the way the Pearson contract was tendered and managed.
Questions have been raised in a number of different states over the quality of Pearson’s digital courses. An influential religious lobby group, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, has meanwhile lambasted the publisher over one of its textbooks, for allegedly drawing exaggeratedly close links between Moses’s Ten Commandments and the US constitution.
Texas has not awarded the testing contract yet, but industry sources fear it will not go Pearson’s way.
The company is large enough to swallow this sort of hit, of course. Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times and a 47pc stake in Penguin Random House, made £871m last year, on revenues of £5.2bn. A $100m-a-year dent is not going to send it into the red.
However, the tussle for Texas follows a difficult 12 months, and analysts fear that it could be the harbinger of more problems to come."...
"Like other digital reading programs, Newsela uses short online quizzes, taken by students after reading each article, to help evaluate students’ comprehension and adjust their reading level accordingly. Such “formative assessments” ensure that no student is unfairly labeled by an outdated evaluation—another potential advantage of computerized leveling over its paper-and-ink counterpart, which offers no automated way to monitor students’ increasing fluency.
Ironically, these digital improvements on traditional leveled reading arrive just as the practice of leveling itself is coming in for criticism. Commentators like Timothy Shanahan, an emeritus professor of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank, have recently argued that leveled reading programs provide students with too little challenge. Better than having each student read at his or her own level, they say, would be asking all students to tackle texts appropriate to their grade level, with teachers supplying help when necessary."
The when and what kind of tests depend on the state, but make sure your children take the tutorial about using the computer.
Columnist Urges Parents To Prepare Children For Common Core Testing.
Kenneth Chang writes in a column in the New York Times (10/7, Subscription Publication) about the looming advent of online Common Core testing in classrooms across the country, noting that though 42 states have adopted the math standards, “the plan for common testing...has fractured.” Nevertheless, “millions of students will take the brand-new Parcc and Smarter Balanced tests next spring.” He briefly describes the format of the testing, and urges parents to make sure that their children understand the computer interface to be used so that difficulties in taking the test don’t interfere with academic success.
Mark Dynarski explores the issue of equity in access to quality teachers. He finds that the scope of the problem depends on how teacher quality is defined, and discusses appropriate policy solutions to the issue.
Arne Duncan announced guidance for school districts & states on what the USDED will consider economic and racial disparity in schools and how to fix it.
Duncan: Schools must give students equal access The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights warned that it can investigate states, districts and schools that are not doing "enough" to make sure there is equal access to education resources like quality facilities and AP courses. (Caffeinated Thoughts, Oct. 1)