More from ASCD
This section contains news related to:
Math Education and Standards in the News--Hot topics, including the Common Core State Standards Initiative
NCLB and Technology News dates of interest, including information about the 2016 U.S. Department of Education's National Education Technology Plan
National Public Radio on education
Are you concerned about fake news?
Ten Questions for Fake News Detection, developed by the National Literacy Project, will help you sort out fact from fiction. Red flags include such things as your emotional reaction to the news, where you found it, use of excessive punctuation and CAPS, claims made, the nature of the source, who authored the article and its date (or lack thereof), lack of citations, and if content can be verified from other news sources.
HOT! On January 27, 2016, The Atlantic published an article by A. K. Whitney titled "The Man Who Tried to Kill Math in America," with subheading "One educator's reform efforts in the early 20th century say a lot about current attacks on the Common Core." That educator was William H. Kilpatrick who "believed that anything beyond arithmetic was useless to most of the population. He even worried that the instruction of complex math was harmful to everyday living" (Whitney, 2016, para. 7). Owing to his influence in education, Kilpatrick was asked to head a National Education Association committee investigating math instruction reform, which resulted in a 1920 report, "The Problem of Mathematics in Secondary Education." Its content "became part of a larger treatise on public education that provided a roadmap for America’s schools for decades to come" (para. 12). So, if you are seeking to understand some of the opposition to the Common Core standards movement, this article is one to read.
HOT! Scoop.it!: Common Core Online: Mathematics: "With the ongoing transition to new standards and assessments in the United States, this scoop.it is intended to curate all materials relevant to implementation of the standards and preparation for next generation assessments." Curated by Darren Burris. You'll want to bookmark this site.
HOT! Visit Media4Math--Math in the News: "Current events, as seen through the prism of mathematics: This is what "Math in the News" brings every week. We look through stories that make today's headlines and extract the mathematical story underlying it." This is a great find!
HOT! Math in the Media from the American Mathematical Society provides a survey of math in the news.
HOT! The MathFeed News App, free for iPhone and iPad, will bring you "news and views about math in the media, including newspapers, influential blogs, podcasts, videos and puzzle columns" (Description section). You'll also learn some math. It from math professor, Francis E. Su, who stated at his website that he built this app to support the work of the Mathematical Association of America during his time as its president.
NCTM News provides the latest top stories on math education, including connecting math education research to the classroom.
Look for Recent Research on Math Education in the Educational Research Newsletter. "Since 1988, Educational Research Newsletter has informed educators of recent research on reading, math, behavior management and raising student achievement with brief reports on the most useful and relevant findings from leading journals and organizations."
Plan ahead: April is Math Awareness Month. This annual event is sponsored by the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Look for resources, activities of others, and post your activity.
HOT: September 12, 2006:
In response to the call for a more coherent curriculum, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence (NCTM, 2006a). In its press release on September 12, 2006, NCTM indicated that this document identifies three important topics for mathematics at each grade level preK-8 and presents "a vision for the design of the next generation of state curriculum standards and state tests" (NCTM, 2006b, para. 3).
HOT: April 4, 2007:
The U.S. Department of Education released its report for Congress, Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort. It received immediate reaction from leaders around the country concerned about the effectiveness of technology in education and results of this study. A key finding noted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. indicated, "Test scores were not significantly higher in classrooms using the reading and mathematics software products than those in control classrooms. In each of the four groups of products-reading in first grade and in fourth grade, mathematics in sixth grade, and high school algebra-the evaluation found no significant differences in student achievement between the classrooms that used the technology products and classrooms that did not." Read this full report: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20074005/
Results are in for the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics and Reading.
Mark Schneider, Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics, provided the following results in a press release webcast of September 25, 2007. Tests were given in reading and mathematics from January-March 2007 to a sample of 390,000 students in grade 4 and 310,000 students in grade 8. Results are available for the nation, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense school system. NAEP reported results as average scale scores and the percentage of students at or above basic, proficient, and advanced achievement levels.
At grade 4 overall findings from 2005 to 2007:
At grade 8 overall findings from 2005 to 2007:
While it is not the role of NAEP to explain results, some who read the report might attribute gains to an effort to teach mathematics in a more rigorous way, an emphasis on use of precise language, and developments in continuous and coherent curricula. Perhaps one explanation for a rise in grade 8 math achievement could be the rise of the percentage of students who complete algebra 1 in grade 8 from when NAEP was first administered in 1990. Some might attribute gains to No Child Left Behind’s focus on reform, particularly at the elementary levels, or the more wide-spread use of data-driven decision-making for school improvement.
However, not every state made gains and much remains to be done to improve achievement of the many students performing at or below the basic and proficient levels. Results must also be considered in light of the large demographic changes in the country over the past 15 years. For example, there have been large increases in the Hispanic population in schools. There is an increase in the number of English language learners and students with identified special needs. For those states that did not do as well as expected, policy makers and the public need first to look at any demographic and economic shifts within their state before turning to education groups for possible explanation of results and examination of practices (e.g., inclusion rates).
Associate Commissioner Peggy G. Carr also commented about the results in her Q&A session StatChat. Excerpts include:
"NAEP's design is not capable of establishing a causal connection between teacher background and student performance."
"...the scores reflect the performance of the current demographic distribution...The inclusion rates do vary over time and vary across states. Because the representation of samples is ultimately a validity issue, NCES [National Center for Education Statistics] has investigated scenarios for estimating what the average scores might have been if excluded students had been assessed."
"IES is again planning to release two separate reports on American Indian/Alaska Native students [Spring 2008]. The first report will focus on student achievement in reading and mathematics. This year we will have results for 11 states with high American Indian/Alaska Native student populations. ...There are some mathematics and reading results for these 11 states (based on just their public school data) available now on the NAEP Data Explorer, which can be accessed at (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/)."
If state testing results differ from NAEP, consider: "...there are many possible reasons why results from two tests may look different from each other. If you are looking at the percentage of students who have reached a level of proficiency on two different tests, it really depends on how proficiency is defined on the two tests and where the 'cut score' (or passing score) is set on each. You may be interested in a report we released on this topic earlier this year entitled "Mapping 2005 State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales."
"...a higher score in one subject than another does not necessarily mean that performance is better in that subject. In NAEP, scores for different subjects are not comparable. The score scales are set independently for each subject. So, for example, a score of 215 in reading does not necessarily reflect the same performance level as 215 in mathematics."
"NAEP allows students with disabilities and English language learners to use most of the testing accommodations that they receive for state or district tests."
March 13, 2008:
The National Mathematics Advisory Panel, created by President George W. Bush in April 2006, released the results of its study to the President and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics. The report, Foundations for Success: Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, contains 45 findings and recommendations for improving mathematics achievement for all U.S. students. Its numerous topics include curricular content, learning processes, teachers and teacher education, instructional practices, instructional materials, assessments, and research policies and mechanisms.
Of particular relevance was the development of a list of major topics in school algebra (see p. 16) and the critical foundations in K-8 math education for algebra: whole numbers, fractions (including decimals, percents, and negative fractions), and aspects of geometry and measurement (see p. 17). "School algebra is a term chosen to encompass the full body of algebraic material that the Panel expects to be covered through high school, regardless of its organization into courses and levels. The Panel expects students to be able to proceed successfully at least through the content of Algebra II" (Executive Summary, p. xvii).
