15 Apr

The Significance of school testing headphones with the New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

In Dec 2015, Chief Executive Obama finalized the new, bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is expected to change the scenery and atmosphere of education since the No Child Left Behind Act. Here is an explanation of when, where, and why school testing headphones will become a significant component of a school’s gadgets list with the new standards.
Technology Increasing Together with Education
As we have resolved earlier in our post on top education styles in 2017, technological innovation will carry on growing in importance and usefulness in the classroom. The new ESSA will not only indicate that growth but also motivates it. The marketplace itself facilitates the use of technological innovation in the classroom, not only as an assistive tool for students but in to stay “future ready” for changes and requirement of technological innovation. The invoice, therefore, shows a guarantee to spend more funds on technological innovation as academic resources, and plus the use of computer systems and cellular phones, school testing headphones too will develop in importance as well.
Increased Accessibility to Pre-Kindergarten Classes
The ESSA also is designed to improve access pre-kindergarten for all students, which will help quickly boost the academic, social, psychological, and physical development of youngsters. With it come resources that are necessary for pre-school older kids, who are also suffering from a beginning access technological innovation at both house and college events. Children in pre-school might use iPads for academic activities and events, and headphones like the Hamilton Bend Phones–which develop with kids and secure hearing with a weak disturbance threshold–will become useful for these kids to be successful at a beginning age.

Growing Significance of Songs and the Arts

The new invoice also details assistance for music and the artistry, in addition to STEM topics. This aid in the art can lead to a need for educational institutions to have top quality headphones for music sessions and laboratories, where only headphones will be required in purchase for students to complete projects or take examinations. For these situations, we suggest noise-canceling headphones with quantity management, which can help students pay attention to their work or evaluation components either of the sessions, at home or in school, without diversion. Because many music assessments include hearing carefully and determining specific notices, appears to be, equipment, machines, and more having top quality school testing headphones will help students listen to the sound with quality and differentiate variations. Educational headphones are also appropriate outside music sessions and will be required in arts-focused topics such as movie, literature, interaction and production, and more.

Rigorous Classroom Standards
One of the most basic changes that will affect the classroom atmosphere includes enhanced specifications for the program to become educationally extensive for all students. Wanting to close the gap between classes in private and rental educational institutions and indicate their rigor in public schools the new law will help all students prepare for universities and professions under more complicated specifications.
With that come new methods to show and increase the program that will include the students’ attention in different ways. From hearing about audio books to getting referrals, watching movies, and more, audio/sound gadgets will become essential resources to help students succeed. Many educational institutions and regions with extended sessions have their students and staff using technological innovation for many projects and depend on top quality gadgets to show and evaluation components for their program specifications, as well as Advanced Positioning examinations and Worldwide Baccalaureate sessions.
Overall, a lot of planning will be required for a university or region to meet the changes in the ESSA. We estimate that a need for top quality sound and visible high quality will be necessary for students to learn and be successful eventually.
Are any particular headphones safe for kids?

Professionals also suggest that the period spent listening to headphones should be limited to two hours a day (for kids and parents), even if the volume level is defined at 85dB. Limiting the volume level on earphones you give to your children is a wise decision if you want to help protect their hearing, but some professionals warn against children using any types of headphones. While the World Health Organization (WHO) and EUROPEAN UNION state that 85dB is a good safety limit, the USA Environmental Protection Agency and USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest 70dB as the usual daily noises exposure level. That 85dB level is extracted from functional studies of noise exposure and hearing loss for parents, not kids.

The problems are that 70dB is very silent and will likely not drown out ambient sound, so 85dB becomes the norm despite it being extremely damaging to an immature person’s hearing.
There are other factors why even 85dB is unsafe for kids, especially when using earphones or earbuds. Children’s ears are very sensitive to noise damage, possibly due to growing and development of nerve fibers and other cells. Also because of their smaller sized external auditory canals, the eardrum is much closer to the sound source.

