Thursday, September 27, 2012

Common Core Videos

We now have 18 different videos on Common Core that are open to all educators from the work that LTF Training has done with the PARCC ELC

  1. What are the ELC's
  2. PARCC Assessments
    1. PARCC model content frameworks for ELA/Literacy and Item Prototypes
    2. PARCC model content frameworks for mathematics and item prototypes
  3. Connecting Common Core to PARCC
    1. ELA MCF review
    2. Connecting the PARCC Model Content Frameworks (MCF) and claims to the CCSS for mathematical practice
    3. Connecting the PARCC MCF and claims to the CCSS for mathematical content
  4. Understanding Common Core
    1. Examining Coherence in One Domain
    2. Correlating Questions to the CCSS for Content and Practice
    3. Comparison of ELA and Literacy Standards
    4. ELA Standards Strand Summaries
    5. ELA Reading Strand Narrative and Summary
  5. Model Content Frameworks
    1. ELA MCF Review
    2. PARCC model content frameworks for mathematics and item prototypes
    3. PARCC model content frameworks for ELA/literacy and item prototypes
  6. PARCC for Diverse Student Populations
    1. PARCC ELC cohort 1 panel discussion on diverse student populations
    2. PARCC ELC cohort 2 panel discussion on diverse student populations

PLEASE SHARE  - these open source common core resources are for all teachers!! We want to see thousands of views of this great Common Core content.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

8% Chance of Earning a College Degree

Horrific stat of the day:  if you start a Chicago Public School as a freshman you have just an 8% chance of earning a college degree. 

University of Chicago study 8 percent of high school freshman in Chicago will get a four year degree from college. (Retrieved from )

·         “We reported the college graduation rates of CPS alumni who completed high school in 1998 and 1999.”
·         “Using the updated data, the overall college graduation rate for CPS alumni increases from 35 percent to 45 percent. See Revised Figure 3-1 on page 5. This is primarily due to the revised graduation rate for Urbana, although other factors also contribute to the increase, including: 1) small increases in the graduation rates at other schools with updated student records; 2) the removal of Carbondale from these statistics; and 3) the participation of several additional colleges in the NSC, including DePaul University which has a graduation rate of 76 percent. The aggregate statistic of the percentage of students who begin high school in CPS and earn a four-year college degree by their mid-twenties increases just slightly—from 6 to 8 percent.”

State-by-State report on the Student Pipeline from 2008. Of 100 9th Graders, How Many Graduate from High School on Time, Directly Enter College, and Graduate within 150 Percent of Required Degree Time: (Uses approximately the same timeframe as the University of Chicago study.)
·         20.5 percent of all US 9th graders who graduate from HS on time, go directly to college, return for their second year, and graduate within 150% of program time
·         On the low end: 6.6 percent of Alaskan 9th graders whograduate from HS on time, go directly to college, return for their second year, and graduate within 150% of program time
·         On the high end: 30.2 percent of 9th graders in Massachusetts whograduate from HS on time, go directly to college, return for their second year, and graduate within 150% of program time

Related: Only 15 percent of Houston ISD freshmen graduate college:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Education Nation - summary from tweets

I was furiously tweeting some of the great points made during the first two days of Education Nation and felt like there needed to be a summary of the incredible wisdom from some of the smartest leaders in education! Enjoy - follow me on twitter @dave_saba

First the weekend was spectacular here in New York and the event was held at the New York Public Library. ExxonMobil engineer kicked off the Education Nation event with statement that we need to keep America competitive and our economy strong which is why they work so hard for STEM education with National Math and Science Initiative and UTeach! They did show one of their great spots from Let's Solve This.

They kicked it off with National Math and Science's UTeach Program and one of our UTeach stars, Trevon Jones.  He was asked about teacher evaluations and said that in his program he is evaluated every time he teaches and gets the feedback he needs to be a great teacher.

