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 Mar

Things you should know about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC)

What is PARCC?

PARCC or the partnership for assessment of readiness for college and careers is a group of states partnered together to develop a set of common students’ assessments. Developing the PARCC is handled by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The assessments by PARCC measure the knowledge and skills that give students confidence and success in the main academic areas. Such skills include evidence-based writing, mathematical problem solving, and understanding complex texts.

Who should take PARCC assessments?

As such, students between grades 3 to 8, inclusive, are given the opportunity to take online PARCC assessments in mathematics and ELA, each spring. PARCC results are used together with other measures to create a broader picture of a child’s progress. The other measures include report card grades, teacher feedback, and classroom performance. So, with PARCC you can be sure that a child’s development isn’t just based on their scores in school but on a statewide standard that compares the performance of children from different schools.

How are PARCC tests designed?

PARCC assessments are intended to assess the member states’ Common Core State Standards. On the PARCC website, are ELA test specification documents that should help you better understand the design of ELA assessments. Also available to the public are mathematics test specification documents that provide test blueprints and claims structures that outline the goals and format of the assessment. They also give evidence statements that link the content of the assessment to Common Core State Standards.

How are PARCC assessments taken?

PARCC assessments are computerized and are completed online. For this reason, some of the questions are multiple choice. However, others may ask the students to plot a point on a graph, shade an area or slot in their answer to an equation. For language tests, students might be required to read short passages and write short essays.

Are PARCC tests harder than other standardized tests?

These assessments are designed to be more rigorous than the tests offered in each of the member states. Setting high standards is important because they align to the CCSS which put emphasis on reading, comprehension, and critical thinking.

What are the cons of PARCC assessments?

Well, many complaints have come from younger students, the cause of disagreement since the test format and questions are too confusing to them. Again, there are those who have an issue with the time it takes to sit and prepare for the tests. They tend to think that this time could have been put to better use. However, there is also the question of the resources used by schools to upgrade technology in readiness for the tests. Those who belong to this school of thought say the resources used are unnecessarily too much.

Some have also expressed fears that teachers will end up teaching for the tests and nothing else. Others say that there are too much emphasis formal texts in ELA as opposed to creative writing and literature. As another form of standardized test, PARCC may not truly reveal the student’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. As much as PARCC assessments include test items across different levels of cognitive ability, there is no provision for the assessment of students with special needs, leaving out a key element of any assessment system. The requirement that students use technology may disadvantage many students from poor and low-income areas who do not have as much experience using computers.

What are the benefits of PARCC assessments?

The proponents of PARCC assessments believe that with more rigorous tests, students will be better prepared for colleges and careers. They are based on the CCSS standards that require students to show problem-solving skills. As such, the tests are designed to ensure students know how to solve problems rather than simply memorizing the correct answers. A comparison can also be drawn between students’ progress in the states, which administer PARCC tests, thus creating a common standard of assessment between different states.

Some of the proponents of these tests have also observed that PARCC tests make teachers more accountable. Holding the teachers in charge of tests provide a means of gauging and improving performance in the entire class. Since the tests have been created in collaboration with over 800 colleges, they ensure that students who graduate from high school are ready for college. Parents and teachers may also use PARCC assessments to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students and any additional instruction required.

PARCC assessments are also so flexible that schools in their administration need not much time and resources. As others take the tests, teachers and students who are not taking them can be in class doing meaningful learning. The supporters of these tests also say that it is easy to tie performance in PARCC tests to the money spent by various states on education.

15 Dec

The Right Tablets for Students

In this high-tech world, a good tablet always plays an important part of students’ activities, either in school or home, playground or classroom, they just happen to pull the tablet out of pockets and their fingers begin to dance nonstop on the screen. They play, they text, they listen to songs, they surf internet, they watch videos on YouTube, they video-call, they play games and their fingers go through lots of apps one after another without waiting a second – especially when they are in a hurry.  To make their activities more interesting and uninterrupted, parents are always on the hunt to bag a right kind tablet for their kids. Finally, KIKOWA, one of the top computers and mobile phones manufacturers in the world just announced, ‘an incredible tablet with plenty of new features and functions would soon reach into the hands of tablet lovers.’ However, is that tablet already here?

