Leading Large-Scale Improvement in Literacy Achievement

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April 12, 2016 11:15 am

The inclusion of the Literacy for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 provides an enormous opportunity for states and districts to address the national literacy crisis. Leadership at the federal, state, and local levels is imperative to ensure that the nation’s students graduate from high school with the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. Results from the most recent administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, show though that students’ literacy skills continue to lag. More than 60 percent of eighth graders and 60 percent of twelfth graders scored below the “proficient” level in reading achievement on NAEP. In fact, during the past four decades, the literacy performance of seventeen-year-olds on NAEP has remained flat.

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Every Student Succeeds Act

Core of the Matter: Ensuring Equitable Access to Excellent Educators (#CoreMatters)

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November 03, 2015 02:37 pm

Graduates

The following blog post is another in the Alliance’s“Core of the Matter” blog series focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students. It was written by Mariana Haynes, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Teaching quality is recognized as the most powerful school-based factor in student learning. Even though nearly all states have adopted the Common Core or other rigorous standards for college and career readiness, commitment rarely has existed across state and district lines to ensure all students have equitable access to effective teaching. In particular, disparities in the distribution of skilled teachers placed in high-need high schools have persisted despite provisions to ensure teacher equity in the last reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

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Common Core Equity Series

edTPA Affirmed as Measure of Readiness to Teach

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September 30, 2015 02:57 pm

Researchers and educators are learning that the differences in student academic performance that they observe between schools often mask even greater variations in student performance schools. The issue appears to be less about unequal schools and more about unequal classrooms. The teacher to which a student is assigned matters more than the school he or she attends.

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Improving Beginning Teacher Effectiveness

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July 14, 2015 12:30 pm

Recently I attended the Third Annual Mid-Atlantic edTPA Implementation Conference at Towson University, Maryland. This conference brought together educator preparation program faculty, state and local education agencies, and K-12 leaders from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to focus on the implementation and impact of edTPA, a performance assessment that provides evidence that teachers beginning their careers are ready to teach.

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Educator Voices: Scaling Literacy Improvement in Pennsylvania

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July 10, 2015 09:49 am

Last month I attended Pennsylvania’s Literacy Conference—“Literacy is for Life.”  Indeed! That is an apt summation of my own career-long enterprise to witness at last large-scale literacy improvement showcased in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania is one of six states awarded a five-year federal Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant to implement a comprehensive birth-through-grade-twelve literacy plan that targets students with the greatest literacy needs. The conference brought together district and school leaders, teachers, and learning specialists who are deeply engaged in scaling improved literacy instruction and achievement across the state.

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Literacy

Birth-through-Grade-Twelve Comprehensive Literacy Program (#ageofliteracy)

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April 14, 2015 12:45 pm

In this era of rapid global change, poor literacy skills seriously constrain an individual’s likelihood of attaining a sustainable future. Over the past four decades, the share of jobs requiring some form of postsecondary education continues to rise, while the literacy performance of American thirteen- and seventeen-year-olds remains flat according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  More than 60 percent of twelfth-grade students scored below the proficient level in reading achievement, and 27 percent scored below the basic level in reading. This means these lowest-performing high school seniors do not even have partial mastery of the appropriate grade-level knowledge and skills.

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Literacy

Leveraging Innovation to Increase Educational Attainment

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April 01, 2015 12:51 pm

On March 11, in partnership with MDRC, the Alliance held a webinar on leveraging innovation to increase educational attainment, focusing on a number of initiatives that provide powerful evidence of what matters most for student success and school improvement.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the archived video.

The good news is that as of 2013, the United States posted an on-time high school graduation rate of 81 percent—the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates. Likewise, the knowledge about improving graduation rates and students’ college and career readiness continues to accelerate. As a result, over 1.7 million more students have graduated in the past decade, mostly driven by improvements in the graduation rates for African American and Latino students.

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Core of the Matter: We Actually Do Have to Teach Everyone (#CoreMatters)

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December 02, 2014 11:03 am

The English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for speaking, listening, reading, and writing present a framework that places literacy within content-area learning. These new rigorous expectations for what students know and can do are meant to complement the knowledge demands within a subject area. Accordingly, these standards emphasize a shared responsibility for advancing students’ literacy proficiencies across subject areas. However, improvements in literacy instruction and performance at scale are unlikely without the creation of a strong, visible, transparent common culture of literacy practice. This has proven to be a key challenge in American high schools.

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Common Core Equity Series

Draft of 2014 School Leadership Standards Open for Public Comment

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September 25, 2014 10:25 am

In response to the increased performance expectations for education leaders, two national organizations have released draft “refreshed” standards that outline the leadership skills and knowledge effective district and school leaders need to advance teaching and student learning. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) are seeking public feedback on the draft 2014 Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards via an online survey through October 10. The comments will be used to further refine the standards for release later this fall.

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Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers

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August 06, 2014 03:47 pm

High annual turnover rates seriously compromise the nation’s capacity to ensure that all students have access to skilled teaching. On July 17, the Alliance in partnership with the New Teacher Center, held a webinar to discuss meaningful support for the growing number of beginning teachers who are less likely to stay in teaching. The webinar served as the release of a new Alliance report On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers—that examines research on teacher turnover, induction, and the optimal conditions to improve retention and teacher effectiveness. Dr. Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, who contributed the report’s analyses of state attrition costs and served as a webinar panelist, contends, “In short, the data suggest that school staffing problems are rooted in the way schools are organized and the way the teaching occupation is treated.”

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