August 16, 2012
Consortia provide preview of common assessments
As teachers begin shaping lessons for the common core standards, many are wondering how to prepare their students for tests that won’t be ready for at least two years. But sample items being drafted for those exams offer early ideas of what lies ahead. Experts suggest that the test developers will be challenged to write items that will measure the depth of knowledge expected from the standards.
State casts its lot with testing group
Education Commissioner Robert Hammond announced that Colorado will join the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, PARCC, as a governing member. Colorado has been a non-governing member of PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the two groups developing assessments for the common core standards. The state board and education department had leaned toward development of Colorado-only tests.
13 states adopt 3rd grade reading policies, but details vary
In 2012, 13 states passed legislation intended to identify, intervene, and/or retain students who struggle to demonstrate reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade, according to an analysis by ECS. A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia have policies aimed at improving 3rd-grade reading proficiency. Fourteen states and D.C. require retention of students on the basis of reading proficiency.
Bad teachers can get better after some types of evaluation, Harvard study finds
There has been little evidence to date that shows that teachers can, indeed, grow after their first few years in the classroom. The story is beginning to change. The Harvard University journal Education Next released a study by two economists that provides hope that, with the right support, mid-career teachers can get better.
New York Times
Show and tell for teachers, inspired by reality TV
A public school district in Washington has hired a reality television company to produce videos intended to improve the skills of its teachers. In short interviews and classroom snippets, the district’s highest-performing teachers demonstrate how they teach a range of lessons. The videos, financed by a $900,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were developed as a complement to Washington’s evaluation system, known as Impact, in which teachers are judged on student test scores and classroom observations.