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Subject:

Re: FYI

From:

Kat Powell <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 15 May 2012 23:49:31 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (193 lines)

Sent from my iPad

On May 16, 2012, at 12:33 AM, "Rosemarie Woodruff" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> One of the many hats I wear is that of a MSL (multisensory learning) tutor
> who practices the Orton-Gillingham method. I just attended a training with
> my OG "master" who works as a consultant with the Hawaii Department of
> Education, Leeward District. His mission is to train pre-school/elementary
> teachers in this approach. The Common Core Standards has made him modify
> the OG sequence to start introducing concepts at a much earlier age, e.g.
> prefixes & suffixes and morphology in the first grade. Hopefully, these
> youngsters will grow up to have a better relationship with reading as the
> approach lays the foundation for critical/higher order thinking. One of his
> schools has 3rd graders who scored 98%ile on the reading section of test. I
> see the process/method as important and the high test scores as frosting on
> the cake.
> 
> On Sat, May 12, 2012 at 5:58 AM, Norman Stahl <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> May/June 2012
>> Introduction: The Next Wave of School Reform
>> 
>> By Paul Glastris
>> Washington Monthly
>> 
>> 
>> The school reform movement—the decades-old bipartisan drive to improve
>> public education with standards and high-stakes tests—might seem, on the
>> surface at least, to be running out of steam. Its crowning achievement,
>> George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which shook up public
>> schools after it was passed in 2001, is now widely seen as flawed and in
>> need of a massive overhaul. Yet efforts to do so have been stalled for
>> years on Capitol Hill because of political disagreements over how to
>> proceed. With reform in limbo, the Obama administration has been reduced to
>> passing out Get Out of Jail Free cards to countless school districts that
>> face penalties for failing to meet the law’s strict targets for
>> improvement. Meanwhile, liberals who were always uncomfortable with using
>> standardized tests to judge student and teacher performance are
>> increasingly in revolt against the whole school reform movement. And conser
>> vatives who never liked the increased federal role in education brought by
>> NCLB are agitating for a return to local control.
>> Yet looks can be deceiving. The truth is that the standards-and-testing
>> model of school reform is far from dead. In fact, it’s about to kick into a
>> new high gear, in ways that will alter what happens in the nation’s
>> classrooms as fundamentally as NCLB did, and probably more so. Unlike
>> previous waves of school reform, which were debated in Congress and covered
>> in depth by the press, this next one is the product of compacts among
>> states and a quiet injection of federal money—and has therefore garnered
>> almost no national attention. Consequently, few Americans have any idea
>> about the profound changes that are about to hit their children’s schools.
>> The reforms will unfold in three stages, each of which is explored by an
>> article in this report.
>> In the first stage, already well under way, almost ever y state is
>> instituting something called the “common core standards,” a demanding new
>> set of shared benchmarks that define what students should know and be able
>> to do at the end of each grade. These benchmarks will replace a jumble of
>> widely varying and often weak state standards that have hitherto guided
>> America’s schools.
>> The second stage, hard on the heels of the first, is the development of a
>> new set of high-stakes tests based on these new standards. These tests are
>> already being crafted by university and state education department experts
>> across the country, and are scheduled to be rolled out beginning in 2014.
>> They will be fully computerized and far more demanding than anything most
>> American schoolchildren have ever experienced.
>> The third stage, now being dreamed up in university and corporate labs,
>> will see the rise of new kinds of computer-based learning software, often
>> in the form of games, in which testing happens automatically as students
>> play and work. When this software becomes available for classrooms a decade
>> or more from now, learning and assessment will meld into a single process,
>> and high-stakes testing as we know it will virtually disappear.
>> All three of these efforts are at -tempts to fix the flaws in the current
>> standards-and-testing regime—the chief flaw being that it creates
>> incentives for schools to aim too low. Existing state standards tend to
>> force teachers to cover too much material shallowly. And existing tests
>> tend to be cheap multiple-choice exams focused on assessing basic skills
>> rather than higher-order thinking.
>> Of course, an alarming number of students lack those basic skills,
>> especially poor and minority students. And the current
>> standards-and-testing system can claim some credit for putting a
>> significant dent in that problem. Since 1992, when states first started
>> seriously imposing standards and high-stakes tests, African American eighth
>> graders have gained 26 points, and Hispanic eighth graders 22 points, on
>> the math portion of the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress
>> (NAEP) test. That means both groups are roughly two and a half grade levels
>> above where they were in 1992, a stunning if seldom-acknowledged
>> improvement. Reading scores haven’t risen as much: 12 points for black
