COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // APRIL 13, 2016

News You Can Use:

Why Parents Shouldn’t Opt-Out of Student Testing / Christian Post

For parents considering opting out their children from state tests, Dr. Andrea Ramirez encourages them to ask what it will accomplish, whether it will improve educational experiences, and how students can improve without data to identify their needs. “I hope parents will opt in for accountability and truth in our public schools,” Dr. Ramirez adds. “As parents choose to opt-in, all students, especially poor and minority students, benefit.” Like Dr. Ramirez, Mike Petrilli wrote last year, “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests.”

Capital Region ELA Test Opt-Out Rates Decline / Albany Times-Union

Initial reports from New York show opt-out rates on the English language arts portions of state tests declined from last year. Statewide, opt-out rates declined by nearly 20 percent, according to early data. Leaders from High Achievement New York, which launched the hashtag #SayYesToTheTest, say the results suggest the “tide on opts outs appears to have been stemmed.” Across New York a growing chorus is encouraging parents to “opt-in” to state assessments, and for those still on the fence the New York Daily Post offers a helpful grade-level guide to help better understand what is expected of students.

Teachers Proud of Students’ Perseverance in Learning and Taking Common Core Test / Syracuse Post-Standard

Four upstate New York teachers write that their students, like countless others across the state, deserve applause for participating in assessments. “They have worked hard all year, learning to comprehend challenging text, deciphering confusing information, understanding authors’ use of particular textual structures and writing about what they have learned using textual evidence to support their statements…Taking these tests was their opportunity to show how their efforts had come to fruition.” Kathleen Porter-Magee agrees, noting that results from good tests like New York’s empower teachers to “benchmark our progress and our students’ academic growth, and to ensure we are keeping expectations high for our students.”

 


 

Correcting the Record:

Teacher: What Third-Graders Are Being Asked to Do on 2016 Common Core Test / Washington Post

Katie Lapham, an elementary-school teacher in New York, claims assessments are “developmentally inappropriate, confusing and tricky.” Despite tests being shortened, Lapham argues they are too long and contain content that is too high-level for third graders. “I’m beyond fed-up that I have to continue to administer these assessments to my students.” Lapham ignores the significant changes New York officials made to accommodate teachers’ and parents’ concerns and discounts the value of good tests. Here is where she gets it wrong:

States Like New York Are Using High-Quality Tests. For Teachers and Parents, That’s a Good Thing

 In a piece published by Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss, New York teacher Katie Lapham alleges that the state’s student assessments are “developmentally inappropriate, confusing and tricky.” Despite tests being shortened, Lapham argues they are too long and contain content that is too high-level for third graders. “I’m beyond fed-up that I have to continue to administer these assessments.”

Lapham’s criticism ignores that New York officials made significant changes to improve the state’s tests. Those included shortening both the math and English language arts sections of the exams, having more than 150 teachers from across the state review and critique the tests, giving students unlimited time to complete them, and ensuring the results will not be used in teacher evaluations for several years.

 

 


 

On Our Reading List:

 Senator: The Obama Administration Is Trying to Skirt New Federal Education Law / Washington Post

On Tuesday, Senator Lamar Alexander accused U.S. Education Secretary John King of trying to unilaterally change provisions guiding implementation of the Every Student Succeed Act. “We’re seeing disturbing evidence that the Department of Education is ignoring the law,” Sen. Alexander said. He added that the executive branch is using semantic tricks to accomplish policy goals, even if the policies are expressly prohibited by the Every Student Succeeds Act.