HOT: June 1, 2009:
Common Core State Standards Initiative: In its June 1 press release, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (2009) announced that 49 states and territories have joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative. This initiative is "a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills" (para. 3). "The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state’s standards in English-language arts and mathematics" (para. 6). "The grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009" (para. 9). See more on this initiative at the Common Core Standards website: http://www.corestandards.org/
HOT: June, 2009:
In connection with developing a common national curriculum and assessment for K-12 mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released its Guiding Principles for Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment. According to NCTM (2009a), "If a voluntary national mathematics curriculum is developed, the topics studied in that curriculum must be taught and learned in an equitable manner in a setting that ensures that problem solving, reasoning, connections, communication, and conceptual understanding are all developed simultaneously along with procedural fluency" (p. 2). Content should include number and operations with procedural fluency, algebra, geometry and measurement, data analysis, statistics and probability. In a critique of this document, Ihor Charischak of the Council for Technology in Math Education (CLIME) stated that there is nothing new in this latest document and what is missing is the role that technology should play. According to Charischak (2009), "I'm afraid that this common ground movement is making us think narrowly about what Math Ed should look like for students who will be living entirely in the 21st century. It may ease some political tensions, but it also may throw out the baby with the bathwater because it will lack the spirit of what technology brings to the enterprise: an exciting and transformational way to teach and learn mathematics" (CLIME Blogpost, What's Missing from This Picture?, June 3).
HOT: July 16, 2009:
In its July 16 press release, Education Associations Support Common Core State Standards, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 major national education associations, expressed its support for steps taken by the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop a common core of state K-12 standards in mathematics and English language arts.
HOT: September 21, 2009:
Revisions to the draft for a set of Common Core Standards were released for language arts and mathematics. Sean Cavanaugh of Education Week discussed some of the changes in Revised Draft of 'Common Core' Standards Unveiled. Among those for math is the addition of a new standard called "mathematical practice," which refers to how students solve problems (i.e., their thinking, strategies, and habits). For more on the revisions, see the Common Core Standards website: http://www.corestandards.org/
In their October 8, 2009, reaction, Standards Aren't Enough, Susan H. Fuhrman, Lauren Resnick, and Lorrie Shepard (2009) voiced a concern about common-core standards, saying that "standards, no matter what they say, are merely the starting point. Curricula, tests, textbooks, lesson plans, and teachers’ on-the-job training will all have to be revised to reinforce the standards. Only then will these new “common-core standards” serve as the organizing principle for U.S. public education" (para. 3).
HOT: October 6, 2009:
As a follow-up to its 2006 Curriculum Focal Points, NCTM released Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making, a "conceptual framework to guide the development of future publications and tools related to 9–12 mathematics curriculum and instruction." It highlights reasoning opportunities in numbers and measurements, algebraic symbols, functions, geometry, statistics and probability (NCTM, 2009b). In its press release NCTM stated that this book "suggests practical changes to the high school mathematics curriculum to refocus learning on reasoning and sense making. This shift is not a minor refinement but constitutes a substantial rethinking of the high school math curriculum" (NCTM, 2009c, para. 1). Reasoning habits are organized into four broad categories: analyzing a problem, implementing a strategy, seeking and using connections, and reflecting on a solution (NCTM, 2009a, FAQs, p. 4).
HOT: October 14, 2009:
Results are in for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics.
On October 14, 2009, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) announced major results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the 2009 mathematics test. "There has been no significant change in the performance of the nation’s 4th-graders in mathematics from 2007 to 2009, a contrast to the progress seen from 1990 to 2007 at that grade level and subject, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. But the 8th-grade mathematics score on the NAEP, which is also called The Nation's Report Card, continued to improve nationwide and reached its highest level since 1990" (NAGB News Release, para. 1). The test was ""administered by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education to a nationally representative sample of 168,800 4th-grade and 161,700 8th-grade public and private school students. Results for representative samples of public school students only are also reported for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools" (NAGB News Release, para. 9). See full results and commentaries on this report at http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2009/
HOT: December 8, 2009:
Results are in for the Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2009 Trial Urban District Assessment.
Eighteen urban districts participated in the 2009 Trial Urban District Assessment, according to this report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. "Eleven of the districts also participated in the 2007 and 2005 assessments, and 10 participated in 2003. ... In comparison to 2007, average mathematics scores for students in large cities increased in 2009 at both grades 4 and 8; however, only two participating districts at each grade showed gains. In comparison to 2003, scores for students in large cities were higher in 2009 at both grades 4 and 8. Increases in scores were also seen across most urban districts that participated in both years, except in Charlotte at grade 4 and in Cleveland at grades 4 and 8, where there were no significant changes. No districts showed a decline in scores at either grade" (sec: Description posted at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010452).
HOT: January 14,
Not everyone is in agreement with the Common-Core Standards movement. For an alternative viewpoint, read Alfie Kohn's commentary, Debunking the Case for National Standards. He stated, "The standards movement, sad to say, morphed long ago into a push for standardization. The last thing we need is more of the same" (last paragraph). Additional reader comments follow.
HOT: June 2, 2010:
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the final form for a set of state-led education standards for K-12 English-language arts and mathematics, the Common Core State Standards. Read the key points for mathematics at http://www.corestandards.org/resources/key-points-in-mathematics and the full set of standards for mathematics at http://www.corestandards.org/Math.
HOT: August 3, 2011:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) developed and released its draft model content frameworks for English language arts/ literacy and mathematics to help link the standards to PARCC assessments and to provide greater insight into the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). PARCC's Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics has detailed information for grades 3–8 and high school, including the big ideas of the CCSS for each grade level and high school, and three priority levels for instructional emphases by cluster for addressing the standards. Note: The frameworks were revised in November 2012.
The Mathematics Common Core Coalition was formed to "ensure the successful communication, interpretation, implementation, and assessment of the Common Core State Standards" (Mission statement section). There are eight member organizations providing their expertise and advise on issues.
HOT: November 1, 2011:
The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card was released for mathematics. "Nationally representative samples of about 209,000 fourth-graders and 175,000 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure their knowledge and abilities across five mathematics content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra" (Summary of Major Findings section, para. 1). Among major findings: Students at grades 4 and 8 scored higher in 2011 than in previous assessments; A higher percentage of fourth- and eighth-graders performed at or above Proficient in 2011 than in 2009; There was a higher percentage of fourth- and eighth-graders who performed at or above Proficient in 2011 than in 2009 (Summary of Major Findings section). See a summary report for each state or jurisdiction that participated in the NAEP assessments. Also see results noted in the "Classroom Context" section in which teachers responded to questions in four areas: their highest degree earned, time spent on mathematics, frequency for allowing use of calculators on tests and quizzes; and their emphasis on algebra and functions.