A best tablet for young generation

Having a brand new tablet in the pocket is what young people crave for and it is more than certain that Kikowa Tab-16 GenX is going to be their best friend. It has been reported that millions of people of all age groups have already booked this incredible device. The tablet was launched in Japan last month and it became a bestseller among school and college going in two weeks, their reviews captured worldwide:

  • Slick and attractive designs, TFT, LCD
  • Window 10 operating system, Wi-Fi with satellite internet for 3 months
  • Best Battery backup
  • Fast connectivity, 5G, Blue-tooth
  • 150 GB storage with 30 Mega-pixel camera, with Selfie Expert, and HD video Recording
  • Mood Sensor

Apart from all modern features and functions that a tablet hold, this extraordinary device proudly runs a special function called ‘The Mood Sensor’ as it senses the feelings of the person as long as he/she is holding the tablet or even if they are inches away from the device. It will let people know what their friends, and girlfriends or boyfriends or family members feeling on the other end. This special sensor only exists in Kikowa Tab-16 GenX, the source found.

It is more classroom and less Tablet

Thousands of eBooks are accessible featuring images and illustrations, audios and videos. The tablet will take you to a private server where only registered students in high school and college can access hundreds and thousands of study materials, all free. Along, they can find mood-cheering music when any boringness drifts into readers. Even they can open many educational apps and work into it at the same, hanging problem is highly rare here. This is the demand of the current young generation and we have made it.

It is the BEST and charges LESS

Yes, it is true. Many experts agree that the other companies may cost a fortune if they were to launch this product in the marketplaces. But its only KIKOWA that has made it possible. It is clear that this particular device has a lot ranges in Pricing but for students of poor family background can comfortably pocket the tab and enjoy life at ease.

01 Nov

Comparing laptops to computers; what is best for your student?

Computers came into existence a long time ago. From the size of a football field, to a room, to a table and now to a lap; computer systems have also progressed as the World has moved forward. Being permitted only to influential offices when they were initially introduced and only being operated by a professional, now they have been given access to every human on earth. As a student, it becomes a tad tough to decide whether laptops are better or computers are more appropriate. Thereby, we shall see the pros and cons of various aspects of both, as to decide which one will serve the purpose better.

