Web literacy: Where the Common Core meets common sense

“To ensure that students learn the grammar and strategies of the web, we believe it’s essential for every teacher to develop lessons that challenge students to learn how to verify sources,” the authors write.

(Editor’s note: This is Part Two of a series of articles on developing web literacy among students. To read Part One, click here.)

Are you as worried as we are that the overall impact of technology on our children’s ability to solve complex research problems is negative? Have you heard a child near you say, “Just Google it,” when asked to describe the meaning of life?

Research shows that students primarily use one search engine and then only look at the first page of results. They can quickly give up or settle for something “close enough” when they don’t find the information they’re looking for. Huge amounts of time are being wasted in searches void of the rigor of research.…Read More

Study: Common Core could boost U.S. math performance

By examining the top-performing countries in the TIMSS study, Schmidt and his team were able to identify what defines world-class standards.

The Common Core State Standards in mathematics have the potential to enhance students’ academic performance if properly implemented, but most states have a long way to go, according to research from William Schmidt, a University Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.

At an event co-sponsored by Achieve, Chiefs for Change, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Schmidt presented a briefing on his work, titled “Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation, and Student Achievement.”

Schmidt’s research took existing data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to determine how the Common Core State Standards in math compared to math standards in countries whose eighth graders performed the best on math assessments.…Read More

How secondary school principals can master the Common Core

School leaders will have to ensure teachers have the necessary knowledge to put Common Core standards into practice.

As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible.

Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted the Common Core standards, and 90 percent of U.S. students are covered by the standards, said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), during an AEE webinar that examined how principals can ensure that students will be ready to master the new college- and career-ready standards and can demonstrate this mastery on the new 2014 state assessments.

While states are in various stages of implementing the standards, “principals play a critical role in this work,” Wise said.…Read More

States to launch ‘IT readiness’ tool for common assessments

A new tool will test states’ IT readiness as online assessments are implemented.

As two state consortia work to create next-generation common assessments to help make testing more meaningful for students and teachers, a new tool will launch later this month to help states determine how ready their schools are to support a system of online assessments.

The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) have awarded a contract to Pearson to develop a new “Technology Readiness Tool” to support states as they transition to the next-generation assessments, which are based on the Common Core state standards.

SBAC and PARCC both received grants from the federal Race to the Top program to work with states to create next-generation, comprehensive testing systems. The development of the Technology Readiness Tool is one component of their initiatives to establish infrastructure and content for delivering common assessments online.…Read More

Report tracks states’ progress toward Common Core standards

A new survey outlines states' progress as they implement the Common Core State Standards.

As the Common Core State Standards continue to gain momentum, states say they are more rigorous than previous standards, but many cite challenges in fully implementing the standards, particularly where funding is concerned.

Year Two of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: States’ Progress and Challenges,” a new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP), sheds light on states’ progress as they work to implement common standards in English language arts and mathematics, and it identifies areas in which states anticipate a struggle as they implement the standards.

Full implementation of the Common Core State Standards is “a complex undertaking that will take time and affect many aspects of the education system,” said Diane Stark Rentner, director of national programs for CEP and co-author of the study. “Looming over this entire process is the major challenge of adequate resources. Policy makers should be aware that funding problems could cause states to curtail or delay some of their plans.”…Read More

Schools working to implement Common Core standards

District officials said they are concerned about the adequacy of funding to implement the common standards.

More than half of school district officials in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards said they agree that the new math and English/language arts standards are more rigorous than the ones they are replacing, according to a new study by the Center on Education Policy (CEP).

The report, Common Core Standards: Progress and Challenges in School Districts’ Implementation, reveals district leaders’ views about the impact of the Common Core standards and their progress and challenges in implementing the standards. It also found that the standards are moving closer to implementation in the districts that have adopted them.

School district officials said that parents, community members, and local educators appear to show relatively little resistance to the standards, and only 10 percent of districts in the adopting states consider resistance from teachers and principals to be a challenge in implementing the standards.…Read More

Maine leads once again with Common Core pilot

The pilot uses online double-blind scoring to grade student essays.

With Common Core State Standards (CCSS) now on 44 state agendas, it’s time to start thinking implementation. But leaders are saying it takes more than vendor press releases and simple classroom curriculum supplements—it takes research and a focus on teaching—and one state is leading the way in 21st century learning…again.

Maine, already known for its Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) and successful 1-to-1 computing program, is now in a unique collaboration with the University of Southern Maine’s research center and a Portland-based educational software company, AcademicMerit.

The collaboration will explore the use of technology-based solutions to help schools meet the demand of the CCSS through a pilot involving more than 23 schools, more than 30 teachers, and almost 1,500 students from districts all over Maine.…Read More