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Posts Tagged ‘Standards’

ESEA Reauthorization Hearing: Standards and Assessments

Thursday, April 29th, 2010


At yesterday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, “ESEA Reauthorization: Standards and Assessments,” much of the focus was on common core standards, college and career readiness, computer adaptive testing and multiple measures.

In his opening statement, Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) stressed the need for high standards in part because the cost of remediation for students entering postsecondary is in the billions, and more than 50 percent of high school students entering the workforce do not have the skills they need to do their jobs. Ranking member Michael Enzi (WY) agreed that students need to be held to high standards that prepare them for college and careers. He also stated that it is important for states to use various assessment models that measure higher order skills and 21st century skills that employers value.

Regarding college and career readiness, Dr. Cynthia Schmeiser of ACT told the committee that they believe that college readiness and career readiness are one in the same – the math and reading skills that students need to enter their first year of postsecondary are identical to the math and reading skills high school graduates need to enter the workforce. This definition differs from NASDCTEc’s.  We believe that while there is overlap between the knowledge and skills individuals need to successfully transition into postsecondary education and into the workforce, additional competency will be needed depending on the path a student chooses.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, much of the dialogue was related to CTE:

By Nancy in Legislation
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CTE State Directors Take Helms of Opportunity, Unveil New Vision for CTE

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

June SanfordThe world is changing at a rapid rate and as a result the nation’s education system has a new range of issues to face. A confluence of occurrences — national fiscal challenges, a flattening globe, and the winds of technology – has given rise to new economic challenges that have been impacting all sectors of our society, including education.

But with those challenges also comes opportunity, particularly for career technical education (CTE) – a system that addresses the nation’s needs to educate and train the economy to success. Recognizing the responsibility we have as leaders in the CTE community to combat these challenges, State Directors across the nation have taken the helms of rethinking how CTE serves individuals, the economy and society.

Recently, we have undertaken a major revamp of the guiding principles that have mapped our course for CTE in recent years. Acknowledging global influences, the evolution of the economy and the interconnectedness of all education stakeholders – from secondary to postsecondary, and educators to industry leaders – State Directors have a created a formal, unified plan for the way we will lead CTE into this new era.

New Vision Cover IconThat new plan is laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, which is a vision paper that is designed to serve as a guiding document to lead a new, progressive course for CTE. While spearheaded by State Directors, the vision paper is a product of teamwork that involved educators and administrators of all education levels, a mix of education associations, student groups and industry leaders. The principles reflect the effort to include and align the priorities of our valued stakeholders, who are all needed to successfully take CTE to the next level.

This vision paper highlights the major areas in which we recognize CTE must transform in order to best serve individuals. However, this is more than just a call to action. Our vision paper includes specific tasks that we have imposed on ourselves and ask of our peer stakeholders to implement. The tasks and vision are framed around the themes of five principles:

Already, CTE has played a leading role in equipping individuals for the jobs of today. While State Directors are looking to maintain our responsibility, we also accept the new, challenging task of preparing individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. A door has opened for CTE to showcase the value it holds for individuals and the nation as a whole. We have chosen not to squander this opportunity and the plan in our vision paper demonstrates just that.

June Sanford, President

By Erin in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Obama Administration Releases ESEA Blueprint

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This weekend, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with the goal of raising expectations of students and rewarding schools for producing dramatic gains in student achievement. The blueprint builds on the reforms currently being undertaken through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including:

Many of these priorities align to the areas of focus in NASDCTEc’s ESEA reauthorization recommendations.

Of particular note in the blueprint is the administration’s plan for funding for assessments in the law, which CTE could be a part of [emphasis added]:

“States will receive formula grants to develop and implement high-quality assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and mathemat­ics that accurately measure student academic achievement and growth, provide feedback to support and improve teaching, and measure school success and progress. States may also use funds to develop or implement high-quality, rigorous statewide assessments in other academic or career and technical subjects, high school course assessments, English language proficiency assessments, and interim or formative assessments. Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states. The program also will support competitive grants to consortia of states, and to other entities working in partnership with states, for research on, or development and improvement of, additional high-quality assessments to be used by multiple states in such areas as science, history, or foreign languages; high school course assessments in academ­ic and career and technical subjects; universally designed assessments; and assessments for English Learners and students with disabilities.”