Incidental challenges with screenings
Depending on your state health care or education department, the ability to hear tests are usually administered to students in quality grades K, 1, 3, 5, 9 and sometimes grade 7.

A school & college health professional nurse, speech-language pathologist or a checking out audiologist usually does school screenings. However, the sanitary screening conditions are not always ideal. For example, tests in some cases take place in a gymnasium. Depends on where children take the tests, poor sound, reverberation and ambient noise can impact results.

Secondly, the children may have an ear infection or cold or the upper respiratory tract infection that daytime, which can impact hearing, the fit of the over-the-ears headphones or the attention span of the child also sometimes affect the screenings.

15 Feb

History of the SBAC and How it Rose to a Nationwide Movement

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was created in 2010 with the aim of producing a universal assessment system to help students be well prepared for college and careers. The creation of the tests aimed to produce a vigorous assessment of the new, challenging common core state standards (CCSS) and help educators and school districts align teaching to these new standards. The SBAC originally consisted of a consortium of 30 states that submitted a proposal for a $178m federal grant to develop a new, groundbreaking series of tests for students. In 2014 the federal grant came to an end and the SBAC was transferred to UCLA and became a public agency.

 

The SBAC is funded by the memberships of the 16 states, that currently offer the tests, and all tests have been available for students to take since April 2015. Testing costs around $28 per student for the full package of resources and although it can cost states a significant amount of money to introduce, the resources that are included can actually end up saving money and time for educators. Around 220 colleges nationwide accept the high school summative SBAC tests as evidence for college readiness for credit level courses.

 

The progressive tests were created using a dynamic process of field-testing and in Spring 2014, 4.2 million students took the first field tests which facilitated the evaluation of over 19,000 assessment items. This allowed for the first set of achievement standards to be set, which were a starting point for discussion about achievement standards across the states that took part and as a baseline measure for the future.

 

The SBAC is designed to be a valid and reliable approach to student assessment, providing actionable data to provide interventions to help students succeed. For states offering the tests, the SBAC provides three components developed by nearly 5000 teachers nationwide:

 

  • Formative and practice assessments with a digital library of resources for students and educators.
  • Interim assessments
  • Summative assessments towards college and career readiness in English, Language Arts and Math

 

The SBAC summative tests are available for students in grade 3-8th and high school and are all administered via an interactive online platform. The tests take between 2.5 – 4 hours for each component and are either marked digitally or by qualified professional scorers. The marks for each assessment are available in 2-3 weeks for parents, educators and students. Each student receives a result of 1,2,3 or 4 on each test with 1 representing a student who is minimally qualified and 4 a student who is thoroughly qualified.

 

The movement towards rigorous and valid assessment helps both states and the nation ensure that students are leaving high school with a diploma that prepares them for adult life. The SBAC provides a way to ensure that every student succeeds and every school district is accountable for that because of the tests.

 

10 Aug

The Technology Hurdles of SBAC Testing in the Classroom

Even giant leaps forward in technology, education and other fields comes with some setbacks or deficiencies. Often they can be worked out over time. The SBAC or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is one nifty example. This test gives students who are exposed to it a leg up on the question stems which are aligned with their grade level. It’s available for students in grades 3-8, and high school for the core subjects. Questioning stems refers to the way the questions might be worded and the kinds of questions that would be presented. Even the advance exposure of the SBAC brings some glitches. Clearing the hurdles is possible, but they do exist. Here are a few:

On Screen Reading

There’s a certain amount of eye strain involved in reading content on screen. Called Computer Vision Syndrome, the American Optometric Association suggests that 70% of Americans suffer from this malady. The problem presents itself as stress on the eyes. For children it may include a negative impact on their normal vision and development. The brain is said to not respond the same way to characters on the computer that they do characters on paper. Pixels and points on the screen all converge to make the images, but there is not always the fluidity people expect. There are all kinds of recommendations for writers and others who are on the computer a lot. The idea is to give the eye muscles a break. Looking away periodically is one of them. Wearing computer eyeglasses is another. For testing, students are conditioned to stay on task for the duration, so they may need retraining in order to even grasp the idea of taking short seconds long eye breaks. In addition, not all students who are prepared to take the SBAC test can go out and get an eye exam and glasses for onscreen reading.

The same difficult dynamic applies to those who take the SBAC test, as it is an online test. Students used to paper test may be some of the most difficult ones of all to struggle with taking a test where they have to constantly look at the screen.

Pause Feature

Students taking the test can put their computer on pause for up to twenty minutes. If they return and resume the test in 20 minutes or under they can return to the same section when they are done with their break. They can even go back and work on (modify, change, review) answers in that same section. If the student keeps the test on pause for longer than 20 minutes, they may not be able to do any further work on the page they were working on before the pause.

Taking Audio and Video Notes

If students are not used to taking notes from audio and video, this test may present them with some frustrations. Without the value of prior experience at note-taking from audio and video, students will often have problems keeping up with the speed of delivery of audio and video content. Students may also struggle with organizing the notes as they watch or listen to content if this balancing act is not familiar to them. The best solution for them is pre-test experience with shorthand note-taking, note-taking technology or experience organizing notes efficiently through a program like Cornell Notes (from AVID). When it comes to note-taking in general, practice makes perfect. It is more so true with taking video and audio notes.

31 Dec

Illinois Changes its attitude about Common Core

A weird amalgamation of liberalism in its city of Chicago and conservatism out in every other area, Illinois has taken the more liberal route in regards to education. Following the reveal of the Common Core, the state voted to adopt the standards on June 24, 2010. In addition, it became and has remained an active member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC), the group tasked with developing the new standardized test for the Core. That being said, the state is slowly becoming more two-sided in light of the PARCC test scores that released in 2015.

 

Growing Pains

Like most states, Illinois saw an extreme drop in readiness for college as determined by these test scores. Across every district, scores were low, prompting educators to send home letters of explanation so as to shield the children from any parental punishment. That being said, it’s the conservative districts that took the scores in stride, logically drawing the conclusion that a new test was bound to be lower since both teachers and students had never taken anything like it before.

 

Growing Resentment

While the non-Chicago areas are continuing to work to improve, it’s the big city that’s harboring a growing break between the Core and everyone else. From educators to parents, the PARCC test has been vilified as ruining the already struggling school system. Educators see it as an evil that is turning away both prospective and current teachers. Parents encouraged students to protest the exam, leading to certain schools reporting a 54% no-show rate. Unlike other states, educators are fully supportive of the parents doing this, even in light of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel shaming them for siding with the parents.

While it might seem like a great stand against a perceived evil, the fight to force the students to take the test is embroiled in a much more complex issue of funding and poor performing schools. In reality, it was only the higher performing schools with the wealthier parents that supported such a boycott of the PARCC. Such skip rates did not happen in the poorer districts. In addition, the state needs to maintain a 95% participation rate in order to continue to receive funding for these lower-performing and often underfunded schools – schools that have no bearing on the costly private institutes that are causing such a fuss.

In the end, the PARCC results have done nothing to prove or dismantle any theories so much as entrench individuals further in their current beliefs. Parents that believed the Core to be an evil now have found justification. Educators that knew lower test scores were coming are further convinced that this change is for the better, they just need more time. Though the Core will no doubt remain a staple of the state’s education system, what happens to the PARCC remains to be seen.

10 Dec

Iowa Shows Positive Progress on Common Core

After joining in the developmental process of establishing what the Common Core standards should be, Iowa had no qualms adopting them upon release in 2010. It was a move that has since proven to be an effective tool in helping the students of the state exceed their previous academic scores.

 

Federal Fears

Like virtually all other states, such success hasn’t saved Iowa from the vitriol of hate groups. Certain parents see the Common Core as a Federal takeover, allowing the government to come in and control a system that has traditionally always been controlled by the state. These anti-Core groups are also of the belief that the standards are aligned to the lowest levels of performance, making them extremely detrimental to the students in the state.