HOT: November 9,
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released its October 2011 Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics, Grades 3-11 to the public. Its purpose is "to serve as a bridge between the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessments" (p. 4). Within the document you will find guidance in several areas. Per PARCC (2011):
HOT: February 9,
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences "an umbrella organization consisting of sixteen professional societies all of which have as one of their primary objectives the increase or diffusion of knowledge in one or more of the mathematical sciences" released The Mathematical Education of Teachers II. This 2012 document was prompted by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. It updates the first MET of 2001 with "recommendations for the mathematical preparation of teachers of elementary grades, middle grades, and high school." It has "recommendations for the professional development of teachers of mathematics" and discusses "the mathematical needs of elementary mathematics specialists, and of teachers in early childhood education and special education" (Preface section).
HOT: April 25, 2012:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Asssessment of Readiness for College and Careers released guidance for the minimum hardware specifications for K-12 technology purchases that may be needed to ensure that schools are equipped to deliver the Common Core online assessments. There are some commonalities to those specifications in terms of hardware, operating system, networking, and device type.
HOT: May 2012:
From an announcement by Achieve.org, Common Core Math Standards Implementation Can Lead to Improved Student Achievement, we learn that "Dr. William Schmidt released key conclusions from his research detailing how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics can potentially improve the performance of U.S. students if implemented appropriately" (para. 1). Dr. Schmidt's work was entitled: Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation and Student Achievement. "Unlike previous research, Schmidt analyzed the link between states with standards that were similar to the CCSS and their NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] math scores. He used cut scores aligned to NAEP as a proxy to determine if states were serious about high expectations and implementation of standards. The preliminary results showed states with standards in line with CCSS combined with higher cut scores also had higher NAEP scores" (para. 7). A PowerPoint Presentation and video are available related to this research.
HOT: July 20, 2012:
The writing team for the Common Core State Standards in mathematics (CCSSM) finalized a set of guidelines "to support faithful CCSSM implementation by providing criteria for materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics" (p. 1). While meant for publishers, the document, K-8 Publishers' Criteria for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, will be valuable to school districts in reviewing previously purchased materials and tools, and for educators to review their existing teacher-developed materials and to develop new materials aligned to the standards, and for providing professional development. The 24-page document, free for download, has three sections:
HOT: August 20, 2012:
PARCC released sample test items and performance tasks for the Common Core State Standards in mathematics. Find practice tests and released test items at the site.
HOT: December 2012:
The TIMSS 2011 International Results in Mathematics was released authored by Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Arora, A. (2012). Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. It summarizes fourth and eighth grade student achievement in each of the 63 countries and 14 benchmarking entities which participated in TIMSS 2011. Available from http://timss.org/
HOT: February 2013:
Horizon Research, Inc. released The Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education, which "details the results of a survey of 7,752 science and mathematics teachers in schools across the United States. Areas addressed include: teacher backgrounds and beliefs, teachers as professionals, science and mathematics courses, instructional objectives and activities, instructional resources, and factors affecting instruction." The entire report or selected chapters can be downloaded. The following are among the multiple conclusions:
"[S]cience and mathematics teachers, especially in the elementary and middle grades, do not have strong content preparation in their respective subjects ... A large majority of teachers in all subject/grade-range categories believe that it is better to cover fewer topics in depth. However, many believe that students should be given definitions for new vocabulary at the beginning of instruction, that teachers should explain an idea to students before having them consider evidence for it" (pp. 31-32), and that "hands-on activities should be used primarily to reinforce ideas students have already learned, despite recommendations that these be used to help students develop their initial understanding of key concepts" (p. 22).
"Workshops are the most prevalent form of professional development, and participation in teacher study groups is also quite common. ... The emphasis of these professional development opportunities ... has largely been on planning instruction to enable students at different levels of achievement to enhance their understanding, monitoring student understanding during instruction, and assessing student understanding at the end of instruction on a topic. Learning how to use hands-on/manipulatives has also been focused on heavily in mathematics professional development, especially at the elementary level" (pp. 50-51).
"In mathematics, although most middle schools offer Algebra 1, relatively few students complete it prior to 9th grade" (pp. 66-67).
"Explanation of ideas and whole group discussion are also very prominent in mathematics instruction, as is the use of textbook/worksheet problems. Having students engage in practices consistent with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, such as explaining and justifying methods for solving a problem and comparing/contrasting different solution methods, is also a common weekly occurrence across grade ranges, although the frequency of use decreases as grade range increases. For example, 78 percent of elementary classes have students consider multiple representations in solving a problem at least once per week, compared to only 65 percent of high school classes. Similar to science, the use of technology in mathematics instruction is fairly low across grade levels" (p. 89).
"Across both science and mathematics, the same three publishers dominate [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson], accounting for at least 75 percent of the market at each level. ... more than 70 percent of teachers in both subjects rate their textbooks as good or better. ... Textbooks appear to exert substantial influence on instruction, from the amount of class time spent using the textbook (especially in mathematics) to the ways teachers use them to plan for and organize instruction. At the same time, it is clear that teachers deviate from their published materials substantially, both skipping parts of the text (most often because teachers know of something better) and supplementing with other materials (most often to provide additional practice or to differentiate instruction)" (p. 107).
"In mathematics, only two factors are seen as a serious problem in a substantial proportion of schools: low student interest in the subject and low student reading abilities. Lack of student interest is more likely to be seen as a serious problem in middle and high schools than in elementary schools" (p. 116).
"[T]he use of special instructional arrangements—e.g., subject matter specialists or pull-out instruction for enrichment and/or remediation—is much more prevalent in mathematics than in science, perhaps because of accountability pressures associated with mathematics. The availability of federal funds for mathematics instruction probably also plays a role. ... [P]rograms to encourage student interest in mathematics are strikingly uncommon. For example, less than one-third of schools offer mathematics clubs. ... In mathematics, the substantial influence of state standards is evident in multiple ways, among them school-wide efforts to discuss and align instruction with standards" (p. 125).
HOT: June 27, 2013:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012 was released. This report is on long-term trend assessments in reading (1971-2012) and mathematics (1973-2012) and "is based on the performance of nationally representative samples of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds attending public and private schools. Over 17,000 students at each age were assessed in either reading or mathematics during the 2011-2012 school year. ... The assessments provide a unique opportunity to look back on student performance across more than four decades." Among trends of note: "Both 9- and 13-year-olds scored higher in reading and mathematics in 2012 than students their age in the early 1970s. Average reading and mathematics scores in 2012 for 17-year-olds were not significantly different from scores in the first assessment year" (Summary of Major Findings section).
HOT: July 2013:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released its Contents of the Grade- and Subject-Specific Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) in Mathematics. The PLDs can be downloaded by grade level, course, grade band, all high school courses, or as a complete package. A PowerPoint presentation is also available to explain the structure of the PLDs. The PLDs are rubrics indicating the broad categories that will be used to report learner performance on an assessment. Five levels of command include 5: Distinguished, 4: Strong, 3: Moderate, 2: Partial Command, or Level 1 indicating a range from no work shown to Minimal command." PARCC also released its Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual (updated July 25, 2013).
HOT: September 2013:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) adopted its Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines that outline the kinds of testing supports and tools that will be made available to all students, and particularly those with disabilities and English-language learners for the Common Core assessments. The Governing States of the SBAC voted to approve the guidelines on September 11, 2013. See the updated report at Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines.
