COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE // APRIL 14, 2016

News You Can Use:

Testing Reflects School Performance / Climb Higher Colorado
Since its launch in 2010, the Colorado School Grades website has provided millions of parents across the state with “valuable, easy-to-understand school performance information,” writes Luke Ragland. “But for the ratings to be accurate and representative of the state’s schools…we need to make sure students participate in the CMAS/PARCC exams this spring.” Ragland underscores the importance of “opting in” to good tests. Louisiana state superintendent John White explained last fall, “States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline…That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

Is the Uproar over Common Core’s Algebra Delay a Result of Poor Communication? / Education World
Concerns that Common Core State Standards “restrain” student from reaching high levels of math by delaying Algebra I until ninth grade are “contradictory to what the Common Core math standards suggest.” “There’s now tons of algebra content in the eighth grade,” explains William McCallum, a lead writer of the Common Core math standards. An analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success notes the progression under Common Core State Standards ensure all students build a strong understanding of fundamental math skills. “Eighth-grade math is now much more rigorous than it was. Students are taught algebra, geometry and statistics content, so there is less of a need to push 8th graders into an advanced class.”

 


 

Correcting the Record:

Common Core Tests Given Failing Grades by New York Teachers / New Boston Post
Reporting on a recent opinion piece by New York teacher Katie Lapham, the article suggests educators across New York oppose assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards. “Like Lapham, others in New York and elsewhere have called on students (and parents) to refuse to take the tests,” the article claims. It quotes Carol Burris, saying “There is no conclusive evidence that NCLB high-stakes testing has improved the academic performance of any student – particularly those who need the most help.” Contrary to the article’s argument, a growing chorus of educators, civil rights leaders and even media outlets support New York’s high-quality assessments and are urging families to “opt in.” Here is where the New Boston Post gets it wrong:

A Silent Majority of New Yorkers Are ‘Opting In’ to High-Quality Assessments

Reporting on a recent opinion piece by New York teacher Katie Lapham, a New Boston Post article suggests educators across New York adamantly oppose assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards. “Like Lapham, others in New York and elsewhere have called on students (and parents) to refuse to take the tests…‘There is no conclusive evidence that NCLB high-stakes testing has improved the academic performance of any student – particularly those who need the most help.’”

But despite concerted opt-out campaigns, initial results show more students and families are “opting in” to New York’s student assessments. The Albany Times-Union reported yesterday initial opt-out rates declined by nearly 20 percent from last year. The results indicate the “tide on opt outs appears to have been stemmed,” said representatives of High Achievement New York, which recently launched the hashtag #SayYesToTheTest.

 


 

On Our Reading List:

New York Considering Using Scores on AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests in Evaluations / Chalkbeat New York
State officials in New York told local education leaders this week that evaluations of school principals may begin to incorporate student scores on the SAT and AP exams. A memo Tuesday said districts will soon be required to send scores from a host of exams to the state Department of Education, which could use those results to “model” how tests could be used in evaluations. It is unclear whether the state would also consider using those tests to evaluate teachers, the article reports.

Florida’s Computerized Testing Runs Smoothly So Far, State Says / Tampa Bay Times
Educators across Florida report student assessments administered electronically have experienced significantly fewer problems than last year, when districts were forced to cancel testing days to resolve technical issues. Overall, the state’s help desk has fielded primarily “routine” questions, like how to reset passwords, and has not received any complaints of widespread troubles, a spokesperson for the state Department of Education said. “I am feeling very positive about the work that we did over the past year [to improve the system].”