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K-12 Math Education and Technology in the News

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Top Stories in Education

 

BAM Radio Network--
"the largest all-education talk radio network in the world"

National Public Radio on education

TEDTalks Education

K-12 Dive: K-12 "newsletters and website cover topics such as leadership, school models, technology, curriculum, professional development and more"

 

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The Guardian

The Hechinger Report

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Are you concerned about fake news?
Help your students to gain media literacy.

Media Literacy (Source; Pixabay)Fake news, including fake images, deep fake videos, phishing, fraud, fake info on social media, and so on are among concerns when using media of any kind.  So, we need to learn how to critically analyze media, including to recognize bias, question sources, diversify our new sources and compare, and most of all to think before we share information.

Britannica Education produced Media Literacy for the Digital Era: The Ultimate Guide for Schools and Districts.  This free guide includes "current insights, practical strategies, and interactive activities."

Common Sense Education has a section devoted to News and Media Literacy with lessons, videos, and classroom activities.

Critical Media Literacy Guides are included in a free e-book, Critical Media Literacy and Civic Learning, by Robert Maloy, Torrey Trust, Allison Butler, and Chenyang Xu (2021) of the University of Massachusetts.  Nine guides contain key questions for teachers and students to help analyze social media, websites, news and newspapers; movies, television, images, advertisements; cartoons, comics, and memes; and artifical intelligence tools (e.g., ChatGPT).

In Teaching Fact vs. Fiction When Seeing Is No Longer Believing posted at ISTE, authors Jennifer LaGarda and Darren Hudgins (2022, January 20) recommended teaching students the 6 R's:

  1. Recognize triggers.
  2. Retrace the outrage.
  3. Reflect on your own biases.
  4. Rethink what "going viral" means.
  5. Resist the urge to be first.
  6. Revisit common sense.

They also recommended teaching important skills, such as:

  1. Identifying a primary from a secondary source in a social media context.
  2. Determining the publication date vs. the posting date. [Note that some who wish to spark new outrage will post old stories to mislead the public.]
  3. Understanding perspective. [This one refers to video perspective and camera angles that can be used to manipulate information.]
  4. Triangulate, Triangulate, Triagulate. [This one refers to seeking out multiple credible sources on the same information to evaluate the online content.]

The Center for Media Literacy developed a MediaLit Kit.  Per its description, it "provides a vision and directions for successfully introducing media literacy in classrooms and community groups from preK to college.  It offers a systematic way of constructing curriculum that is modular, flexible, replicable, measurable and scaleable -- and that meets 21st century needs."

The Center for News Literacy at Stoney Brook University has multiple resources, which "can help students of all ages recognize the differences between fact and rumor, news and advertising, news and opinion, and bias and fairness."  The site also includes a curriculum toolbox with free resources for educators and citizens.

Ten Questions for Fake News Detection, developed by the News Literacy Project, will help you sort out fact from fiction.  Red flags include such things as your emotional reaction to the news, where you found it, use of excessive punctuation and CAPS, claims made, the nature of the source, who authored the article and its date (or lack thereof), lack of citations, and if content can be verified from other news sources.  The News Literacy Project also has a series of tools for educators to use in their classrooms to help students develop news literacy.  For example, Checkology is a free e-learning platform for middle and high school learners, although younger or older learners can benefit.  It features "engaging, authoritative lessons on subjects like news media bias, misinformation, conspiratorial thinking and more.  Learners develop the ability to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources and apply critical thinking skills to separate fact-based content from falsehoods" (About section).

In her School Library Journal blog post, Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a "post-truth" world, Joyce Valencia (2016, November 26) provides numerous resources to help all to become news literate.

National Association for Media Literacy Education includes numerous resources on this topic.  It also produces the Journal of Media Literacy Education, an open-access peer-reviewed journal.

NewseumED provides free resources (e.g., videos, lessons and activities, guest blogs, and case studies) for developing media literacy.  Audience is primarily middle and high school and up.

KQED Teach offers a free self-paced course for K-12 educators: Analyzing Media Messages: Bias, Motivation and Production Choices.  To help teach learners how to critically evaluate media, in this course you will "Learn how media messages are built not just through scripts but production choices like framing and music and how these choices influence our interpretation and actions."

Additional resources include:

 

Media literacy can also be addressed in math classes.

Friendly reminder GIFConsider the data presented in daily news such as weather reports, sports statistics, stock market numbers, top rated TV shows (how were those numbers generated), and so on.  Investigate claims in consumer advertisements for products, accuracy of graphs presented in newspaper ads and magazines (are they misleading) and so on.  Project Look Sharp at Ithaca College has several lessons incorporating question-based media analysis that can be used in middle and high school math classes.  Over 500 lessons are available in multiple subjects.

