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The State of Education in Louisiana
Louisiana student achievement is improving: • iLEAP/LEAP scores are up • Graduation rate is up • Improvement across all groups of students While we celebrate this progress, Louisiana still ranks in the bottom of states nationally for student achievement. • On the National Assessment of Education Progress, Louisiana student scores rank 44th in reading and 46th in math.
Let’s talk about standards.
What are Standards?
Standards are statements that describe what students should know and be able to do by the end of each course or grade level. State law requires BESE to set standards for all required subjects in K-12 education. Standards are not the same thing as curriculum, textbooks, lesson plans, or classroom activities and assignments. These represent the different ways that teachers can teach and how students can learn. These are local decisions. Local school systems – superintendents, principals, and teachers – decide how to teach the standards. The state defines “what” students should learn; local educators decide “how” they learn, including what materials and assignments are used.
Why Are We Updating Our Standards?
Louisiana’s current standards for reading, writing, and math – called “Grade-Level Expectations” – were adopted in 2004. Louisiana, like several other states, saw the need to update these standards because: • While improving, we continue to lag behind other states, meaning that our students are less competitive. And, our country is lagging behind others globally. • Expectations are continually increasing for what students need to know and do to be successful in college and in the workplace. • Under current standards, teachers were having to cover many topics and were unable to spend enough time helping students to master each concept before moving on. Quantity was emphasized over quality – an “inch deep and a mile wide,” leaving many students unable to truly master what was being taught.
What are the Common Core State Standards, and why use them?
A set of standards in reading, writing and math for grades 1-12, whose creation was led by a group of states coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Chief State School Officers. The CCSS were developed by educators, college professors, content experts, and business leaders. Following an extensive review process by Louisiana educators and several Louisiana education organizations and workgroups, BESE adopted the CCSS in 2010 along with over 40 other states. Adoption of the CCSS was and remains completely voluntary.
How Do the CCSS Differ from GLEs?
• Fewer, but deeper and more focused • Standards build upon one another in order to support students throughout their entire elementary and secondary education experience • Let’s look at a few examples…
Math: Shifts in Student Mastery
8.EE.C.7b Solve linear equations in one variable. b. Solve linear equations with rational number coefficients, including equations whose solutions require expanding expressions using the distributive property and collecting like terms.
If n + n + n = 60, what is the value of n? A. 6 B. 10 C. 15 D. 20
Paula currently has x pencils. She determines that buying 8 more pencils will give her the same number of pencils as if she bought 2 more and then doubled the amount of pencils she has. The equation shown represents this situation. x +8=2(x +2) How many pencils does Paula currently have? A. 2 pencils B. 4 pencils C. 6 pencils D. 14 pencils
Show how to solve this equation for x. 3(2x –5) +9 =12 Drag selected equations to the Solution Steps column and place them in the correct order under the given equation. You must show at least 4 steps in the correct order to receive full credit. Leave Unneeded equations in the Equations column.
What is changing each year in what will be required of our students to show mastery?
ELA: Shifts in Student Mastery
RL.8.3. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
In the spaces or on the lines below, write your answers to the following questions for the news article “Warning: Space Junk Dead Ahead.” Use facts from the article to complete the chart below. Origin: Size: Velocity: Destructive Power: Exemplary Responses: Origin: spacecraft parts, exploded rockets, dead satellites, camera lens, nuts, bolts, and bits of wire Size: 8,000 objects are larger than a softball; small objects number in the billions Velocity: 22,000 miles an hour Destructive Power: a pea-size piece of debris is equivalent to a 400-pound punch at 60 miles an hour
The following item addresses an excerpt from the novel To Sir, With Love, which can be found on the next page. Describe a turning point in this passage and explain its significance. Exemplary responses: Turning points: - When the teacher is unsure of how his speech will be received - When the students listen in spite of themselves - When Pamela Dare accepts the teacher’s instructions to enter the room properly - When Potter says “Sir” - When the girls support the teacher instead of Potter Significance: - This was significant because the teacher wanted to get their attention, and this was proof that even though he was making it up as he went along, it was working and they continued to listen. - Similar to above: significance is that they are willing to change.
ELA: Shifts in Student Mastery
Response Item #2: You have read three texts describing Amelia Earhart. All three include the claim that Earhart was a brave, courageous person. The three texts are: • “Biography of Amelia Earhart” • “Earhart's Final Resting Place Believed Found” • “Amelia Earhart’s Life and Disappearance” Consider the argument each author uses to demonstrate Earhart’s bravery. Write an essay that analyzes the strength of the arguments about Earhart’s bravery in at least two of the texts. Remember to use textual evidence to support your ideas.
