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Making Progress on Common Core

Sep 4, 2013

BRT President John Engler will join the Center for American Progress at 12:30 p.m. for a 90-minute discussion,"The Common Core State Standards and New Assessments."

Engler will give brief opening remarks and then participate in a panel with two leaders in state implementation of the standards, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday, and New York Commissioner of Education John King. (CAP news advisory: "Former Gov. John Engler, Education Experts to Discuss the Importance of Common Core State Standards for Long-Term Student Success.")

CAP will be live-tweeting the event from its @EdProgress account and using the hash-tag #CAPedu.

Worthwhile reading on the issue:

USA TODAY, Aug. 31, "More schools roll out Common Core guidelines":

LOUISVILLE — Standing in her classroom surrounded by place-value boards and colorful chips, Kathy Young looks over the desks of her fifth-graders and reminds them how to write multi-digit whole numbers using the standard form, word form and expanded form.

It's only the sixth day of school at Hite Elementary School, but Young wastes no time going over some of the math problems her students were expected to master at the end of fourth grade under the Common Core Standards, a set of academic guidelines designed by states that clearly describe what students need to know before they complete each grade level.

"The first few years of implementing the Common Core was hard because the kids didn't have the foundation," Young said. She and other Kentucky teachers were the first in the nation to implement the newer, tougher standards two years ago. "But now that the foundation has been laid, it's getting easier to teach, and the kids have responded well."

 This is good news, even if more rigorous testing produces a drop in scores, worrying parents, students and educators. Ultimately, however, higher standards lead to higher achievement -- assessment scores -- for students.

From New York State Education Department, Aug. 7 news release, " State Education Department Releases Grades 3-8 Assessment Results"

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today released the results of the April 2013 grades 3-8 math and English Language Arts (ELA) assessments. This year's state assessments are the first for New York students to measure the Common Core Learning Standards that were adopted by the State Board of Regents in 2010. King said that, as expected, the percentage of students deemed proficient is significantly lower than in 2011-12.

This change in scores – which will effectively create a new baseline of student learning – is largely the result of the shift in the assessments to measure the Common Core Standards, which more accurately reflect students' progress toward college and career readiness. King emphasized that the results do not reflect a decrease in performance for schools or students. The new assessments are a better, more accurate tool for educators, students, and parents as they work together to address the rigorous demands of the Common Core and college and career readiness in the 21st century.

"The world has changed, the economy has changed, and what our students need to know has changed," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "These scores reflect a new baseline and a new beginning. We have just finished the first year of a dramatic shift in teaching and learning. Teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards have worked extraordinarily hard to implement the Common Core. With the right tools, the right training, and continuous feedback and support, our teachers –the best teaching force in the country — will make sure all our students are prepared for college and career success in the 21st century.




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