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Shared Curriculum, 3rd Grade Reading and Formative Tests

Our story and blog post about a high-profile call for common curriculum sparked a good amount of interest from you all. Those of you following this issue might want to take in some interesting blogosphere dialog about it as well.

Robert Pondiscio, over at the Core Knowledge blog, which has long advocated shared curriculum, weighed in about its value, and former Gates Foundation ed chief Tom Vander Ark, whose EdReformer blog advocates highly personalized learning via technology, opined that such a path takes us in completely the wrong direction. Pondiscio delivers a pointed response. Kathleen Porter-Magee, at the Flypaper blog, argues that states should focus on assessments, not curriculum.

Other things of interest around the curriculum world in the last couple of days:

• Core Knowledge tells us something about the potent role background knowledge plays in reading skill.

• The American School Board Journal devotes an entire issue to common standards.

• My colleague Sean Cavanagh over at the State EdWatch blog finds that states are increasingly constructing promotion gates around 3rd grade reading skill.

• Formative assessment, a topic of intense interest on our website and in this blog space, gets more discussion at Teacher Magazine.

• A retired testing expert in California raises a laundry list of intriguing questions for the state assessment consortia as that state's board of education ponders which consortia to participate in (California is currently a member only of the PARCC consortium).

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