3 must-know’s about assessment achievement levels

In education and assessment, we use the word “standards” in a number of ways: curriculum standards, standards-based assessments, performance standards. Performance standards—also known as proficiency levels, achievement levels, performance descriptors, and more—are one way we report assessment results, and have a direct influence on decisions that affect educators and students every day.

Many of us use and discuss these performance standards without knowing where they come from. Performance standards are first a policy initiative representing student expectations of proficiency for an assessment program, and then are uniquely defined for each content and grade level, after at least one year of operational administration. Standard setting is the process undertaken by education experts to relate test scores from an assessment program to pre-defined achievement levels.

Here we explain the three basic facets of standard setting: purpose, use, and process.…Read More

How an edtech innovation is giving performance assessments new life

Across the country, educators and policy makers are searching for ways to develop and implement innovative assessment programs to address accountability requirements and to reform instruction. As both local and state educators consider new assessment models, they find themselves coming up against many issues of time. It’s widely agreed that there’s too much time spent on testing and test prep, and there’s too little time to teach and take on additional responsibilities to transform instruction. Educators often feel that innovation represents an additional burden on their time rather than a benefit.

Since the last big push to reform instruction and assessment nearly a quarter century ago, we’ve developed new psychometric techniques as well as new technologies to assist us in our attempts to innovate.

Internet access, electronic collection of student work, and online distributed scoring, for example, can all play significant roles in making performance assessments more manageable and efficient.…Read More

The 2 edtech fields with the most potential under Trump

The tumultuous early weeks of the Trump administration have produced plenty of headlines and controversy, but almost nothing on higher education. The nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has only recently been confirmed, and given her background in K-12, higher education was not a major theme of her Senate hearing. The announcement of a task force to reform higher ed, to be led by Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell, Jr., gave little detail about its policy priorities or objectives but remains the young administration’s only substantive action on higher ed to date.

Why the Administration Matters

Ultimately, public policy is just one of many factors shaping the edtech environment; and, regardless of policy direction, any administration should provide consistency and stability for the institutions and investors that purchase our products and services.…Read More

Cyberbullying is NOT a technology issue-here’s how to really combat it.

Cyberbullying continues to grow and present itself as a huge challenge for schools, government policy makers, stakeholders, parents and the community—but is regulating access to technology and social media the answer?

Though the online platforms may be relatively new, cyberbullying should not be separated from bullying. Both behaviors are about relationship power and control, otherwise known as “relational bullying;” therefore, it requires a relationship management-based type of approach in dealing with its impact and prevention.

When conducting my Digital Age Parenting classes, one of the things I share with parents is information about how their child is using a device to say and do things to hurt someone or put themselves in danger. However, the device is only facilitating the interaction between the person and the situation.…Read More

New plan advocates gigabit broadband’s arrival in schools

Connecting our nation’s schools, libraries, health clinics and other community anchor institutions (CAIs) to next generation high-speed broadband is an important national priority. In an effort to provide federal, state and local leaders with policy options to ensure that all anchor institutions have high-speed connections to the internet, the SHLB Coalition today is releasing “Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan.”

SHLB (The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition) is the leading advocate for open, affordable, high-capacity broadband for our nation’s community anchor institutions and their communities. The recently launched Grow2GiG+ Initiative is a campaign designed to help bring gigabit speed-and-beyond networks to all anchor institutions in America by 2020.

“Anchor institutions are the lifeblood of our communities, and access to high-speed Internet at our nation’s anchor institutions is the first rung on the ladder to success,” said John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of SHLB. “The SHLB Action Plan gives policy makers a road map for designing a broadband strategy that promotes education, health care and community enrichment.”…Read More

Study finds successes, challenges in shift to intensive principal preparation

A report released from the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in partnership with the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicago Consortium), assesses the progress of sweeping legislation to redesign the way school principals in Illinois are prepared, with the goal of improving schools statewide through higher quality leadership. The report summarizes findings from a two-year study assessing the progress of these ambitious reforms and describing the changes that occurred as a result of the new policy.

“This in-depth look at principal preparation programs is the latest in our series of studies of Illinois’ school leadership and provides insights into the challenges programs face after major reforms and the innovative ways that they have navigated through these challenges,” says IERC Executive Director Janet K. Holt.

Illinois’ new principal preparation policy required universities across the state to shift from a general training model geared toward multiple school administrative positions to more targeted and selective principal-specific preparation beginning in the 2014-15 school year. As a result, the study finds that preparation programs experienced substantial, but not unexpected, declines in enrollment.…Read More