  1. Cost price: Due to the fact that desktop computers are larger and have more than one component attached to them that can vary per package, the prices are also in a wide array. However, the lowest price you must pay with the maximum number of gadgets is also pretty minimal and you can still attain a perfectly good setup. On the other hand, laptops do not have that much hassle attached to them, but to have the best package like speed, memory space, durability and sleekness you must pay a lot more. Thereby, judging by pricing, laptops can be heftier on the pocket of a student or an educational institution if they want the best one available in market.
  1. Handiness: Desktop computers not only have a monitor but also a processor that is quite heavy. To transport it from one place to another you need quite some time and effort. Furthermore, all the wires attached to a switchboard, to the monitor and the keyboard also need to be detached and carried along making it a very troublesome process. Howbeit, laptops have everything they need in their system so you can merely pick it up and put it in another place. As a student, that is the biggest advantage you can get because you can carry it wherever you want.
  1. Processor power: Since desktop computers have a larger sized processor, the power it harnesses is also proportional to its size. This means that more activities that involve heavy power can be done on the computer like gaming. Laptops have smaller sized and lesser powered systems, on which you cannot do very dynamic activities. In case of students, it depends on the type of study they have and how much work they need off the system. If the student is a graphic designing course, he must prefer a computer because they can install all his software easily. On the other hand, if they are fifth graders, a laptop will do just fine.
  1. Assembling: Arranging, setting and starting up a desktop computer is a cumbersome process owing to the large number of components involved. Thereby, it also takes up more area. To the contrary, laptops only need to be inserted with a battery the first time, and every time after you just need to click the power button to get it in use. So, for educational institutes that install them or students, laptops can save a lot of precious time, as well as space in the room. 
  1. Keyboards: In case of desktop computers, you need to purchase an additional keyboard, but there are so many options to choose from. There are different sizes, various types, numerous colors and eye-catching themes to your liking. In the case of laptops, the good part is that the keyboard is already installed so you need not buy an additional one, however you cannot customize it to your liking. Again, their ease to a student depends on the type of educational program he/she is in. If they need a larger keyboard with more features, then a computer would do. However, if his scope of studies does not require any fancy keyboards, a laptop is all he/she needs.
  1. Size of screen: In the case of screen size, both the subjects at hand are equal. Monitors, whether of the laptop or the desktop computer, come in all size ranges. You can pick the one you want. Both of them can also be connected to any external monitor like a television screen with a single cable so you need to worry about the size.
  1. Improvement: Everything changes after a while, new advancements and gadgets come into existence and you think about updating. Since the desktop computer has all externally attached components, you can change any one of them at any time as per your requirements. Diversely, the laptops and their components are not removable, meaning that you cannot upgrade them except for the hard-disk, memory and such. You can only purchase a brand new laptop. In this case, desktop computers have a clear advantage because as soon as a component wears out becomes out-dated you can change it.
  1. Repair: Same goes the case for repair. Since the components can easily come off, you can repair them, replace them and upgrade them with ease. However, laptops usually need to be sent to an expert to get it back into shape because you cannot repair it on your own, neither can you replace any component. Here, also desktop computers have a significant advantage.
  1. Fashion statement: Well, we cannot rule out the trends of the modern world can we? And that is laptops. While desktop computers still exist, they are now being considered obsolete, and laptops are readily taking their place more or less because of their portability and smoother designing. So if you want to follow the bandwagon effect, or simply to fit into your surroundings, a laptop will be a more probable choice.

In conclusion, whether you need a desktop computer for your student or a laptop, depends widely on the subject of the study, the requirements of the syllabus, the classroom ethics and the ease of the student. After assessing all these factors in light of the pros and cons mentioned above, the student plus the teacher can decide which of them is more suited.

04 Oct

What are the benefits of Tablets vs. Laptops for Schools?

Education has taken a giant leap forward, with digital tools in common use in classrooms. Students today may not even know what a blackboard is. If they do, they may consider it something like a dinosaur. But when it comes to tablets and laptops in the classroom, students are giving an astounding affirmative vote, but they are showing a definite preference according to most studies. The digital divide will be hard to cross later if teachers are not using at least these two tools in the classroom. There are some who favor the tablet, and others who use the laptop as the go-to tool.

One source, Techcrunch, writes that kids today are at home using their tablets more than the laptop for accessing the internet, playing games and watching videos. The article about the subject reports that tablet use is rising across the board, and that is has become the device that children feel that they must have. Their source is a research company by the name of Ofcom. Teachers can capitalize off this tablet obsession by making tablets a common tool in the classroom. And they can use them in the same ways that kids use them at home, by spinning things a little differently.

In order to get the necessary curriculum into the classroom through tablet use, teachers can make or use existing videos that help with content enrichment, exposure and even tests. The teacher can also use tablets for playing learning games. A teacher can create learning stations with such games, or activities that reinforce learning. There is a flood of games on the internet that help students to grasp and master content. For Math alone, you will see learning sites like Mr. Mussbaum, coolmathgames.com and many others. Mussbaum and some others specify that their games are for tablet users, although they may be configured for laptops as well. Some of the games are arcade style, while others are delivered in other forms.

Tachertube.com, watchknowlearn.com and many other sites have an explosion of educational videos that cover content ranging from the solar system to various cultures around the world and the animal kingdom. As one site indicated, namely edudemic, teachers can expose students to new content knowledge, supplement the learning that’s taking place in the classroom and inspire them through educational videos. There is even a YouTube channel specifically dedicated to education.

The same article, which explored the use of laptops, has dropped 68% while tablet use has grown from 15%-42% since 2012. It’s important to mention that the article credited the drop of smartphone ownership as part of the reason why the tablet holds more appeal than the laptop.