 

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Math Education and Standards in the News

 

Paper on fire for hot news

HOT!  On January 27, 2016, The Atlantic published an article by A. K. Whitney titled The Man Who Tried to Kill Math in America, with subheading "One educator's reform efforts in the early 20th century say a lot about current attacks on the Common Core." That educator was William H. Kilpatrick who "believed that anything beyond arithmetic was useless to most of the population. He even worried that the instruction of complex math was harmful to everyday living" (Whitney, 2016, para. 7).  Owing to his influence in education, Kilpatrick was asked to head a National Education Association committee investigating math instruction reform, which resulted in a 1920 report, "The Problem of Mathematics in Secondary Education."  Its content "became part of a larger treatise on public education that provided a roadmap for America’s schools for decades to come" (para. 12).  So, if you are seeking to understand some of the opposition to the Common Core standards movement, this article is one to read.

HOT! Scoop.it!: Common Core Online: Mathematics: "this scoop.it is intended to curate all materials relevant to implementation of the standards and preparation for next generation assessments."  Curated by Darren Burris.  You'll want to bookmark this site.

HOT! Math in the Media from the American Mathematical Society provides news stories on math in current events and ideas for classroom activities for students to practice concepts discussed in the news.

The Mathematical Association of America: On This Day is a section of the site where you can click on any day to learn about a selection of historical events related to mathematics that occurred on that day.

NCTM News provides the latest top stories on math education, including connecting math education research to the classroom.

Plan ahead: April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month.  This annual event is sponsored by the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Look for resources, activities of others, and post your activity.

 

HOTSeptember 12, 2006:
In response to the call for a more coherent curriculum, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence (NCTM, 2006a).  In its press release on September 12, 2006, NCTM indicated that this document identifies three important topics for mathematics at each grade level preK-8 and presents "a vision for the design of the next generation of state curriculum standards and state tests" (NCTM, 2006b, para. 3).

HOT: April 4, 2007:
The U.S. Department of Education released its report for Congress, Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort. It received immediate reaction from leaders around the country concerned about the effectiveness of technology in education and results of this study. A key finding noted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. indicated, "Test scores were not significantly higher in classrooms using the reading and mathematics software products than those in control classrooms. In each of the four groups of products-reading in first grade and in fourth grade, mathematics in sixth grade, and high school algebra-the evaluation found no significant differences in student achievement between the classrooms that used the technology products and classrooms that did not." Read this full report: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20074005/

HOT2007:
Results are in for the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics and Reading.

Mark Schneider, Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics, provided the following results in a press release webcast of September 25, 2007.  Tests were given in reading and mathematics from January-March 2007 to a sample of 390,000 students in grade 4 and 310,000 students in grade 8.  Results are available for the nation, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense school system.  NAEP reported results as average scale scores and the percentage of students at or above basic, proficient, and advanced achievement levels.

At grade 4 overall findings from 2005 to 2007:

At grade 8 overall findings from 2005 to 2007:

While it is not the role of NAEP to explain results, some who read the report might attribute gains to an effort to teach mathematics in a more rigorous way, an emphasis on use of precise language, and developments in continuous and coherent curricula.  Perhaps one explanation for a rise in grade 8 math achievement could be the rise of the percentage of students who complete algebra 1 in grade 8 from when NAEP was first administered in 1990.  Some might attribute gains to No Child Left Behind’s focus on reform, particularly at the elementary levels, or the more wide-spread use of data-driven decision-making for school improvement.

However, not every state made gains and much remains to be done to improve achievement of the many students performing at or below the basic and proficient levels.  Results must also be considered in light of the large demographic changes in the country over the past 15 years.  For example, there have been large increases in the Hispanic population in schools.  There is an increase in the number of English language learners and students with identified special needs.  For those states that did not do as well as expected, policy makers and the public need first to look at any demographic and economic shifts within their state before turning to education groups for possible explanation of results and examination of practices (e.g., inclusion rates).

Associate Commissioner Peggy G. Carr also commented about the results in her Q&A session StatChat.  Excerpts include:

HOTMarch 13, 2008:
The National Mathematics Advisory Panel, created by President George W. Bush in April 2006, released the results of its study to the President and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics.  The report, Foundations for Success: Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, contains 45 findings and recommendations for improving mathematics achievement for all U.S. students.  Its numerous topics include curricular content, learning processes, teachers and teacher education, instructional practices, instructional materials, assessments, and research policies and mechanisms.

Of particular relevance was the development of a list of major topics in school algebra (see p. 16) and the critical foundations in K-8 math education for algebra: whole numbers, fractions (including decimals, percents, and negative fractions), and aspects of geometry and measurement (see p. 17). "School algebra is a term chosen to encompass the full body of algebraic material that the Panel expects to be covered through high school, regardless of its organization into courses and levels. The Panel expects students to be able to proceed successfully at least through the content of Algebra II" (Executive Summary, p. xvii).