However, both of these claims are easily dismissed. Iowa, and many other states across the US, came together back in 2009 to develop these standards as a way of fostering a future set of students that would be able to compete scholastically on a global level both up until 12th grade and beyond. It was never something states have been forced to accept. In fact, there are number of states that never adopted the Core in the first place. Combine this with the fact that every school can teach the standards however they want and you have proof that the government is not trying to dominate state education and a set of standards that align to the highest ideals of achievement.

 

Going Forward

With the Core finally fully implemented for the 2014-15 school year, results are finally starting to come in. According to the 2015 National Report Card, Iowa has remained stationary, neither decreasing or increasing even with the Core being used. This has proven to be promising, though, as usually states undergo what’s known as an implementation dip – a decrease in performance during the early years of transitioning to a new program. In addition, though Iowa scores remained steady, these scores placed the state well above the national average, hinting at a promising future.

That being the case, it still hasn’t decreased frustrations felt by parents. Many have turned to social media outlets to complain about having a hard time helping their children with homework. Educators are quick to snap back that it’s because the Core uses methods not taught when the parents were in school and that if parents really want to help their children, they’ll teach the little ones how to adapt and succeed instead of throwing a tantrum when things become challenging.

All in all, Iowa has proven to be yet another state that has successfully brought in the Common Core with little to no major opposition. Because of this, teachers and students alike are beginning to reap the benefits of providing students with actual academic challenges.

14 Nov

Common Core in Texas

We all know that it’s important for our children to be adequately educated so they can compete in the world job market once they’re adults. The Common Core Standards are a set of educational guidelines established by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) along with the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). These guidelines define the specific knowledge a student needs to acquire in order to graduate or be promoted to the next grade. Although it is completely voluntary, these universal standards have already been implemented in many states to ensure that students all over the country are on the same educational track and ready for employment or college once high school graduation comes around. While a number of states have already adopted the Common Core Standards, there are indeed some states that have decided not to follow these recommended educational guidelines. Along with Nebraska, Virginia and Alaska, the state of Texas also rejected the adoption of Common Core.

 

In May of 2013 the 83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 462, which prohibits any public school district in the state from adopting the Common Core Standards. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of rejecting the standards with a total of 140 voting for the bill, 2 “Nays” and 2 non-votes. The new law later went into effect on September 1, 2013 and the decision not to adopt the Common Core Standards in Texas has left many of the state’s educators, parents and politicians at odds. This may be because there are many people who seem to be misinformed about the facts.

 

Some Texas legislators have expressed that they believe the standards are intentionally set low to accommodate students nationwide, while others don’t want Texas students to get left behind. There are also teacher organizations that have united to display their dissatisfaction with the possibility of having to teach according to standards set by the federal government and not locally. Contrary to what some may believe, the Common Core Standards are not a curriculum at all and they are not overseen or governed by the federal government. The implementation of these standards is actually left up to the governors who are supposed to work together with the CCSSO and NGA to ensure every student is provided with a quality education. The Common Core Standards also do not specify what and how a teacher teaches, as they are only a set of benchmarks and educational goals a child needs to reach each year.

 

There are quite a few reasons why so many Texan leaders, such as Governor Greg Abbott, do not want to implement the Common Core Standards in school districts throughout the state. The issue is still a hot topic that has been debated by many educators, school board members, politicians and parents. If you want to learn the truth about the Common Core Standards, it’s recommended you conduct your own research. With just a quick search, you’ll realize that there is plenty of factual information available online which is based on studies and statistics.

 

05 Nov

Maryland’s Common Core Scores are set to Rise in Future Years

Back on July 22, 2010, Maryland joined on as one of the first states to allow for the eventual implementation of the Common Core. While it has met with resistance similar to that seen all over the country, it has nevertheless remained firm in its stance of adoption, strategically silencing any opponents that arise. That being said, the recently released PARCC scores (a statewide test that aligns its questions to Common Core standards) are ushering in a new wave of fear.

Protest

Most states agreed to adopt the Core back in 2010. During this time, states held open houses, inviting all parents, teachers and other education community members to weigh in on the whys and hows of implementation. Three years later, those that didn’t heed the call began rallying against the new curriculum with many fearing it to be some sort of twisted Federal plot to influence the children. Though scary, these opponents failed to realize that the Core was and remains fully adaptable to the needs of each and every school. It doesn’t tell teachers what to teach and how to teach it. It gives them a set of standards students should reach by the time they graduate each grade level. This alone has allowed Maryland to maintain its firm, supportive stance of the Core.

Scores

Just because the state supports the Core doesn’t mean it hasn’t made concessions to protect its teachers and students from unjust penalties. In 2013, for instance, Maryland voted to delay teacher evaluations based off of Common Core tests until 2016-2017. The sole reason for this was because of the simple fact that the teachers needed more time to learn how to teach these new assessments, a move that is allowing each educator time to feel out the best way to approach teaching the standards.

In the end, this proved to be a smart move. In October of this year, the first PARCC test scores were released, revealing that less than half of the state’s students passed 10th grade Algebra I, Algebra II and English. However, instead of a tumultuous uproar from the community decrying the test and the Core as terrible things, most have found the facts sobering. While all understand it takes a few years for test score on new exams to improve, the more challenging curriculum has laid bare the fact that students aren’t ready for higher education. But instead of tossing out PARCC in favor on an easier test to bloat scores like Ohio has done, Maryland is taking this setback as a challenge. Once the nation’s leader in terms of education, they see now that there are major flaws that must be fixed if the children are to succeed in an ever increasingly competitive and globally connected world.

25 Oct

Puerto Rico has its own Common Core Opinion

Though Common Core has been a highly controversial topic within the states, most news agencies forget that it hasn’t just been affecting them. In fact, all US territories have been offered the chance to adopt these new educational standards, including Guam, the American Samoan Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Of these territories, it’s Puerto Rico that has resisted adoption entirely, joining the ranks of Texas, Alaska and Oklahoma.

A Failing System

The story of not adopting the standards is inextricably tied to Puerto Rico’s current failing economy. With no power to vote, the country has been nothing but a slave to American interests based on economic needs and wants. Having been abused for so long now, the country has amassed a stunning $72 million in debt worsened by the decreasing population as those that can move somewhere else, do. To put this into perspective, Puerto Rico is twice as poor as Mississippi, the poorest state, but has double the cost of living.

What does this have to do with education?

Everything.

Much like rural school systems in the states are often years behind their more affluent city counterparts, Puerto Rico is doing everything it can to stay financially afloat including slashing an already depressingly low school budget. In the face of such a budget, the last thing the country needed was to add a curriculum that would cost money the country doesn’t have to implement in accordance with US design.

Pulling Back from Education

A recent report from former IMF consultants found that if Puerto Rico where to lay off teachers, drastically cut education spending and a variety of other steps, they could begin to get the financial situation under control. However, it’s also widely recognized that a stronger economy requires a good education system in order to keep the work force strong. It’s become a catch-22 that both students and teachers are ready to protest.

Is there a solution? At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a clear answer. After all, the problems are highly varied and not entirely clear themselves. The one thing they all agreed on, however, was that Common Core was not needed. To a country in their position, Common Core is a hope for a future where the educational system isn’t continually threatened by the economy.

In the end, Puerto Rico isn’t against Common Core so much as it is unable to hold debates about it. There are far more pressing matters looming on the horizon, making these standards seem trivial in light of trying to keep money in the school system. Provided financial hope can be cultivated, there may be adoption plans for the future. For now, however, the Core isn’t even important enough to spark the widespread debate seen in the states.

16 Oct

North Dakota’s stance with Common Core

When North Dakota adopted the Common Core on June 20, 2011, it signed up as one of the last states to join. However, instead of finding itself suffering from whiplash brought on by opponents, it’s managed to perform one of the few, smooth implementations of the standards. Even so, this year did see a rather strong push to have the Core taken out of the state.

