New York is the first state to “align” their standardized testing program to what they believe to be the intent of the Common Core State Standards. Their 2013 test, designed by Pearson, was administered over three days in mid-April to grades 3-8.
Within the first two day of testing stories emerged that students were in sessions crying, leaving rooms ill, and not finishing. Teachers complained of confusing questions and overly challenging passages that did not match the grade for which they were created. In one response, Merryl Tisch, the State Board of Regents Chancellor who oversaw the creation of NYS’s testing program, said she visited schools during testing and reported that she only saw “one” student crying and believes that children not being able to finish the test is a “healthy problem.”
The conversation: What we gain and what we lose with current testing
I am not [yet] suggesting all of this testing is terrible, because honestly I do not know. (read more…)
Our nation is deep in a conversation about the role of standardized testing in our education system. Where are we now?
It is more than a decade since NCLB reforms gave us annual testing and required schools to publicly report their data. In general, individual state scores increased during that time (though this conclusion is not without controversy).
So cause for cheers, yes? Hooray America! Marching band down Fifth Avenue!
Why no! — record scratch — the United States is far behind in international achievement and our domestic growth is stunted.
At least that’s what we’ve been told recently. ExxonMobil has been running this commercial. Media outlets report our international comparisons, the Common Core State Standards cite international testing as influential in their development, and Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein (of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) dramatically cited our failures to compete globally in their “U.S. Education Reform and National Security” report. (read more…)
Response to intervention (RTI) is most often associated with structures in schools. However, we believe that structures, while perhaps complex and new, will not prove to be overwhelming in the end. Fundamentally, we view RTI as organized, systematic passion with the socially just goal of all students graduating prepared for college or a skilled career. It’s culture, nurturing and sustaining passion, that will challenge us in the critical work of RTI. What do we mean by culture?
A positive school culture is rich in trust and respect; there is recognition that collaborative processes are foundational. New initiatives are not repeatedly and haphazardly begun; depth is valued over breadth. All students are valued and expected to make significant gains in learning. Factors that may inhibit gains are viewed as temporary obstacles that will be overcome and challenges that will be met. All staff accept responsibility for all students — students in other classrooms, students in other grade levels, students with disabilities, students who speak another language at home. (read more…)
A couple of days ago, I got into one of those short-ish yet interesting Twitter back and forths with a few folks in my network. In a nutshell, it revolved around the mindset we need to bring to our discussions about change in schools. Here it is Storyfied if you want to check it out.
It got me wondering (once again) how stuck we are in effecting real change because of our inability to get out of our own experience, to leave history behind and really think with “a beginner’s mind” about where we go next. And how hard it is to approach those discussions with the humility of not knowing.
We may be in the midst of the most rapid, radical change in education history. Learning is exploding outside classroom walls as the world becomes more connected and networked. The shift is real; we see it playing out in just about every long-standing institution in our lives, in media, business, politics and more. (read more…)