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PARCC ‘College-Ready’ Score Reflects Rigor of College Work, Study Finds / Education Week
A first-of-its-kind study commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Education found students who score at the “college-ready” level on PARCC assessments are well-positioned to earn good grades in college, indicating the exam does a good job of measuring college readiness. When it comes to reflecting the rigor of college work, PARCC “exceeds its stated target,” the study notes. MCAS was also a good indicator of student readiness, but could be improved by raising proficiency benchmarks. The findings reaffirm high-quality assessments most states are now implementing provide parents and teachers with better information about how well prepared their kids are for college and careers.

Families Grapple with Rising College Costs / Worchester Telegram
College tuition and fees at private, four-year institutions has nearly doubled over the past 25 years to an average of $32,405 in the 2015-16 school year, according to the College Board. As a result, families are taking on greater debt. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the country’s collective student debt load is $1.2 trillion. The typical Massachusetts college graduate finishes school with close to $30,000 in student debt. As NPR reports, college remediation costs families nearly $1.5 billion, and about 45 percent of students in remediation come from middle- and high-income households. Rigorous, consistent education standards and high-quality assessments better ensure students are fully prepared for college and careers upon graduating high school.

How to Improve the Education of One Million Military Kids / Petersburg Progress-Index
“To assist the 1 million children of military families who attend public schools in the United States, we need to take steps that ensure these students have the same opportunity to achieve as their non-military counterparts,” writes Christi Ham, chair of Military Families for High Standards. Children of military families move six to nine times on average during their K-12 career. Common Core State Standards provide consistent, high academic expectations that ensure students are able to transition from one school to another. “These Common Core Standards are simply academic benchmarks that encourage teachers and school districts to continue to design their own curricula. They deserve our continued support,” Ham concludes.


Correcting the Record:

Beiser Encouraged Castle Park Students Not to Take State Tests / Voice of San Diego
Kevin Beiser, a member of the San Diego Unified School Board, sent a letter to parents and students days before statewide assessments encouraging them to opt-out of the tests. “As a teacher, I encourage parents to opt their children out of state testing,” Beiser wrote. “There are several reasons why tests are bad for children.” High-quality assessments are one of the best tools parents and teachers have to measure student development, and to ensure student get they support when and where they need it. Here is where Bieser gets it wrong:


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New York Group Asks Legislators for Help in Closing Website ‘Bullying’ Educators Who Support Standards / The Seventy-Four Million
Leaders of High Achievement New York asked lawmakers to “take action against” an anonymous website that attacks educators who support the state’s learning goals and assessments. The website features an “Educational Wall of Shame,” which includes photos, contact information and “truthfulness grades” of 15 school administrators, most from New York. Users can click to send disparaging pre-written emails or view the educators’ “shameful” acts, which are often letter to parents encouraging students not to opt out of state tests.

Wisconsin’s Second New State Test in Two Years Rolls Out Quietly / Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin students will finish taking a statewide assessment developed by Data Recognition Corporation this week. It is the third different exams students will have taken in the same number of years. Last year state lawmakers voted to scrap the Badger Exam after technical problems disrupted testing. “When we did the Badger last year, I don’t think we were wired for that many users to be on the system,” says Marcellene Wolke, an eighth-grade English teacher. “I know in this past year, we’ve really set ourselves up with more wireless and more capabilities so we wouldn’t crash as often and this it was beautiful.”

Tennessee Contracts with Pearson to Score TNReady High School Tests / The Tennessean
Pearson Education will score Tennessee’s TNReady assessment this year, but the state is still determining who will administer exams next year after the state Department of Education fired its last vendor. “After we terminated the contract with Measurement Inc. on April 27, we began quickly collaborating with state central procurement in securing an emergency vendor,” said Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. “It is usually done with someone that has prior experience in the state.”

Michigan Governor Seeks Education Commission to Revamp State’s Schools / Fox 17 West Michigan
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is launching the “21st Century Education Commission,” which will study top-performing schools and districts from across the country in order to create proposals aimed at improving Michigan’s public education system. The 25-member commission will include representatives from the education, business and government sectors. “We’ve had essentially the same system for decades,” Gov. Snyder said. “Isn’t it a good thing to get people together in a nonpartisan, broad-based fashion to talk about a longer term?”