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Report Round-Up: September 16, 2011

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September 16, 2011 06:13 pm

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“2011 College-Bound Seniors,” College Board

This annual report from the College Board shows that average scores on the SAT fell across the nation this year. Reading scores for the Class of 2011 fell three points to 497, the lowest on record, average writing scores dropped two points, to 489, and the math score was down one point, to 514. The College Board stated the decrease could be due to the increasing diversity of the students taking the test. Also, this year marked the highest number of students ever to take the SAT in one year.

“Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade,” Third Way
This report found that middle-class public schools – while they educate the majority of U.S. students — pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools. It also found middle-class schools are underachieving. It pointed to their national and international test scores and noted that 28 percent of their graduates earn a college degree by age 26, compared to 17 percent for lower-income students and 47 percent for upper-income students. Third Way, a Democratic think tank, based its report on data from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and national and international testing programs.

“Common Core State Standards: Progress and Challenges in School Districts’ Implementation,” Center on Education Policy
Barely half the school districts in states that have adopted the common standards are taking essential steps to implement them, and most cite inadequate state guidance as a major problem in moving forward, a new study finds, according to Education Week. Districts are also deeply divided about how rigorous the new standards are and how much they demand new curricula and instructional strategies, according to the survey released by the Center on Education Policy.

Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment Carnegie Corporation of New York/Alliance for Excellent Education

Effective assessments are promising tools to help ensure that students write well enough to meet grade-level demands, according to a new report from Carnegie Corporation of New York, released by the Alliance for Excellent Education on September 14. The report offers educators and policymakers with evidence-based practices on how assessment can improve the writing skills of American students. The report uses the powerful statistical method of meta-analysis to determine that classroom-based writing assessments can help students improve their writing skills. Additionally, these “formative” assessments allow teachers to gauge the effectiveness of their instructional practices, modify instruction as needed, and provide students with feedback on writing strengths and areas in need of improvement.

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