Defeating the Bill

As far as Core controversy goes, North Carolina has managed to stay out of the spotlight for many years. They brought in the new standards, put them to use in the classrooms and that seemed to be the end of it. Then, in 2015, House Bill 1461 came to light, demanding the state withdraw from Common Core altogether. Interestingly enough, the Bill was actually divided into two parts.

The first, Division A, required North Dakota to withdraw from the Core’s standardized test, Smarter Balance. This section was surprisingly torn, with a final vote of 43-46, falling to defeat by only three votes. Standardized tests are never positive subjects, so it came as no big surprise to find such dissent, especially with the bad stories about Smarter Balance emerging from other states.

The second, Division B, called for the total cancellation of the standards and was defeated 89-0, proving that the state stands firmly behind the standards. In fact, legislators at the hearing cited that the majority of educators across the state stood behind a Core that was developed for the state by the input of over 130 educators from North Dakota. To the parents that would argue the standards are too hard, representatives ask them why raising the bar is such a bad thing.

Parent Opposition

In light of the defeat, upset parents have been voicing their concerns that the state just isn’t listening, citing the 1,400 petitions around the state calling for the Core’s removal. Many talk about being worried about how such changes are affecting the children. In response, lawmakers point out the absurdity of getting upset over a test that hasn’t even been given yet. In the end, though, the parents opposing it aren’t loud enough to force the legislature into overthrowing a stable system the teachers are now integrated into.
In amongst the debates flying across the nation about the validity of or unconstitutional reach of Common Core, North Dakota remains a fervent fan even in the face of a few upset parents. To their educators throughout the state, the changes have all been for the better, and they have never been more ready to implement the new standardized testing than now. So long as the standards do what they promise and North Dakota adheres to them, their future looks much brighter due to the greater educational challenge.

18 Aug

South Carolina’s Controversial Common Core

Though adopted July 14, 2010 during the first wave of Common Core introduction, South Carolina has always treated the movement with outright hostility. Never a state to stay calm, such seemingly blatant disregard for the state’s solidarity in educational standards has kept the state on edge for the better part of four years. Almost inevitably, though, the standards were dropped, however whether this was a wise decision is still being debated just as intensely.

State Pride

In a sentence that sums up South Carolina’s mentality, Governor Nikki Haley called for Core repeal by stating, “We don’t ever want to educate South Carolina children like they educate California children.” This is in regard to the ideal that the Core would unite the states so that every child everywhere would receive the same level of education. So, for instance, if a teen moved during high school, they would have no problem picking up where they left off.

Unfortunately, the message was taken to mean government takeover more so than college readiness. To further slander the Core, opponents sought out difficult and confusing math problems as testaments to what a poor decision adoption of the standards was. When teachers were asked about it, they were quick to point out that no state or classroom was ever forced to use specific problems, meaning the “evidence” was entirely misleading.

Core Cancellation

Deceptive though it was, it opened the floodgates of contempt, resulting in an official repeal signed in 2014 to go active for the 2015-16 school year. Interestingly enough, this bill also came with stipulations to prevent educators from simply re-adopting chunks of the Common Core and renaming it. Under this new bill, an Education Oversight Committee must sign off on all standards before they can go into effect. Though this certainly seems hypocritical in light of South Carolina’s detestation of any kind of federal control, it is in place due to reports coming from Indiana. There, opponents are accusing the state of simply changing the name but not the Core.

Teacher Worry

As the new school year without the Core looms ahead, educators are working hard to develop South Carolina standards for where they want their state’s children to be. Ironically, opponents of the Core have turned out to be unhappy with the new standards, seeing them as so difficult that they set their children up to fail. The Board of Education backs this belief by confirming that they are indeed more challenging. Teachers also support the difficulty increase, citing the fact that parents now can’t expect their children to learn how they learned. The world has changed and so have its demands upon graduation. The educators believe in their students and understand that in order to truly prepare them for graduation, the standards need to be made just a little harder.