"Judge Green of the circuit court of Cole County has just granted summary judgment in our favor on our claim that Missouri’s membership fees to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia are unlawful under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as “state and federal law.”
Judge Green has permanently enjoined the State of Missouri from making payments in the form of membership fees to Smarter Balanced. We can no longer be a member of SBAC.
We expect the state to appeal this decision which attorney John Sauer looks forward to defending.
"From my perspective, using a variety of measures, including some selected at the local school level by educators, families and students,is the best way to capture the broad array of things each school is trying to do."...
Amanda Ronan writes: "Common Core testing season is right around the corner, so you want to spend some time making sure your students have the technological skills that will be required of them. PARCC and SBAC released items and practice tests to demonstrate the new item types students will see in the spring. We’ve summarized these items and given you some excellent online resources to help your students practice with the new testing interface. Now you can help your students show that they can master anything Common Core testing throws their way!"
Riding on the growing parental backlash over what's perceived as "over testing" in schools, educational researchers are pushing the White House and Congress to move away from "test-based policies" as they revise and renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA funds public schooling in America.
If you follow this blog, you know that I believe effective vocabulary instruction is just about the most important instructional activity for teachers to get right. For lots of reasons. Vocabulary influences fluency, comprehension, and student achievement. How’s that for starters? In addition, a broad vocabulary is important for effective speaking, listening, reading and writing. …
Tennessee Teachers File Lawsuit Challenging Use Of Standardized Test Scores.
The AP (2/6, Johnson) reports “Tennessee’s largest teachers union filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday that challenges how the state uses standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.” The lawsuit “focuses on those teachers whose evaluations are based substantially on standardized test scores of students in subjects they do not teach.” According to the lawsuit, “that’s more than half of the public school teachers in Tennessee.”
The Tennessean (2/5) reports the lawsuit, filed by Tennessee Education Association General Counsel Rick Colbert and President Barbara Gray, is “their third lawsuit within a year challenging the role of state assessment scores in teacher evaluations.”
The Chalkbeat Tennessee (2/5) reports “the latest lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville against Gov. Bill Haslam, state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen, members of the State Board of Education, and the school boards of Metropolitan Nashville and Anderson County.”
The Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel (2/5) also had coverage.
This CCSS workbook contains question sets ("pods") for Grades 9-12. Categories are Reading: Literature; Reading: Informational; and Language. For your convenience, Reading appears two different ways: by standard and passage.
Although the outcome was never really in doubt, members of the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives spent more than three hours Wednesday night debating the pros and cons of holding back third-graders who can’t read at grade level, then sent a bill to do just that on to …
To break down the isolation that many teachers experience in their classrooms, California schools are using instructional coaches as a key tool to help teachers adapt their instruction to implement the Common Core standards in math and English...
"In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up."
By Stephanie Simon 2/10/15 5:34 AM EST
"The British publishing giant Pearson had made few inroads in the United States — aside from distributing the TV game show “Family Feud” — when it announced plans in the summer of 2000 to spend $2.5 billion on an American testing company.
It turned out to be an exceptionally savvy move.
The next year, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandated millions of new standardized tests for millions of kids in public schools. Pearson was in a prime position to capitalize.
From that perch, the company expanded rapidly, seizing on many subsequent reform trends, from online learning to the Common Core standards adopted in more than 40 states. The company has reaped the benefits: Half its $8 billion in annual global sales comes from its North American education division.
But Pearson’s dominance does not always serve U.S. students or taxpayers well.
A POLITICO investigation has found that Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas. The review also found Pearson’s contracts set forth specific performance targets — but don’t penalize the company when it fails to meet those standards. And in the higher ed realm, the contracts give Pearson extensive access to personal student data, with few constraints on how it is used.
POLITICO examined hundreds of pages of contracts, business plans and email exchanges, as well as tax filings, lobbying reports and marketing materials, in the first comprehensive look at Pearson’s business practices in the United States.
The investigation found that public officials often commit to buying from Pearson because it’s familiar, even when there’s little proof its products and services are effective."...
Kim Callison Anne Arundel County Public Schools Christine Carriere Chicago Public Schools Nell K. Duke Michigan State University P. David Pearson University of California-Berkeley Christopher Schatschneider The Florida State University and Florida Center for Reading Research Joseph Torgesen The Florida State University and Florida Center for Reading Research
Students who read with understanding at an early age gain access to a broader range of texts, knowledge, and educational opportunities, making early reading comprehension instruction particularly critical.
This IES Practice Guide makes 5 recommendations for improving reading comprehension and provides strategies for implementing the recommendations.
Recommendation 1-Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies.Teach students how to use several research-based reading comprehension strategies.Teach reading comprehension strategies individually or in combination.Teach reading comprehension strategies by using a gradual release of responsibility.
Recommendation 2- Teach Students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content.Explain how to identify and connect the parts of narrative texts.Provide instruction on common structures of informational texts.
Recommendation 3-Guide students through focused, high-quality discussion on the meaning of text.Structure the discussion to complement the text, the instructional purpose, and the readers’ ability and grade level.Develop discussion questions that require students to think deeply about text.Ask follow-up questions to encourage and facilitate discussion.Have students lead structured small-group discussions.
Recommendation 4-Select texts purposefully to support comprehension development.Teach reading comprehension with multiple genres of text.Choose texts of high quality with richness and depth of ideas and information.Choose texts with word recognition and comprehension difficulty appropriate for the students’ reading ability and the instructional activity.Use texts that support the purpose of instruction.