Other great statements on teacher evaluation - which came from teachers in the audience:

  • The training of those evaluating is critical to a great evaluation system
  • Students are "bustin' it at Achievement First in Brooklyn" so one of their teachers would have no problem having an evaluation that used student assessments for greater than 50% of the evaluation
  • There is a HUGE disconnect between teachers and the public on using student achievement in evals - it seems to come from a whether poverty is an excuse for poor student performance or a challenge that can be overcome. 
  • Poverty affecting student outcomes can be mitigated through a blended funding model with public-private money
  • Flint Michigan charters school doors are always open - to all students at all times - and they are NOT letting poverty be an excuse because their teachers are overcoming barriers
The passion from teachers during the Education Nation teacher forum was clearly evident in the discussion.  One thing is clear - there are clear differences on how this should be done but everyone here cares about students.

Common Core - was the next topic at Education Nation! (which we love since we are creating the PARCC Educator Leader Cadre)
  • 71% of teachers in the audience feel they are prepared or somewhat prepared for Common Core implementation  - the main problem is not enough training or resources
  • Why Common Core? Rehema Ellis responds that we are not doing it well enough now
  • Common Core focusing on fewer standards and going much deeper
  • One experienced teacher said she had implemented common core in her 6th grade classroom in Kentucky and her students loved it - much more real world and more in depth!
  • Another teacher looking forward to common core said - the more I challenge my students the more they rise to the occasion - that is what it is all about. 
Parent trigger and the Won't Back Down Movie was next up on the agenda
  • Stars seemed a little perplexed around the controversy of the movie
  • Fundamentally it is about how powerless parents feel when their school is failing and they have no other school choice
  • Congressman Miller tells audience that historically parents have not been welcomed by school districts which is why the parent trigger is an amazingly powerful weapon to get their attention
  • Women on the parent trigger panel says she is lucky enough to get her kids out of a bad school and into a private school
  • Interesting question: can the health of the school restore the health of the community or must the community health be restored before you can restore the health of the school
  • Union members (about 30) are protesting outside of the movie premier - pretty much living up to the stereotype in the movie
  • Viola Davis - the star of the movie states - "I welcome protest, I welcome discourse as it is the only way we have truly changed things in this country"
Day 2 - Mayor Bloomberg immediately hits the presidential candidates stating that "Somehow education has become a non-issue in their presidential election and that has to change!"

Condeleeza Rice: "We are becoming a two countries - one educated and one not" - - Variation in schools around the country is extremely challenging for military families as they are moved from base to base and that is not right (see NMSI AP initiative for military families for solution) 

Craig Barrett from Intel: Technology is a good tool but the teacher is the magic, Computers have disrupted every industry in the world except American education

Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children's Zone: We simply can't say that these kids re poor and have all these problems and lower our expectations

David Coleman: Common core will not be easy but great innovation comes from collaboration and that is happening in schools across America right now

Checker Finn: Common core is a heavy lift - but is well worth the lifting. If just 12 states are successful, they will force others to follow suit and it will have a profound impact on the country 

UTeach is one of the 10 programs highlighted this year at Education in the next panel - it was pretty awesome.  UTeach takes math and science majors and provides the pedagogy they need to get a teaching license and over 90% end up teaching! Great tag line - helping the best math and science students become the best math and science teachers. UTeach is now in 34 universities. Tom Luce, as usual, does an amazing job and UTeach teacher Trevon Jones is impressive. Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African American astronaut and a National Math and Science board member is great. 

Tom ends with telling the audience that National Math and Science finds successful programs that someone else invented and take them to scale to truly change the country.

The panel on grit was also pretty awesome - and not just because Brian Williams brought it back to the Springsteen show he attended that went until 2:30 AM  and they kept bringing up the military as the true example of grit and determination.
  • Praising intelligence to build self-esteem sabotages resilience. We need to praise the process to build resilient students
  • When you do something hard, the brain forms new connections that builds a greater capacity for learning
  • We have told a generation how special they are and they believed us. 
  • Brian Williams summarizes that this is "a disaster for the trophy industry" 
Other notes from day 2:
  • Gaming - the game is not designed well if the transfer to success on exams does not go well. It has to translate to student achievement that is measurable 
  • If one thinks poorer kids can't achieve they won't achieve! Success for all is a tough curriculum but it works and students need it now
"When adults fight, children lose"
"Dumbing down standards is bad for children, bad for schools and bad for the country - it is only good for politicians"
          - Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Carpe Diem
  • Digital curriculum is not just putting pages on a screen or having a talking head on the computer and blended learning means blending live and digital create something that is much greater than the parts
  • Carpe Diem flipped the school - not the classroom - students learn basic constructs through digital learning in one part of the school and then master the content in the classroom by going deep
  • Our current process has created a passive and lethargic student but digital learning can reinvigorate our students
Note to education entrepreneurs - if you can't get money for it, you won't succeed long

There was some great discussion in a great venue with people from all sides.  Looking forward to the big finish. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Transforming Schools = 9X National Average

The video and the results say it all.  National Math and Science results are truly transforming schools.

