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.]
A spokesperson for the testing company, Pearson, confirmed to The Washington Post that it will alert states when it finds test questions being posted publicly to the Internet, saying security maintains fairness for students as well as the integrity...
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.
In this segment our guests draw a sharp distinction between fluency and reading comprehension. Further, they explain why understanding the difference is so important to identifying and solving student's reading challenges.
Even though they're unsure about what it is or what it does, plenty of New Jersey residents have been quick to attack the Common Core education standards adopted by the state.
Even though they’re unsure about what it is or what it does, plenty of New Jersey residents have been quick to attack the Common Core education standards adopted by the state. Common Core has gained more attention in recent months due to controversy surrounding the newest version of standardized testing.
Tim Boyle, Getty Images
In a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey, more than half of respondents in New Jersey said they have heard either “just a little” or “nothing at all” about Common Core. Still, they had an opinion of the standards, with just 17 percent expressing approval.
What New Jerseyans may not know is that these standards have actually been part of the state’s education system since 2010, when they were first promoted by a bipartisan coalition of state governors and education department heads.
“About 85 percent of the standards – we were there already,” said Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. “The Common Core, for us, was very close to what we were already doing.”
Michigan kindergartners could have to take an assessment when they enter school to judge the effectiveness of the state's pre-schools as a part of Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed investment in improving third-grade reading scores.
We already try new things all the time, but we expect perfection the first time around. When we don't get it, we reject the good idea, move on to the next new one, and repeat the cycle. We're chasing our own tails.
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