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Why States Should Make PARCC the Foundation of New Exams | Real Clear Education
Information from high-quality assessments empowers teachers to meet students where they are, and take them where they need to go, writes Emily Griggs, a sixth-grade teacher in Boston. Several recent studies indicate consortia exams outperform other next-generation tests, as well as states’ former “bubble tests.” By incorporating elements of PARCC and MCAS into its hybrid end-of-year assessment, Massachusetts promises to provide a valuable tool to help students achieve their full potential. By contrast, states that have sought to appease critics by pursuing independent tests have incurred significant costs for assessments that may prove inferior and lack the comparability of consortia exams.

Teachers Must Learn to Balance Methods | Knoxville News
Ina Hughes, a grandmother and columnist, writes that Common Core State Standards are “a different ballgame”—which is a good thing. “Just because it’s different from how I learned doesn’t make it less worthy,” Hughes explains. The standards have shifted instruction from a list of items students should know, to a guide of what students should be able to achieve. Schools across the country are engaging parents and teachers to help them understand those changes. Like Hughes, one Maryland mother explained recently, “We were confused by the math in particular and not very supportive…[But now my twin daughters] understand math concepts so completely after learning ‘that crazy way’ in elementary school that I am a huge believer.”


Correcting the Record:

Michigan’s Common Core Substitute Bill Is Written to Perpetuate Federal Control | Tenth Amendment Center
Opponents in Michigan argue that proposed legislation that would allow policymakers to continue to build on the Common Core framework “retains federal control.” “All manner of federal control will be justified under this new provision,” the Michigan Campaign for Liberty claims. “Michigan is heading down a dangerous road that has imperiled other states,” the article alleges. “By pushing through phony reforms in a cloak-and-dagger fashion, the federal-backed standards are protected while the public is deceived.” In fact, the real threat to Michigan schools is the prospect of repealing the state’s Common Core Standards. The outcomes from the states that have taken the ill-advised “repeal-and-replace” path demonstrates such efforts inevitably lead to either a costly re-branding of the Common Core, or inferior learning goals. Here is where Michigan’s repeal activists get it wrong:


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Pearson CEO: Company Has a ‘Wider Responsibility’ to Help End Educational Inequities | Chalkbeat Colorado
John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson, the largest textbook publisher and a giant in the testing market, says the company shares a responsibility to support states’ education standards and to help ensure students of all backgrounds have access to a quality education. “We are firmly in the belief that we should be moving to fewer, smarter, and better assessments,” Fallon says. “We’re working with our customers to achieve that.” The integrity of student data is a top concern for the company as well, Fallon adds. “We never would try to use or market or sell [student] data… In every contract that we have with our customers, we take great care to be aligned with their expectations around data security and privacy.”

Here Are the Parts of the Draft ESSA Rules that Worry Members of Congress the Most | Education Week
Based on recent hearings, the biggest concerns among members of Congress about proposed regulations related to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act include: the timeline, summative ratings, education standards, test participation and consistent underperformance. Regarding timing, Senator Lamar Alexander says he would prefer the 2018-19 school year to be the first in which districts must identify schools that need improvement, instead of 2017-18, as proposed in the current draft. Summative ratings could become the most controversial element of the regulations, the article notes. Lawmakers have said requiring a single rating for schools violates the spirit of the law.

Massachusetts Schools Readying for New MCAS | Metro West Daily News
Next spring, Massachusetts schools will administer the “MCAS 2.0” assessments—a hybrid exam that will combine elements of the former MCAS test and PARCC. State education commissioner Mitchell Chester says he expects a new contract for the tests to be in place by the end of the month. “We received two very strong proposals from two very capable groups,” Chester says. “We’re in the process of evaluating those two proposals. We brought in teachers to help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of [both].”