Amazing AP Results

Will Common Core Assessments be the Exit Exam

The are two elephants in the room with Common Core Assessments - the first is will the new assessments allow for and encourage 8th grade Algebra so that students are on track for AP Calculus and the second is using the PARCC and Smarter Balance Assessments as exit exams for High School.

The Curriculum Matters blog has a summary of the Center on Education Policy's report on high school exit exams. In addition, I saw this question asked at one of the PARCC meetings where they specifically talked about the scoring and how it would require additional work to ensure the assessments could be used as an exit exam.

The facts:

  • 9 states attach high stakes to exit exams now - only 2 did in 2002
  • 12 states say that college and career readiness is the prime focus of exit exams today while only Georgia did in 2004
  • 16 states are planning to replace their exit exams with either PARCC or SBAC high school assessments
That is high stakes. If the new assessments have a pass rate that mirrors NAEP does this mean that in 16 states less than half the students will be allowed to graduate? As a country we always fold when we get to a point of withholding the high school diploma so I don't see how this will work unless is it phased in and we realize the implications, give schools a chance to get students at the level they need to pass. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SBAC-Short and Long form assessments for Common Core

Fascinating look at the work being done at Smarter Balance over at Catherine Gewertz column Two Versions of Common Test Eyed by State Consortium.

First - the most important thing for all those states rights peeps to take away - THE STATES ARE MAKING ALL THE DECISIONS. This is not being driven by the feds AT ALL.  Both Smarter Balance and PARCC have to get consensus from their governing states on ALL aspects for the assessment programs.  That is a huge challenge. This is truly a state driven process.

In this case the decision from SBAC is to have to versions of the assessments for states to use. To truly get useful data, some of the assessments could take up to 6.5 hours for grades 3-5 and 7 hours in 6-8 grade and 8 hours for high school.

PARCC is not thinking about two versions but you can see why the long version of the test could be a problem.

Fascinating to watch as state leaders (NOT federal leaders) wrestle with making these the absolute best assessments to truly understand student learning and the practical problems of running a school.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Common Core and Algebra in 8th Grade

Eighth Grade Algebra seems to be the elephant in the room with Common Core State Standards and there has not been a real clear way on how to handle this. I have spoken with district and state curriculum directors and they are still waiting to decide exactly how to ensure the option is there and that they meet common core standards and assessments.

The problem: 8th grade algebra has long been the standard for students going to college. It puts them on track to complete pre-calculus or AP calculus in their senior year maximizing their college transcript.  Common Core State Standards does not have specific guidance on 8th grade algebra but introduces algebra concepts throughout middle school.

Now the discussion is heating up with SB1200 in California. This bill ensures that California uses CCSS and eliminates any redundant standards. People are interpreting this to mean that SB1200 does away with California's requirement that all students take algebra in the 8th grade. Note - that in the link above "people" refers to Bill Evers who is a rabid - and I mean rabid - opponent of CCSS.

So Evers complains that SB1200 will ruin the California's stellar performance in math - let's look at the NAEP results on CDE's website:

  • In 2011, Black students had an average score that was 36 points lower than White students. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1990 (38 points)
  • In 2011, Hispanic students had an average score that was 30 points lower than White students. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1990 (34 points)
  • In 2011, students who were eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch, an indicator of low family income, had an average score that was 29 points lower than students who were not eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1996 (30 points). 
In 1990 California was 6 points below the national average and today they are 10 points below the national average.  I don't think I would use California's math performance as an indicator.

