Monday, July 30, 2012

PARCC UPDATE - College and Career Ready

PARCC held an update for education leaders in DC on July 30, 2012 - below are my rather disjointed but informative notes. 

The update was on progress towards the PARCC exams for Common Core State Standards as well as an update on their educator engagement strategy which includes the ever amazing Educator Leader Cadre implemented by Laying the Foundation (wooohoo)

PARCC is building the assessments along a stairway to college and career readiness and there has been a lot of press on how PARCC is going to define College and Career ready
  • College Ready Determination – English III in junior year / Math – Algebra 2

How is PARCC setting the cut score and how are they validating the determinations?

CRD –new acronym meaning College Ready Determination
  • English CRD – student would be able to enter right into a credit bearing course in College English Comp and Literature and/or succeed in other reading and writing courses such as history and social sciences
  • Mathematics CRD- has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and practices necessary to enter into and succeed in entry-level credit bearing courses in College Algebra and Introductory Statistics.

If you meet the CRD - you would be exempt from placement tests.  CRD is not intended to be used for admission decisions by higher education. 

CR determinations will be awarded to students who achieve Level 4 on designated PARCC high school assessments in ELA/Literacy and mathematics in junior year. Senior year in HS will be used to make up for any deficiencies noted (i.e. moving from level 3 to 4)

Maintaining CRD in your senior year
  • Policy may impose additional requirements – such as dual enrollment or HS courses that build on the standards used to make the CRD

Cut Score
Will be based on performance level descriptors as well as data correlating PARCC tests with ACT and SAT.  Standard setters will be given the following:

  • 75% of students who earn a Level 4 would earn a C or better in a credit bearing college course such as Eng Comp or Lit, social sciences, history or College Algebra / Intro to Stats

Performance Levels
  • To report the results of the assessments used to make CRD – in junior year
  • To report the results of HS end of grade ELA/Literacy and end of course math assessments
  • To report the results to determine moving to the next grade

Five levels being proposed (just numbers – no names) – level 4 is pitched to a level of rigor currently described by NAEP’s proficient level (solid command o the content)

Level 1 – very limited command
Level 2 – Limited command
Level 3 – partial command
Level 4 – solid command
Level 5 – superior command of the knowledge, skills and practices embodied by the CCSS assessed at grade level

PLDs for reporting results
Level 5 - Superior Command, Academically well prepared for entry level credit bearing college course, Exempt from placement tests

Level 4 – Solid command, academically prepared / exempt

Level 3 – partial command, wil likely need academic support, not exempt

Level 2- Limited command, will need acadamice support, not exempt

Level 1 – very limited command, will need extensive academic support, not exempt

On track in grades 9-10
Academically Prepared to engage in further studies in content area– grades 3-8

Public feedback is due by September 21 (going to a first look on September 12th to get an idea of where the feedback is trending)

PARCC will report out scores based on PLD with common cut scores – has not committed to use these for promotion or graduation basis. If that is desired, will have to build that in to psychometrics of the systems.  

Item Development – it’s on!
Item review – higher ed and K12 teachers 10,000 items to be reviewed starting next week! (August 6th)

What’s similar/different based on online test development – technology enhancements allow us to ask questions in a different ways and build in accommodations.

Technology – first survey completed. Determining gaps and recommending improvements that states need.  Minimum specifications guidance released.

Educator Engagement
Educator Leader Cadres – 24 members from each state – flexibility from each state on who to include with some guidance from PARCC. Created and designed to have flexibility. Attend training and become an expert and ambassador for their state. Formal and informal interactions within the state. Have to commit a certain amount of hours from each cadre member. Also will review and create materials  - assist with state PD in DC – to help educators implement
  • Cohort 1 met last week- national experts, math, ELA and state team time all a part of this first meeting. How they can support the implementation work. Some good

What's next: 
  • Prototype tasks will be released at the end of August (educators can't wait for a look at the items)
  • The face of English 101 and college algebra will change as students come in more prepared. More content less remediation – exciting time for higher ed.
  • This fall – next version of technology specs will be released
  • Model content frameworks – reviews are in and next version will be released in August.
  • PLD’s policy comment through end of September – will finalize
  • Spring – field testing items / fall – broader testing
  • Spring 2015 – first administration.

