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Articles: Standards

 Many changes under ESSA will help underserved students better prepare for post-secondary opportunities.

New series of toolkits designed to help administrators meet next-generation high school standards explains many of the ESSA law’s main components—particularly those that relate to educational funding.

Inquiry-based instruction allows teachers to translate the C3 framework for social studies standards into hands-on classroom lessons ( Henrik Jonsson)

Technology is quickly becoming a popular tool in social studies classrooms as teachers find ways to make history come alive for their students, who simultaneously learn about content and improve their technology skills.

Michigan has transformed its arts assessment model by introducing a website where teachers can share assignments and grade them using a common rubric. Many sample projects, above and right, were uploaded to the site during field testing.

Four years of development in Michigan has produced an arts platform where educators can share a curriculum and better methods for assessing student work. The instructional materials align with the Every Student Succeeds Act, which emphasizes the arts as part of a “well-rounded education.”

By revamping the much-maligned No Child Left Behind law of 2001 with the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, the federal government gives states more control over their own school accountability standards. How much change occurs will depend directly on each state’s legislative actions

Never too young to learn money: A young student from P.S. 175 in Queens, New York gets a lesson on coin amounts at a Family Financial Literacy Night event sponsored by the Council for Economic Education.

More than 51 percent of young adults say a high school money management class would have benefited their lives, according to a study. While 45 states include personal finance in state standards, only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course.

Another group of states in 2015-16 deployed their own Common Core-aligned assessments.

Another group of states in 2015-16 deployed their own Common Core-aligned assessments, adding greater momentum to a national shift away from the PARCC and Smarter Balanced testing consortia.

Feedback in words: A Jefferson County Public Schools teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, gives a student feedback on a Common Core-aligned writing assignment.

More than five years after many states implemented Common Core, the impact on student achievement remains unclear—though some states show small academic gains, with persistent achievement gaps.

Diane Stark Rentner, the deputy director of Center on Education Policy, says teacher morale will improve if they have more say in the directions of their directions.

A new survey not only indicates that public school teachers are frustrated with shifting policies, but a majority are losing enthusiasm for the job. Moreover, nearly half say they would quit teaching now if they could find a higher-paying job.

27 states identify the arts as a core academic subject and 49 states have adopted elementary and secondary standards for the arts. (Click to enlarge)

The arts survive in American education, despite pressures placed on school leaders to focus on high-stakes tests in math and English: 27 states identify the arts as a core academic subject and 49 states have adopted elementary and secondary standards for the arts.

Pomona USD in California has raised its graduation rate to 88 percent. The turnaround began when Pomona formed partnerships with several community organizations and nearby colleges.

No matter how cutting-edge the technology or advanced the curriculum, students have a hard time mastering essays and equations if they’re hungry, traumatized or feeling marginalized by a textbook’s inaccurate portrayal of their ethnic group.

Students attending the 38 schools in the New York Performance Standards Consortium complete practical assessments instead of high-stakes tests. (Photo: Roy Reid)

An alliance of New York schools continues to drop high-stakes tests in favor of performance-based assessments as the opt-out movement gathers steam.

The No Child Left Behind Era officially ended in December as President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law has been hailed by education leaders as an important re-correction.

Superintendent Klint W. Willert, of Brookings School District in South Dakota, says schools will move away from high-stakes tests in 2016.

Klint W. Willert

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 nationwide have more than 10 different titles for “literacy specialist."

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.