What is PARCC?
• Measuring student progress is important. It’s also important to always measure the same thing that students are taught and are expected to learn. We must therefore align tests with standards. • To support states in increasing expectations for student learning, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a grant to the PARCC consortium of states to fund the development of tests that would align more rigorous standards. The tests would be available to any state that adopted those standards; they would not be mandatory for any state. • These tests are still in development (nearly complete) and will be available for states to use beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
Let’s do some myth busting.
Creation of the Standards MYTH: The federal government created the standards in order to implement a national curriculum that controls what students in every state learn. Additionally, the CCSS were developed by individuals with little or no background or credentials in education. FACT: States, not the federal government, led the creation of the standards. Creation of the standards involved educators, content experts, university professors, and business leaders from many states, including Louisiana.
Louisiana’s Adoption of the CCSS
MYTH: The federal government forced states to adopt the CCSS. FACT: Louisiana and the 40+ states that adopted the CCSS did so voluntarily.
How the CCSS Are Used in the Classroom
MYTH: The CCSS tell Louisiana teachers what to teach. They determine what textbooks and resources teachers use in the classroom. FACT: Local educators and communities still determine their own curriculum and decide what textbooks and resources are used in the classroom. The state does not dictate these things. They are local decisions.
More on Texts
MYTH: The CCSS exclude or discourage the use of classic texts in favor of non-fiction that is not age appropriate and promotes specific ideology or religions. FACT: The standards (CCSS or other Louisiana standards) do not require any texts. Teachers are encouraged to use fiction and nonfiction to teach the standards. No ideologies or religions are promoted by any standards. Note: The developers of the CCSS have provided examples of how teachers can teach the standards using materials they already have available. These are just for illustrative purposes and are not required. Many of these have been used by teachers for many years, including Shakespeare, the Constitution and other historical documents, and newspaper articles.
Fuzzy Math MYTH: The CCSS teach “fuzzy math” that does not require students to arrive at an exact, correct answer. FACT: The CCSS in math do, in fact, teach students to arrive at a correct answer. However, they also emphasize the following important concepts: 1. There are multiple ways that students may arrive at the correct answer. 2. Students should be able to demonstrate how they arrived at the correct answer. 3. Students should be able to justify why their answer is correct, using evidence.
Privacy of Student Data
MYTH: Louisiana is part of a national database that will house students’ information and allow it to be shared with outside entities. FACT: Louisiana is not part of any type of national database. Louisiana follows all state and federal laws regarding the protection of student data, just as local school systems must follow the same laws in storing student data in their own local databases.
The Costs of CCSS MYTH: The CCSS represents huge costs that Louisiana would not have otherwise incurred. FACT: The CCSS do not represent additional costs. Existing funds will be used to support the transition. Louisiana has updated its standards many times in the past. Each time, teachers have been trained and tests have been revised to align to the updated standards. The Department of Education has funded teacher training and revisions to state tests using existing funding.
Let’s discuss the real issues.
Impact on Students
The CCSS standards are indeed more difficult. They demand more from students, and some math concepts are being taught in earlier grades compared to Louisiana’s old standards. The new standards push students to read and reason at a higher level and to understand multiple ways of working problems. They require students to demonstrate their learning and justify their answers. Louisiana will not fully implement CCSS-aligned tests until spring 2014. We will ensure that no student is retained simply because of the shift to more difficult standards. Instead, we will pursue a gradual transition.
Impact on Teachers
Some teachers are having to teach differently: • More time spent on fewer concepts, but deeper level of instruction on each • More student-led discussion • More challenging questions and problems • More emphasis on understanding, less emphasis on memorization and following steps The LDOE has supported teachers over the past two years through: • Teacher and principal training • Classroom support toolbox • Practice items Just as we will minimize any negative impact on students, we will ensure that teacher evaluations remain fair as new standards are implemented. In other words, teachers’ evaluations will not drop simply because standards are being updated. Teachers who learn to teach the standards will continue to receive favorable evaluations.
Impact on Schools and Districts Louisiana’s gradual transition to new standards will include a gradual transition in accountability for schools and districts. Louisiana will not expect a higher level of performance to demonstrate “proficiency” overnight. We will gradually increase expectations, just as we have done for what is considered “academically unacceptable” in the past. We will make sure that school letter grades don’t experience a dramatic drop in the first year of the new assessments.
Let’s take some questions.
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