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Posts Tagged ‘standardized testing’

The Common Core:
Repealed in Name Only

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Forty-two states and the District of Columbia are currently participating in the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS). Most states quickly adopted the CCSS after they were introduced in 2010. Since then, however, public opinion has turned dramatically against the CCSS. According to the 2015 EdNext Survey, 35% of Americans oppose the CCSS, which is up from 26% in 2014. The same poll found that 50% of teachers oppose the CCSS, up substantially from 40% in 2014. Repealing the adoption of the CCSS is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among politicians. So what does all this mean for testing and standards? Is this the end for the Common Core?

States are quickly withdrawing from multi-state, Common Core-aligned tests. Out of the two federally funded Common Core testing consortia (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), PARCC, in particular, has seen a dramatic decline in participation. In 2010, 25 states and the District of Columbia were PARCC members. That number has fallen to seven, with Massachusetts being the most recent state to abandon the test. Massachusetts, like many other states that have dropped PARCC, will create its own test. Standardized testing is here to stay, but the CCSS’s goal of uniform, multi-state tests aimed at providing meaningful comparisons between states looks destined to fail.

Efforts to repeal the CCSS altogether have also gained traction, but a closer look at the replacement standards tells another story. Oklahoma, Indiana, and South Carolina have all repealed the CCSS. Other states have tweaked and even renamed their standards. However, critics argue that many states are simply renaming the CCSS, keeping the majority of standards intact.  South Carolina’s new standards, for instance, are aligned with CCSS 90% of the time. In other words, lawmakers are pivoting away from the politically charged Common Core moniker, but Common Core-aligned standards remain.

The takeaway: the CCSS are being repealed in name only.

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Do you and your students want to learn more about the education policy debate?

Check out SIRS Issues Researcher for more information.

 

 

5 Things to Know About the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). According to the New York Times, the sweeping law “will directly affect nearly 50 million students and their 3.4 million teachers in the nation’s 100,000 public schools.” ESSA is a rewrite of the oft-criticized 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which greatly expanded the federal government’s role in public education. ESSA cedes much of the federal control gained under NCLB. Although the 1,061-page ESSA spans a wide range of education policy topics, certain issues like standardized testing and teacher evaluations have gotten the most attention. Here are five important highlights:

What do you think about the newly signed Every Student Succeeds Act?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.

Do you and your students want to learn more about the education policy debate?

Check out SIRS Issues Researcher for more information.

Controversial Common Core Testing Begins Nationwide

Turn student anger and frustration over standardized testing into a learning opportunity.

Image by Alberto G. via Flickr Is Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

Image by Alberto G. via Flickr Is Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

Testing Begins

Standardized testing is impacting millions of American students right now. The 2015 Common Core testing season has begun. The Associated Press reports that “about 12 million students in 29 states and the District of Columbia” will be taking the Common Core-aligned exams by the end of the 2015 school year. As standardized testing sweeps across the United States, students are paying close attention to this long contentious Leading Issue.

Rocky Road

Research Topic: Standardized Testing in Education by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest eLibrary

Research Topic: Standardized Testing in Education
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest eLibrary

Protests. Opt outs. Cyber attacks. The Common Core-aligned, high-stakes assessment testing has gotten off to a rocky start. Last week, students in New Mexico staged walkouts to protest the exams. A growing number of parents and students nationwide are choosing to “opt out.” And school districts in Florida had to postpone testing because of computer glitches, which are being blamed on cyber attacks. Many students have become angry and frustrated.

Learning Opportunity

SIRS Leading Issue: Educational Tests and Measurements by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Educational Tests and Measurements
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Standardized testing demonstrates to students how public policy affects them directly. Why not turn students’ anger and frustration into a learning opportunity? Lead classroom discussions on the pros and cons of standardized testing. Have students defend their arguments in writing. Publish their arguments in the student newspaper or on social media. Encourage them to find ways to affect change democratically. The main objective is to get students involved in this important leading issue.

What do you and your students think about standardized testing? Comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

For more resources, check out SIRS Issues Researcher and eLibrary.

Testing…Testing…

Few topics stir up more debate in the K-12 environment than that of standardized testing. Teachers, students, and parents around the country are weighing in with their opinions, with some going so far as boycotting state-required standardized tests. SIRS Issues Researcher provides numerous resources to help students understand the controversy surrounding testing in the United States. Our Educational Tests and Measurements Leading Issue includes viewpoint articles on both sides of the testing debate as well as Critical Thinking & Analysis questions that encourage students to examine the issue more fully. The Educational Tests and Measurements Timeline offers a detailed history of testing, enabling students to better understand the evolution of testing in our schools.

Educational Tests

Educational Tests and Measurements Leading Issue on ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002, ushered in more extensive testing of students and a punishment/reward system based on a school’s average test scores. Guide your students to the No Child Left Behind Act Leading Issue for background information, critical thinking questions, and viewpoint articles on this polarizing law.

One of SIRS Issues Researcher’s most recent additions to our growing list of Leading Issues is Common Core Standards. The adoption and implementation of these standards by the individual states over the last couple years has ignited even more debate about education reform and the emphasis on standardized testing. The Common Core Standards Leading Issue and Common Core Standards Timeline provide background and context for this current controversy, and we continually add the latest news and commentary regarding this significant issue.

Common Core Standards

Common Core Standards Leading Issue on ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher