COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // JUNE 10, 2016

News You Can Use:

California Improves Smarter Balanced Score Reports for Parents / Education Dive
Education officials in California unveiled changes to score reports from the state’s Smarter Balanced assessments. The changes are designed to make the information more consumable for parents and include simplified text and easy-to-read graphics indicating whether students are meeting standards and their year-over-year growth. The parent guides will be released earlier in the year, expanding opportunities to use the data to inform instruction and lesson plans. Across the country education groups have been working with school systems to equip parents and teachers with materials and information to support their children, like the “Testing Bill of Rights.” This year Karin Chenoweth of the Education Trust wrote that high-quality assessments “let parents know whether their kids are on track so that they can get them any help they may need and ask the school informed questions about curriculum and instruction.”


 

Correcting the Record:

Common Core, College Readiness Skills Don’t Match Up, Study Says / Education Week
A study by the ACT released Thursday identifies mismatches between certain skills in the Common Core State Standards and those college instructors consider important for success in higher education. The survey, which polls K-12 and college teachers and is conducted every few years, notes college instructors would like to see a greater emphasis on generating ideas for writing in English language arts. In math, 85 percent of elementary school teachers said they still teach some topics not included in the Common Core. “ACT’s findings should not be interpreted as a rebuke of the Common Core,” said Marten Roorda, the organization’s CEO. While not perfect—no set of standards is—the Common Core establishes a high, consistent bar for classroom expectations that better prepares students for college and careers than states’ old patchwork of learning goals. Here is where the ACT survey gets it wrong:

Perfect? No. But the Common Core Is a Step in the Right Direction for Preparing Students with the Skills to Succeed in College and Careers

A study by the ACT released Thursday identifies mismatches between certain skills in the Common Core State Standards and those college instructors consider important for success in higher education.

The survey, which polls K-12 and college teachers and is conducted every few years, notes college instructors would like to see a greater emphasis on generating ideas for writing in English language arts.

In math, 85 percent of elementary school teachers said they still teach some topics not included in the Common Core. Less than half of middle school and high school teachers believe the Common Core is aligned “a great deal” or “completely” with college instructors’ expectations for college readiness, the study says.

“ACT’s findings should not be interpreted as a rebuke of the Common Core,” said Marten Roorda, ACT’s chief executive officer. “However, the data highlight the disconnect between what is emphasized in the Common Core and what some college instructors perceive as important to college readiness.”

While the Common Core State Standards are not perfect—no set of academic standards is—they provide clear, consistent learning goals that mark a big step up from most states’ previous criteria.

A 2010 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found Common Core State Standards were an improvement over 32 states’ standards for math and 28 states’ standards for English language arts.

The Fordham report notes that before the Common Core “we repeatedly found few states willing and able to set clear, rigorous, content-rich expectations for students… The Common Core math standards earn a grade of A-minus while the Common Core ELA standards earn a B-plus, both solidly in the honors range. Neither is perfect. Both are very, very strong.”

A 2012 study by William Schmidt and Richard Houang, researchers at Michigan State University, found Common Core State Standards are 90 percent aligned to those of high-performing countries. Like those countries’ models, Common Core drills down on fewer topics so students develop a better mastery of them.


 

On Our Reading List:

West Virginia Schools to Be Assigned A through F Grades / Associated Press
The West Virginia Board of Education voted this week to adopt an amendment to the state’s accountability policy that will assign schools grades A through F. The grades will be based largely on students’ scores on statewide Smarter Balanced assessments. Mike Green, president of the Board, says the new grading system is not punitive, but meant to give attention to low-performing schools in order to help them improve. The amendment will go into effect on July 11.

Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners