Transforming Teaching and Learning

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Posted:
August 31, 2010 08:16 pm

TransformingTeaching_LearningWhile 36 states plus the District of Columbia have moved to adopt the common core state standards, to fundamentally improve teacher and leader effectiveness, the federal government will need to provide support for their implementation.  Setting standards is only the first step in an improvement process; states must implement assessments that measure whether students are meeting the standards, develop or acquire curricular materials aligned to the standards, and, most importantly, must prepare teachers to teach to the new standards. The federal government can have an important role in improving teacher education by leveraging resources and creating incentives to enable states to develop systems consistent with expectations for student learning.

Traditional licensure exams have come under attack for their lack of authenticity and ability to measure whether teachers will be effective in the classroom. On the other hand, studies show that that rigorous, validated, standards-based performance measures, such as those used by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, can be a powerful tool for capturing how teaching is enacted in a complex context and for providing feedback for continuous improvement. These measures use multiple elements such as direct observations and videotapes, analyses of student work, and measures of student learning. They can serve a number of policy purposes—to strengthen the quality of preparation and credentialing programs, induction systems, professional learning and licensure, and compensation and advancement. The federal government could support the development of robust teacher performance assessments that serve as a key component of evaluation systems along with the use of growth measures for student achievement.

Professional learning and continuing education should focus—not solely on the accumulation of course credits—but on developing skilled practice by providing teachers with more coherence in the feedback and supervision they receive. In addition, support and training should address the urgent need to conceptualize teaching differently, shape differentiated roles for teachers and school leaders, and create novel team-based approaches to organizing learning environments.  Educator development policies that ignore using a fuller, fairer sense of teachers’ performance will, in effect, serve to undermine teaching as a profession.

One of the most important ways that the federal government can support the improvement of teacher preparation is by investing in research in effective practice. A recent report by the National Research Council found that the state of research on teacher preparation is woefully inadequate; the study could not find answers to some of the most basic questions about a critical component of the U.S. education system. By placing a priority on research on teacher preparation, and disseminating results widely, the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences can build the knowledge base about effective practices and drive improvements.

To learn more about the misalignment of current policies that shape teacher development in the United States and ways to reframe human capital systems to deliver on the promise of next-generation learning, check out a Call for Action: Transforming Teaching and Learning to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers.

Categories:
Common Core State Standards

Morning Announcements: August 31, 2010

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Posted:
August 31, 2010 03:52 pm


Morning_AnnouncementsEducation Week
takes a look at states’ progress in complying with No Child Left Behind’s requirement that states report graduation rates for subgroups of students, such as English-language learners or economically disadvantaged children.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles Arne Duncan and his career path leading up to serving as the 9th U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap, College & Career Readiness, Colorado, Illinois, No Child Left Behind, Oregon, Utah

Morning Announcements: August 30, 2010

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Posted:
August 30, 2010 04:05 pm

Morning_AnnouncementsNineteen states are participating in the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium, a pilot program to develop performance-based assessments for teacher candidates.

Washington Post columnist George Will writes about black children’s “Daunting divide in achievement and family life.” And education columnist Jay Matthews takes a look at how the achievement gap has been reported in the district.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap, Assessments, Louisiana, Texas

Project Win-Win

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Posted:
August 27, 2010 07:34 pm

The Institute for Higher Education Policy has paired up with the Lumina Foundation for Education to create Project Win-Win, an effort to contact former community college and college student dropouts and let them know that either a) their academic records qualify them for an associate’s degree that can be retroactively awarded or b) they were only short of earning an associate degree by a few credits and are welcome back to complete their education.

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Categories:
Dropout Factories, Higher Education

Morning Announcements 8.26.10

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Posted:
August 26, 2010 03:18 pm

Morning_AnnouncementsYesterday in Little Rock, Secretary Duncan asked public schools to provide educators with a more student achievement data and parents with more  information on teacher effectiveness, according to the Washington Post.

In Indiana, more than 21,000 Indiana high school students earned college credits through Ivy Tech Community College last year which saved parents more than $10 million in tuition bills according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

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Categories:
Georgia, High School Graduation Rates, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon

Time is of the essence

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Posted:
August 25, 2010 06:08 pm

School_ClosedforSummerThere has been much discussion in Washington, as well as in school districts around the nation, about how time can be used to provide expanded learning opportunities for students (especially those who are low-performing and at risk of dropping out).  With a high school dropout rate that should keep all of us up at night and U.S. students underperforming their international counterparts, there is good reason for educators, communities, and policymakers to be thinking about how time is being used (or misused) in schools.

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Categories:
College & Career Readiness

Morning Announcements: August 25, 2010

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Posted:
August 25, 2010 03:34 pm

Morning_AnnouncementsRead all about state reaction to yesterday’s Race to the Top announcement below (winners are noted in bold and the other states listed were finalists):

 

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Categories:
Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas

New Video Available: Implementing Common Standards to Achieve Equity

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Posted:
August 25, 2010 03:19 am

On Monday, the Campaign for High School Equity and its partners, including the Alliance, hosted a webinar on implementing the common core state standards to achieve equity. Check out video from the event:

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Categories:
Common Core State Standards, Equity