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Articles: Testing

As a longtime elementary school teacher, Jolene Rude has seen her share of students struggle with—and sometimes abandon—difficult math problems. After using Everyday Mathematics 4, however, even struggling students are learning challenging math concepts, along with life skills, says Rude, an elementary CORE math teacher at Johnston Community School District, located in a northern suburb of Des Moines, Iowa.

While testing in the U.S. has become more about ranking schools and even teachers, in most of the developed world, tests make or break a student’s future, sometimes before the age of 12.

Carol Burris is executive director of the Network for Public Education and lead author of “Grading the States: A Report Card on Our Nation’s Commitment to Public Schools.” 

Network for Public Education Executive Director Carol Burris is the lead author of a new report that raises concerns over taxpayers funding charters, vouchers and private schools—and how that impacts public education.

Innovation expert Ted Dintersmith is the author of What School Could Be (Princeton University Press, 2018).

In his new book What School Could Be, innovation expert Ted Dintersmith profiles schools that focus on innovation and “real” learning, rather than endlessly drilling on formulas and definitions that don’t matter in today’s world.

During Noel Petrosky’s 12 years at different Saint Marys Area School District elementary schools, she saw assessment data accurately predict student performance on state tests and inform instruction that led to student growth. That wasn’t the case at Saint Marys Area Middle School when she became principal two years ago.

“I thought, ‘I can’t go into a system not knowing what my students are capable of,’ ” recalls Petrosky, who wanted to establish a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) framework at her middle school in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.

TOUCH POINTS—Apps have provided new, more nimble learning alternatives at Kent Intermediate School District in Michigan.

More elaborate technology has opened up more possibilities for students with a range of needs. In some schools, robots now help children develop social-emotional skills.

Dan Hamlin is a postdoctoral fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Dan Hamlin, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Paul E. Petersen have examined data to see what impact states lowering the bar on academic proficiency have had on student achievement.

Teachers in the Susquehanna Township School District are finding success with their new curriculum mapping program using Chalk. With it, they can easily locate and align state standards with lesson plans, and if they have any questions, they can get live technical assistance through “Mr. Chalk,” an online chat feature operated by company employees.

Mr. Chalk used to be available only Monday to Friday, but not on weekends when many teachers were finishing lesson plans for submission to principals Sunday evenings. So Superintendent Dr. Tamara Willis made a call.

A K8 school district in Southern California was focusing efforts on increasing the proficiency of its English language learners, a population that makes up 32 percent of its students. It also sought to reclassify as many ELLs as possible before middle school—a time when the defeatist mindset usually sets in.

The process to select a new elementary math program for Columbia Public Schools began four years ago. K12 Math Coordinator Dana Hibbard located the highest-performing schools in Missouri and selected their top two math programs for piloting in her district of 18,555 students.

A student's “hidden digital tattoo” is the information collected surreptitiously through browsers or social media profiles that may impact the ads and information they see online. (Gettyimages.com: altmodern).

As privacy concerns surge ever higher, some educators are pushing to replace the concept of “digital footprints”—the trail of data created by internet use—with “digital tattoos.”

A June study published in the Economics of Education Review says that shortening school weeks may cut costs for districts, but also increases the crime rates of students. (Gettyimages.com: pixomedesign).

Shortening school weeks may cut costs for districts, but the practice also increases student crime rates, according to a June study published in the Economics of Education Review.

AND YOU GET A CAR!—Madison Wilson, a 2017 graduate of West Creek High School, was excited to realize she was the winner of the AP Pass and Go! car last summer. Given the choice of three different models, she drove away in a Toyota Yaris. ( Brittany Persun, CMCSS).

Students at Clarksville-Montgomery County School System can win a brand-new Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio—or other prizes, such as gift cards—if they score a 3 or higher on exams.

Statewide teacher strikes and walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and Kentucky left students out of school for days while superintendents scrambled.

Computational thinking covers more than learning how to code or even how to use computers. Rather, it teaches problem-solving techniques that draw heavily on logic, sequencing, and trial and error.

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