ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA
State Board of Education Approves Adoption of New Academic Content
Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts
URL (SBE Agenda): http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr10/agenda201008.asp
URL (ACSC): http://www.scoe.net/castandards
URL (Math Standards): http://www.scoe.net/castandards/agenda/2010/20100817_math_ccs_recommendations.pdf
URL (ELA Standards): http://www.scoe.net/castandards/agenda/2010/20100817_ela_ccs_recommendations.pdf
URL (CCSSI): http://www.corestandards.org/
At its meeting on August 2, the California State Board of
Education unanimously approved the recommendation by the California
Academic Content Standards Commission (ACSC) to adopt the Academic
Content Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and for Mathematics.
Each set of standards includes the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
and the California Specific Standards added by the Commission. (See http://www.scoe.net/castandards/agenda/2010/20100817_math_ccs_recommendations.pdf
for the August 17 version of the mathematics standards.) The 12:27
p.m. vote followed two hours of discussion and public comment.
The ACSC was thanked for its hard work, and Sue Stickel
(Commission Project Director) was praised for her leadership. After the
vote, Board President Ted Mitchell called this "a historic moment for
the State of California and, more importantly, for the children of
California." Mitchell noted that "this is the beginning of a process
and not the end of one." Mitchell directed the California Department of
Education and Board staff "to create an implementation plan as defined
in the legislation and to work with the legislature to launch a
curriculum development process that can begin to operationalize these
In a memorandum included in the Board's materials, State
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell wrote, "If the
State Board of Education adopts the CCSS, my staff at the California
Department of Education will work to develop a timeline and plan for
implementing the standards. The implementation plan will address
curriculum frameworks, instructional materials, assessments, and
The agenda for the August 2 Board meeting is posted at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr10/agenda201008.asp
Agenda Item 3 includes links to (a) the ACSC's recommendation to the
Board, (b) the Sacramento County Office of Education Web site (http://www.scoe.net/castandards)
which contains ACSC meeting agendas and other materials, and (c)
Superintendent O'Connell's recommendation to the Board.
To view a map depicting which states have adopted the CCSS to
date, please visit http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states
(a) "Schools Shift to National
Standards" by Diana Lambert
Source: The Sacramento Bee - 3 August
(b) "California Signs on to Education Standards"
by Howard Blume
Source: Los Angeles Times - 3 August
(c) Schools Chief Jack O'Connell Announces California
Adopts Common Core State Standards
Source: California Department of Education
Schools Chief Jack O'Connell Issues Statement on California's Loss in
Phase 2 of the Federal Race to the Top Competition
Source: California Department of Education
URL (CDE): http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr10/yr10rel95.asp
URL (CA RTTT): http://www.caracetothetop.org/cs/rttt/print/htdocs/home.htm
[See related story in the National News section below.] On
August 24, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
issued the following statement after learning that California was not
selected as a winner for Phase 2 funding in the federal Race to the Top
"I am deeply disappointed that our application was not chosen as a
winner in the Race to the Top competition. However, the loss of the
funding may slow, but not defeat, our efforts to improve student
achievement in California," O'Connell said.
"We remain fully committed to continue seeking the strategies and
resources demanded to accelerate our efforts to close the achievement
gap among different groups of students by creating fundamental and
"Our application focused on the necessary elements to help us meet the
needs of our lowest-performing students and help us raise the ceiling
for students who are already performing at high levels. These elements
included rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards, effective use
of data, more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and
mathematics, and the most important ingredient of all--effective and
accountable teachers and principals. These are the fundamentals that
will improve achievement in the short run and for the long term so that
we can create a statewide system of excellence in our public schools.
We will continue our efforts in these areas.
"I want to offer my deepest appreciation to the dynamic and diverse team
of seven local superintendents who led the bottom-up approach in
writing the Phase 2 application and in arguing California's case before
the federal team of reviewers," O'Connell said. The seven district
superintendents are from Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles,
Sacramento, Sanger, and San Francisco unified school districts.
"I also applaud the more than 302 local educational agencies or LEAs who
decided to join us in taking on this bold reform initiative on behalf
of California's children. Their participation in this effort required
great amounts of vision, courage, and collaboration. I know they are
dedicated educators who will continue to work toward better results for
the students they serve."
California's RTTT Phase 2 application was rooted in four key
areas of reform that call for:
-- Refining California's rigorous state standards by adopting
internationally benchmarked common core standards and aligned
assessments that better prepare students for success in college and the
-- Recruiting, developing, and retaining effective teachers and
principals and ensuring that they are helping students that need them
-- Expanding our education data system to better measure student
success in college and the workforce; and
-- Dramatically improving the state's persistently
California's Phase 2 RTTT application also emphasized the
critical goal of advancing the state's students' understanding of
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The plan
included an emphasis on building a strong STEM foundation in the
kindergarten through eighth grade system, an expansion of support
systems, and infrastructure for the future of STEM.
