News You Can Use:

Why Math Education Is Getting Better Despite All the Controversy | Forbes
Steady improvements on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate “students are getting a better math education than they were twenty years ago,” writes Sarah Lubienski, a math professor at the University of Illinois. “In general, the increase in Main NAEP scores suggests that students have a deeper understanding of mathematics and more flexible problem solving skills than they did a few decades ago.” The recent slip in scores is not evidence that states should abandon the Common Core, Lubienski adds. The Common Core State Standards help students develop strong foundational math skills, which prepare them for high level content, and as many schools conduct outreach to parents, families too are seeing the benefits.

Education Department Continues to Prod States to Rethink Testing | US News & World Report
The U.S. Department of Education unveiled a set of proposed assessment regulations that seek to “strike a balance around testing” by encouraging states to use fewer and better exams. The Every Student Succeeds Act encourages officials to limit the number of assessments administered at the state level. On average, students take 112 tests during the K-12 career, per a study by the Council of Great City Schools. ESSA “holds great promise for giving states the flexibility needed to best meet the needs of their students,” says CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich, “including allowing states to rethink the way student learning is assessed.” High-quality assessments are an important measure of student development, and groups have developed tools for parents, teachers and students to help improve testing policies, like the Testing Bill of Rights.


Correcting the Record:

ACT: Common Core Does Not Prepare Students for College | Heartland Institute
ACT’s latest National Curriculum Survey claims Common Core State Standards fail to prepare students for college, the article notes. “The whole certification process of Common Core [was] a sham,” argues Ze’ev Wurman. “Having been written by unqualified people with barely any record or experience with K–12 education, it is unsurprising they have failed.” However, the ACT study demonstrates teachers continue to lack professional development to teach to the Common Core. As a result, many have yet to fully implement the standards. Here is where the Heartland Institute gets it wrong:


On Our Reading List:

Questar Wins Contract to Develop Tennessee Test to Replace Failed TNReady | Chalkbeat Tennessee
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Wednesday that the state will award a two-year contract to Questar, a Minneapolis-based test maker, to administer the state’s assessments for grades 3-11. The company will administer the first tests in the upcoming school year. The $30 million annual contract includes an option to extend the agreement up to five years. Tennessee will phase in online tests over a three-year period, McQueen said. This year, technical problems disrupted the TNReady assessment. In the upcoming year, tests will be given by paper-and-pencil in grades 3-8. End of year high school exams will include an online option, if schools are ready.
Maryland Testing Commission Urges Local Districts to Take a Close Look at Their Exams | Washington Post
A Maryland commission on public school testing urged the state’s 24 school districts to review the types and volume of exams administered to students and to propose changes to local school boards. The work is intended to ensure assessments inform instruction, are not duplicative, and align with classroom learning. Christopher Berry, chairman of the commission, explained, “The recommendations of the commission can and should serve as a catalyst for making assessment work more effectively for students, educators and parents.”