Nowhere in SB1200 does it say ANYTHING about eliminating algebra in the 8th grade - this is your typical sky is falling alarmist rhetoric to undermine common core implementation. HOWEVER - it is time to get a framework from Common Core advocates on how to ensure that those wishing to move to to AP Calculus by starting Algebra early can do so and know that it fits into the testing parameters of PARCC and Smarter Balance. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Military Families Need Common Core

Great article on how military families need common core state standards. I was in the military and seeing families try to figure out schools every 2 years is almost ridiculous and stress we do not need for our military families.

It is what drove us to create an Initiative for Military Families to improve High Schools around our military bases. When we hear military leaders talk about what it means for Servicemembers to have our programs on their bases, we know there is one less thing to worry about in their next move.

When a student from a military family moves from one city to another it shouldn't take them months to figure out what class to to go in. Common Core gives our military families the confidence that no matter where they send their kids to schools, they will get the same level of rigor in class.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

AP Success!

Great article on our program to transform schools in Arkansas entitle "Dramatic gains seen in AP training, incentive program, official says" We are working with 39 schools in Arkansas with over 10,000 students.

The results:

  • 62% increase in AP participation and a 56% increase in qualifying scores in the first year 
  • National Math and Science program schools account for 14% of the total in Alabama but account for 43% of all the qualifying scores in the states. 
That is incredible. If you want a sneak peak at AP success take a look out our newsletter released today's on the ABC's of AP Success.

National Math and Science truly transforms teaching, schools and student outcomes!! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Teachers - Incentives - Persistence

Teachers Are Key
Incentives Work
Persistence Pays

That is the simple mantra of Mr. Peter O'Donnell who funded the O'Donnell Foundation. They created the AP training and incentive program and the Laying the Foundation program to transform teaching and schools. Yesterday was the kick-off in Dallas and I was lucky enough to attend and participate.

It was incredible - teachers came up to Mr. O'Donnell to thank him for what he has done for their teaching practice and their students. It was truly inspiring.

But words cannot explain as well as the big picture - 25 African-American and Hispanic students passed an AP exam in Math, Science and English in 1994. In 2012 there were 1,356 passing scores. 

It was a great day for teachers and students and it is why we love our jobs.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Solution: Pedagogy+Technology+Change Knowledge

Michael Fullan will be creating a video for the Educator Leader Cadre's virtual convening next month which is pretty exciting. So I was pleased to see a quick summary of his new book "Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy and Change Knowledge" on Tom Vander Ark's blog.  

My favorite quotes here: 
Fullan is convinced that we can and must build "irresistibly engaging" learning experiences for both students and teachers. I love his notion of 'skinny solutions'--they're hard to build and easy to implement. He puts the onus on education leaders to make change easier by adding "enjoyable, worthwhile experiences." 

I can't help but note that this is why LTF training transforms teaching - it is both worthwhile and enjoyable for teachers and they can't wait to use it in the classroom where students will be fully engaged. 

"The average performance of systems is not the most important factor; rather, the gap between low and high performers is....The problem of inequality is becoming more pronounced and more entrenched decade by decade...a social time bomb." 

"Ninety-five percent of students love school in Kindergarten, but by Grade 9, the feeling has steadily declined to 37 percent...a hell of a lot of disengaged students." 

Solution "The solution lies in the concentration of the three forces of pedagogy, technology, and change knowledge. If you want to head off destruction, we need to make it all about learning, let technology permeate, and engage the whole system."

THE KEY - we must create learning experiences that are irresistibly engaging!!

"Change really isn't as hard as we thought if we capture people's interest and give them enjoyable, worthwhile experiences."  - - which is why PARCC has created the Educator Leader Cadres!

It is pretty damn cool to see theory and reality moving so close together in our work.  Can't wait to see Michael's video and will share it here!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Making Common Core and PARCC Work!

Great summary of a presentation to the Lincoln Parish School Board in Ruston, Louisiana. This incredible group use Laying the Foundation to dramatically improve student outcomes.

I cannot tell you how great it is go work with a school district that gets it and really takes our LTF teacher training to create success.

From the summary - "Laying the Foundation came across our radar. Unlike AP, LTF was a way to prepare teachers for teaching pre-AP classes. It also included Common Core standards and was a way for us to begin the cross-walk between Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum and common core."

See the video -