California's application was one of 19 finalists competing for a
portion of the available $3.4 billion to support education reforms. A
team consisting of Governor Schwarzenegger's Secretary of Education
Bonnie Reiss, Los Angeles Unified School District (USD) Superintendent
Ray Cortines, Fresno USD District Superintendent Mike Hanson, Long
Beach USD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser, and Chief Deputy
Superintendent Geno Flores from the California Department of Education
traveled to Washington, DC, to give a presentation on California's RTTT
Application before a team of peer reviewers. (For more information on
these team members, see http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-tier2-presentation-teams.pdf)
Their presentation is available for download from the state's RTTT Web
site, which also contains a copy of the state's application and
related information (see http://www.caracetothetop.org/cs/rttt/print/htdocs/home.htm).
(a) "California Loses Bid
for Federal Race to the Top Education Grant" by Howard Blume
Source: Los Angeles Times - 24 August
(b) "Eastern States Dominate in Winning School Grants"
by Sam Dillon
Source: The New York Times - 24 August
(3) Los Angeles
Unified School Board Endorses New Teacher Evaluation Principles,
Including the Use of Value-Added Data as One Measure of Teacher
Source: Los Angeles Unified School District Board of
This morning, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of
Education adopted a statement authorizing Superintendent Ray Cortines
to "expedite negotiations immediately with United Teachers Los Angeles
and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles to develop a fair and
valid process by which we can employ multiple measure reviews that
differentiate between performance levels of our educators, allowing us
to better target our support, interventions, and resources, and
offering the opportunity to better leverage the amazing teachers and
leaders throughout the district who are too often unrecognized."
Cortines plans to initiate discussions with unions next week.
The Board set forth a set of six principles that "form our core
beliefs surrounding this work and, as such, must be fully embraced by
the eventual agreement [with the unions]." These include "a balanced
use of appropriate value-added data," using the students' standardized
test score gains as one measure of teacher performance. The new teacher
ratings must also "include and reflect meaningful parent engagement."
The ratings will be used to inform hiring, leadership, and tenure
For more details, visit http://www.laschoolboard.org/files/09-02-10StampedSpclBdOb.pdf
Also see the Los Angeles Times series of articles on
teacher evaluation entitled, "Grading the Teachers: Value-Added
Analysis" at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/teachers-investigation/
(a) "Formula to Grade Teachers' Skill Gains
Acceptance, and Critics" by Sam Dillon
Source: The New York Times - 31 August 2010
"How good is one teacher compared with another?
"A growing number of school districts have adopted a system called
value-added modeling to answer that question, provoking battles from
Washington to Los Angeles--with some saying it is an effective method
for increasing teacher accountability, and others arguing that it can
give an inaccurate picture of teachers' work..."
(b) "Problems with the Use of Student Test
Scores to Evaluate Teachers"
Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
URL (Report): http://epi.3cdn.net/b9667271ee6c154195_t9m6iij8k.pdf
URL (PR): http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp278
"In a new EPI report, leading educational testing experts caution
against heavy reliance on the use of test scores in teacher evaluation.
"Student test scores are not reliable indicators of teacher
effectiveness, even with the addition of value-added modeling (VAM), a
new Economic Policy Institute report by leading testing experts finds.
Though VAM methods have allowed for more sophisticated comparisons of
teachers than were possible in the past, they are still inaccurate, so
test scores should not dominate the information used by school
officials in making high- stakes decisions about the evaluation,
discipline and compensation of teachers."
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL
(1) Nine States
and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants
Source: U.S. Department of Education - 24 August 2010
On August 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced
that 10 applicants won grants in the second phase of the Race to the
Top competition. (See the video of his announcement at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/08/race-to-the-top-winners/)
Joining Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, the 10 winning Phase 2
applications in alphabetical order are the District of Columbia,
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North
Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
"We had many more competitive applications than money to fund them in
this round," Duncan said. "We're very hopeful there will be a Phase 3
of Race to the Top and have requested $1.35 billion dollars in next
year's budget. In the meantime, we will partner with each and every
state that applied to help them find ways to carry out the bold reforms
they've proposed in their applications."
The 10 winning applicants have adopted rigorous common, college-
and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and
incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and
have implemented alternative pathways to teacher and principal
The Department of Education has posted links to all Phase 2
applications online at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/
Phase 2 peer reviewers' comments and scores are also included in the
chart. Reviewers' comments and scores for California are available at
Videos of states' presentations should be posted by September 10.
