Superintendent, Brookings School District, South Dakota
Topic: Testing & assessment
Trend: Student achievement is measured by more than a single assessment score. The trend of moving toward multiple measures, not just a test score, to determine the quality of a teacher, a school, and district will continue to resound with the voting public. People are joining a new TEA Party - Tested Enough Already.
The new year may send familiar education challenges in new directions as administrators grapple with an uncertain testing landscape, staff shortages, the increased push for equity and constantly increasing charter competition.
Experts expect education budgets in most states to remain flat in 2016. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act should uphold the current Title I formula (aiding two-thirds of U.S. states) but reduce competitive grants.
Districts must navigate a larger number of titles and skill sets when hiring qualified literacy specialists to implement new learning standards and to improve students’ reading and writing performance.
Traditionally, a reading specialist worked in small groups or one-on-one with struggling students.
With students in grades 3 through 11 spending more than 20 hours per school year on testing, resistance and frustration over standardized assessments and learning standards may have reached critical mass.
District Administration presents its Year Ahead edition to help K12 educators navigate the new year. This special edition offers in-depth stories focused on the future of leadership, smart classrooms, assessments and standards, and technology. You’ll also results from reader surveys on curriculum, outsourcing, technology trends and facilities.
The reform movement has been, and perhaps always will be, on-going.
We have witnessed the enactment of No Child Left Behind, which had the admirable goal of having all children read on grade level by 2014. That was followed by Race to the Top, another program that required standardized testing.
Maryland’s largest district dropped final exams for many high school students this fall, with more of the state’s schools following suit to cut back on time students spend preparing for and taking tests.
School gardens used for instruction are on the rise nationwide, and with them, student engagement and test scores, according to a recent study.
The nonprofit REAL School Gardens works with corporations to build outdoor classrooms at low-income schools. The gardens include 150 square feet of vegetable beds, perennial and herb beds, rainwater collection systems, composting bins, earth science stations, and animal habitats.
Testing companies find themselves competing on a tougher playing field for state assessment contracts after a rocky first round of Common Core exams spurred new expectations from state and district education leaders.
Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education
Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential, proposes a transformation of the nation’s schools from an outmoded industrial system to a highly personalized, organic model.
Public outcry over new standards-aligned tests led some states to cut funding, changing the exam landscape for 2015-16.
In 2012, nearly every state was part of either PARCC or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. As of this July, just 18 states remained in Smarter Balanced, and 10 (plus Washington, D.C.) had stuck with PARCC. Twenty-two states opted to use their own assessments.