Ryan Davis starts a new unit in his geometry class at Central High School in Louisville, Ky. Davis has been teaching Common Core since 2011 and says the new standards appropriately narrow the number of topics math teachers are expected to cover.
This spring, as Indiana lawmakers debated whether to leave the Common Core initiative, students in neighboring Kentucky were taking new state tests aligned to the nationally-crafted academic standards.
Jamitra Fulleord says her teachers didn’t talk to students about the Common Core specifically, but they did say the new tests would be harder.
“So when the test comes around, of course we’re all nervous,” says Fulleord, a senior at Central High School in Louisville, Ky. “We’re like oh no, we already have like the ACT and the SAT staring at us in the face, so we’re going to have this really hard test.”
And, says Fulleord, the new test was harder. Across Kentucky, the number of students reaching proficiency fell dramatically when the state started testing the more rigorous standards. But they’re back up slightly now. That’s good news not just for Kentucky education officials, but also for education policy watchers here who are looking for signs of what Indiana will do next. Continue Reading →
The trio of education polls we wrote about last week show only 38 percent of Americans can identify the new, nationally-crafted academic standards adopted by 45 states, including Indiana (we know regular StateImpact readers are among that enlightened third).
Jay Kenworthy is spokesman for Stand For Children, a pro-Common Core advocacy group that’s been active in statehouse conversations about the Common Core.
“This was a national poll,” Kenworthy told WFIU’s Will Bray. “In Indiana, the polling has shown that Hoosiers are more aware generally than their national counterparts because it’s been such a hot-button topic.”
How did former state superintendent Tony Bennett lift not only Christel House Academy’s state A-F grade, but more than 160 Indiana schools’ performance ratings as well? We explain the ‘subscore ceiling,’ and how lifting that ceiling impacted many schools’ grades.
UPDATED, September 6: Below, we’ve added audio from a companion radio piece we sent statewide this week. More on the developments in the story here.
Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has stepped down as Florida Education Commissioner after the Associated Press released emails indicated his staff changed the letter grades of more than a dozen schools.
The announcement came the day after former state superintendent Tony Bennett resigned his post as Florida Education Commissioner following the release of emails showing his staff changed the letter grades for more than a dozen charter schools during his time in Indiana.
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.