Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

Where are the voices of teachers in DeKalb mess? Here is one and he’s not holding back.

downeyart0726 (Medium)A DeKalb teacher sent me this piece, noting that none of the blog commentaries on the crisis in DeKalb have come from teachers.

I suspect teachers all over the country will agree with his comments about the lack of respect for the profession. (At his request, I am not using his name because of his concerns for his job.)

This teacher is responding to a recent DeKalb commentary on the blog  by Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall, but his essay speaks to the conditions facing teachers in many places:

I’ve seen so many commentaries over the weeks about the plight of the DeKalb School Systems – from interim superintendents to possible ex-board members to concerned politicians. The blaring omission of a teacher voice rings louder about our current state of affairs. I’ve shrugged all of them off and kept-calm-and-carried-on as has been the trickle-down mantra for years in DeKalb County.

Then, l read I read Lawrence M. Schall’s “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” commentary.

His …

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New research: Too many college students routed into costly remedial courses when they only need a refresher

Education Week has a fascinating story this week on emerging research showing that many college students testing into remedial classes don’t need to be there.

A challenge in writing about education is the assumption factor. In Georgia, 70,000 students take remedial classes each year at our public colleges at an annual cost of $55 million. Nationally, the price tag is $7 billion.

We all despair that so many students are showing up at college unprepared and conclude that high schools aren’t doing their jobs.

But we never ask: Are these students being correctly identified?

Could it be that all some of them need are short-term refresher courses? Consider that many students are not entering college directly from high school and may have forgotten some of their math. According to Ed Week, close to a third of all entering college students are not coming directly from high school.

One study cited in the Ed Week story found that 20 percent of students in remedial math and 25 percent …

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Are education reforms hurting the students who need the most help, poor and minority kids?

downeyart (Medium)In his blog “becoming radical,” Paul Thomas, a Furman University associate professor of education, contends that the education reform movement perpetuates inequity and increases segregation. Thomas draws on the findings of the Civil Rights Project, which has done extensive research on the resegregation of schools.

While the South once led the nation in integrating its schools, it’s now become a leader in the resegregation of America’s classrooms, largely as a result of housing trends.

In 1960, The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Only 7.8 percent of the Negro students in the South are attending integrated schools this year, a hundred years after our emancipation from slavery. At this pace it will take 92 more years to integrate the public schools of the South.”

King would likely revise his prediction dramatically upward if he observed his namesake schools in the Atlanta region, most of which are now attended by all black students. That’s because schools mirror the …

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Georgia ranks 12th in nation in seniors passing AP exams. Continues to chart improvement and growth.

From DOE:

Georgia has moved up to 12th in the nation in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher – a passing score – on Advanced Placement exams, according to the College Board’s “AP Report to the Nation” released Wednesday. Georgia ranked 13th in the nation last year.

This report measures progress of the Class of 2012. When results are broken out by subgroup, Georgia’s African-American students rank 2nd in the nation (behind Washington D.C.) in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams. Georgia’s 10-year increase (10.1%) in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams also shows impressive results, ranking 9th in the nation.

Georgia is also a national leader when it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams. Only five other states in the country had a greater percentage of AP exam takers last year. The percentage of Georgia seniors who took an AP exam was 41.1%, compared to 32.4% for the …

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Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher

Congrats to Georgia’s AP Merit Schools, which are high schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least half of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.

Special shoutout to Fulton (9), Gwinnett (9) and Cobb (8) for having so many high schools on the list.

ALAN C. POPE HIGH SCHOOL COBB COUNTY

ALPHARETTA HIGH SCHOOL FULTON COUNTY

BERKMAR HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT COUNTY

BROOKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL BUFORD CITY

CARLTON J. KELL HIGH SCHOOL COBB

CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB COUNTY

CHATTAHOOCHEE HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL MUSCOGEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

DALTON HIGH SCHOOL DALTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DECATUR HIGH SCHOOL CITY SCHOOLS OF DECATUR

DULUTH HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB

FORSYTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS

GREENBRIER HIGH SCHOOL COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM

GWINNETT SCHOOL OF MATH, SCIENCE, & TECHNOLOGY GWINNETT

HARRISON HIGH SCHOOL …

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Pencils down and dukes up: Two views of the growing anti-testing campaign among teachers. Is it for students or self-preservation?

crcted.0920 (Medium)Two views of the growing organized resistance to standardized testing:

From the Chicago Teachers Union, which is distributing an anti-testing petition today:

As part of its “Pencils Down” campaign against high-stakes standardized testing, the Chicago Teachers Union  will be among teachers, students, parents and education advocates nationwide standing in solidarity with Garfield High School in Seattle and all Seattle public schools refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress test. The coalition will petition local schools to limit Chicago Public Schools support for excessive standardized testing of students as part of a national day of action to support the Seattle MAP test boycott.

