January 18, 2013
ASCD and the Common Core State Standards
Status Check on the Common Core Assessments
Information and guidance on the coming common assessments from PARCC and SBAC have trickled in ever since these two main consortia were funded in late 2010. While this information is helpful, the piecemeal nature of the dissemination has caused frustration for many of those who will be affected by these assessments. ASCD’s recent report outlined as a part of its recommendations that educators need to understand and plan for the coming common assessments. Toward that end, we put together some information to provide both a macro and micro overview of the common assessments.
We have seen the membership of both PARCC and SBAC settle after the defection of Utah from SBAC and the addition of Colorado to PARCC this past summer, leaving only Alabama, Kentucky, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming as states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards and not a governing member of either consortia.
Of these six states, Utah is only one that has already issued and awarded an assessment contract to develop its own state assessments aligned to the Common Core standards. While the membership of the consortia offers a macro view that tends to get the most coverage at the local level, there have been a significant number of micro developments that will affect many students and educators.
These micro developments include calculator policies, prototype test items, identification of CCR descriptors, technology guidance, accommodations policy, instructional resources, ELL consortia, alternative consortia, and their field testing schedules. This information has been aggregated and stored on our website for your quick and easy reference.
Even with all of these updates and developments there are still many questions that remain. One of the biggest pending issues was broached in a blog post on the Education Gadfly that highlighted the fact that the funding for PARCC and SBAC actually runs out in the fall of 2014, but the assessments they develop will not be administered en masse until spring of 2015. The question of who will “carry the baton across the finish line” after the funding ends is rather important.
Updates from Around the Nation
Teacher Evaluation and the Common Core
As schools move closer to full implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the need to align the many reforms occurring into a comprehensive plan is important. In an exclusive Core Connection article, Michael DeCaprio, a member of the Race to the Top network team in New York, writes about his observations from the field and the effect that teacher evaluation is having on Common Core implementation in his state.
Final Public Draft of the Next Generation Science Standards Released
Achieve released the final public draft of the "Next Generation Science Standards" on January 8 for comment and feedback. A blog post by Education Week “With New Science Standards Draft Out, Early Impressions Roll In” highlights many of the updates and enhancements to the standards. Make sure to review the changes and see if your state is one of the leads on this project. Being a lead state on the development of the standards does not guarantee adoption, but it will likely be seriously considered, and it's worth your while to be informed.
Unlocking Engagement Through Mathematical Discourse
ASCD Express contributor Kirsten Miller outlines how to engage students with the Common Core math standards by encouraging students to “think like mathematicians.” She argues that engaging students in discourse is an effective method and highlights four components of high-quality mathematical discourse.
New CCSS Guides Released
A recent blog post by Education Week highlights Common Core guides on which Achieve, College Summit, NAESP, and NASSP collaborated to develop. One significant recommendation is that schools need to dramatically increase the amount of reading that students do. To accomplish the appropriate balance between nonfiction, informational text, and literature reading, the new guides also advocate for literacy across the content areas and effective management of this process by principals, to achieve buy-in across their school.
Anti–Common Core Legislation in Indiana
A recent blog post by Education Week outlines the current rumblings in Indiana regarding a reversal of their Common Core State Standards adoption. The results of Indiana’s State Superintendent race last November foreshadowed these issues with Tony Bennett losing to Glenda Ritz, who came out against the Common Core standards as a part of her platform.
Core Connection Call for Content
Practitioners, we are looking for short essays—no more than 1,000 words—on the topic of Common Core implementation; specifically, on how you are using the recommendations from our report “Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability” for upcoming editions of Core Connection. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, and be sure to send us your submission by February 1, 2013.
Common Core State Standards Resources
Upcoming CCSS Webinar from ASCD
Implementing the Common Core: Understand and Plan for the Coming Common Assessments
The assessments being developed by PARCC and SBAC have been on the minds of many educators since the two consortia were announced in fall 2010. Since then, there have been a lot of updates; changes; and to a certain extent, confusion. Recommendation #7 from ASCD’s report “Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability,” states that educators need to understand and plan for the coming Common Core assessments.
Join ASCD staff member Efrain Mercado as he provides an overview of Recommendation #7 and the assessments for the Common Core State Standards. Audience members will have their questions answered live during the session.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. ET
Partner Webinar from NASBE
The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) will be hosting a webinar that highlights the authors and topics in the "Implementing the Common Core" issue of NASBE’s journal, The State Education Standard. NASBE will cover the history of the Common Core standards movement, how states are adding additional standards to the CCSS, and how to define "college- and career-ready" for your state.
- Bob Rothman, senior fellow with the Alliance for Excellent Education and author of "How We Got Here: The Emergence of the Common Core State Standards";
- Dr. David Conley, CEO of Educational Policy Improvement Center, professor at the University of Oregon, and author of “Does Common Mean the Same?”; and
- John Kendall, senior director of research at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) and co- author of "Opportunity and Challenge: The 15% Rule."
To register for the webinar, go to the online form here. For more information, please contact Liz Ross, interim project director, at email@example.com or 1-703-740-4837.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET
"'A shift to more informational text does not mean an abandonment of nonfiction or literature,' the new action guides say. 'Because literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers, reading should dramatically increase in all content areas. While English teachers may use more informational text, students may actually read more literature not less.'"
—Catherine Gewertz,in an article from Education Week's Curriculum Matters
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ASCD's Common Core State Standards work is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.