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Ending 34-Month Battle, Edwards, Lawmakers Endorse Common Core Revisions / New Orleans Advocate

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards endorsed revisions to the state’s Common Core Standards on Tuesday after the House and Senate education committees approved the changes. The revisions were proposed by a 26-member review committee and largely build on the Common Core framework. Like Louisiana, states across the country have overwhelmingly opted to review and refine their Common Core Standards. By contrast, states like Oklahoma, which took the ill-advised path of “repeal-and-replace,” have created disruption and uncertainty for classrooms. “Replacing the Common Core State Standards invariably leads to either modest adjustments and renaming…or, academic standards that are inferior to the Common Core,” a Collaborative white paper explains.

Parents to Receive Easier-to-Read Reports on Smarter Balanced Test Scores / EdSource

Score reports from California’s Smarter Balanced assessments this year will include simplified text and easier-to-read graphics, according to new samples provided by the state. The reports will be provided to parents this summer, months earlier than last year. The California PTA has partnered with the state Department of Education as well to provide parent guides, which will help explain the results. Education groups have been working to provide parents and teachers with information to better understand and improve on high-quality assessments, like the “Testing Bill of Rights.” “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:


New Jersey Adopts New Standards to Replace Common Core / Heartland Institute

New Jersey has abandoned the Common Core, the article claims, even though changes to the state’s standards retain about 84 percent of the Common Core State Standards. Even with the revisions, opponents argue the standards seek to “monitor and adjust student behavior.” “[Common Core] taps into a student’s ability to think, [causing] kids to have meltdowns and succumb to unnecessary stress,” alleges Michael Bohr, founder of the Committee to Combat Common Core in New Jersey. Objective analysis has repeatedly rejected the idea that the Common Core seeks to control student thinking, and evidence has reaffirmed the age-appropriateness of the standards. Here is where the Heartland Institute gets it wrong:

New Jersey Hasn’t Abandoned the Common Core, and Students Aren’t Losing Their Minds


New Jersey has abandoned the Common Core, an article by the Heartland Institute heralds (even though it later acknowledges changes to the state’s standards retain about 84 percent of the Common Core).


In fact, New Jersey, like most states across the country, opted to review, refine and build on its Common Core Standards. “We were not looking to develop a whole new set of standards, but rather to improve on what we had,” Kimberly Harrington, New Jersey’s chief academic officer, explained of the review process earlier this year.


Mark Biedron, president of the New Jersey Board of Education, reiterated that the review process was not meant to replace the Common Core. “We looked at something that was really good, and we made it New Jersey’s,” he explained. “Yes, there were some changes, but there were not major changes.”


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If the MCAS Is So Good, Why Are We Ditching It? / Boston Globe

A close look at Massachusetts’ decision last fall to develop the “MCAS 2.0,” a hybrid exam that will combine elements of PARCC and the old MCAS, concludes that teachers see value in high-quality assessments, which are an important piece in the education puzzle. “Like anything that is going to be first-class, you need to upgrade from time to time,” says education commissioner Mitchell Chester. “Without having a common metric with a high bar…we don’t have the information to highlight, to spotlight those places that are excelling and those places that are lagging.” Last fall Chester reiterated Massachusetts is not abandoning its Common Core Standards and PARCC will remain an integral part of state assessments.

Can U.S. Department of Education Set a Maximum ‘N’ Size? And What Should It Be? / Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed accountability regulations would allow states to pick an “n” size, or minimum number of students from a particular group that a school would have to have for that to count for accountability purposes. But if states want to go above 30, they must justify it. An Alliance for Excellent Education study suggests that provision would let too many English-language learners, special-needs students, minorities and disadvantaged students to slip through the cracks. The report recommends states set an “n” size of 10 or below. Right now only 13 states fall at or below that number. Eight or more have an “n” size of 40 or more.

Analysis: Opt-Out Totals Highest in Struggling Districts / Albany Times Union

According to research by High Achievement New York, most New York school districts with the highest opt-out rates this year had below-average scores on the exams last year. In 10 out of 18 districts with high opt-out rates proficiency rates on the English language arts assessments given to students in grades 3-8 were below the state average. “They’re really the middle- to low-performing suburban districts,” says HANY director Stephen Sigmund. “That doesn’t come as a surprise because those are the districts that experienced the biggest proficiency drop from the old tests to the new ones, but it does give us concern that those are the students opting out year after year.”