CTE may also benefit from the proposed grant program to increase access to accelerated learning opportunities  that help students prepare for, or directly provide, college-level work such as dual enrollment and early-college programs.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify before both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday to discuss the blueprint.

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Data Quality Campaign Releases Annual Survey on Elements of Longitudinal Data Systems

Friday, February 5th, 2010

In order to track student progress and answer critical policy questions, states have been developing longitudinal data systems. The Data Quality Campaign’s Compendium report provides a national overview on state progress toward implementing the ten elements below:

According to the report, data on course-taking and grades (element 6), college readiness test scores (element 7), and other feedback from post-secondary institutions (element 9) can help determine whether high school courses and graduation standards are aligned with college and workplace expectations.

By Ramona in Publications, Research
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House Hearing on Common Core Standards

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Earlier this week, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing, “Improving Our Competitiveness: Common Core Education Standards”, to look at the work being done by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop common math and English standards.

Witnesses included:

Chairman George Miller (CA-7) began the hearing by lauding the common standards as critical in preparing students for college and careers in the global economy.  Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-5) also expressed support for voluntary common standards, but cautioned that the Administration’s requirement in the Race to the Top grant that States adopt common standards amounts to mandating adoption because States that do not adopt them will lose out on much needed education funding.

Some of the topics addressed were whether there would be common , or state-by-state, assessments; the opportunity to use online performance based assessments; whether the standards will help students who do not plan to attend a 4 year college, but may go to a community college, get technical training, or go straight to work after high school; and the role of the common standards in preparing a high skilled workforce.

You can access the full text of witness testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing at the committee’s website.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Common Core Initiative Moves Forward

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Leaders of the Common Core Initiative are gearing up for the adoption and implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards, which they plan to unveil in January. With that ball rolling, they also will then distribute a draft of the K-12 Standards for public review.

Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officer executive director, and Dane Linn National Governors Association Center of Best Practices education division director, provided an update of the Common Core Initiative at a public meeting Dec. 2. They focused on the timelines associated with the adoption and implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards, and the upcoming comment period that will be available for the K-12 standards. Further, they stressed that the standards at which they are developing are the best they can do based on the evidence on hand and encouraged the education community to advocate for more research and development as the project unfolds.

A validation committee is mulling over the more than 1,000 comments provided by the education community. They plan to unveil a revised document by early January. In the meantime, Common Core leaders are talking to about six states — among them Massachusetts, Colorado, and Minnesota — about adoption and implementation of the standards. While they expect a significant number of states to adopt the standards, they are looking for a select group of states to take the helms of implementation – obviously the more difficult and complicated phase of the initiative. Dane said they will be looking for “proof points” to provide models of successful implementation. Also, they will be examining state policies that may help or hinder Common Core implementation.

Representatives from the National Association of School Boards of Education, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association re-affirmed their support for the initiative and described the outreach efforts they have been making to foster buy-in from their membership. For implementation to be successful they acknowledged that support from school boards and unions are critical.

The K-12 Standards will follow a similar review process. The first iteration of the standards will be released in January and subject to comment and validation.

By Erin in Meetings and Events, Public Policy
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Heavy lifting still ahead for Common Core Initiative

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The window to comment on the Common Core Initiative draft has recently closed, but discussions over the proposal are far from over. While a designated committee has just begun to mull over input provided by leading education stakeholders, the rest of the education community is wrestling with how it will orchestrate all the necessary support systems for such an initiative to be successfully adopted, implemented and utilized to improve student outcomes.

Most recently, at a Fordham Institute forum — National Education Standards circa 2009: Where do we go from here? — on Wednesday, experts’ talks about standards and implementation underscored the vast scope of reform efforts that the common core undertaking will demand from the entire education community – educators, policymakers, administrators, postsecondary institutions, industry and more.