HOT: November 2013:
The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics and Reading was released. The report indicates students in grades 4 and 8 are making progress. Per the Executive Summary, "Nationally representative samples of more than 376,000 fourth-graders and 341,000 eighth-graders were assessed in either mathematics or reading in 2013. Results are reported for public and private school students in the nation, and for public school students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools." Data revealed:
HOT: January 2014:
In its news release of January 15, 2014, the California Department of Education announced it has adopted mathematics programs aligned to the Common Core Standards for K-8. The list of 31 programs from major publishers can be viewed online and are grouped into three categories: basic grade-level (n=20), algebra I (n=10), and integrated math 1 (n=1). Such programs might assist other states in locating programs of interest for their learners.
HOT: September 1, 2014:
The Education Commission of the States released its report on the Common Core Standards, States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now? by Tonette Salazar and Kathy Christie. "This brief provides a sampling of state legislative activity and executive branch action around the CCSS through Sept. 1, 2014. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list; rather, it is narrowly focused on the single issue of state affirmation, modification or replacement of the Common Core" (para. 2). Within the Appendix are state names for Common Core Standards.
HOT: July 2015:
First released in August 2011, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium released its revised draft dated July 2015: Content Specifications for the Summative Assessment of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. The document describes the evidence students must exhibit to demonstrate mastery of the college- and career-ready knowledge and skills identified in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
HOT: April 27, 2016:
The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Per the Overview of results for grade 12 mathematics, "In 2015, twelfth-grade students had an average score of 152 on the NAEP 0–300 mathematics scale. This was lower compared to the average score  in 2013, but was not significantly different in comparison to 2005. No significant change from 2013 was seen in the average mathematics score for any racial/ethnic group. For male and female students and for twelfth-grade students attending public schools, the average score in 2015 was lower compared to 2013. Approximately 13,200 students took the NAEP mathematics assessment in 2015. The results of their performance are compared to 2013, 2009, and 2005, which is the first trend year for mathematics because of changes made to the assessment framework." See the remarks on results from Dr. Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.
HOT: June 23, 2016:
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute released Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey, authored by Jennifer Bay-Williams, Ann Duffett, and David Griffith. Their analysis was "based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 K–8 public school math teachers from the forty-three states (as well as the District of Columbia) that had adopted and retained the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics as of March 2015" (p. 8). The following are among findings:
In terms of content being taught, "Across all grades, thirty-seven of the forty-four “major” topics included in the survey were identified by at least 90 percent of teachers (from the appropriate grades) as among those they teach. Most teachers are not neglecting computation, though many report having fewer students who memorize basic math formulas or multiplication tables" (p. 9). The reason for fewer students memorizing was unclear.
In terms of instructional practices being used, "65 percent of both K–2 and 3–5 teachers and 41 percent of 6–8 teachers report that they are “teaching multiple methods to solve a problem” more often than they did before the CCSS-M were implemented." ... However, "53 percent overall agree that “students are frustrated because they are being asked to learn many different ways to solve the same problem.” " (p. 10). Teachers (64%) are more often "requiring students to use writing to explain their thinking" and they (55%) are devoting more attention to "requiring students to use proper math vocabulary" (p. 31). Other practices include an increase in the use of the number line "consistent with a host of standards in grades 2–8" as reported by 37% of teachers. Although not addressed in the CCSS-M, teachers (32%) reported using games and other student directed activities more; 40% reported using drill and flash cards less (p. 11).
In terms of teacher views on the impact of CCSS on students' math preparation, most teachers believe students are developing better number sense and more ability to apply math in real-world applications. However, teachers "were divided over students ability to perform simple calculations" (p. 12). "The 18 percent of respondents who primarily teach students who are remedial or significantly below grade level in math evince significantly more pessimism about the impact of CCSS-M on students than teachers who primarily teach on-grade-level students" (p. 13). Teachers view the CCSS-M as a source of stress for students; yet a majority (53%) "think the CCSS-M will have long-term benefits for students" for the "advanced math needed to succeed in selective colleges or as STEM majors" (p. 13).
The report also addresses curricular materials being used, and recommendations such as advice for involving families.
HOT: July, 2016:
The Institute of Education Sciences released its Synthesis of IES-Funded Research on Mathematics: 2002–2013. The report lists 28 ways that federally funded research during this time period contributed to what we know on how to teach mathematics and approaches to professional development. Almost 200 federally funded studies about math learning and teaching were analyzed. The report is organized into two sections: 1. Whole Numbers, Operations, and Word Problem Solving in Elementary School (10 contributions), and 2. Fractions and Algebra in Middle School (14 contributions). The report revealed 4 contributions related to professional development approaches.
ESSA at the U.S. Department of Education is highly recommended as the primary source for news on the Every Student Succeeds Act, which President Obama signed on December 10, 2015. This act replaces the NCLB law of 2001. Also get the latest on effective teaching, accountability and reports, choices for parents, and more.
On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released the final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the ESSA.
HOT! The Student Growth Simulator, created by Johns Hopkins School of Education and the education technology firm Tembo, is a tool that allows districts and states to set long-term academic goals for all students and for all ESSA-required subgroups. The tool will calculate the interim goals that are required to achieve year-to-year progress. Per the User Guide, enter the name of the indicator for which you want to set targets, the year by which the goals should be achieved, current data, set targets, and view results. "The tool is designed to enable users to try multiple, plausible scenarios, each of which satisfies the ESSA requirements for gap narrowing" (pp. 1, 2).
Note: See ESEA Flexibility for the list of states that received waivers from provisions of the NCLB Act.
The purpose of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was to "close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind" (107th Congress, Public Law 107-110, 2002, 115 STAT. 1425). It required states to assess students in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once during grades 10-12 to ensure that they were meeting grade-level content and achievement standards. States were to have annual math and reading assessments in place by 2005-06. Until then they were required to administer reading and math assessments at least once during grades 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12. States were required to begin testing in science once in grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 beginning in the 2007-08 school year. They were also to participate in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) in math and reading for grades 4 and 8. A sample of students statewide were to be used. Learning First Alliance described key provisions of NCLB and provided a timeline for implementation of major provisions of the law in their publication, The No Child Left Behind Act: Key Provisions and Timelines (updated July 2004).
On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), thus replacing the controversial NCLB Act. ESSA maintains the requirement that each state implement "a set of high quality student academic assessments in mathematics, reading or language arts, and science" (114th Congress, 2015, p. S.1177-24) among its provisions. Further, mathematics and reading or language arts assessments will be administered in each of grades 3 through 8, and at least once in grades 9 through 12 (p. S.1177-25). However, the provision of adequate yearly progress mandated in NCLB is history (Walker, 2015).
The following address assessment:
HOT: October 24, 2015:
The growing concern about student testing led the U.S. Department of Education to issue its press release: Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan. The concern: "In too many schools, there is unnecessary testing and not enough clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students. The Administration bears some of the responsibility for this, and we are committed to being part of the solution" (para. 2). The press release elaborated on seven principles for fewer and smarter assessments. Assessments must be worth taking, of high quality, time limited (i.e., "states [should] place a cap on the percentage of instructional time students spend taking required statewide standardized assessments to ensure that no child spends more than 2 percent of her classroom time taking these tests"), fair "including providing fair measures of student learning for students with disabilities and English learners," transparent to students and parents, just one of multiple measures, and tied to improved learning. The press release also included administrative actions it is undertaking to reduce over-testing.
