NY State test results have been released: trends are positive
This year’s tests can actually be compared directly to last year’s, so inferences are slightly more valid. Statewide, ELA proficiency went up 1.9 points and math 1.1.
It will be interesting to see what narratives spring out of this. Even more interesting will be how anti-charter constituents spin the positive results from charters.
Look for all sides spinning these results in the way that suits them best.
Speaking of measurement: How can we measure SEL?
Some interesting suggestions here from a recent design challenge:
- How quickly kids answer questions on an on-line test (too quickly means less self-control/engagement)
- Asking kids questions about a video to assess their perspective-taking abilities
It should go without saying that laptops alone do not a quality education make
You know, like, how are you actually using the laptops?
How we teach history depends on where we teach it
I’ve argued before that one of the biggest problems with what we teach students across our nation is that it’s completely incoherent, and we do little to nurture a collective sense of values, knowledge, and civic engagement.
Here’s that problem in action:
Virginia’s standards of learning for U.S. history to 1865 include “describing the cultural, economic and constitutional issues that divided the nation” and “explaining how the issues of states’ rights and slavery increased sectional tensions.” Alabama fifth-graders “identify causes of the Civil War from the Northern and Southern viewpoints.”
Contrast that with Delaware, where school districts set their own curriculum but a syllabus for the eighth grade suggesting what might be covered during instruction says that abolition meant that the American people could for the first time “seriously claim to be living up to their commitment to the principle of liberty rooted in the American state papers.”
In Michigan, curriculum also is decided locally, though the state’s social studies standards for the Civil War and Reconstruction in eighth grade include the instructions: “Explain the reasons (political, economic, and social) why Southern states seceded and explain the differences in the timing of secession in the Upper and Lower South.”
Civil War lessons often depend on where the classroom is, Associated Press
Teacher shortages in high needs areas, such as SPED and math, with no end in sight
One of the suggestions here for addressing this makes a lot of sense to me:
“Make teacher certification national instead of state by state. Prospective teachers must pass an exam specific to the state they want to work in. But if a teacher wants to move from, say, Pennsylvania to California, they can’t immediately apply for jobs there. By having a national certification exam, teachers would have more mobility to go where they’re needed.”
One way of addressing teacher shortages in SPED: draw from the paraprofessionals
They’re already in the field. Make it easier for them to transition into teaching.
Makes sense to me. But one thing to be aware of: paras have great experience in managing behaviors and working with kids, but may not have a strong background on content.
Which is why having a strong curriculum and departmental teams that can support adaptation and implementation of that curriculum are so critical.