New technology-based assessments will replace standardized bubble tests.
Last September, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced: “Today is a great day! I have looked forward to this day for a long time–and so have America’s teachers, parents, students, and school leaders.”
Duncan was excited about a new way of testing students, one that goes “beyond the bubble test,” the standardized assessments students take every year that have long been criticized as not only useless in measuring any kind of real learning, but actually detrimental to the entire education system.
“If done incorrectly, the adoption of these assessments has the potential to lock our education system for another decade or more.”
With stakes so high, teachers, parents, and school administrators are watching the developments of the new tests closely. The actual details of what these new assessments will look like is being revealed along the way– and it’s extremely complicated. In brief, two separate groups — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium — are using the federal government’s Race to the Top Funds to come up with the new testing systems, which will be used by different states. (You can read much more about the details in this recent story in Education Week.)
Both groups will create tests using technology in both administering and scoring and will measure “performance-based tasks, designed to designed to mirror complex, real-world situations,” according to the New York Times. Continue reading →
Following last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama, the White House will host a State of the Union Education Roundtable on Thursday, Jan. 27.
PBS Teachers has been asked to solicit questions from teachers about the education issues the President raised. A sampling of popular questions will be posed to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during the livestreamed Education Roundtable event on January 27th at 3:15pm. Submissions and voting for questions will close at 12pm on Thursday, January 27th.
And below, a clip of the event: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks with Gwen Ifill on PBS about the dire need for American students to be able to keep up with other countries that are outperforming them. If we don’t reverse this, Duncan says there will be a “massive permanent recession,” and continued high unemployment.
With the goal of raising the proportion of college graduates from 41 to 60 percent in the U.S. and closing the achievement gap to prepare all students equally to start college or careers, the DOE today laid out its master plan on how to pull the American education system — by hook or by crook — to the 21st century.
I haven’t been able to scour the entire 124-page document yet, but just from reading the executive summary, it looks very promising. The DOE advocates for letting go of archaic practices and embracing technology to engage students, connect educators and learners, invest and build the crumbling infrastructure, and be fearless in redesigning traditional school models. Continue reading →
Ifanyi Bell has been a classroom teacher, a filmmaker, and currently develops and produces educational media for web-based, digital asset repositories at KQED.
By Ifanyi Bell
The U.S. Department of Education just launched an interesting, eye-catching new website, Teach.gov, intended to spearhead the department’s push to support the teaching profession. All it took was a single glance for my brain to be set simultaneously at ease and to be titillated. Was this a government website? With Flash? And color? And Oprah?
This is exactly the kind of initiative that the DOE needs to undertake in order to make itself more present as an organization. It’s a simple idea: Be more visible. Make a statement about the vision of education in America. Be an accessible source of support and guidance for our nations’ educators, and those aspiring to the task. Use the color orange.
In an administration that has hung its hat on the concept of change, it behooves our representatives and leaders to better manage the education brand. Having been an educator working in Boston Public Schools, it was easy to recognize the inconsistency of vision and motivation among school administrators, teachers and parents.
In an environment where there are myriad stakeholders, perspectives and needs, what we need now is for the leaders of our educational system to lead with a distinctive presence. An initiative to let educators across the nation know that regardless of their perspective, or their diverse ideas about how to teach, that they are not alone out there fighting for the minds of our youth against materialism, violence, racism, shrinking budgets, sexism, homophobia and video games. This might just be that voice.
We got a glimpse into Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s vision for the American public education system Monday during his conversation with journalists at Education Nation.
Recruiting qualified educators, and supporting, elevating, and giving incentives to teachers are his top priorities.
Anticipating that 1 million baby-boom generation teachers will be retiring in the next few years, Duncan announced the launch of Teach.gov, a full-scale national campaign on the part of the federal government to recruit teachers.
“This is about a call to service… Our ability to attract and retain teachers will shape the future of education in the next 25 to 30 years,” he said to Brokaw. “If you want to have an impact, this is the civil rights issue of our generation. I’m very optimistic because we know what works. We are the answers: Great teachers, great principals, great schools will strengthen our economy and give children the chance to fulfill their potential. If young kids can help us to fight for social justice, it’ll last for generations to come.” Continue reading →