Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Student Assessment Inventory for Schools

I'm not sure if I've ever blogged out information that I discovered on achieve.org, but this resource is too good not to pass along.  For those of you who have never been to this site, achieve.org is  "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to working with states to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability."

The specific resource is a Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts. This is a "tool district leaders can use to take stock of their assessments and assessment strategy, and do so from a student perspective.  The tool supports a process by which districts evaluate the assessments students are taking, determine the minimum testing necessary to serve essential diagnostic, instructional and accountability purposes, and work to ensure that every district-mandated test is of high quality, is providing the information needed for specific school and district purposes, and is supported by structures and routines so that assessment results are actually used and action steps taken that will help students."

Most importantly, this resource allows teams to dig into what tests have been eliminated, how will the remaining tests be used, and why are these tests important?

Check it out @  http://www.achieve.org/files/AchieveStudentAssessmentInventory.pdf

Thursday, June 19, 2014

C-Plan (Consolidated Plan) Application – Now Open

I recently received this information from the Iowa Department of Education and thought I'd pass it on....
C-Plan (Consolidated Plan) Application – Now Open
APR, CSIP, DDSDP and Iowa Core Plans are due September 15th. SINA/DINA Plans will not be available until October and are due November 1.
Elements for the APR that are pre-populated by the Department will not be available until August.
** New this year - Additional DDSDP Question - “When was this DDSDP approved by the school board?” – this is a date field that should be populated with the date the board meeting was held during which the DDSDP entered into C-Plan was approved.
Documentation of all C-Plan questions, as well as a webinar for new users, can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.educateiowa.gov/data-reporting/c-plan-consolidated-plan
Merging Districts - Please note that district information will not be updated until mid July. There is no need to wait for this update to enter information into your district’s plans.

Common Core Text Complexity

OK, I get text complexity....but when the Common Core starts talking about Qualitative and Quantitative Measures, I tend to tune out a bit because of its resemblance to my research and statistics class during grad school!  Have no fear.....I stumbled across a document that was published by the New York State Education Department that not only defines the measures of Qualitative and Quantitative Text Complexity, but also includes a GREAT chart of "Common Scale for Brand Level Text Difficulty Ranges" (i.e. Lexile) and Information Text Types.  Check it out @ 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Key Instructional Shifts of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Sometimes looking at implementing the Common Core standards appears as a daunting task!  "There's so much for students to learn!"  "How can I possibly do this?"  "How can I prioritize these things?" 
Achievethecore has put together a great tool that identifies the shifts in Common Core mathematics standards and the Major Clusters, Additional Clusters and Supporting Clusters for grades K-8.  Check out this great resource on achievethecore.org  @ http://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Focus%20in%20Math_091013_FINAL.pdf

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Engaging Students in Writing in Response to Reading

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I had the honor to learn from one of educations best, Dr. Tim Westerberg @ timwesterberg.com  Throughout the day I feverishly jotted down ideas that I knew I needed to address on the Iowa Core Blog.......enters "Engaging Students in Writing in Response to Reading" and the fantastic resources that have been put out by the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC).

"LDC is a national community of educators providing a teacher-designed and research-proven framework, online tools, and resources for creating literacy-rich experiences that enable all educators to model, lead, and succeed in implementing the high expectations embodied in the Common Core Standards as they accelerate their own professional growth and increase student outcomes"

Looking for a tool to help craft tasks that engage students in writing in response to reading complex text aligned to the Common Core?  Check this out!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creating, Clarifying, Revisiting and Sustaining the Iowa Core Vision

Last week I had the honor to learn from one of educations best, Dr. Tim Westerberg @ timwesterberg.com  Throughout the day I feverishly jotted down ideas that I knew I needed to address on the Iowa Core Blog, but quickly one topic became critical to address.....Creating, Clarifying, Revisiting and Sustaining the Iowa Core Vision!

To no fault of anyone; schools have become so busy implementing the Iowa Core......understanding the standards and working on alignment, creating common assessments, outlining a multi-tiered system of support for students falling through the cracks that we've possibly lost sight of why we're doing what we're doing....the Iowa Core vision has faded.

So here's what I'd like to challenge every educator in Iowa to do...REFLECT!  Reflect on what the Iowa Core look like in your building?  What does it sound like?  How does it feel?  What are students and teachers doing differently now that they weren't doing five years ago? Celebrate the good things that you've accomplished and outline what needs to be done to continue to move the Iowa Core forward!

On March 10, 2014 I blogged "So You Think You're Implementing the Iowa Core standards?"   Included in this post was a great tool that assists teachers in identifying their level of implementation @ http://iowacorenetwork.blogspot.com/2014/03/so-you-think-youre-implementing-iowa.html   Check it out and make it a priority to revisit your Iowa Core vision today!