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 days 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…)
This past weekend, I worked with Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 at an educational conference in Jacksonville, Fla.
In the car on the way to the conference recently, Steve and I were discussing the “institution” of school and the “system” of school. The largest part of our conversation centered around the fact that we have, collectively as a nation, created a massive operation for educating children that does not work.
The “institution” is the bureaucratic, policy side of public education that demands that “each get some.” The “system” is the mechanism for delivering the “some” to all. The good ideas that created the system and thus the institution around it are lost in the shuffle. Doing what’s best for kids and doing what’s fair for all have each become a separate megalopolis each on a separate continent.
Education has become so institutionalized that the act of “doing” something equates to readiness for the next checked off item on the “to do” list of instructional practice. (read more…)
Great teaching can change a child’s life. That kind of teaching is a remarkable combination of things: art, science, inspiration, talent, gift, and — always — incredibly hard work. It requires relationship building, subject expertise and a deep understanding of the craft. Our celebrated athletes and performers have nothing on our best teachers.
But, in honoring teachers, I think Teacher Appreciation Week needs an update. Don’t get me wrong — teachers have earned every bagel breakfast, celebratory bulletin board, gift card and thank-you note. Given the importance of their work and the challenges they face, teachers absolutely deserve every form of appreciation their communities can muster.
But we need to do something a bit more substantive and lasting than the bagel breakfast, too.
Complex as teaching has been over the years, it’s more so now — in part because of reforms my administration has promoted. The reasons for these changes are clear. (read more…)
While political leaders in Washington debate immigration reform and debt issues, business leaders from a wide swath of industries are lamenting the deteriorating competitiveness of the U.S. in the global talent marketplace. Study after study shows the performance of U.S. students slipping when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We need an American competitiveness agenda,” Honeywell Chairman and CEO David Cote said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference. “Our world has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and we’re still acting like we did 20 years ago.”
But if you’re a student interested in pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, what regions of the U.S. offer the best opportunities. According to this Esri-powered map from the Smithsonian, the answer is the Midwest.