Recommendation 5-Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.Help students discover the purpose and benefits of reading.Create opportunities for students to see themselves as successful readers.Give students reading choices.Give students the opportunity to learn by collaborating with their peers.
Adolescent LiteracyIES Practice Guide Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices This IES Practice Guide makes 5 recommendations for improving adolescent literacy and provides strategies for implementing the recommendations.
Recommendation 1Provide explicit vocabulary instruction.Dedicate a portion of regular classroom lessons to explicit vocabulary instruction.Provide repeated exposure to new words in multiple contexts, and allow sufficient practice sessions in vocabulary instruction.Give sufficient opportunities to use new vocabulary in a variety of contexts through activities such as discussion, writing, and extended reading.Provide students with strategies to make them independent vocabulary learners.
Recommendation 2Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction.Select carefully the text to use when beginning to teach a given strategy.Show students how to apply the strategies they are learning to different texts.Make sure that the text is appropriate for the reading level of students.Use a direct and explicit instruction lesson plan for teaching students how to use comprehension strategies.Provide the appropriate amount of guided practice depending on the difficulty level of the strategies that students are learning.Talk about comprehension strategies while teaching them.
Recommendation 3Provide opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and interpretation.Carefully prepare for the discussion by selecting engaging materials and developing stimulating questions.Ask follow-up questions that help provide continuity and extend the discussion.Provide a task or discussion format that students can follow when they discuss text in small groups.Develop and practice the use of a specific “discussion protocol.”
Recommendation 4Increase student motivation and engagement in literacy learning.Establish meaningful and engaging content learning goals around the essential ideas of a discipline as well as around the specific learning processes used to access those ideas.Provide a positive learning environment that promotes student autonomy in learning.Make literacy experiences more relevant to student interests, everyday life, or important current events.Build classroom conditions to promote higher reading engagement and conceptual learning through such strategies as goal setting, self-directed learning, and collaborative learning.
Recommendation 5Make available intensive individualized interventions for struggling readers that can be provided by qualified specialists.Use reliable screening assessments to identify students with reading difficulties and follow up with formal and informal assessments to pinpoint each student’s instructional needs.Select an intervention that provides an explicit instructional focus to meet each student’s identified learning needs.Provide interventions where intensiveness matches student needs: the greater the instructional need, the more intensive the intervention. Assuming a high level of instructional quality, the intensity of interventions is related most directly to the size of instructional groups and amount of instructional time.
Reading Next – A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy: A Report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York This research synthesis describes fifteen elements of effective adolescent literacy programs:direct, explicit comprehension instructioneffective instructional principles embedded in contentmotivation and self-directed learningtext-based collaborative learningstrategic tutoringdiverse textsintensive writinga technology componentongoing formative assessment of studentsextended time for literacyprofessional developmentongoing summative assessment of students and programteacher teamsleadershipa comprehensive and coordinated literacy program
Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High School This research synthesis emphasizes the need to integrate writing skill development into adolescent literacy instruction. The report details eleven key elements that can be combined in flexible ways to strengthen literacy development for middle and high school students.
Eleven Elements of Effective Adolescent Writing Instruction
Teaching writing strategies
Systemmatically teaching summarization
Employing collaborative writing instruction
Setting specific product goals
Using word processing and technology as instructional supports for writingTeaching sentences combining and strategies for constructing more complex, sophisticated sentencesUsing prewriting to generate and organize ideas.
Engaging students in inquiry activities to analyze data and develop ideas
Incorporating process writing approach
Studying models of good writing (mentor texts)
Using writing as a tool for learning content material
Writing to Read: Evidence of How Writing Can Improve Reading Writing to Read builds on Writing Next by providing evidence for how writing can improve reading. It describes the ability to read, comprehend, and write— the ability to organize information into knowledge—as tantamount to a survival skill and recommends a cluster of closely related writing practices shown to be effective in improving students’ reading.
Recommendation 1Have students write about the texts they read – Text comprehension is improved when students write about what they read.Respond to a text in writingWrite text summariesWrite notes about a textAnswer questions about a text in writing, or create and answer written questions about a text
Recommendation 2Teach students the writing skills and processes that go into creating text – Students’ reading skills and comprehension are improved by learning the skills and processes that go into creating text, specifically when teachersTeach the process of writing, text structures for writing, paragraph or sentence constructionTeach spelling and sentence construction skills (improves reading fluency)Teach spelling skills (improves word reading skills)
Recommendation 3Increase how much students write – Students’ reading comprehension is improved by having them increase how often they produce their own texts.
Time to Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Readiness. ACT Reading Between the Lines Understanding University Success
The Utah Core Standards, federal influence and what students lack are key focuses of the governor, the attorney general and education leaders.
Utah Reports Refute Federal Footprint In Common Core.
KSL-TV Salt Lake City (2/9) reports online that according to a new report presented by the Utah Attorney General’s Office to the state Board of Education, “Utah’s adoption of the Common Core Standards did not cede control of the state’s education system to the federal government.” A second report “by a committee of local education experts found that the standards themselves are more rigorous than previous standards, are based on best practices and sound research, and will sufficiently prepare students for college if implemented correctly.” However, the report expresses some concerns about the state’s adoption of the Common Core being a criteria of its NCLB waiver.
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