HOT: August 11, 2016:
The Brookings Institute released its Evidence Speaks Report (Vol. 1, #25), Student test scores: How the sausage is made and why you should care, authored by Brian Jacob. The K-12 report cautions educators and policymakers about the use of standardized test scores to make high-stakes decisions regarding teachers, students, and schools. Per the Executive Summary:
Contrary to popular belief, modern cognitive assessments—including the new Common Core tests—produce test scores based on sophisticated statistical models rather than the simple percent of items a student answers correctly. While there are good reasons for this, it means that reported test scores depend on many decisions made by test designers, some of which have important implications for education policy. For example, all else equal, the shorter the length of the test, the greater the fraction of students placed in the top and bottom proficiency categories—an important metric for state accountability. On the other hand, some tests report “shrunken” measures of student ability, which pull particularly high- and low-scoring students closer to the average, leading one to understate the proportion of students in top and bottom proficiency categories. Shrunken test scores will also understate important policy metrics such as the black-white achievement gap—if black children score lower on average than white children, then scores of black students will be adjusted up while the opposite is true for white students.
The scaling of test scores is equally important. Despite common perceptions, a 5-point gain at the bottom of the test score distribution may not mean the same thing in terms of additional knowledge as a 5-point gain at the top of the distribution. This fact has important implications for the value-added based comparisons of teacher effectiveness as well as accountability rankings of schools. ... (p. 1)
Read more about the Every Student Succeeds Act:
114th Congress of the United States. (2015). Every Student Succeeds Act. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/esea The full text of the law.
NCTM News Release: December 10, 2015: Every Student Succeeds Act signed into law. NCTM's reaction to ESSA includes that "NCTM is pleased that the era of Adequate Yearly Progress and onerous “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements is over" (para. 1).
Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Frequently Asked Questions (2016, February 26) was released by the U.S. Department of Education. It contains general guidance on ESSA, and guidance on ESSA flexibility, and transition guidance regarding Title I, Title II, and Title III programs and requirements. The FAQ (pdf) is listed under Guidance and Regulatory Information.
HOT: ASCD: A comparison of the No Child Left Behind Act to the Every Student Succeeds Act--ASCD compared Standards, Assessments, Accountability, School Improvement, Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, Well-Rounded Education, Federal Education Funding, and also highlighted ASCD's position on key provisions. Also see ASCD public-policy-updates on ESSA.
Alliance for Excellent Education: Everything You Need to Know about the Every Student Succeeds Act. You'll find print and video analyses of several ESSA provisions: Accountability (also including a January 2016 chart comparing accountability provisions in NCLB to ESSA), Assessments, High Schools, Teachers and School Leaders, Linked Learning, Deeper Learning, Digital Learning, and several recommendations on ESSA implementation.
The Brookings Institute on the topic K-12 education includes ESSA reports and commentary, such as Familiar fissures evident in ESSA implementation debate by Elizabeth Mann (August 3, 2016) and The future of accountability under ESSA by Diana Quintero (July 29, 2016).
No Child Left Behind: http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml
In The Politics of No Child Left Behind, Andrew Rudalevige, assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College, details the context of NCLB and its evolution through Congress. He stated, "No Child Left Behind was the cumulative result of a standards-and-testing movement that began with the release of the report A Nation at Risk by the Reagan administration in 1983" (2003, p. 63, para. 2).
The full text of Public Law 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is available from the U.S. Department of Education at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html.
The Center on Education Policy: http://www.cep-dc.org/, a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools, has an entire section at its website devoted to NCLB listed under its section for Federal Education Programs. Included are a compendium of key studies, annual reports, restructuring efforts in several states, policy briefs, and so on.
Robert Linn, Co-Director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, uses an example to walk the reader through the steps for determining adequate yearly progress in his policy brief #6, Requirements for Measuring Adequate Yearly Progress. He discusses fixing the NCLB accountability in policy brief #8. These and others are available at http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/policy.html
Schools that fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals for a third consecutive year must offer parents of low-income (Title I) students a choice of tutoring from among a state-approved list of Supplemental Education Service (SES) providers. Get more information about state and local education association responsibilities, monitoring requirements and services, arranging for such services, the role of parents, provider responsibilities and funding in NCLB Supplemental Educational Services Non-Regulatory Guidance (June 13, 2005) at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/suppsvcsguid.doc. Answers to frequently asked questions on school choice and SES are at http://www.ed.gov/parents/schools/choice/choice.html.
In What to Do with No Child Left Behind? Why the law will need more than a name change (October 15, 2008), Richard Kahlenberg discussed the three central flaws of No Child Left Behind legislation, which could undermine the standards-based-reform movement. His commentary also included the solutions that scholars in the field proposed to those defects: the underfunding of NCLB; the flawed implementation of its standards, testing, and accountability provisions; and the failure to provide students in low-performing schools a genuine opportunity to transfer to much better ones. Kahlenberg is the editor of Improving on No Child Left Behind: Getting Education Reform Back on Track.
January 8, 2002:
President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, called in its press release "a historic new law that will change the culture of America's schools and, most important, improve student achievement in classrooms across the country" (para. 1). Find out what this landmark legislation means for your state: http://web.archive.org/web/20031011172530/http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2002/01/01082002.html
June 11, 2002:
U.S. Secretary of Education Paige Releases a Report to Congress that Calls for Overhaul of State Teacher Certification Systems. The No Child Left Behind Act calls for highly qualified teachers demonstrating subject matter knowledge to be in place in every classroom by the end of the 2005–06 school year. According to this release, "To raise academic standards, the report calls on states to require prospective teachers to pass rigorous exams in the subjects they plan to teach. Research shows that teachers with strong academic backgrounds in specific content areas are more likely to boost the academic performance of their students in those subjects." The report also calls for institutions with teacher preparation programs to eliminate many of the rigid certification requirements, such as an extensive number of methods courses, and it examines successes in alternate routes to teaching. Read this report:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Office of Policy Planning and Innovation (2002). Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/index.html
Read William Bainbridge's Commentary: Leaving Children Behind in the 2002 summer edition of Technos Quarterly. According to Bainbridge, who lists among his credentials Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio, "In addition to recognizing the positive aspects of this legislation, however, it also seems prudent to be concerned about what the national legislation lacks. The concern is that measurement alone will not bridge the learning gap that exists between children from homes of various socioeconomic levels. Bainbridge elaborates on his concern.
