Parents in the wealthiest school districts are the ones behind the movement to boycott the state’s Common Core standardized exams, a new analysis shows.
Nine of the top 10 school districts where students were pulled out of taking math and English exams in grades 3 through 8 last year were in affluent Long Island communities, the study by education-advocacy group High Achievement New York found.The median income in these school districts is $97,571, far higher than the $58,003 state average.About 60,000 students in the state opted out of at least one of the Common Core exams in 2014. That number is expected to increase greatly this year as more parents and teachers rage against what they claim is an overemphasis on high-stakes exams and test prep.
Civil Rights Groups Fight To Retain NCLB Testing The Washington Post (4/11, Layton) reports “Advocates for poor and minority children are pushing a novel idea: standardized tests as a civil right.” The Post says civil rights groups assert that Federally required testing is a “tool to force fairness in public schools” by spotlighting the gulf between scores of poor, minority students and “their more affluent counterparts.” In addition, the articles says that the civil rights groups are battling legislative efforts to roll back testing as Congressional legislators begin to rewrite “No Child Left Behind,” the country’s main Federal education law. WPost: Education Bill Reduces Federal Government’s Role Too Much. The Washington Post (4/11) editorializes that a “bipartisan senate bill to revise No Child Left Behind...goes too far in rolling back the federal role in setting standards and consequences.” The Post says “some states don’t need prods from Washington, but others have catered more to education bureaucracies or teachers unions than to students.”
The Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal (4/11) reports that “tens of thousands” of New York students in grades 3-8 “and maybe more” will be opting out of taking Common Core-aligned math and English language arts tests, noting that a “parent-led effort...appears to have gained momentum in recent weeks.” The piece notes that the state DOE has threatened sanctions against districts “if participation rates on the exams are low.”
Last week I dinged that video for claiming that close reading is a teaching technique (it's an approach to reading). I was critical of the idea that close reading helps students “conquer complex text,” if that includes language complexity as measured by Lexiles. I didn’t like the idea of reading the book to the kids; I’m a fan of reading texts to kids (see recent NewYork Times article on this), but not the texts the kids are supposed to be reading. Finally, I didn’t like how rereading was being approached. Here is the rest of my thinking about this lesson. Hope it’s useful to you.
David Coleman, the current president of the College Board, has a particular take on academic vocabulary; and, if you want to better prepare your students for the new wave of standardized testing under the Common Core and the new SAT, you better get hip to it. As he told the New York Times, Coleman believes academic vocabulary is all around us, and he is out to rid the SAT of "words you will never use again" and plans to instead focus standardized testing on "more common words like synthesis, distill and transform, used in context as they will be in college and in life."
Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus: Wordshop - There has been a lot of hubbub over the last few months about states defecting from the original group of 45 states that had adopted the Common Core State Standards. But how different are the state standards that have diverged from the Common Core when it comes to the teaching of vocabulary?
[Editor's note: This is part two of a multi-part series on the use of prior knowledge in literacy. It originally appeared in a slightly different form at Tim Shanahan's blog, Shanahan on Reading. The first post can be found here.]
1. It diminishes the joy of reading. One of the things we love about reading is how layered the text is. If you don’t understand what’s going on in a text, it’s just less engaging. What practitioners have found is close reading can become as engaging as a video game, as students look at the vocabulary or patterns of words, at the structure and plot elements. It’s really that deep engagement that brings joy to the reading process. It becomes like a treasure hunt—in a good wa
We are naturally inclined to find information fascinating -- to the point that we have to share it out to the world. Nobody on Facebook is getting a grade for it. They're sharing an article because they found it relevant.
As a classroom teacher, I want to see that same level of excitement as students engage with informational texts.
Growing up in downtown Manhattan as the son of a psychiatrist and a college president, David Coleman never wanted for stimulation. At the dinner table, his parents repeatedly told him that it wasn't his exam scores that mattered, but rather the quality of his ideas and inquiry.
Now, Coleman is in charge of the most important test score a student can receive. As president of the College Board, a national education company, he is redesigning the SAT, the standardized test taken by many high school seniors as a part of the college application process. He is also expanding the Advanced Placement program, which offers college-level classes and tests for high school students.
The famed SAT college admissions exam will undergo a thorough redesign by the College Board, which is calling the effort an "ambitious effort" to "better meets" the needs of students and schools.
The College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT, late last year appointed a new president, David Coleman, who was a co-writer of the Common Core State Standards. In a recent speech at the Brookings Institution,Coleman said he has a number of problems with the SAT as now written, including with its essay and vocabulary words. (You can read about that here.)
LANSING – Michigan has awarded a three-year contract to both Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. for the future Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) system beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. The recommendation of award was made jointly by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB), which runs the state procurement process.
“Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. were the two highest scoring bidders and are among the most experienced education service and test administration providers in the nation,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This now allows Michigan schools and teachers to move forward and fully transition from the 40-year-old MEAP to M-STEP, a 21st Century assessment system.”
Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement, Inc. are the same vendors that are being used for the 2015 M-STEP statewide assessment, providing a seamless transition to the statewide assessments for the foreseeable future.
“This fortunate outcome will give this year’s tests greater significance and be a foundation from which to build,” Flanagan said.
A total of five bids were submitted and reviewed to provide assessment administration, scoring, and reporting by an 18-member Joint Evaluation Committee (JEC).
In addition to staff from MDE and DTMB, committee voting members included representatives from the education community, including an elementary/middle school principal; local school superintendent; testing and assessment consultant from an intermediate school district (ISD); and an ISD curriculum and data expert. In addition, JEC advisory members included a high school principal, special education expert, an English Language Learner expert and both English language arts and mathematics experts.
Vendor proposals for Michigan’s assessment system could have included: an “off-the-shelf” assessment; a vendor’s proprietary assessment; other existing assessment, such as those owned by another state or non-vendor entity; or consortia-developed assessment for one or more components. The independent solutions proposed by both DRC and Measurement, Inc. included Michigan-developed and consortia-developed assessment components that are aligned to the state standards. The awarded proposals meet all of the requirements put forth in Public Act 196 of 2014.
After soliciting and receiving public input last summer, the Request For Proposal (RFP) was posted on the State’s bid posting website, buy4michigan.com, on August 29, 2014, and was available to prospective bidders for 42 days. The award of a State Contract is made to the responsive and responsible Bidder who passed Technical Evaluations and offers the best value to the State of Michigan.
The JEC determined two bidders passed the technical evaluation portion of the evaluation process: Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. As allowed under DTMB procurement rules, the committee unanimously determined that awarding selected contract activities to Data Recognition Corp. and other selected contract activities to Measurement, Inc. utilizes the best of what each compliant bidder proposed and offers the best value to the State of Michigan. The JEC unanimously recommended awarding one contract each, based on selected contract activities to Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement, Inc.
“As an elementary principal, I work daily to remain current and informed regarding teaching, learning, and assessment,” said JEC member David G. Hornak, Ed.D, principal at Holt Public Schools’ Horizon Elementary. “As I reflect on my service to the Joint Evaluation Committee to help award the next assessment vendors, it is worth promoting that each award was met with hours of deliberation. Not only did we discuss each proposal in detail, our time together allowed for each member of the committee to seek clarity.
“With the children in Michigan in mind, I am pleased with our work and remain thrilled with my opportunity to serve on the selection committee,” Hornak said. “I am proud of our recommendations.”
Advisory member of the JEC and Muskegon ISD English language arts expert Erin Brown said: “The professionalism and completeness of the RFP process were reassuring. As both an educator and parent of elementary age children in our state, it was confidence-building to know that the 18 members of this team engaged in a rigorous process of evaluation for each proposal. This process assured equability and objective analysis of each proposal against the established criteria of the RFP.”
Although the contracts await final completion and approval of the State Administrative Board, the three-year contract for Michigan’s future assessment system will cost approximately $103.7 million. The contract also includes five one-year extension options for (2018-2019), (2019-2020), (2020-2021), (2021-2022), and (2022-2023), each at the state’s discretion.
High-poverty school districts receive an average of 10 percent less per student in state and local funding than districts with few students in poverty, a new report finds. However, some states have managed to close that gap.
Most States Give Less To Poorer Districts. The Christian Science Monitor (3/25, Kharadoo) reports that school districts serving students in poverty receive less than other districts, according to a Thursday report from The Education Trust. The Monitor notes that funding gaps “vary widely from state to state,” and that while some states have “good showing[s]” and give more to challenged districts, nine states supply “at least 100 percent more” to low-poverty districts. There has been a decades-long push for more even funding levels, and lawsuits against funding formulas have been a major driver in the “shift toward equity.” Districts serving the highest levels of African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans received nearly 15 percent less funding than districts with the fewest minorities, contradictory to the ideal of “equality of opportunity.” Minnesota Near Top Of Low-Income District Funding, But Retains Inequality. The St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press (3/26, Verges) reports that the report showed Minnesota is “among the best” at providing poorer schools with extra funding, but that “it may not be evident in test scores,” where the state has one of the country’s biggest race and income gaps. The state is second only to Ohio in its share of in-state funding that reaches high-poverty districts, but the paper notes that the report does not include Federal funds that target low-income students.
Washington students are taking Smarter Balanced Assessments in grades 3-8 and high school for the first time in spring 2015. Smarter Balanced replaces Washington's previous state exams and measures real-world skills and how students are progressing on the path to being ready for college and career.
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