Organized by the “More Than a Score Coalition,” which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, Parents 4 Teachers, Parents United for Responsible Education and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, petitions will be circulated today at several CPS elementary schools and high …

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If testing and measuring makes for better schools, why are the Obama girls in a school that doesn’t agree?

The Obamas opted for a pricey pivate school for their daughters. (AP)

The Obamas opted for a pricey private school for their daughters. (AP Photo)

In a powerful essay in Education Week, retired educator Alan Jones of Illinois shares his experience accompanying his daughter to look at schools for his grandson.

Jones talks about today’s test-driven education classrooms, codified through No Child Left Behind and incentivized through Race to the Top. He compares schools that measure students almost entirely by test scores to the holistic approach of the Sidwell School attended by President Obama’s girls, saying. “When President Obama talks about good schools, he is talking about schools for other people’s children, not his own.”

Jones makes great points, although comparisons between public and private schools are not necessarily instructive in view of the wide gap in costs. The best private schools in metro Atlanta cost $18,000 to $22,000 a year — and that does not count books and fees — while the average per-pupil spending in public schools in …

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To test or not to test: Should parents be able to decide whether kids take state exams?

testing (Medium)Should parents in Georgia decide whether their children take annual state exams?

A reader told me that her daughter was showing signs of test anxiety because her elementary school was already in the midst of prepping for the April CRCT.

So, the parent asked, “Can we legally opt-out?”

No, says the state Department of Education, which sent me this response:  “Given both state and federal law require all students test, we encourage parents to discuss their concerns with their local districts. Some districts have policies above and beyond state policies.”

When I last wrote about testing concerns, a parent posted that Georgia students can get around taking the CRCT, although the subterfuge seemed extreme to me and likely to cause the child even more stress.

The parent wrote, “All that is required is that you withdraw them from school and home school them through the two-week window of testing. As long as the student had done well in all core subjects the entire year, there is …

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Georgia earns a C for how well it selects and prepares its teaching force. Colleges are not selective enough.

downeyart0321(3) (Medium)The National Council on Teacher Quality gave Georgia an overall grade of C in its teacher preparation policies, docking the state points for the lack of selectivity in admissions to teacher prep programs and for ridding classrooms of under performing teachers.

Still, Georgia outperforms the rest of the nation. The average grade nationwide was a D plus.

Here is a link to the full 2012 Georgia report.

The report recommends:

Georgia should require programs to use an assessment that demonstrates that candidates are academically competitive with all peers, regardless of their intended profession. Requiring a common test normed to the general college population would allow for the selection of applicants in the top half of their class while also facilitating program comparison.

Requiring only a 2.5 GPA sets a very low bar for the academic performance of the state’s prospective teachers. Georgia should consider using a higher GPA requirement for program admission in combination with …

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Less concern about how much time students spend in their seats and more concern about how much they learn

In an ideal world, students would advance or tarry based on their fluency with the material. Kids who mastered the material quickly would leap ahead. Struggling peers would stay a bit longer.

But such individualized attention is not easy in education systems wedded to 180-day school years, 8-to-3 daily schedules and once-a-year administration of proficiency exams.

States are experimenting with highly personalized high school learning programs and schedules that increase engagement and lead to improved graduation rates.

Look at what Michigan and Ohio are doing.

I am sharing a statement from the Alliance for Excellent Education on New Hampshire’s competency-based learning approach, which is getting a lot of attention:  The alliance is holding a webinar today at 2 p.m. on New Hampshire’s program. Click here for info on it.)

For a century, most students have advanced from grade to grade based on the number of days they spend in class, but in New Hampshire, schools have moved …

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