April 9, 2003:
The U.S. Department of Education and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released The National Leadership Institute Toolkit: States Helping States Implement NCLB. This toolkit, which is designed to help states implement the technology requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, includes resources and best practices on topics including:
Get this toolkit at http://www.setda.org/
June 10, 2003:
Every state has submitted an accountability plan to the U.S. Department of Education for ensuring that students are proficient in reading and math by 2013-2014. Each has received a letter noting actions required to become fully approved. View your state plan, which is posted at the U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
August 18, 2003:
Phi Delta Kappan, the professional journal for educators, posted results of the 35th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Conclusions reached by authors, Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup, include that, "The public sees itself as uninformed on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, with 69% saying they lack the information needed to say whether their impression of the act is favorable or unfavorable. Forty percent say they know very little about the NCLB, with an additional 36% saying they know nothing at all about the act." However, "Responses to questions related to strategies associated with NCLB suggest that greater familiarity with the law is unlikely to lead to greater public support." The report is available in archives at http://www.pdkintl.org/
January 16, 2004:
The U.S. Department of Education issued Highly Qualified Teachers: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, revised non-regulatory guidance to help state and local educational agencies meet NCLB's teacher quality goals. "This Non-Regulatory Guidance explains how State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and State agencies for higher education can effectively use Title II, Part A funds to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified and effective, a critical component of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (sec: Purpose of this Guidance, para. 1). The document also includes clearer answers to the definition of a highly-qualified teacher, what is meant my core-academic subjects, and what is meant by highly-qualified professional development. The document was revised October, 2006. Also see: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/index.html
January 7, 2005:
The U.S. Department of Education released a national education technology plan: Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today's Students are Revolutionizing Expectation. The plan highlights seven action steps with accompanying recommendations for states, districts, and individual schools:
- This action includes among recommendations to "[p]rovide every student access to e-learning" and to "[e]nable every teacher to participate in e-learning training."
- This action includes among recommendations to "move away from reliance on textbooks to the use of multimedia or online information" and to consider the costs and benefits of online content, "aligned with rigorous state academic standards, as part of a systemic approach to creating resources for students to customize learning to their individual needs."
- The plan stresses, "Integrated, interoperable data systems are the key to better allocation of resources, greater management efficiency, and online and technology-based assessments of student performance that empower educators to transform teaching and personalize instruction." This action step also recommends leadership to ensure interoperability by considering School Interoperability Framework (SIF) Compliance Certification as a requirement in all RFPs and purchasing decisions.
February 23, 2005:
A special task force of the National Conference of State Legislatures released the results of a 10-month study, No Child Left Behind Task Force Final Report, in which they identified key areas of NCLB that need to be changed so that all learners can reach their potential. See Key Recommendations from the NCSL Task Force on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Final Report at http://www.ncsl.org/documents/educ/NCLBRecommendations.pdf Selected recommendations below from this 6-chapter report are quoted from the Executive Summary:
Chapter 1: The Role of the Federal Government in Education Reform:
Congress should create a revitalized state-federal partnership that acknowledges diversity among states and shifts focus from processes and requirements to outcomes and results.
Chapter 2: Adequate Yearly Progress:
Chapter 3: AYP: Students with Disabilities and Limited English Proficiency:
Chapter 4: Flexibility for States to Address Unique Schools and Districts
Delegate flexibility authority in Section 9401 to states to allow to allow them to respond to the unique conditions of urban and rural communities.
Chapter 5: Highly Qualified Teacher and Paraprofessional Requirements
Allow states to establish conditions under which exceptions could be granted to the highly qualified teacher provisions.
Chapter 6: The Cost of Closing the Achievement Gap: Compliance vs. Proficiency
Substantially increase federal funding for the law. [The report notes that the federal government has dramatically increased spending on education since passage of NCLB, but the federal government's current share of education funding is only about 8 percent.]
What do we mean by multiple measures?
According to Susan Brookhart (2009), there are many ways to define and apply the concept of "multiple measures." First, one needs to know what counts as a measure. " 'Multiple measures' describes at least three different ways of using more than one score: (1) measures of different constructs, (2) different measures of the same construct, and (3) multiple opportunities to pass the same test" (p. 9). Second, one needs to know how multiple measures might be combined. Brookkart notes three ways: "Methods of combining information from multiple measures include (1) conjunctive, in which the student or group must pass all measures; (2) compensatory, in which higher performance on one measure can compensate for lower performance on another; and (3) complementary, in which the student or group must achieve the standard on just one of the multiple measures" (Chester, 2005, cited in Brookhart, 2009, p. 10).
Putting those three ways to define multiple measures together with the three ways to combine those yields nine different combinations.
Read The Many Meanings of "Multiple Measures" in Educational Leadership, November, 2009.
Growth models considered. In NCLB Update: Measuring Student Learning, an EDPolicy Update (volume 4, number 6) from ASCD, we learn that U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings "has insisted states strictly follow the law's requirement of testing students each year in grades 3-8, but new opportunities may open up for states that want to change the way they assess student learning" (para. 1). "The U.S. Department of Education has convened a series of meetings to review whether states should have a new option to meet NCLB's assessment provisions. This option would allow states to measure individual students' growth from year to year. The current practice compares the performance of students in a particular grade with the performance of students in that same grade the previous year" (para. 2). Pioneering states, concerns from policymakers and researchers, and additional resources on NCLB are provided.
The Center on Education Policy in Washington, DC released From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act (http://www.cep-dc.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=540&nodeID=1). Research for this annual report on the implementation of NCLB included a survey of all 50 states and a national representation of 299 districts, case studies of 38 geographically diverse districts and 42 schools, analyses of critical issues, and three national forums. The summary of this report reveals four broad conclusions as to what happened during 2005:
NCLB has impacted teaching and learning. There has been an effort to align curriculum and instruction with state academic standards and assessments. Schools are making better use of data to assist with planning instruction to meet individual student and group needs. However, there has been narrowing of curriculum in at least one subject area to accommodate an increase in time devoted to reading and mathematics. Case studies revealed that teaching is becoming more prescriptive. There is skepticism among the surveyed state and district officials as to whether the quality of teaching has been improved, even though teachers are meeting the highly qualified conditions mandated by NCLB.
According to state and local officials surveyed, scores have risen on state tests in a large majority of states and school districts. Factors were attributed to the adequate yearly progress requirement of NCLB, but far more attributed gains to school district policies and programs.
Although there may be different schools each year, the overall percentage and number of schools identified in need of improvement has varied little. Percentages of eligible students exercising the option of school choice (less than 2%) and participating in supplementary education services (tutoring, around 20%) remains low over the last two years.
NCLB is increasingly having the greatest effects in urban districts. A major reason is due to their diversity. The majority (54%) of Title I schools identified in need of improvement are in urban districts. Urban districts are more affected by sanctions because of their size and greater number of low-income students (poverty has been linked to achievement).
April 9, 2007:
The U.S. Department of Education released Final Rule 34 CFR Parts 200 and 300: Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Federal Register, 72(67), Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2007-2/040907a.pdf. The intent of this rule is to "provide States with additional flexibility regarding State, local educational agency (LEA), and school accountability for the achievement of a small group of students with disabilities whose progress is such that, even after receiving appropriate instruction, including special education and related services designed to address the students’ individual needs, the students’ individualized education program (IEP) teams (IEP Teams) are reasonably certain that the students will not achieve grade-level proficiency within the year covered by the students’ IEPs" (sec: Summary). These amended No Child Left Behind regulations give states the option of developing alternative assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) to be administered to such students.
Readers interested in how states are developing AA-MAS as per the April, 2007, Final Rule 34 CFR Parts 200 and 300 should read: Lazarus, S. S., Thurlow, M. L., Christensen, L. L., & Cormier, D. (2007). States’ alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) in 2007 (Synthesis Report 67). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved from http://cehd.umn.edu/nceo/OnlinePubs/Synthesis67/Synthesis67.pdf. "In July 2007 six states had an assessment either in place or in development that they considered to be an AA-MAS, but none had as of yet gone through the U.S. Department of Education’s peer review process. This study compiled and summarized information about these assessments" (p. 7), based on publicly available information at the time. State documents used in the analysis were from Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Maryland.
December 12, 2007:
Growth models on the rise. In Growth 'pilot' now open to all states, David Hoff (2007) reports that all states that meet federal criteria will now be allowed to take part in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2-year-old experiment with “growth models."
What's a Growth Model?
2009 ASCD Legislative Agenda calls for multiple indicators of achievement. "ASCD believes using growth models to measure student progress presents a more accurate portrayal of student achievement. Effective and accurate growth models can include a combination of state assessments, teacher-developed assessments, portfolios, grade point averages, and performance assessments such as essays and projects" (sec: Assessments, p. 4).
January 13, 2009:
As reported in the Chicago Sun Times by Lynn Sweet, Arne Duncan sails through confirmation hearing for Education Secretary. In the hearing Duncan stated, "I know that the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind will be a priority for the 111th Congress. I have seen first-hand the impact of the federal law on our students and schools. I have seen the law's power and its limitations. I agree with the President-elect that we should neither bury NCLB nor praise it without reservation. I support the core goals of high standards for all - black and white, poor and wealthy, students with disabilities, and those who are just learning to speak English. Like President-elect Obama, I am committed to closing achievement gaps, raising expectations and holding everyone accountable for results" (section: Testimony of Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, United States Senate).
February 17, 2009:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. The goal of this economic stimulus package was saving and creating jobs and reforming education. Read the overview of this law and access additional resources on it including the full text of ARRA at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/library/compliance/recoveryact
Charles Barone (2009) of the Education Sector reported on Are we there yet? What policymakers can learn from Tennessee's growth model. Tennessee was one of the first seven states that former Secretary of Education Spellings approved to use a "growth-to-proficiency" model (p. 1). Barone reported on the advantages and disadvantages of this model, which he hopes will "help those involved in this process to make more thoughtful and informed decisions by examining the approach" of Tennessee (p. 2). Note: The Education Sector, which is now known as the Education Policy Center of the American Institutes for Research, is an independent think tank that challenges conventional thinking in education policy.
See the U.S. Department of Education for additional information on the current status of growth models: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/growthmodel/index.html press releases, state applications and decision letters, guidance, fact sheets, and reports.
June 25, 2009:
School Accountability: A Broader, Bolder Approach, Report of the Accountability Committee of the Broader Bolder Approach to Education Campaign is released proposing a new accountability system designed to overcome weaknesses in No Child Left Behind. This new system would combine both qualitative and quantitative methods. "The Broader, Bolder Approach campaign proposes a new accountability system whose chief elements are: 1) an expansion and coordination of federal data collection, including expansion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, to provide comparative state-by-state information on the broad range of knowledge and skills that students need for success; and 2) federally approved and supported (but not designed) state systems of school inspection that ensure that schools are generating adequate outcomes on this range of knowledge and skills, and are following practices likely to generate these outcomes" (p. 6).
August 12, 2009:
The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and the National Center for Performance Incentives (NCPI) hosted a research conference entitled NCLB: Emerging Findings, the purpose of which was "to present and debate emerging findings on the merits and the weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind Act." Conference presentations are available at the site: http://www.performanceincentives.org/conferences/2009-NCLB-with-CALDER/index.aspx
February 12, 2010:
While speaking to school superintendents during the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlined the Obama administration's vision for rewriting the No Child Left Behind law. He identified three principles that will guide the administration’s approach: (1) higher standards, (2) rewarding excellence, and (3) a “smarter, tighter federal role” in ensuring that all students succeed. Read Dennis Pierce's full commentary of February 14 in eSchool News: Duncan offers ‘guiding principles’ for rewriting NCLB.
March 5, 2010:
The U.S. Department of Education released a draft for a National Education Technology Plan 2010: Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. The plan presents a model of 21st century learning powered by technology, with goals and recommendations in five essential areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity:
May 4, 2010:
The Obama administration released a series of documents outlining the research that supports the proposals in the blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The blueprint released March 13, 2010, included the following sections:
The U.S. Department of Education released the final version of the National Education Technology Plan 2010: Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. In his letter to the members of Congress, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated:
The model of learning described in this plan calls for engaging and empowering personalized learning experiences for learners of all ages. The model stipulates that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know and how they learn. It calls for using state-of-the-art technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts to enable, motivate, and inspire all students to achieve, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities. It calls for ensuring that our professional educators are well connected to the content and resources, data and information, and peers and experts they need to be highly effective. And it calls for leveraging the power of technology to support continuous and lifelong learning. (Letter from the Secretary, 2010, para. 3)
February 6, 2013:
In an ISTE blog post, Great Start for Digital Learning Policy in the 113th Congress: Comprehensive Education Technology Bill Introduced in House of Representatives, Hilary Goldman reported that on this date, "George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced the Transforming Education through Technology Act. The introduction of this legislation is an important milestone in digital learning policy. With no dedicated federal funding over last few years for classroom technology, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act stalled, the Transforming Education through Technology Act will be a rallying opportunity for the entire education community to highlight and underscore the key role digital learning plays in all aspects of teaching and learning to ensure all students are college and career ready" (para. 1). See the complete legislation draft for discussion. Track this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr521
The National Education Association released its NEA Policy Statement on Digital Learning. Highlights include:
"The appropriate use of technology in education—as defined by educators rather than entities driven by for-profit motives—will improve student learning, quality of instruction, and education employee effectiveness, and will provide opportunities to eradicate educational inequities."
"It is of critical importance that the use of technology is recognized as a tool that assists and enhances the learning process, and is not the driver of the digital learning plan. These plans also should include the provision of adaptive technologies to meet individual students’ needs, including assistive technology to support students who are English Language Learners and students with a variety of disabilities or challenges."
"All educators—pre-k12 and postsecondary teachers, ESPs, and administrators—are essential to student learning and should have access to relevant, high-quality, interactive professional development in the integration of digital learning and the use of technology into their instruction and practice."
"...education employees should own the copyright to materials that they create in the course of their employment."
"Optimal learning environments should neither be totally technology free, nor should they be totally online and devoid of educator and peer interaction. The Association believes that an environment that maximizes student learning will use a “blended” and/or “hybrid” model situated somewhere along a continuum between these two extremes."
"Teachers should be fully qualified, certified, and/or licensed to teach the subjects they are teaching, including in online instructional settings."
"Technology is a tool to enhance and enrich instruction for students, and should not be used to replace educational employees who work with students or limit their employment."
October 8, 2015:
Per the press release of October 8, 2015, from the Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, President Obama signed into law the STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020). The Act strengthens Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM) and expands the definition of STEM to include computer science.