What will you do when states try to lower the standards based on the results?
We, as a country, are finally raising the bar – what we have been doing allows students to take and pass courses/assessments and need remediation on the job and in higher education. Cut scores that are honest and reflect reality poses challenge to the states- doing it together makes it more likely to happen

Standard setting? – will be done after the first administration of PARCC so June or July of 2015 with results going out in August. Will give out raw data.  Next administration, results within days. Will not set standards on field test data.

How will results get back so fast?
There is potential for using AI for scoring essays – but will it be able to score the type of essays necessary for Common Core. Problem of current method is cost for scoring so many essays

Career ready? – not as far along on this aspect. Research studies will be conducted post-RTT PARCC. What will the PLD look like for career ready – still need to know what that will look like.

Interesting side note: What will the post RTT PARCC world look like and how is it funded.

Will have scaled score as well as PLD – to show student performance within a level – remains to be determined if it will be used for growth models.

Speaking and listening component? – a required component of the standards – initial proposal it would not be a part of the summative score. It would be delivered at the classroom level. Since then – renewed interest in pulling that into the summative score but not likely in 14/15 administration

Growth Metric? Committed to creating a common growth metric that states may or may not adopt. 

PARCC/Achieve held a very open forum that was highly informative. Incredibly knowledgeable group that will tell you if they don't know the answer yet.  This is going to be amazing. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Common Core Resources

Great resources released for our PARCC Educator Leader Cadre on the last day of our first convening:

Advocacy and Communications
  • The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has created grade-by-grade Parent Guides to Student Success on the Common Core State Standards that explore what students should be learning at each grade in mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy in order to be prepared for college and careers. The Guide is available in English and Spanish.
  • Achieve created an Engaging Educators Tool for state leaders to use in determining how they can engaged educators to ensure seamless and effective implementation of the CCSS. The tool focuses on two key areas: Developing a broad communication plan to reach all educators with basic information about the CCSS and engaging educators in the development and delivery of aligned instructional materials and professional development plans.
  • Achieve reviewed the final CCSS against a number of well-known and well-regarded benchmarks, including international comparisons, high performing states and NAEP and developed CCSS Content Comparison Briefs. These briefs help show how the CCSS compare to, and in many cases, build upon, the best benchmarks in the world.
  • The IDEA Partnership has created a Collection of resources on the Common Core State Standards to provide stakeholders with access to a comprehensive collection of materials and resources to help them further understand the CCSS. Tools include fact sheets, dialogue guides, and videos on how to use the various resources made available.
  • The Council of Great City Schools has released Parent Roadmaps to support parents' understanding of the Common Core State Standards at the elementary grade levels.
Instructional Support & Alignment Resources
  • The Tri-State Collaborative, which is comprised of leaders from Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island and facilitated by Achieve, has developed Quality Review Rubrics and review processes for educators to use in evaluating the quality of lessons and units intended to address the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. The rubrics can be downloaded here (in mathematics andELA/Literacy).
  • Achieve the Core is a website launched by Student Achievement Partners, an organization founded by authors of the Common Core State Standards, to share free, open-source resources to support Common Core implementation at all levels. Resources currently available include the most recent edition of the English Language Arts (ELA) Publishers’ Criteria (designed to guide publishers and curriculum developers as they work to ensure alignment with the K-2 and 3-12 standards in English language arts (ELA) and literacy for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects); Publishers’ Criteria for the CCSS in Mathematics for Grades K-8; close reading exemplars; a guide to creating text dependent questions; and a series of tools for addressing the major instructional shifts in the CCSS, as developed by classroom educators.
  • Achieve and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) launched a new tool hosted at OER Commons for users to rate the quality of open education resources. The tool allows educators to rate the quality of these teaching and student learning resources, align these resources to the CCSS, and evaluate the extent to which the individual resources align to specific standards. (Click here for more on Achieve's work with OER rubrics.)
  • The Teaching Channel aims to provide innovative videos and resources to educators to meet its goals of building teacher-driven professional learning, deepening and improving opportunities for teacher learning, and elevating and celebrating teachers in society. The website includes a growing collection of videos that focus on the CCSS, some of which focus on the background of the Common Core in certain grades/subjects, while others highlight instructional practices aligned to specific standards.
  • CCSS Model Course Pathways in Mathematics were developed by an Achieve-led expert group to help states and districts decide how to organize the standards into possible high school mathematics courses.
  • The Illustrative Mathematics Project offers guidance to states, assessment consortia, testing companies, and curriculum developers by illustrating the range and types of mathematical work that students will experience in a faithful implementation of the CCSS. The website features a clickable version of the Common Core in mathematics and the first round of "illustrations" of specific standards with associated classroom tasks and solutions.
Implementation Planning Tools
  • Achieve and the U.S. Education Delivery Institute have developed a practical Common Core Implementation Workbook for all states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The workbook uses a proven performance management methodology known as "delivery" to lay out clear action steps for states and districts. It provides relevant information, case stories of good practice, key questions and hands-on exercises for leadership teams to complete together.
  • To assist states in gauging the strength of their implementation plans and to illustrate how to improve them,Education First and Achieve have partnered on the development of a new Common Core State Standards Implementation Rubric and Self-Assessment Tool. This tool sets a high quality standard for a strong state role, provides some concrete details and examples to help state leaders get there and profiles some promising state approaches. Recognizing differences in state tradition, restrictions and authority for education as well as the central role of districts and other partners in implementation, the rubric identifies a strong state role that attends to three essential outcomes: accountability for results, quality of services and products, and alignment of services and products with the expectations articulated in the CCSS.
  • Achieve has developed a guide for states and districts to use as they move from adoption to implementation of the CCSS – On the Road to Implementation – Achieving the Promise of the Common Core State Standards. To realize the full potential of the CCSS and ensure the new standards actually reach the classroom level, states will need to think through a number of critical issues including: how to integrate the new standards into your state’s broader college- and career-ready agenda, including graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability, and how to best communicate about the new standards to key stakeholders.
  • ADP Network Webinar: CCSS Implementation Survey Questions. Achieve, EDI and Education First provided this presentation via Webinar on June 25, 2012 to members of the American Diploma Project Network. It covers the purpose, content and potential uses of the tool. The guidance document explains the context of the tool, methods for customization and use, and suggestions for how to use the data to make mid-course corrections. The survey item bank includes survey questions tailored to teachers and school leaders. State leaders can use the item bank as a base for creating customized surveys.
How will states know how implementation of Common Core State Standards is playing out in classrooms? Are key messages being heard? What instructional shifts are happening, and what is the impact on student learning? How can states identify roadblocks early and craft targeted interventions? Achieve, Education First and EDI have released a Common Core Survey Tool, along with supporting materials, to help state and district leaders track the quality of implementation of the new standards.
1.    Guidance for Surveys (PDF)
2.    ADP Network PowerPoint (PPT)
3.    CCSS Feedback Tool (Doc. format)
Sample State Materials

Communicating Common Core State Standards

Communicating Common Core

37% people believe education is the prime factor affecting competitiveness & teachers are THE most trusted source on education.

Teachers now show much greater awareness of Common Core than 6 months ago – up from 68% to 87%.  However 80% think that Common Core doesn't really change what they teach. SO WE HAVE A TON OF WORK. Those 80% are going to have a rude awakening in August 2015. 

As we implement Common Core – a majority of people support the work and the assessments. 

The Educator Leader Cadre are the ambassadors for Common Core State Standards.

       As schools begin implementing Common Core State Standards and new assessments, there is majority support from voters and teachers alike.
       Importantly, the more teachers know about the CCSS, the more likely they are to support implementing the standards and the new assessments. Teacher knowledge has grown significantly over the last six months.
       It is possible that as states and districts move from the CCSS being an idea to reality with implementation, overall support may slip.  But how much it slips may be dependent on how strong the implementation plan is – and how well that plan is communicated.
       Ongoing and sustained communications is key to maintaining and building lasting support for both teachers and voters.

       It is critical to sustain or ramp up efforts to educate your fellow teachers—including what the implementation plan is and what they can expect. Focus groups with teachers reinforce the importance of good professional development, aligned materials, and their desire to collaborate with colleagues.
       Voters also need to become increasingly aware of the CCSS and what it means for students and parents. What will be different? How will the expectations change? What kind of support will be available? Voters, like teachers, also need to understand how these changes fit into the broader reform agenda, why it’s important, and the value of the new standards to our education system and economy. is a great public-facing resource
       RI has a strong communications plan
       Chiefs around the country are tweeting, using Facebook and other social media tools to communicate
       AR Governor and Commissioner video on the CCSS:
       The Hunt Institute has created instructional videos:
       Student Achievement Partners has posted resources:
       PTA Common Core Parent Guides:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Common Core and Diverse Learners

Common Core and Diverse Learners

Here are some notes from the PARCC Educator Leader Cadre panel discussion on common core and diverse learners.  Panel members:
  • Mike Casper, NEA
  • Mel Riddle, NASSP 
  • Barbara Beske, Student Achievement Partners
  • Dr. Phyllis Lynch, RI DOE 
  • Dr. Lynn Shafer Willner, GW-CEEE

How will common core improve ELL and Special Needs education opportunities
·      CCSS makes literacy a part of the culture and that has to be the level 1 intervention every day in ever classroom for ELL
·      Literacy rich environment that CCSS will drive the change necessary for improved learning for diverse populations
·      Sharing of standards and expertise creates a far better program
·      Standards are written for all students – all students must be provided the opportunity to achieve college and career readiness.
·      Focus and coherence provides teachers the time to work with diverse learners – allows the teacher to see what students know and what they need to know to be on the path for College and career readiness
·      PARCC has 4 of the big six states for ELL along with those with the largest growth in ELL population
·      Stanford Understanding Language closely working with PARCC on ELL focus:
·      NEA is focused on equal access and Common Core gives us the ability to work together to truly reach diverse populations and make a real difference
·      High expectations of Common Core
·      Chance of students with needs getting the support they need with a paper and pencil test is slim – accommodations can be built into the technology enhanced assessments! Delivering and providing access
·      This is not about sorting students – this is about lifting all students which we know can be done. Common core helps moves that forward
·      Native American population
·      ELL students must be asked to do expansive thinking with outputs with Common Core
How does teacher collaboration improve:
·      We need to build individual teacher capacity and the collective capacity by being team oriented
·      Functional language analysis –
·      Throw out leveled text! Bring on appropriately complex texts for students at grade level.
·      Address the language complexities of mathematical materials will really help ELL’s learn
·      Structure of common core does not hold back advanced students at all – but allows for all learners to succeed

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PARCC Mathematical Assessments

How do the math assessments change with PARCC –
·      Type I (PBA and EOY): Machine scorable, focusing on major content
·      and/or fluency. Could be practice forward. (NOT selected response type of questions). These questions will get at conceptual understanding. The End of Year will be all Type I
·      Type II (PBA): Hand scored (or machine scored if innovative); focused on expressing mathematical reasoning.
·      Type III (PBA): Hand scored (or machine scored if innovative); focused on modeling/application of mathematics