One master teacher, who indicates that they were trained to use laptops for teaching, reported that she found that students preferred tablets over laptops. She cited a few reasons for the preference, as follows: the tablet is smaller and lightweight, the tablet is easier to store and they have faster start-up times. She said she finds tablets great for creating content. Narrated screencast and digital storytelling are two high potential learning platforms geared toward creating content that seem easier for students to navigate with tablets versus laptops.

This same teacher, who is also an educational technologist, pointed out that she likes laptops for the older students because they can learn trouble-shooting through the devices. She felt that students need a basic grasp of computers, and that laptops can give them that experience.

Online curriculum and apps seem to be here to stay. Both have changed the landscape of the teaching and learning experience. Both are accessible through laptops and tablets.

Joseph Morris, Director of Market Intelligence for the Center for Digital Education, reports that classrooms are continuing to evolve with new technology.

On the center’s website, it indicates that a new Horizon Report came out in September 2016 to show where classrooms are needing to go in order to optimize use of learning technology in the near future.

Samantha A. Becker, the NMC Horizon Project senior director was quoted as stating, “We believe it’s important to set a precedent that technology that’s not in service of promoting better teaching and learning practices is just a set of devices.” She is also researcher and lead writer of the series of Horizon reports.

One article stayed away from the tablet versus laptop argument, and instead focused on the fact that educators needed to look at the features and conveniences that they want a device to offer. That being said, it seems that the decision is a matter of who is making the important decision, and what their goals and anticipated lessons will involve

06 Sep

The technology hurdles of PARCC in schools

PARCC is actually a short form of Partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career. Basically PARCC is a consortium of 8 different states. The district of Colombia and bureau of Indian Education are also part of it and they are working to create and place a standard of k-12 assessment in English language and Mathematics. This consortium was also awarded with the top assessment funds in 2010. The US education department awarded these funds to help in the development of the k-12 assessment. PARCC has included many educators and more than 200 educators and administrators are involved in the development of the k-12 assessment. In 2015, this consortium on the feedback of different schools and educators has reevaluated the assessment program. There are many technology problems that PARCC is facing these days. Actually the most of the assessments of the PARCC are computer based and that is why many problems are being faced by the students giving these computer based assessments.

Technology Setup:

Most of the tests and the assessments of PARCC are based online. So for the computer test all the technology and the system should be in working condition. All the students and the institutes should know the basic use of computer and the specific software used for the tests. While students are studying and preparing for the assessments then the administration are looking for the basic tools and the information to prepare the technology. PAARC has announced that every institute should confirm technical readiness for their state school or institute.

Technology Problems and guidelines by PARCC:

There are many technology related guidelines that are given by the PARCC regarding computer hardware, input devices and security requirements etc. all the schools and the institutes look for and implement these basic technology guidelines to check the eligibility of the existing computers and other devices that are used for test taking. All the guidelines related to the technology are being updated with the release of new testNave. The new version of the testNave is going to be released in the first month of the next year. In 2014, PARCC capacity planning tool was updated. This tool was actually designed to assist school and district leaders to check for any gaps in the assessment system. That includes computer test taking and all other devices that are used for the test taking purposes. That was actually designed to check the flaws and to fill them.

TestNav expected behaviors:

Actually there are many issues reported in the testNav use, so a document was released which was for the district and the school coordinator to check and solve any issue is the testNav. There might be many problems like not displaying the particular items that are designed. This document is very useful because most of the answers by the students can be answered easily after reading this document.

Effects of IOS 9.3 release:

Apple has officially released its new software IOS 9.3 for the users. This release affects the ipads that are being used for the assessments of PARCC. Actually the IOS 9.3 is not compatible with the testNav and that is why it is not working. All the users were strictly advised that they must not update their pads before the launch of new windows.

Java critical patch update:

Oracle has released a java update and this update will affect the windows and the operating system like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. This new java update was recommended but it was not recommended to the small schools and districts who work on the auto update setup. There might be many problems depending upon the error that is being shown on the screen. There are various problems like username and password in correction, error of unable to connect and the start button might turn grey after the login.