>> eighth graders, 13 for Hispanics. Still, that’s more than a grade level
>> higher than where these groups were twenty years ago—real progress.
>> The problem is that teaching and testing for basic skills also tends to
>> lead to a dumbing down of the curriculum and to endless drilling for tests,
>> which frustrates teachers, parents, and students alike. It also does little
>> to improve students’ ability to think critically and independently, solve
>> complex problems, apply knowledge to novel situations, work in teams, and
>> communicate effectively—abilities that students must have to succeed in
>> college and, increasingly, the modern-day workplace.
>> Getting schools to impart these “deeper learning” capacities is precisely
>> what the new wave of school reform aims to achieve. And there is good
>> reason to hope the reforms work, because in many ways the competitiveness
>> of the U.S. economy depends on it. On the Programme for International
>> Student Assess -ment (PISA), a widely used international test that measures
>> higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills, the United States falls
>> in the middle of the pack among thirty-four developed countries in reading
>> and science, and ranks below the average in math.
>> In a sense, this is nothing new. As far back as 1964, U.S. students scored
>> relatively poorly in math and science compared to those in other nations.
>> But we made up for deficiencies in quality with volume: for decades,
>> America graduated a far larger percentage of its citizens from high school
>> and college than did any other country. That advantage in degree
>> attainment, however, has disappeared as other countries have caught up. The
>> U.S. now ranks twelfth in the world in the percentage of its twenty-five-
>> to thirty-four-year-olds with post-secondary degrees. We’ve fallen behind
>> not because U.S. high school graduates aren’t going on to college—that
>> number has risen consistently—but because the percentage completing college
>> has hardly budged. That’s a sign, in part, that too many U.S. students are
>> leaving high school ill-prepared academically. All of this is happening,
>> notes labor economist Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University, at a time
>> when the globalization of labor markets and the elimination of routine
>> jobs—even reasonably skilled ones—by digital technology means that more and
>> more jobs in the future will require creativity and higher-order-thinking
>> skills.
>> Is it possible for a large, highly developed nation to make the kinds of
>> changes necessary to boost the critical- thinking skills of its students?
>> Consider the case of Germany. In 2000, Germans learned that their schools,
>> which were long assumed to be first rate, ranked below the average when
>> compared to other countries on the PISA, largely because of the poor
>> quality of schooling offered to less-advantaged citizens. The shock of that
>> news led to a series of reforms, including common national academic
>> standards and new assessments tied to those standards. The result: from
>> 2003 to 2009 Germany added 10 points to its math scores and 6 points to its
>> reading scores on the PISA—on a scale in which 500 is the international
>> average.
>> That may not seem like much, but over time such progress can deliver huge
>> economic gains. In a 2010 study, economists Eric A. Hanushek of Stanford
>> University and Ludger Woessmann of the University of Munich found that
>> differences in PISA scores and similar measures of cognitive skills explain
>> a great deal of the difference in growth rates among advanced economies
>> from 1960 to 2000. They further calculated that if the United States could
>> raise its average PISA score 25 points by 2030, it could increase its GDP
>> by $45 trillion over the lifespan of children born in 2010.
>> 
>> 
>> Could the new tests and common core standards be the secrets to achieving
>> results like this? Obviously it’s too early to say. But it’s hard to think
>> of another set of government policies already in the pipeline that could
>> more dramatically impact the long-term strength of the U.S. economy. So
>> it’s all the more curious that the new tests and standards have garnered
>> almost no press attention, especially in a presidential election year in
>> which the future of the economy is front and center. That’s a testament not
>> only to the way these policies slipped in under the political radar, but
>> also to the fact that writing about abstruse subjects like norm-referenced
>> testing and PISA scores is hard to do (believe me). But as Washington
>> Monthlycontributing editor James Fallows once wrote, the mission of serious
>> journalism is “to make what’s important interesting.” By that definition,
>> the authors of the three pieces in this report—Robert Rothman, Susan
>> Headden, and Bill Tucker—have produced very good journalism indeed.
>> 
>> 
>> Norman Stahl
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> 
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
>> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web
>> browser to
>> http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>> 
>> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Rosemarie V. Woodruff, Ph.D.
> Director, Learning Assistance Center
> University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus
> 2425 Campus Road, Mezzanine 1
> Honolulu, HI 96822
> Phone: 808-956-3456
> 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web browser to
> http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
> 
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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