Thursday, September 3, 2015


First Delaware SBAC Test Results Show Declining Scores.

The Wilmington (DE) News Journal (9/2, Albright) reports that the first ever results of SBAC testing in Delaware painted “a far bleaker picture than parents have been given in past years,” with around half of students scoring proficient in English and fewer than 40% scoring proficient in math. However, “state leaders say it’s not surprising because the test asks far more of kids.” The article quotes Gov. Jack Markell saying, “The Smarter Assessment is harder and different from any of our past state assessments. Although we raised the bar considerably, our students performed better than anticipated.”
        The AP (9/3, Chase) reports that Delaware’s scores contain “good news and bad news,” noting that state officials said that “students did better than expected,” though overall scores could be perceived as low. Outgoing Education Secretary Mark Murphy said, “Simply put, these assessments that our children took are harder.... It does not mean that our students learned any less.” Murphy and Markell stressed that this iteration is the beginning of a new baseline, and that “the results cannot be easily compared to the previous multiple choice test, known as the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System, or DCAS.”
        WHYY-FM Philadelphia (9/3) also covers this story, focusing on the “mixed” results. Despite overall low proficiency rates, students outperformed projections based on 2014 SBAC field testing. The piece notes that officials had predicted the declines “on the new test because it is aligned with the tougher Common Core State Standards and because it measures more complex thinking skills.” The Middletown (DE) Transcript (9/2, Paulk) also covers this story.

Report Points To Disconnect Between Common Core, Classwork.

Liana Heitin writes at the Education Week (9/3) “Curriculum Matters” blog that a new report from the Education Trust finds a lack of alignment between “individual classroom assignments” and Common Core literacy standards. The report “found that about 4 in 10 assignments were aligned with their respective, grade-appropriate standard,” with that ratio falling to 3 in 10 in high-poverty schools.

        The Washington Post (9/3, Brown) reports that the report indicates that “teachers are often assigning work that asks far less of students than the Common Core standards require,” and that students “are rarely asked to write more than a few sentences at a time, for example, and are seldom asked to grapple with complex ideas and arguments.” Education Trust said that the findings “raise important questions about potential problems with how Common Core is being implemented nationwide.”

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