“None of this is serious unless we have radical rethinking,” said Sandy Kress, former senior education advisor to President George W. Bush.

Other panelists – Sheila Byrd Carmichael, an education policy consultant; Dane Linn, director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices director; and W. Stephen Wilson, Johns Hopkins University professor of mathematics – echoed Kress’s notions of some form adjustment in the nation’s education beyond adopting standards.

For example, the adoption of new, rigorous math standards would impose a ripple effect on the education community from elementary to postsecondary, the experts noted. New standards in K-12 classrooms would then lead to new standards for teacher training programs at the postsecondary level. That would require teacher preparation departments to collaborate intensely with mathematics departments — a partnership that has been difficult for schools and institutions across the nation to build.

In the policy arena, the impact of raised standards on student achievement, particularly in the beginning when students are least likely to perform well, would also shake the political community, they noted. How will the education community convince politicians to support the Common Core Initiative through policy and funding, despite the inevitable backlash that will occur when students do not meet these new, high standards?

Clearly, setting new expectations is just the beginning of this process.

By Erin in Public Policy
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Success at Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

This new American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) compendium publication describes programs that have been proven to help young people successfully complete high school and be prepared for success in postsecondary education and careers. These programs represent a wide range of interventions, including school-wide reform initiatives, community-based afterschool services, work-based learning opportunities, and college access programs. From an analysis of the included programs, the report identifies common programmatic and structural elements that may contribute to their effectiveness and summarizes key outcomes, such as the following:

 The publication also includes a logic model that illustrates the complexity of the process of preparing youth to succeed in careers, lifelong learning, and civic engagement, as well as the various systems and service providers that support youth at each step of the developmental pipeline.

Executive Summary

By Ramona in Publications, Research
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Select CTE classes match Michigan’s tough math graduation requirements, lawmakers say

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Last week, political leaders in Michigan, a state that boasts some of the toughest graduation requirements in the nation, are seeking an addendum to its high school provisions: allow students to earn their required algebra II credits through a comparable CTE class instead of a traditional math course.

CTE advocates would say the proposal is testament to the rigor of quality CTE programs that exist across the nation and underscores the role CTE can play in the movement for high-rigor academic standards.

The notion that CTE programs can be an equal among high-rigor reform tools may be gaining traction among education and lawmakers. Michigan House and Senate each passed similar bills that would allow select CTE programs such as electronics, welding and computer-assisted design to replace traditional algebra II classes if academic material was woven in the classes, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

**A previous blog stated that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was opposed to the CTE substitute proposal, however she is in support of the legislation. Granholm is opposed to a different legislative initiative that would allow students to bypass the Algebra II requirement altogether.

By Erin in Legislation, Public Policy
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Common Core State Standards Initiative

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Today, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers held the second in a series of informational sessions to share progress and get feedback regarding their work on the Core State Standards Initiative.  The Initiative will develop two sets of common state standards in mathematics and language arts – one that ensures college and career readiness, the other that sets grade-by-grade benchmarks for grades K-12 – that states can voluntarily adopt.  Standards in science and social studies are expected in the future.  To date, 46 states and 3 territories have joined the Initiative.  By doing so, they agree that their governor and state commissioner of education will help to develop a common core of state standards.  These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills.

Currently, each state has its own set of standards which makes it difficult for students to transition between states.  Inconsistency also means that students may be learning at different levels.  In order for the next generation of American workers to compete globally, they must all be learning the skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace at the same level.   CCSSO President-Elect and Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron said, “Common standards will provide educators clarity and direction about what all children need to succeed in college and the workplace and allow states to more readily share best practices that dramatically improve teaching and learning.  Our graduates and frankly, the future of our economy, cannot wait any longer for our educational practices to give equal opportunity for success to every student.”

A draft of the college and career ready standards are expected to be completed in July 2009, while a draft of the grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009.  These drafts will be assessed by an expert validation committee which will provide an independent review of the common standards.  After validation, the states will have three years to adopt the standards, if they so choose.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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