In fact, Wyoming’s test scores went up across the board that year — despite the fears of state education officials, who asked the federal government months before getting the results to throw out the 2010 data.
East Allen County Schools technology director Bill Diehl demonstrates how to use iTunes U on his iPad. Teachers in the district are building their own courses using Apple's electronic textbook distribution platform.
Last summer, East Allen County Schools made a push to put an iPad in the hands of every student, doubling the number of digital devices in the district.
The district didn’t add any technology staff, just miles of cable and a wireless access point in every classroom.
Right before school started, the technology department passed out 7,000 iPads to every sixth through twelfth grader in the district.
Then they waited.
“We had dire predictions at the end of the school year that people were going to walk off with them, that we were gonna have a mess,” says technology director William Diehl. “But I have to say, to the goodness of the hearts of our parents and students, we got them back.”
Schools across the country are launching one-to-one programs that put an iPad, laptop or other device in the hands of every student. But when it comes to technology, accidents happen: Screens crack, keyboards break, components fail.
The new guidelines make it easier for certain students — including those with special needs — to receive a voucher, prompting voucher advocates to predict the program’s participation (currently at more than 9,100 students) will only grow.
“Indiana was the fastest-growing first-year voucher program ever, and now the fastest-growing second-year voucher program ever,” says Bob Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Actually, I believe it will also become the fastest-growing third-year voucher program.” Continue Reading →
Bloomington fifth grader Georgie Stevens plays a computer game. On Monday, April 29, Georgie's class was likely among the first in Indiana to feel the impacts of the computer problems that ground testing to a halt across the state.
Almost as quickly as Georgie Stevens signed into her online ISTEP+ exam, the testing website kicked her out.
“It said, ‘Get off and get back on,’ there’s something wrong with it,” the Bloomington fifth grader remembers. “So I did.”
Then the site booted her out again. And again.
She asked for help, wondering at first whether her teacher still wanted her to finish the exam — but Georgie realized all of her classmates’ hands had shot up in the air too.
The eight students in Ben Davis High School’s AP Statistics class didn’t have time for senioritis. On Tuesday, their last day of high school ever, the eight college-bound seniors dressed up for a final presentation.
For the next step of their assignment — making formal recommendations for how to re-write the A-F model — Butts invited three state lawmakers, including House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, and a representative for state superintendent Glenda Ritz to the Indianapolis high school to hear their proposals.
Cathedral High School English teacher Melinda Bundy used to teach a research paper unit on the legends of King Arthur, but she's now using President John F. Kennedy's inauguration speech. Bundy made the switch because the Common Core State Standards require 70 percent of the texts high school students read come from nonfiction.
One of their concerns is the standard’s requirement that 70 percent of what high school students read come from nonfiction. But it’s unlikely the nonfiction requirement will go away because state law dictates whatever standards Indiana ends up with be modeled after the Common Core.
The idea is students should be reading more nonfiction in all classes, not just language arts. Yet some English teachers are skeptical their colleagues who teach subjects in which students don’t take statewide tests will take up the challenge. But Jeffrey Franklin, a social studies teacher at Mooresville High School, is already working to incorporate the Common Core in his classroom.
“Students need to read more complex texts that are going to be reflective of what they’re going to do outside of high school,” says Franklin. “That’s really the emphasis of the college- and career-readiness.” Continue Reading →
Kalen Phillips, left, and Cole Crouch, both students in the AP Statistics class at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, listen to a presentation from StateImpact Indiana's Kyle Stokes on the system state officials use to issue letter grade ratings to schools.
Officials won’t have to start from scratch. The Indiana General Assembly’s order still requires state officials to blend schools’ pass-fail rates on statewide tests (as they have since 1999) with a measure of students’ relative academic “growth” (as last year’s re-write prescribed) in the re-written school letter grading system.
But in passing House Enrolled Act 1427, lawmakers took aim at the method state officials chose to measure student growth — a method critics charge is so complicated that even state superintendent Glenda Ritz cannot advise local educators how to improve their final rating.
Kindergarteners and first graders are already being taught using the Common Core State Standards. Indiana planned to add second grade next year, but that plan has been put on hold pending a legislative review.
But what happens next is unclear. According to the bill Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last week, the State Board of Education can take no further action to implement the Common Core State Standards. Yet the legislation also leaves any standards adopted before May 15, 2013 in place.
Proponents of the new standards argue pausing implementation of the Common Core will leave teachers unsure what to teach next year. But the bill’s statehouse advocate disagrees.
“I don’t know how stopping and taking another look at this in any way is worse than moving forward with something we think is bad,” says Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis. Continue Reading →
John Rice, a math teacher at Schmucker Middle School in Mishawaka, talks students in his eighth grade Algebra I class through a set of homework problems. Students in this class will take the Algebra I End of Course Assessment this year.
Indiana law requires all students to take two exams to earn a full high school diploma, and Britton Sofhauser has already taken one of them: the Algebra I End-of-Course Assessment.
Most students see the Algebra I “ECA” for the first time in ninth grade. Sofhauser passed it — easily — when he was in seventh grade.
“[My teacher] made it sound like the hardest test ever, but I think that was just so we’d study more,” says Sofhauser, now an eighth grader at Schmucker Middle School in Mishawaka.
Though Sofhauser takes advanced math classes, he’s hardly an exception.