Saturday, October 24, 2015

Commentary on Mathematica’s “First Study of Its Kind” of PARCC | deutsch29

Commentary on Mathematica’s “First Study of Its Kind” of PARCC | deutsch29:

Commentary on Mathematica’s “First Study of Its Kind” of PARCC

missing the target




On October 05, 2015, Mathematica published a study comparing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
In this post, I comment on a number of details related to the Mathematica study, which does not support the “next generation” hype associated with supposedly Common-Core-aligned PARCC.
The study is entitled, “Predictive Validity of MCAS and PARCC: Comparing 10th Grade MCAS Tests to PARCC Integrated Math II, Algebra II, and 10th Grade English Language Arts Test.”
Even the title is problematic, for it implies that the study is predictive– that 10th-grade students completed MCAS and PARCC and were tracked across years to see the degree to which these two tests predict the success of these 10th graders once they reach college. Later in the study, the researchers admit that they were only able to measure “concurrent validity.”
Not so.  As it turns out, Mathematica administered these 10th-grade tests to current college freshman. So, there is no prediction. At best, the study can assess the degree to which college freshman who do well on 10th-grade MCAS and 10th/11th-grade PARCC have college grades that the researchers deem to indicate “college Commentary on Mathematica’s “First Study of Its Kind” of PARCC | deutsch29:

Schools Matter: Beware the Corporate Media Spin on the Obama Adminstration's Change of Course on Standardized Testing

Schools Matter: Beware the Corporate Media Spin on the Obama Adminstration's Change of Course on Standardized Testing:

Beware the Corporate Media Spin on the Obama Adminstration's Change of Course on Standardized Testing




On October 24, 2015 the Obama administration announced a shift of its education policy when it announced a change in the Department of Education’s position on standardized testing. As reported by Kate Zernike in The New York Times

“Specifically, the administration called for a cap on assessment so that no child would spend more than 2 percent of classroom instruction time taking tests. It called on Congress to “reduce over-testing” as it reauthorizes the federal legislation governing the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools.”

2% of classroom instruction is 20 hours of testing annually.

This is being promoted in the corporate media as a dramatic shift in the Obama administrations support for standardized testing. It should be greeted with a high degree of skepticism and caution, however. The over two-decade siege on public education codified into education policy by No Child Left Behind followed by Race to the Top is not going to suddenly be scaled down in one day. There are too many corporate interests such as Pearson and the Gates Foundation, which have made standardized testing the center of their method of privatizing public education, for the corporate agenda to be given up.

According to The New York Times article, the change in policy was prompted by a new survey from the Council of Great City Schools. The Council is made up of 68 large school districts with enrollment of over 35,000 students.


“The average student in America’s big-city public schools will take roughly 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-kindergarten and high school graduation, a new study shows.

The average of roughly eight standardized tests per year consumes between 20 and 25 hours each school year and Schools Matter: Beware the Corporate Media Spin on the Obama Adminstration's Change of Course on Standardized Testing:

Department of Education SorryNotSorry About High Stakes Testing | gadflyonthewallblog

Department of Education SorryNotSorry About High Stakes Testing | gadflyonthewallblog:

Department of Education SorryNotSorry About High Stakes Testing




The Obama Administration must think the nation’s parents, teachers and students are pretty darn dumb.
President Barack Obama and his hand-picked Department of Education are solely responsible for the knuckle dragging academic policies strangling our public schools day in, day out. Yet instead of doing anything to reverse course to proven methods that might actually help kids learn, the department trudges out its annual apology.
It goes something like this:
Hey, Everybody! So sorry about all those high stakes tests, Common Core Standards and Value-Added teaching evaluations. We know they’re bad and we’re going to stop.
Then whatever functionary drew the shortest straw toddles back into the building and for the rest of the year things continue on exactly the same as they always have.
Let’s just pause for a moment and imagine how incredibly stupid they must think we are. I’m surprised they don’t issue public service announcements reminding us to exhale, multi-colored pamphlets on the benefits of blinking, and puppet shows instructing us how to use the potty.
The Obama Administration has had 7 years to fix this mess, and the only things they’ve done are to make it worse. Most of us voted for this so-called progressive because we thought he’d improve upon George W. Bush’s astoundingly wrongheaded school policies. But instead he doubled down on them! We hired a competent janitor Department of Education SorryNotSorry About High Stakes Testing | gadflyonthewallblog:

144 Schools ON ELIA'S HIT LIST _ New York State Education Department

New York State Education Department:

Commissioner Elia Identifies 144 Struggling and Persistently Struggling Schools to Begin Implementation of School Receivership in New York State





