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Showing posts from July, 2019

Moving Beyond Standardized Tests

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This article was written originally for MultiBriefs Education.
Earlier this summer, Education Week published a thought-provoking blog by Maryland elementary principal Margaret Pastor where she explored the question, Why Standardized Tests Aren't Working for Teachers or Students? Pastor talked about how her view of the role of standardized testing changed when a colleague told her that she should match her lowest performing kindergarten teacher with her highest performing teacher, based on recent standardized testing. She realized that using that metric was impossible since it was the same teacher who had both scores (because she taught both morning and afternoon classes). From there, she began to formulate her opinion that many educators have “deep misgivings” about the role standardized tests should play.
Pastor went on to compare her work as an educator to that of her husband, a scientist. “While my husband carefully chooses which plants and which growing conditions to use in his …

Competency-Based Learning Systems Continue to Take Hold Across the Nation

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This article was written originally for MultiBriefs Education.
Earlier this summer, the International Association of Online K-12 Learning, better known as iNACOL, released its most recent map displaying the implementation of state-wide K-12 competency-based learning policies across the nation. The map now shows 17 states that have reached an advanced level of implementation with comprehensive policy alignment and/or an active state role to build capacity in local school systems for competency-based learning. Another 14 states have been categorized as developing, with the remaining at the emerging level. In this version of the map, Wyoming is the only state that has yet to begin any level of state-wide work in this area. This current map is in stark contrast to the 2012 map which listed just three states at the advanced level.
Several advances have been made since iNACOL last published a map in 2018. California is one state that has been on the move this past year, moving from the “not y…

The Plan to Address Student Chronic Absenteeism in Newark Met With Initial Success

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This article was written originally for MultiBriefs Education.
In an article published last month, Chalkbeat’s Patrick Wall reported that early data shows attendance gains in Newark, NJ, as a result of a district push to combat absenteeism. Wall reported that Superintendent Roger León launched an attendance campaign this past school year called "Give Me Five," where every district employee reminded five students to show up for the first day of school. León proudly announced that 24 percent of students were classified this year as chronically absent, a number that is a 5.4 percentage point improvement over the previous year, which translates to 2,100 fewer students missing 10 percent or more of school days. Additionally, Newark Schools also improved their average daily attendance rate from 86 to 91 percent this past year.
Newark has long been under the state’s microscope for its attendance issues. Although year to year attendance rates can be impacted by so many outside factor…