Maine leads once again with Common Core pilot

Each teacher is required to score the number of student essays equal to twice the number of students he or she has participating in the study.

According to Peter Vose, English chair at Falmouth High School and pilot participant, seeing the scores of the other readers helps to maintain fair and objective standards by which to judge and grade student work.

“I found that I did not agree with all of the scores, and my eMail to the company asking for clarification was answered quickly and persuasively. I asked my student to reflect on their work and their scores, and nearly all agreed with the scorers’ assessments,” said Vose.

He continued: “The other assessments we have used, such as SAT’s NWEA’s and Accuplacer, simply provide a number with little of the detail that AcademicMerit scores provide.”

“The consortia working on the common assessments due to launch in 2014 have stated clearly that they see classroom-based interim assessments as a key element of the larger system,” said Jeff Mao, learning technology policy director at the Maine Department of Education. “AcademicMerit’s tools have the potential to be a model of just that for 7-12 ELA. What better place than Maine to evaluate that potential?”

Research and beyond

Throughout the pilot, student and teacher progress will be monitored and teachers will be asked to complete comprehensive surveys and possibly participate in focus groups.

The aim of the research will be to understand how technology can best improve learning in conjunction with the CCSS, and, also, to provide a working example of how states and schools can collaborate with private companies to embrace the CCSS.

The results of the study are expected in late June or early July.

“Since the data in our programs generate…practical value, I foresee opportunities for us to collaborate on a more formal basis with states, like Maine, seeking to test or implement the sort of system we represent,” said Morse. “Already, we are in discussions with large districts like Cobb County, Ga., about implementation plans that could be a model for others.”

“Simply put, this is the next step,” said former Maine governor Angus King, whose administration championed the state’s laptop initiative. “Computers in the classroom alone were never going to transform learning and instruction. These programs will, because they use that technology to deliver outstanding academic content that is better than anything I’ve seen to date.”

Mao said this type of pilot is inspiring because AcademicMerit began with a teacher–Morse–who saw an opportunity.

“Part of MLTI’s mission is to spur economic development for the state, and if other student-centered, comprehensive resources develop, and the data is good, we’ll of course, try to leverage these types of resources,” he said.

Already, vendors around the country are promoting their resources for the implementation of the CCSS: iParadigms’ Turnitin, dataMetrics’ TestWiz, Ascend Education’s Ascend Math, and Key Curriculum Press’ Key Math Strategists.



AcademicMerit’s CCSS alignment analysis (PDF)

Turnitin’s CCSS alignment (PDF)

Meris Stansbury

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