PARCC TRIALS:

As there are various problems and mistakes reported by the various institutions regarding the assessment test so PARCC has set a trial for the schools and the districts to identify the problems and the issues that they are facing while using testNav. For this purpose the sample data was used instead of the full assessment data. Once all the procedure was done and all the teachers and relevant staff had learned how to configure it the trial ends. The trials were of almost 60 minute each. Many of the trials were lasted for a great time like even two- three days depending upon the infra-structure. But this thing had really helped in overcoming many technology issues that were faced by many schools and districts.

PARCC ISSUES:

Here are some of the most basic PARCC technology issues that are being faced by most of the schools and districts.

  1. Java issues: As the testNav is dependent on Java to run on macs etc. there were many issues related to Java.
  2. Resuming issues: the test resuming issue is also one of the most basic issues.
  3. ID/password issues: Id/password issues were also common in case if student enter wrong information.
  4. Text to speech issues: there were many issues regarding text to speech and human reader.
  5. Cache issues: The proctor cache file must be downloaded in order to start the test. The test gets freeze if this is not done. There are many issues regarding this.

Conclusion:

Over all we can conclude that PARCC (Partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career) is actually a consortium of eight different states. There are many assessments and tests that are done on the computers and Macs etc. As the technology is involved in these processes so there are many technology problems that are faced by many schools and districts PARCC. PARCC is trying to overcome these problems and to make the technology system a problem free one.

18 Feb

Arkansas Dismantles the Core

Arkansas has been one of the oldest adopters of Common Core, bringing it into the state July 12, 2010. Taking this involvement a step further, they are also one of the governing members of PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, a collection of states that works to write yearly assessments based on the Core standards. While there has been a growing amount of recent controversy, this southern state has performed the most peaceful coup as they work to find standards that fit their own state.

 

Initial Controversy

Starting in 2010, the state has been slowly transforming its standards to those aligned with the Common Core, having now fully implemented all changes. However, not all individuals were happy about this toward the final stages of implementation. In 2014, legislation was filed trying to block funding for the Core. This failed to get very far.

Then, during Asa Hutchinson’s run for governor in 2014, he stated that, if elected, he would found a task force faced with the responsibility to study they Core’s standards and make recommendations based on what they found. He was indeed elected and, in early 2015, founded a team comprised of 16 people. It actually proved to be a successful venture.

Following this, a bill was proposed in 2015 that would remove Arkansas from PARCC. This failed and the state ran its first statewide PARCC exam that same year. Yet this bill didn’t remain quiet. Instead of giving up completely, it was toned down, merely asking that the committee’s decisions be considered going forward. Interestingly enough, the committee called for the state to not administer PARCC tests but ACT tests instead.

 

Slow Dismantling

As it stands, Arkansas is now fully set on going after the ACT assessments, citing the four hour test as being much better for college preparation determination than the eight hour PARCC. In addition, the committee found that the ACT is also aligned strongly with Common Core standards, making it an ideal replacement.

The overhaul didn’t stop there, though. In fact, the Department of Education decided to appoint their own team of educators to review the standards and make recommendations due by July 1 of this year. These new standards will then drop the Common Core moniker and become one that belongs to the state itself as requested by the governor.

In Arkansas, it would seem that protests against the Core are not loud and boisterous like in other states. Instead, opponents have slowly but surely worked their way into positions of power and have been dismantling it from the inside. First to go was the assessment. Next is the Core itself. However, this hasn’t been bad because the changes have been easy to adapt to. With the Core in place now and only recommendations being made in the future, this upheaval has proven to be healthier for the state’s educational system.

03 Dec

Wyoming keeps pushing for Common Core Success

Ever since the predominantly red state of Wyoming adopted the Common Core standards in June of 2012, it has actually proven to be one of the few Republican states that has found the Core to be a benefit rather than a deterrent. In fact, the state, despite its opponents, actually likes the changes these implementations have wrought over the past three years it has been put into practice.

