Editor’s Note: Former AACTE Board member and education dean Nancy Zimpher reminds readers of the important purpose of standardized testing, which has been overshadowed by recent political battles and opt-out campaigns. This essay originally appeared on the State University of New York’s Big Ideas blog and is reposted with permission. The opinions expressed in this essay do not necessarily reflect the position of AACTE.
When it comes to whether students should opt out of standardized testing, no one is actually talking about what’s best for our kids. Standardized tests have become a pawn in political debates about teacher evaluations and we have lost sight of what they are: a way to measure what students know so we can help them improve.
Have you created PK-12 lessons aligned with new college- and career-ready standards? Achieve, Inc. wants you to share them—and is offering cash prizes for the best units of study submitted this spring.
The Achieve initiative known as EQuiP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products) is collecting instructional units to support the Common Core State Standards in English language arts (ELA)/literacy and math. Units rated exemplary by peer reviewers will win $1,500.
This post first appeared in the Sacramento Bee. View the original here. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The new school year brings one of the biggest transitions our state’s elementary and secondary education system has ever experienced. As students settle into new classrooms, our teachers are adjusting their instruction to help students meet expectations of the new Common Core state standards. It’s our job – as parents, business leaders, students, community members, and educators – to look beyond both the hype and hysteria to ensure that students benefit from thoughtful, locally driven implementation.
This coming school year, a majority of states will implement the Common Core State Standards and corresponding assessments from either the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. To prepare for the new assessments, both consortia field-tested thousands of test items this spring. AACTE asked each consortium to provide our members with an update on its progress. This post addresses Smarter Balanced; find the PARCC update here. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
As K-12 schools across the country work on implementing the Common Core State Standards, a major body of work has been preparation of new assessments built to assess student mastery of the standards. In June, the 22-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium marked a significant milestone as its field test came to a close. The scale and scope of this “practice run” of new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards was truly unprecedented; 4.2 million students participated, making this field test the largest online assessment in the nation’s history.
This coming school year, a majority of states will implement the Common Core State Standards and corresponding assessments from either the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. To prepare for the new assessments, both consortia field-tested thousands of test items this spring. AACTE asked each consortium to provide our members with an update on its progress. This post addresses PARCC; find the Smarter Balanced update here. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
In June, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)—which includes 14 states and the District of Columbia—accomplished a major milestone: the completion of a field test of new, Common Core-aligned assessments that were developed for the states by the states. Almost 4 years in the making, these K-12 assessment systems came online this spring as states started to “test the test” to ensure that assumptions made about content alignment, use of technology, and ease of use for both students and teachers alike were on target.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of an exciting new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Assessments for the Common Core.
This 9-week course will build educators’ capacity to develop and use curriculum-embedded performance assessments that fit local contexts. Course activities will guide students through the development and implementation of a performance task that is aligned with a specific curricular unit and performance outcomes integral to the Common Core State Standards. The course will use a learning-centered approach in which assessments are not only of learning, but also for learning.
Updated to reflect new application deadline.
Applications are now available for a new slate of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the federal government’s only investment in reforming teacher preparation in institutions of higher education. Interested applicants will have to act quickly, though—the deadline for letters of intent is June 27, and full applications are due July 15.
Last week, in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the availability of approximately $35 million in new awards for fiscal year 2014 under the TQP grant program.
Last week, I participated in a summit at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on implementing and preparing for the Pennsylvania Core Standards. In attendance were the institution’s president and vice provost along with faculty, deans, and other administrators from throughout the university. Administrators and teachers from nearby PK-12 school districts as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education also joined us.
Following my keynote presentation discussing the fundamental instructional shifts of the Pennsylvania Core, all vested stakeholder groups took part in a conversations addressing the impact of the standards on their programs and the supplemental changes necessary to enact to support implementation. Among the suggested changes were strengthening ties with the PK-12 districts to provide necessary clinical experiences for candidates and deepening core content knowledge of both in-service and preservice teachers. One great idea was for the university to host academies throughout the summer to provide training for PK-12 teachers and administrators.
Policy makers should allow more time for schools to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), according to a statement released today by the Learning First Alliance.
The Alliance—a partnership of leading education organizations, including AACTE—wants policy makers to make sure instructional alignment and various supports are established before they apply high-stakes consequences to CCSS test results.
In support of this agenda, a new web site houses implementation success stories, such as podcasts from selected states, and a collection of other implementation resources.
Starting last week, approximately 4 million students across 36 states and the District of Columbia began taking field tests for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments developed by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia. The field tests are scheduled to run March 24 through June 6.
A few states are piloting the tests on a broader scale. Nearly all students in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota will participate in the field tests.