COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // JUNE 1, 2016

News You Can Use:

Q&A with Kirsten Baesler: Closing the Honesty Gap / Grand Forks Herald

Education leaders must communicate accurately to teachers, parents and schools, says North Dakota state superintendent Kirsten Baesler on efforts to close the Honesty Gap. Twenty-seven percent of North Dakota’s college-bound students require remediation. “It’s systemic. And if we’re waiting to identify student needs until the student’s 11th grade year, we’re pretty late in the game…That’s why honest assessments are so important,” Baesler explains. Multiple reports find states are raising expectations and providing more accurate information about student readiness by implementing high standards and high-quality assessments. This month Baesler announced North Dakota will review its education standards and continue to build on the Common Core framework.

Opting Out of Knowing Education Problems / Bend Bulletin

High-quality student assessments, like Oregon’s Smarter Balanced exam, offer useful information to schools and families, the editorial board writes, by helping to identify students’ strength and needs. “But if only a handful of students actually take the tests, it’s impossible to determine if help is needed.” Most states, including Oregon, have begun to provide parents and teachers with accurate information by implementing high-quality assessments and high education standards. “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career,” Karen Nussle explains. “For parents and educators that should come as a welcome change.”


 

Correcting the Record:

 

Education Ruined for a Generation / MomZette

Common Core State Standards, the “federalizing of public education,” is failing public-school students, and particularly minority children, claims Deirdre Reilly. “Far from achieving its goal of leveling the playing field…[the Common Core] has put children of color in the state of Kentucky (and likely in many other states as well) even further behind.” Implementation of the standards was pulled over on states, the article suggests. However, states—including Kentucky—voluntarily adopted the Common Core, and schools have only begun to fully align teaching to the standards, making it unfair to assign blame for early achievement gaps. Here is where Reilly gets it wrong:

 

Correcting the Record: High, Consistent Education Standards Offer All Students a Path towards College and Career Readiness

 

Common Core State Standards, the “federalizing of public education,” is failing public-school students, and particularly minority children, claims Deirdre Reilly on the parent news website MomZette.

 

“Far from achieving its goal of leveling the playing field…[the Common Core] has put children of color in the state of Kentucky (and likely in many other states as well) even further behind,” Reilly argues.

 

Common Core State Standards set clear, consistent and rigorous learning goals that better ensure students from all demographics have a path towards college and career readiness. Coupled with high-quality assessments, the standards provide educators with accurate information to better meet student needs and to help all students over a high bar.

 

The Common Core isn’t a silver bullet. As the article notes, there are numerous racial and socioeconomic factors that affect classroom learning. But by holding all students to rigorous expectations, the standards help ensure at-risk students’ needs are not swept under the rug by lowering the achievement bar.

 

A Hechinger Report article, which is cited by the MomZette piece, acknowledges that Common Core State Standards have helped to raise classroom expectations. The Common Core has “ramped up academic expectations,” the article notes, and the standards are “tougher” and require a “deeper level of inquiry.”

 

Evidence from states supports those findings. An analysis by Achieve this year found 26 states have significantly closed their “Honesty Gaps”—discrepancies between proficiency rates self-reported by states and those identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Likewise, a Harvard study finds most states have raised their proficiency benchmarks.

 

“[States] should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” explains Sandra Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”

 

Those kinds of improvements explain why state and local leaders have demonstrated a commitment to the Common Core.

 


 

On Our Reading List:

 

Tennessee Awards Two Testing Contracts as It Searches for TNReady Successor / Chalkbeat Tennessee

Within the last two months Tennessee officials awarded two contracts to testing vendors as the state seeks to hire a new developer to take over the TNReady exam. In April the state Department of Education inked a $10 million deal with Questar Assessments to create a new optional test for students in grades K-2. In May the state agreed to an $18.5 million contract with Pearson to score the remainder of this year’s TNReady tests. Both Questar and Pearson were among the five companies that applied in 2014 to develop Tennessee’s new assessment for math and English language arts in grades 3-8. Officials expect to have a new contractor in place by July 1.