Secretary of Education Duncan Announces Winners of Competition to
Improve Student Assessments
Source: U.S. Department of Education - 2 September 2010
URL (Duncan): http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/beyond-bubble-tests-next-generation-assessments-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-state-l
In an effort to provide ongoing feedback to teachers during the
course of the school year, measure annual student growth, and move
beyond narrowly-focused bubble tests, the U.S. Department of Education
awarded two groups of states grants to develop a new generation of
tests earlier today. The new tests will be aligned to the higher
standards that were recently developed by governors and chief state
school officers and have been adopted by 36 states. The tests will
assess students' knowledge of mathematics and English language arts
from third grade through high school.
The grant requests, totaling approximately $330 million, are
part of the Race to the Top competition and will be awarded to the
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in the amounts
of approximately $170 and $160 million respectively.
At the leadership team meeting of Achieve's American Diploma
Project, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan exclaimed, "Today is a
great day! I have looked forward to this day for a long time--and so
have America's teachers, parents, students, and school leaders. Today
is the day that marks the beginning of the development of a new and
much-improved generation of assessments for America's schoolchildren.
Today marks the start of Assessments 2.0."
"As I travel around the country, the number one complaint I hear from
teachers is that state bubble tests pressure teachers to teach to a test
that doesn't measure what really matters," said Duncan. "Both of these
winning applicants are planning to develop assessments that will move
us far beyond this and measure real student knowledge and skills."
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and
Careers is a coalition of 26 states, including California. The SMARTER
Balanced Assessment Consortium is a coalition of 31 states. The
assessments will be ready for use by the 2014-15 school year.
"Given that these assessment proposals, designed and developed by the
states, were voluntary, it was impressive to see a vast majority of
states choose to participate," said Duncan.
The PARCC coalition will test students' ability to read complex
text, complete research projects, excel at classroom speaking and
listening assignments, and work with digital media. PARCC will also
replace the one end-of-year high stakes accountability test with a
series of assessments throughout the year that will be averaged into
one score for accountability purposes, reducing the weight given to a
single test administered on a single day, and providing valuable
information to students and teachers throughout the year.
The SMARTER coalition will test students using computer adaptive
technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their
previous answers. SMARTER will continue to use one test at the end of
the year for accountability purposes, but will create a series of
interim tests used to inform students, parents, and teachers about
whether students are on track.
For both consortia, these periodic assessments could replace
already existing tests, such as interim assessments that are in common
use in many classrooms today. Moreover, both consortia are designing
their assessment systems with the substantial involvement of experts
and teachers of English learners and students with disabilities to
ensure that these students are appropriately assessed.
For more information, access the full press releases at the Web
(3) Link between National
and International Assessments (NAEP and TIMSS) Planned for 2011 Study
Source: IES (Institute of
Education Sciences) Newsflash
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is
initiating a new effort to link national and international assessments
so that states can compare their own students' performance against
international benchmarks. The linking study, to be conducted in 2011,
is intended to enable NCES to project state-level scores on the Trends
in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) using data from
the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
NAEP--also known as the Nation's Report
Card--measures student learning in 50 states, several urban districts
including the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions in a
way that permits comparisons over time to the nation and among the
participating jurisdictions. The next NAEP fourth- and eighth-grade
reading and mathematics assessments will be conducted in 2011. The NAEP
science assessment will also be conducted at eighth grade in 2011.
TIMSS measures students' mathematics and
science learning in more than 60 countries, enabling nations to compare
their progress with that of other countries. Fourth- and eighth-grade
students in the United States participate in TIMSS. The next TIMSS will
be conducted in 2011. Unlike NAEP, TIMSS does not have an on-going
In the linking study, two representative national samples will
be tested on their knowledge of mathematics and science by taking both
the NAEP and TIMSS assessments. One sample of 10,000 eighth-graders
will take combined test booklets in the winter of 2011 as part of NAEP.
The other sample of 7,500 eighth-graders will take combined test
booklets in the spring of 2011 as part of TIMSS.
The relationships between the two assessments of mathematics and
science that are found in these two samples will permit state-level
projections of how the students in the 50 states and the District of
Columbia that took NAEP would have performed in eighth-grade
mathematics and science on TIMSS, with scores that can be compared to
those of other countries. In addition, eight states have agreed to
administer TIMSS 2011 to state representative samples to ensure the
accuracy of the linking projections. The eight states are: Alabama,
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
and North Carolina.
For more information about NAEP, visit http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard
For more information about TIMSS, visit http://nces.ed.gov/timss
Both NAEP and TIMSS are administered by the National Center for
Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences.
(4) New Report: Curriculum Design,
Development, and Implementation in an Era of Common Core State
Source: Barbara Reys -- President, Association of
Mathematics Teacher Educators
URL (Report): http://mathcurriculumcenter.org/conferences/ccss/SummaryReportCCSS
The adoption of Common Core State Standards by 37 states (and
counting) underscores the need for new curriculum development efforts.