 

Republican Concern

It really is no surprise that Republicans have shown a strong distaste for the Core. Believed to be a plan by the government to implement federal control of state-run education systems, it’s been a scary prospect for many. However, despite this criticism, the educational and political leaders of the state are doing what they can to take good criticisms and apply them to the current standards so as to make the state’s standards better, something all parents want for their children.

 

The Happy Medium

In order to calm the caustic voice, Wyoming has instigated a review of Common Core scheduled to happen once every five years (with the next slated for 2017). This guarantees that the new standards are being held accountable for doing what they promised to do – prepare children of all backgrounds for successful careers in college and beyond. In addition, the new superintendent worked pragmatically to find such a balance rather than dismissing the Core simply because of her political leanings. To further push her in this direction, it was cited that if the Core were dropped, Wyoming would have to start from scratch for educational standards, an expensive move that would be costly to taxpayers and children alike.

As far as the teachers are concerned, they almost all see the Core as a drastic improvement over previous standards. However, they are frustrated with the continual changes the state keeps applying. These educators are begging for at least three years of steady standards so that they can figure them out before being asked to alter them.

 

Future Implications

Though there are still a few years needed before the state can truly tell if the Core is leading to better grades, there has been an interesting change of thought. Up until now, the ACT has been the standardized tests students have had to take in 11th grade to determine their readiness for college. Every since Common Core came in, this has drastically shifted with teachers saying their new standards only match 70% of those required by the test itself. In fact, these last years’ scores actually fell. To the educators, it’s a clear mismatch because students are being tested with a test that in no way aligns with the current curriculum. In short, it’s unfair and forces the teachers to balance two different sets of standards. While this won’t cause the death of Common Core in Wyoming, it could very well spell the end of required ACT testing.

 

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.

11 Sep

New Mexico’s Common Core Adoption

Common Core appeared in New Mexico on November 29, 2010 with full support by the state. Unfortunately, such acceptance hasn’t lasted, turning it into a hotbed of protest not seen in even the most conservative states. While New Mexico has yet to join the increasingly long list of states to drop the Core entirely, it is nevertheless demonstrating signs of discontent from the usual parents and, more interestingly, from the students as well.

Initial Support

When the Common Core became an option back in 2010, Governor Susana Martinez grabbed hold and purported it to be the educational change the state needed to finally help it reach a competitive status in regards to national and worldwide educational standards. Behind her stood the Secretary of the Public Education Department, Hanna Skandera, loudly trumpeting New Mexico’s exemption to the Now Child Left Behind bill because of the switch to the Core, freeing the state from arguably restrictive measures.

Six Years Later

While it started fierce and fiery, support has wavered. Instead of seeing academic growth, reading and math scores are stagnant and ACT scores have even dropped. The new curriculum even shifted graduation standards, resulting in a drop in graduates. Due to this, many parents are taking advantage of the option they have to opt their children out of the Core.

Unlike the other states, however, it’s not just the parents crying out against the Core. Earlier this year, students in Albuquerque took a stand against the PARCC assessment test used to grade students on their Core aptitude by holding a walkout. A few hundred students joined in even though administrators warned them of consequences. Outside, they stood along the road with signs, getting passersby to honk in support.

The Core versus PARCC

While this may seem like a stand against the Core, it should be noted that PARCC is not a part of the Common Core curriculum. It’s merely an assessment test designed to examine students’ knowledge of the Core standards. Much like all statewide exams, though, it fails to actually provide an accurate representation of the students forced to take it. Because this was its first year counting toward graduation, many students became angered that a new test would determine if they were smart enough to graduate or not.

In light of this, Governor Martinez noted that the state has been preparing for years for this test. In reality, the thousands of other students that did participate reported nothing out of the ordinary save for the occasional computer glitch. Such information hints at the fact that students will never appreciate being judged by a number on a paper even though the SAT and ACT has been doing so for years. As far as the Core and PARCC are concerned in New Mexico, it seems the negativity is being focused on in spite of successes across the state.