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July 05, 2013

Can Our Unions Praise Common Core Standards and Defeat High Stakes Tests?

If we embrace the Common Core, and position ourselves as expert implementers, we cannot help but legitimize these standards as a solid set of benchmarks for student performance.

July 03, 2013

Will Union-Led Implementation Rescue the Common Core?

In the real world, there is no way that Common Core standards and assessments will be "fair to students" when they are used to evaluate teachers and close schools.

June 18, 2013

The Common Core Loses This Teacher's Support

By attaching them to government initiatives such as high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation, the standards are being used as an instrument to standardize and control public education in the US.

June 14, 2013

Merrow's Mockery Misses the Mark on Common Core

Common Core standards are not the end of the world. They are, however, an obstacle to the reclaiming of our profession, rather than a vehicle.

June 01, 2013

Is the Tea Party Right About the Common Core?

Although it may be hard for some education leaders to acknowledge, the substance of the Tea Party's criticism of common-core standards is solid

May 20, 2013

Will the Data Warehouse Become Every Student and Teacher's "Permanent Record"?

inBloom, the non-profit started with a hundred million dollar investment from the Gates Foundation, is planning to create a digital record which, barring catastrophe, truly could be a permanent record of every K12 student, from their first interaction with the schools to the last. The amount of information they are planning to collect is staggering. Here are the several hundred categories, which include academic records, attendance records, test results of all sorts, disciplinary incidents, special ed accommodations, and more.

May 16, 2013

Dystopia: A Possible Future of Teacher Evaluation

This is a future I believe is possible given the systems and structures being promoted by technocrats like Gates. This is NOT the way the system has been described by Bill Gates or any of his representatives. They tend to use the language of feedback and collaboration. But as I have been asking, if collaboration is the goal, why must this be embedded in an evaluation process, which has the goal of determining who ought to be fired?

May 14, 2013

Monty Neill: Authentic Assessment as Part of a Testing Reform Campaign

Across the nation, a rebellion is brewing against testing overuse and misuse. But just saying "no" isn't enough. In fact, high-quality feedback from assessment is vital to teaching and learning. Students, teachers and parents need to know whether kids are making progress. Communities and taxpayers deserve to know if schools are serving children well and children are succeeding. To win change, activists must offer proposals for better assessment systems coupled with demands to end harmful practices.

May 06, 2013

Will a Year's Delay Save the Common Core? A Response to Weingarten's Proposal

Teachers - and union leaders -- may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further "disrupt the public school monopoly," spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

May 01, 2013

Are Education Innovators Channeling B.F. Skinner?

So what is wrong with these machines and this mechanical "personalization"? The modern versions of the teaching machines are certainly more sophisticated than these dinosaurs of the 1950s. But they have more in common than just the promises made on their behalf. If we look over the shoulders of children in computer labs today, most of the programs are variations of those described by Dr. Skinner. Students are given a short text or math problem and must provide the correct answer. Often there is a game or snazzy cartoon characters who dress up the process and make it more fun, but the essence has not changed much. Students follow a course of study with bits of learning sprinkled along a pathway, and then take periodic tests to show they have mastered that mouthful.

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