Amanda Ronan writes: "The Common Core State Standards do not have to mean the death of creative work produced by your students. If anything, the emphasis on textual analysis gives you more reason to explore interesting and creative ways for students to engage with texts. "
Naysayers are often unaware of what goes on in Common Core classrooms.
"A typical day in my College Preparatory English III classroom in Illinois looks like this: Students work in small groups annotating passages from a novel. They highlight text that they feel is important so they will be able to quickly find it to use in discussion or in response to questioning. They note in margins those ‘aha’ moments when an idea became clear, or they write questions that the passage has provoked. They also place check marks or stars next to passages that relate to earlier works they read which apply to this new text."
Administration To Hold Firm On No Child Left Behind Testing Requirements.
The Washington Post (1/10, Layton) reports that according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Obama Administration has drawn a “line in the sand” regarding efforts to rewrite No Child Left Behind: “the federal government must continue to require states to give annual, standardized tests in reading and math.” The Post notes the stance “comes amidst growing anti-testing sentiment” led by an “odd alliance” of parents, teachers unions, and conservatives. The new chair of the Senate education panel, Sen. Lamar Alexander stated that “he is weighing whether to ditch the federal requirement to test,” adding that the Senate should ask be asking “Are there too many tests?” An aide to Sen. Patty Murray, also on the education panel, stated that the Senator will likely “push back strongly” on attempts to get rid of annual testing. The Post quotes ED spokeswoman Dorie Nolt saying of Duncan, “He will outline the need to widen and ensure opportunity for all students — the original purpose of this landmark law. He will call for quality preschool for every child, improved resources for schools and teachers, and better support for teachers and principals. He will also call on states and districts to limit unnecessary testing so that teachers can focus needed time on classroom learning.”
Alyson Klein writes at the Education Week (1/12) “Politics K-12” blog that according to a senior Administration official, Duncan will call for “adding more resources, ensuring educator excellence, and keeping the law’s historic focus on educational equity.” Duncan will also “remind folks” that ESEA “was, at its inception in 1965, and remains, at its heart, a civil rights law.” Klein quotes Nolt saying, “The secretary’s speech will make clear what we believe a new elementary and secondary education law should stand for and what we value as a country.” Moreover, the article reports, Duncan “won’t back away from” such Administration priorities as “investing in teacher quality—and teacher evaluations,” accountability measures analogous to the terms of states’ NCLB waivers, and “maintaining NCLB’s annual summative tests.” This article notes that Duncan is scheduled to deliver the speech Monday at Washington, DC’s Seaton Elementary School, and that his comments will also focus on “incorporating early-childhood education into the ESEA.”
The New York Daily News (1/12) reports that Duncan is expected to stress “President Obama’s push for universal pre-K, and could include possible reductions in some testing levels, but he is expected to maintain requirements for annual testing for third- to eighth-graders.”
Other media outlets that preview Duncan’s speech include the Los Angeles School Report (1/12) and the Politico (1/9, Emma) “Morning Education” blog.
CCSSO Calls For Preserving Testing Schedule. Alyson Klein writes at the Education Week (1/12) “Politics K-12” blog that the Council of Chief State School Officers is pushing back against a potential NCLB rewrite including “giving control over testing back to the states,” and is “urging congressional education leaders to pass a rewrite of the law that would keep the NCLB testing schedule intact, meaning that states would still be required to test students using statewide assessments in reading and math annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school.” However, the CCSSO would “move away” from “mandates on school improvement and accountability, and would give states more flexibility over their federal funding.”
Reading tests do not measure question-answering skills. Old-style test prep won't work!
By Tim Shanahan
Reading comprehension tests do not measure question-answering skills, but instead estimate how well students can read particular kinds of texts with understanding.PARCC and SBAC are pointedly avoiding making claims that their assessments will reveal whether students are meeting particular standards, but instead provide an overall estimate of reading comprehension.Reading comprehension tests measure how well students read texts, not how well they execute particular reading skills.So, item analysis is not an effective strategy for improving reading comprehension. PARCC and SBAC tests are, won't they be able to provide specific diagnostic information. 5 Steps to making students sophisticated and powerful readers:
Have students read extensively within instruction.Have students read increasing amounts of text without guidance or support.Make sure the texts are rich in content and sufficiently challenging.Have students explain their answers and provide text evidence supporting their claims.Engage students in writing about text, not just in replying to multiple-choice questions.
Gene Wilhoit, the former Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers who led the effort to create the Common Core, explains that until we have a more powerful curriculum design and more deep professional exchange about content, pedagogy, and student work going on in our schools the Common Core will not be implemented as it should be.
One of the most misunderstood aspects of implementing Common Core standards is that they are about learning goals, not methods. This opens up lots of possibilities for including the standards in assessments across the curriculum. The standards currently...
Student achievement in LI's public schools reflects a widening gap between the richest and poorest
Report Details Gap Between Rich, Poor Long Island Districts.
Newsday (1/20) reports that a new report “sponsored by the Long Island Education Coalition, which represents school superintendents, teacher unions and other groups, and by the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business and civic group,” indicates that “student achievement in Long Island’s public schools, while generally high, reflects a deep and widening gap between the richest and poorest districts.” The report shows “that just 19 percent of eighth-graders in selected poor districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties passed a challenging new test in English Language Arts administered in 2013,” while 57.1% of students in wealthy districts passed the test. The article reports that the New York Association of School Business Officials and other groups “have concluded that restoring Gap Elimination Adjustment cuts within a single year would benefit mostly districts of moderate wealth, because the poorer districts already have had most of that money returned.”
A new study suggests affirmative action policies in college admissions might be a good idea.
Study: SAT More Predictive Of Black Students’ Success In College.
The Washington Post (1/6, Guo) reports a recent working paper from three Texas economists found that, of Texas public school students that attended public universities, “for black students, the SAT is a far more important predictor of college GPA than for white or Latino students,” despite black students scoring worse, on average, on such tests. Study coauthor Jane Arnold Lincove of the University of Texas at Austin speculated that such tests are less predictive of white students’ performance because they have more access to prep courses that aim to boost scores regardless of the student’s ability. Lincove also said that the results speak “to the idea that affirmative action in admissions might empirically be a good idea.”