Common Core, Value-Added, NAEP

Today's news includes a WBEZ story about Common Core, a CNC story about teacher evaluation, and a Tribune recap of the Consortium report debunking much of Chicago's "progress" over the past couple of decades.  Insiders may have long known that the test score increases weren't all that they were touted to be, but I think everyone's still digesting just how incomplete progress has been and how big the challenge ahead is going to be.

Teaching and Assessing under the Common Core WBEZ: Illinois is part of a 26-state consortium that is developing a new testing system for implementation in 2014–15. It is expected to show that students statewide have a lot further to go than ISAT exams have suggested.

Tough Questions on Changing Teacher Evaluations CNC/NYT:  Unlike some other states, Illinois does not require student-achievement data to account for least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, according to a report by the National Council on Teaching Quality. In Illinois, only students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 take a state-administered test in reading, math and, in some cases, science.

Little progress in closing gap between white and black students in Chicago Tribune:  For years, the conventional belief inside CPS was that African-American students were closing the gap.But the consortium's exhaustive report debunked that myth, at least when it comes to reading and math, de la Torre said.

More CPS students will soon be able to take City Colleges courses Sun Times: Starting in January, more Chicago Public High School students will be able to take classes at City Colleges — for free.

Meeks is the latest senator to not seek re-election Sun Times:  The Chicago Democrat, who has been in the Senate since 2003, and his North Shore counterpart, state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), are the sixth and seventh senators to announce plans to not seek re-election.

Students double down now for future gains, savings Tribune: Better preparing CPS students is the intent of a plan announced Sunday by City Colleges to double the size of its dual enrollment program.

Galewood New Charter School Dissent cpsobsessed: If you are in the boundaries and are inclined to support a new charter school, contact Cheryl at the information below.  If you are a teacher and are opposed to it, the union would probably welcome your support.

The high price of political payback at McCormick PlaceCrain's: Documents obtained by the Better Government Assn. last year revealed that Fogelson Properties provided the office rent-free and was paying Mr. Scott $10,000 a month as part of the developer's efforts to build the proposed Olympic Village. Mr. Scott was then serving on Mr. Daley's bid committee for the 2016 Olympic Games.

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  • It should be that when best practices are implemented, student performance should improve. So are our best practices, really best practices?

    It seems a lot of education terminology is aligned with medical jargon, e.g. prescriptive, diagnostic, suggesting that education problem solving is akin to medical problem solving. But medical best practices appear to be in a persistent state of flux, changing year to year, even though these practices are based on the scientific method. Should we expect the same for educational practices?

    I was in a physician's office the other day, and he was a member of the "No-Free-Lunch Society". These physicians pledge not to be influenced by the data provided by pharmaceutical companies and other vendors, and instead seek unbiased data on drugs and procedures, so as to make the best possible decision for a patient.
    If physicians find difficulty with the quality of data that is available to them, shouldn't educators be just as skeptical with the data available to them? How reliable is the data in education "research-based practices"? What outside influences can bias the data?

    If physicians at the grassroots level have to decide for themselves whether or not a treatment is best for the patient, are we expecting that teachers have to decide for themselves whether or not an instructional practice is best for students? Can central office and the networks be relied upon to do this vetting? Is this why improvements in student performance over the years has been hard to come by?

  • Although accountability trends explain why more data are available in schools, the question of what to do with the data remains primarily unanswered. Data provide a way to assess what students are learning and the extent to which students are making progress toward goals. However, making a sense of data requires concepts, theories, and interpretative frames of reference lacking in pre-service and in-service professional learning for teachers, teacher leaders, principals, and administrators. Using data systematically to ask questions and obtain insight about student progress in a logical way to monitor continuous improvement and tailor instruction to the needs of each student. Armed with data and the means to harness the information data can provide, educators can make instructional changes aimed at improving student achievement, such as:

    * prioritizing instructional time;
    * targeting additional individual instruction for students who are struggling with particular topics;
    * more easily identifying individual students' strengths and instructional interventions that can help students continue to progress;
    * gauging the instructional effectiveness of classroom lessons;
    * refining instructional methods; and
    * examining schoolwide common assessment data to consider whether and how to adapt the curriculum based on information about students' strengths and weaknesses.

  • meetings to discuss the draft school closing guidelines tonight and later this week, plus a board meeting this week.

    http://www.cps.edu/Calendar/Key_events/Pages/KeyEvents.aspx

  • nice blurb about harper high english teacher imram khan

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/ct-tribu-no-problem-pg,0,7977387.photogallery

  • can't wait to see you school's report card or missed getting one? here's CPS's handy dandy new map with information about individual schools that will be handed out on wed and thurs for regular track schools

    http://www.cps.edu/Spotlight/Pages/Spotlight263.aspx

  • the new CPS map with report cards is full of errors, says the welles park bullddog

    http://www.wellesparkbulldog.com/news/cps-map-errors-errors-and-more-errors

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