State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today that the Department has identified 144 schools in 17 school districts as Struggling Schools or Persistently Struggling Schools.  Of the schools identified, 124 were identified as Struggling Schools and 20 were identified as Persistently Struggling Schools.
“In those schools designated as Persistently Struggling, there will be an unprecedented infusion of resources to support school turnaround efforts,” said Board of Regents Chancellor, Merryl H. Tisch.  “This is an opportunity that communities must seize to come together to fundamentally rethink how these schools carry out their obligations to students and families.”
“In these schools, whole generations of students have been left behind,” said Commissioner Elia.  “As a former school superintendent, I know how important it will be for superintendents to use their new authority to develop robust plans to improve student performance.  Superintendents have an obligation to act on conditions that have persisted for too long in these schools.”
In April 2015, the legislature and governor created a new section of State Education Law pertaining to school receivership.  In June, the Board of Regents approved new regulations to implement the provisions of the law.
Struggling Schools are defined as schools that have been identified since 2012-13 as Priority Schools (i.e., among the lowest performing five percent of schools in the state).  Priority Schools that have been in the most severe accountability status since the 2006-07 school year have been identified as Persistently Struggling Schools.
Under the receivership law, a school receiver is granted new authority to, among other things, develop a school intervention plan; convert schools to community schools providing wrap-around services; expand the school day or school year; and remove staff and/or require staff to reapply for their jobs in collaboration with a staffing committee.
In the 20 schools identified as Persistently Struggling, the superintendent first serves as the receiver and is given an initial one-year period to use the enhanced authority of a receiver to make demonstrable improvement on annual goals established by the Commissioner, including student performance.  Absent demonstrable improvement, the Commissioner will direct the school board to appoint an independent receiver within 60 days.  The Commissioner will work closely with the school board to ensure that the most qualified individual is identified and the appointment of all independent receivers must be approved by the Commissioner.  Additionally, the school will be eligible for a portion of $75 million in state aid to support and implement its turnaround efforts over a two-year period. 
Struggling Schools will be given two years under a “superintendent receiver” to make demonstrable improvement or the district will be required to appoint an independent receiver and submit the appointment for approval by the Commissioner.  Independent receivers, who can be an individual, a not-for-profit organization, or another school district, have sole responsibility to manage and operate the school and have all of the enhanced authority of a school receiver.  Independent receivers are appointed for up to three school years and serve under contract with the Commissioner.
As with Persistently Struggling Schools, the independent receiver appointed by the district must be approved by the Commissioner, and the Commissioner will make the appointment if an acceptable receiver is not selected by the district. 
The table below shows the distribution of Struggling Schools and Persistently Struggling schools by district.New York State Education Department:


4LAKids - LAUSD INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL REVIEW PANEL: The Board Informative and Meeting Materials

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: LAUSD INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL REVIEW PANEL: The Board Informative and Meeting Materials:

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit http://bit.ly/1MiBlld






LAUSD INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL REVIEW PANEL: The Board Informative and Meeting Materials





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(260 pages) 

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: LAUSD INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL REVIEW PANEL: The Board Informative and Meeting Materials:

We Are Being Played (So Fight On!) | Save Maine Schools

We Are Being Played (So Fight On!) | Save Maine Schools:

We Are Being Played (So Fight On!)




Really, really hate to be a Negative Nancy.
Hopefully, in a few months time, anyone who likes will able to say, “Look, Emily, you were wrong about all this testing stuff,” and I will gladly – gladly – eat my words.
But… I think we are being played.
I think that what we heard from the White House today about limiting testing is but a bone we have been thrown as we are ushered into an era of next-gen ed reform, where testing is all formative, all the time.
For those not familiar with eduspeak, “formative” assessment refers to the tests students take on their way to the end-of-year test.  When they are crafted and analyzed thoughtfully, and made by the teacher who knows the child, they are a normal part of every day schooling.  You took formative tests when you were a kid.  They were called quizzes.
In the brave new world of next-gen ed reform, however, formative tests are corporate-designed and digital, and are part of a system of schooling called “competency-based,” (also “proficiency-based,” “mastery,” “customized,” etc.), in which students take “on-demand” tests to demonstrate mastery before being allowed to move on to the next skill in a sequence.
I’ve written about this at length on this blog.  It’s not new, and it’s a concept that’s no different than the one that lies at the heart of this quote that I’ve pulled from an article written in 1977:
“The materials will be standardized, the lessons will be standardized,” Guines said. “We’re taking the play out. We’re taking the guesswork out. We’re putting in a precise predicted treatment that leads to a predicted response.”
Guines said the new curriculum is based on the work in behavorial psychology of Harvard University’s B. F. Skinner, who developed teaching machines and even trained pigeons during World War II to carry bombs and detonate them.
The basic idea, Guines said, is to break down complicated learning into a sequence of clear simple skills that virtually everyone can master, although at different rates of speed.
As Morna McDermott writes in this blog post found on the National Education Policy Center website, the current shift to competency-based (personalized) education has been over a decade in the making.  Investors have been pouring billions into online and digital learning companies, while  policy has been carefully crafted behind the scenes to support the shift to “personalized” (digital) learning.
As Tom Vander Ark (former executive at the Gates Foundation and now partner at Learn Capital which manages a giant portfolio of online and digital learning companies) writes in this article, the shift from the big-test to many mini-tests is part of this transformation.
Go here for a blog post I wrote several months ago, just after Maine pulled out We Are Being Played (So Fight On!) | Save Maine Schools:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/24/15



CORPORATE ED REFORM




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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/23/15
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