The STEM Education Act of 2015 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to award competitive merit-reviewed grants to support informal STEM education. Informal education is work that takes place outside of the classroom at places like museums, science centers and afterschool programs. These types of efforts engage students in STEM subjects and fields in ways that formal classroom training often does not. (Smith’s STEM Education Act Signed Into Law Press Release, 2015, para. 4)
The U.S. Department of Education released the National Education Technology Plan 2016: Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education. "The principles and examples provided in this document align to the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons (ITECH) program as authorized by Congress in December 2015 through the Every Child Achieves Act" (About This Plan section, p. 1). The plan includes five sections elaborating on technology for learning, teaching, assessment, leadership, and the infrastructure.
Current Events in Multiple Fields
Newsvine.com is a great find for current events in multiple fields. It’s a source for local, national, and world news from services like ESPN and Associated Press. But there is a major difference. The developers of the site want to promote a different way to read, write, and interact with the news. By putting users in control, news adjusts according to what users find important. Best of all, students can set up a column and write articles for friends and the world to discuss. Newsvine’s Code of Honor helps control its content.
ASCD News and Media includes ASCD responses to a variety of issues affecting education. You'll find policy positions, education issues, public policy and more. Subscribe to ASCD SmartBrief and the Math Education Smartbrief. It's free. Keep up-to-date with the latest education research with ASCD's "Mining the Research" in Education Update. See ASCD's interactive map showing the Common Core Standards Adoption by State.
Council for Exceptional Children provides up-to-date news, issues, information, and resources on special education policy, trends, and other developments affecting the education of children with exceptionalities and the professionals who work with them.
Distance-educator.com, written by experts, is devoted to providing information and resources for distance education. The site includes links to courses, how-to articles and 11 categories of daily news about distance education, among other resources. News categories contain corporate and higher education e-learning, K-12, governances, and virtual libraries, for example. A subscription to the Policy Brief Series enables readers to stay informed about intellectual property, faculty development, and student services.
EdSurge.com produces a free weekly newsletter on edtech products, companies, and events. You'll also find a "community driven" database of edtech products, including those related to curriculum, classroom teaching needs (e.g., assessment, classroom management, collaboration, etc.), school operations, and more.
EdTech Times features daily updates and information on educational technology. You'll find "K-12 and higher education news, product information and reviews, interviews with industry personnel, and spotlight features on innovative startup companies" (About section).
Education Commission of the States features news on education policy issues ranging from early learning through post secondary. You can also learn about state legislation.
EducationNews.org has provided the latest daily EducationNews coverage from world-wide sources since 1997. "In addition to the U. S. and world media publications, commentaries and reports are featured and include comprehensive views on education issues from all sides of the political spectrum" (About section). You'll find sections devoted to education policy, technology, higher education, online schools, parenting, international/UK, and K-12 schools.
Education Week provides news, special reports (including coverage of the the latest findings and trends in education research and the impact of technology on education), state information (key players, key statistics, legislative updates, and past stories), and access to Teacher Magazine. You can sign up for a number of weekly or monthly newsletters, such as NCLB Alert, Curriculum Matters and EdTech Trends. Education Week also offers free webinars on current topics of interest, which are archived for six months after their presentation.
Education World's free weekly newsletter sent to your email address will keep you up-to-date with the latest education news, lesson ideas, teaching tips, and more.
eSchool News developed for K-12 decision-makers, covers all aspects of school technology news, events, issues, key players, products, services, and strategies. Also learn about the business and political issues impacting school technology. Watch eSN-TV Tech Watch newscasts and the Visions of Innovation shows at http://www.eschoolnews.com/video/.
Heartlander digital magazine from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois, is an online source for the latest in education, technology, fiscal, health, environment, and finance & insurance news.
Learning First Alliance reports on what's working in public schools in its Public School Insights. There is a free e-newsletter.
MagPortal.com is a search engine and directory for finding online magazine articles. Education and reference is among categories.
Public Education Network "places education in the headlines, and in the forefront of American minds, through coverage in national publications, press releases, and NewsBlast, an e-mail newsletter that gives a quarter of a million readers the latest in education news every week.' Sign up for NewsBlast newsletter--it's free.
TechLearning News is brought to you by TechLearning.com. Technology & Learning magazine and Intel Corporation also sponsor K-12 Computing Blueprint, which focuses on planning and implementing technology initiatives, such as one-to-one or bring-your-own computing. You can subscribe to the weekly newsletters. Research results, funding, leadership, infrastructure, professional development, and curriculum information using mobile devices are provided.
114th Congress of the United States. (2015). Every Student Succeeds Act. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/esea
107th Congress of the United States. (2002). Public Law 107-110: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html [NOTE: The pdf document, also available for download, has 670 pages with the first numbered as 115 STAT. 1425.]
Barone, C. (2009, March). Are we there yet? What policymakers can learn from Tennessee's growth model. Education Sector Technical Report.
Brookhart, S. (2009, November). The many meanings of "multiple measures." Educational Leadership, 67(3), 6-12. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership.aspx [See archived issues.]
Charischak, I. (2009, June 3). What's missing from this picture? Council for Technology in Math Education (CLIME) Blogpost. Retrieved from http://climeconnections.blogspot.com/
Hoff, D. (2007, December 12). Growth 'pilot' now open to all states. Education Week, 27(15), 1, 20. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2007/12/12/15growth.h27.html
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2006a). Curriculum focal points for prekindergarten through grade 8 mathematics: A quest for coherence. Reston, VA: Author. Retrieved from http://www.nctm.org/store/Products/Curriculum-Focal-Points-for-Prekindergarten-through-Grade-8-Mathematics-A-Quest-for-Coherence/
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2006b, September 12). NCTM Releases Curriculum Focal Points to Focus Math Curricula. Reston, VA: NCTM News Release. Retrieved from http://www.nctm.org/News-and-Calendar/News/NCTM-News-Releases/NCTM-Releases-Curriculum-Focal-Points-to-Focus-Math-Curricula/
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009a, June). Guiding principles for mathematics curriculum and assessment. Reston, VA: Author. Available from http://scimath.unl.edu/MIM/coursematerials/files/TEAC%20801/2.%20Handouts/01.%20NCTM%20Guiding%20Principles%20for%20Math%20Curriculum%20and%20Assesment.pdf
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009b). Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making. Reston, VA: Author. Retrieved from http://www.nctm.org/store/Products/Focus-in-High-School-Mathematics--Reasoning-and-Sense-Making/
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009c, October 6). NCTM Releases new landmark publication: Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making. Reston, VA: NCTM News Release. Retrieved from http://www.nctm.org/News-and-Calendar/News/NCTM-News-Releases/NCTM-Releases-New-Landmark-Publication_-Focus-in-High-School-Mathematics/
National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. (2009, June 1). Forty-nine states and territories join common core state standards initiative. Washington, DC: NGA Press Release. Retrieved from http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/page_2009/col2-content/main-content-list/forty-nine-states-and-territorie.html
National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/index.html
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. (2011, October). Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics, Grades 3-11. Retrieved from http://www.parcconline.org/parcc-model-content-frameworks [Note: the frameworks were updated in November 2012, as posted on the website.]
Rudalevige, A. (2003, Fall). The politics of No Child Left Behind. Education Next, (4), 62-69. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/files/ednext20034_62.pdf
Walker, T. (2015, December 9). With passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, life after NCLB begins. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2015/12/09/every-student-succeeds-act/