We all expect students to be open to learning better ways of doing things. But sometimes as adults, being open to new ideas about something you already know can be challenging—but ultimately invigorating and worthwhile.
Supporting the Students of Massachusetts
Stating the obvious, K–12 educational assessment is a complicated business. It’s not just because education standards and federal assessment requirements change. Throw in politics, state legislation, and the extremely public debates about testing, and it’s remarkable that progress is made at all.
Measured Progress was a sponsor of the recent Education Week event, Leaders to Learn From, where thirteen school-district leaders from around the country were recognized for their vision, hard work, and impact. These are the innovators that seek to improve the lives of their students, teachers, families, and communities. Listening to the leaders describe their work, we were inspired to hear what district administrators can accomplish—in spite of major obstacles like budget cuts, staffing shortages, and more.
Limitations of “Off-the-Shelf” District Assessments
Smarter tests. Less testing time. Quality data. Important needs that we frequently hear about when it comes to K–12 assessment. All assessment companies want to bring you products that meet these needs while delivering accurate results. No one wants to set students up for failure or waste time; we want testing that gives districts and teachers accurate measures of learning to inform instruction.
Bridging the Instructional Gap
Five million students across 11 states and the District of Columbia took the PARCC® tests in 2014–2015. These assessments are intended to measure the extent to which students are meeting the expectations of new, more rigorous college- and career-ready standards. Many participating states’ districts, schools, students, and parents were disappointed by lower-than-expected results from the exams. The message to these states was clear: Schools need to address the gap between instructional strategies and the high expectations of the standards measured by the PARCC tests.
Amid fallout from PARCC® and Smarter Balanced® and uncertainty about state testing programs, recent news reports indicate that the consortia and individual states are moving on. And, with the ESEA reauthorization, the federal government is moving forward, too.