A new report prepared by Jere Confrey and Erin Krupa from North
Carolina State University, provides a summary of key ideas,
recommendations, and action items generated by participants at a
conference held in Arlington, Virginia, last month that was sponsored by
the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum. A copy of the
report and other conference-related files are posted at http://mathcurriculumcenter.org/conferences/ccss
(5) What Works
Clearinghouse Creates New Topic Area: High School Math
Source: Institute of Education Sciences - Newsflash - 31
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established in 2002 by
the Institute of Education Sciences (http://ies.ed.gov) at the U.S. Department of
Education to provide educators, policymakers, researchers, and the
public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence about
"what works" in education. Through systematic reviews to identify
rigorous research, the WWC [seeks to provide] educators with credible
and reliable evidence that they can use to make informed decisions.
(See FAQ: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/idocviewer/doc.aspx?docid=15)
A new topic area, High School Math, will evaluate research on
math curricula and interventions for high school students in subjects
such as pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and
calculus. This information seeks to support educators in making
informed decisions about math curricula, products, and classroom
strategies. (See http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/Topic.aspx?tid=05)
The first report in this new area looks at the research on the
combination of Carnegie Learning Curricula and Cognitive Tutor
Software. Read the full report and see how the WWC rated the research
on this intervention at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/hs_math/cog_tutor/
More information about the WWC and its research is available on
its Web site: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
(6) "Study Links
Tech to Algebra Achievement" by Ian Quillen
Source: Education Week - 2 September
URL (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EItAWbaABdQ
A summary of findings from a four-year study released today
concludes that Algebra I teachers who were trained in and used a
program that allowed them to monitor students' progress on graphing
calculators led to significantly improved achievement by their students
on a researcher-designed test.
The study, part of Ohio State's Classroom Connectivity in
Mathematics and Science research project (http://www.ccms.osu.edu),
illustrates a direct link between the implementation of classroom
technology and professional development with academic achievement, say
the summary's authors.
The research, conducted from 2005 to 2009, was funded by the
Institute of Education Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education.
Texas Instruments supplied classes with the TI-Navigator system, which
allows instructors to view students' work in real time and offer
"There's details that we don't quite understand about how teachers did
it," said Jeremy Roschelle, the director for the Center for Technology
in Learning at nonprofit research firm SRI International, and a
consultant on the study. "But there's so much noise out there [about
technology] and so few studies out there that have significant results,
that it's very important when one of these comes out."
Roschelle's comments indicating a dearth of research surrounding
education technology echo those by other experts in the field. Even
Karen Cator, the U.S. Department of Education's ed-tech chief, has
stressed the need for more thorough research as one of the major
pillars of the National Education Technology Plan (http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010)
released this past spring.
The current study included 127 teachers from 28 states and two
Canadian provinces in its first year. Roughly half of the 1,760
students enrolled were placed in a treatment group where their teachers
received a week of training in the TI-Navigator system before the year
began, as well as continuing professional development. The other half
were placed in a control group where teachers received neither the
program nor the training.
Of the more than 1,200 students who yielded dependable data,
those in the treatment group tested about 10 percent better, on
average, on an exam created to reflect Algebra I standards in 13 states
that accounted for the majority of students studied.
In subsequent years, teachers who taught in the control group
the year before were placed into the treatment group, and compared not
only against the control group of that year, but also against their own
results as the control group the year before. In all but one year,
students in the treatment group continued to make statistically
significant gains against the control group from that year. Gains by
teachers in the treatment group who were part of the control group in a
previous year were also consistent.
Through qualitative analysis, researchers also found that
teachers using the technology engaged in deeper and more conceptual
discussions with their students about math principals than teachers who
were not using the technology.
Lead researcher Doug Owens cautioned that the reasons behind the
increase in achievement on the test were not completely understood,
and that not all of the data had been analyzed. He also stressed that
the results should be looked at as linking the combination of
technology and professional development to increased achievement,
rather than taking either the technology or the professional
development by itself as causal factors.
"We consider the treatment to be all of those things," said Owens, a
professor of education at Ohio State. "We have no ways to sort those
For more information on the study, access the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EItAWbaABdQ
Conference Next Week: Mathematics
Education--Connecting Research To Practice
Contact: Mike Lutz - firstname.lastname@example.org
URL (Session): http://data.memberclicks.com/site/toma/bakersfield_description_sessions.pdf
A conference on connecting research in mathematics education to
practice will be held next weekend (September 10-11) on the campus of
California State University, Bakersfield. A variety of sessions of
interest to teachers of all levels will be available. The conference is
an approved T^3 Regional Conference, as there will be a number of
sessions demonstrating how technology can be used to teach mathematics
concepts effectively. Visit the Web sites above for more information or
contact the Conference Chair, Mike Lutz at email@example.com.