4 challenges–and solutions–around assessments and accountability

A new report examines some of the biggest challenges related to assessments and accountability, and offers recommendations for educators and policymakers as they move past spring 2021 and aim to improve student success rates.

The report comes from NWEA and Education Reform Now (ERN), which worked together with organizations representing state departments of education, school districts, policy and advocacy groups, and universities, to identify recommendations and potential policy options that re-envision assessments and accountability measures this spring—and–beyond to better advance student success.

The overall goal? Through productive meetings and discussions, identify ways to ensure systems support deeper learning and give educators and policymakers the critical data they need to support students, improve achievement and outcomes, target resources, and develop new instructional policies and practices.…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

5 school areas that desperately need student voices

As a graduate journalism student over 20 years ago, I worked on a thesis project centered on education reform news reporting. I was analyzing how often education reporters included students in their stories about education. Probably no surprise…it was almost non-existent.

Traditionally, no entity has ignored their primary customer, consumer or constituent more than education with students. I was fortunate enough early on as a beginning teacher to discover the power of student voice and student-generated ideas. Throughout my career, I have always benefited from asking my students what they thought, what they are interested in and where they would like things to go.

If we are serious about providing each and every student a truly transformational 21st century education, then we should consider including student voices in the following five school areas:…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

8 incredibly easy steps to a professional development makeover

School district expert says good professional development takes common sense, taking advantage of your best resource

creativityresizedThere’s a lot of talk these days, especially with the implementation of Common Core, about how to reform student learning. However, there’s a group of learners education is leaving behind, say experts: Teachers. Professional development (PD) needs a makeover, they say, and it’s a lot easier than you may think.

One of the first slides Tom Murray, director of technology & cyber education for Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Penn., shows to his audience during his recent edweb.net webinar, “How to personalize learning plans for your teachers,” can resonate with any professional.

Listening to a lecture, a grown man in a business suit is slowly falling asleep in his chair. The title of the slide is “If I Die:” with the cutline, “I hope it’s during a staff meeting because the transition to death would be so subtle.”…Read More

Does middle school need an image makeover?

Middle school has a terrible reputation, The Atlantic reports. The titles of James Patterson’s middle-school series say it all: From the number-one New York Times bestseller Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which launched the series in 2011, to last summer’s Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill, to this spring’s Middle School: Ultimate Showdown!, the titles reflect a dystopian vision of life in middle school. And he’s far from alone in this. When it comes to young adolescents in schools, Americans seem determined to perpetuate a narrative of hormones and horror…

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A real school reform agenda for 2014

If you remember your No Child Left Behind history, 2014 is the year that all children were supposed to be scoring proficient on standardized tests, the Washington Post reports. That was, of course, a ridiculous goal, which the authors of the bill knew full well when they wrote it, and a symbol for just how misguided school reform has become. Here, George Wood, superintendent of Federal Hocking Local Schools, offers four things that reform really should be targeting…

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Accountability without autonomy is tyranny

When educational research reaches the public through the corporate media, the consequences are often dire, explains P.L. Thomas for the Daily Kos. Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff released “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood” and immediately The New York Times pronounced in “Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gains”. The simplistic and idealistic headline reflects the central failure of the media in the education reform debate…

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National education reform conference starts this week

Reform conference hosted by Jeb Bush features MOOC discussions, big data, and modern principals

national-education-reform Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) will host the National Summit on Education Reform on Oct. 17 and 18 in Boston, Mass., which also is available via a live stream, and all strategy sessions will be filmed and available after the event.

During this two-day reform event, attendees will be immersed in briefings, discussions, and debates on the latest research, pilot programs, and policies for raising student achievement across the country.

The National Summit on Education Reform is FEE’s flagship initiative and convenes annually to share reform strategies to improve the quality of education for all students. The “one-stop policy and practice shop” offers lawmakers, policymakers, and advocates the opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of reform, according to FEE.…Read More