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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
January 16, 2015
When was the last time testing and accountability systems were the topic of so much discussion and news coverage? My guess is 2002, when No Child Left Behind cleared congress, though 2015 could surely surpass it.

Given the recent high-level discussions of how students should be tested, at both the state and national levels, as well as the Smarter Balanced assessment dates creeping ever closer, we bring you an update to our September special issue on testing and accountability. 

As always, thanks for reading and let us know how your district is responding to the major changes afoot in California's schools.

Erin Brownfield
Editor, Leading Change

By John Fensterwald, EdSource

With California students set to begin taking new Smarter Balanced tests this spring, state education officials are worried about how parents will view the results - especially if, as experts predict, their kids' initial scores will be low (see article below). "I'm not sure we have (the message) right yet," Chief Deputy State Superintendent Richard Zeiger told members of the State Board of Education on Wednesday. Read more.  
State education leader Michael Kirst expects initial test score decline under Common Core
Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com

By Diana Lambert, Sacramento Bee

Though California has embraced new Common Core State Standards so far, parents and educators may feel differently once students produce lower test scores later this year, said Michael Kirst, president of the state Board of Education.  Read more.

by Michelle Maitre, EdSource

Ensuring schools are adequately preparing students for careers is just as important as ensuring they prepare students for college, says a new paper that proposes districts add specific career-readiness measures, such as the number of students who complete work-based learning programs, to their accountability plans to the public. Read more.  


NCLB Watch
"No Child Left Behind created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed, or to reward success." 
-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, January 12, 2015  
  • According to this Education Week article on NCLB reauthorization:  "All this Inside-the-Beltway back-and-forth has serious implications for the future of teaching, learning, and school improvement."  Read more.
  • Valerie Stauss of The Washington Post covers competing visions of an NCLB rewrite from the left and right.  Read more.
  • NPR's Anya Kementz summarizes Arne Duncan's recent comments on NCLB. Read more
  • Opinion: Nina Rees, a charter school executive and former adviser to Vice President Cheney urges congress to keep focused on the achievement gap in reconsidering NCLB. Read more.
Further Reading

In this paper, authors from The Brookings Institute lay out their case that it would be "a serious mistake for Congress to treat standards, testing, and accountability as a single target to be taken out with a shotgun blast."

This 2014 EdSource report explains the changes to California's testing and accountability systems along with a timeline for implementation and recommendations for maximizing their effectiveness and impact.


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