HOT: June 1, 2009:
Common Core State Standards Initiative: In its June 1 press release, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (2009) announced that 49 States and Territories Join the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  This initiative is "a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills" (para. 3). "The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state’s standards in English-language arts and mathematics" (para. 6). "The grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009" (para. 9).  Learn more about the standards at https://www.thecorestandards.org.

HOT: June 2009:
In connection with developing a common national curriculum and assessment for K-12 mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released its Guiding Principles for Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment.  According to NCTM (2009a), "If a voluntary national mathematics curriculum is developed, the topics studied in that curriculum must be taught and learned in an equitable manner in a setting that ensures that problem solving, reasoning, connections, communication, and conceptual understanding are all developed simultaneously along with procedural fluency" (p. 2).  Content should include number and operations with procedural fluency, algebra, geometry and measurement, data analysis, statistics and probability.  In a critique of this document, Ihor Charischak of the Council for Technology in Math Education (CLIME) stated that there is nothing new in this latest document and what is missing is the role that technology should play.  According to Charischak (2009), "I'm afraid that this common ground movement is making us think narrowly about what Math Ed should look like for students who will be living entirely in the 21st century. It may ease some political tensions, but it also may throw out the baby with the bathwater because it will lack the spirit of what technology brings to the enterprise: an exciting and transformational way to teach and learn mathematics" (CLIME Blogpost, What's Missing from This Picture?, June 3).

HOT: July 16, 2009:
In its July 16 press release, Leading Education Associations Support Common Core State Standards Initiative, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 major national education associations, expressed its support for steps taken by the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop a common core of state K-12 standards in mathematics and English language arts.

HOT: September 21, 2009:
Revisions to the draft for a set of Common Core Standards were released for language arts and mathematics.  Sean Cavanaugh of Education Week discussed some of the changes in Revised Draft of 'Common Core' Standards Unveiled.  Among those for math is the addition of a new standard called "mathematical practice," which refers to how students solve problems (i.e., their thinking, strategies, and habits).  For more information on the Common Core Standards see https://www.thecorestandards.org.

In their October 8, 2009, reaction, Standards Aren't Enough, Susan H. Fuhrman, Lauren Resnick, and Lorrie Shepard (2009) voiced a concern  about common-core standards, saying that  "standards, no matter what they say, are merely the starting point. Curricula, tests, textbooks, lesson plans, and teachers’ on-the-job training will all have to be revised to reinforce the standards. Only then will these new “common-core standards” serve as the organizing principle for U.S. public education" (para. 3).

HOT: October 6, 2009:
As a follow-up to its 2006 Curriculum Focal Points, NCTM released Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making, a "conceptual framework to guide the development of future publications and tools related to 9–12 mathematics curriculum and instruction."  It highlights reasoning opportunities in numbers and measurements, algebraic symbols, functions, geometry, statistics and probability (NCTM, 2009b).  In its press release NCTM stated that this book "suggests practical changes to the high school mathematics curriculum to refocus learning on reasoning and sense making. This shift is not a minor refinement but constitutes a substantial rethinking of the high school math curriculum" (NCTM, 2009c, para. 1).  Reasoning habits are organized into four broad categories: analyzing a problem, implementing a strategy, seeking and using connections, and reflecting on a solution (NCTM, 2009a, FAQs, p. 4).

HOTOctober 14, 2009:
Results are in for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics.

On October 14, 2009, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) announced major results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the 2009 mathematics test.  "There has been no significant change in the performance of the nation’s 4th-graders in mathematics from 2007 to 2009, a contrast to the progress seen from 1990 to 2007 at that grade level and subject, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. But the 8th-grade mathematics score on the NAEP, which is also called The Nation's Report Card, continued to improve nationwide and reached its highest level since 1990" (NAGB News Release, para. 1). The test was ""administered by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education to a nationally representative sample of 168,800 4th-grade and 161,700 8th-grade public and private school students. Results for representative samples of public school students only are also reported for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools" (NAGB News Release, para. 9).  See full results at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2009/index_alt.aspx

HOTDecember 8, 2009:
Results are in for the Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2009 Trial Urban District Assessment.

Eighteen urban districts participated in the 2009 Trial Urban District Assessment, according to this report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. "Eleven of the districts also participated in the 2007 and 2005 assessments, and 10 participated in 2003. ... In comparison to 2007, average mathematics scores for students in large cities increased in 2009 at both grades 4 and 8; however, only two participating districts at each grade showed gains. In comparison to 2003, scores for students in large cities were higher in 2009 at both grades 4 and 8. Increases in scores were also seen across most urban districts that participated in both years, except in Charlotte at grade 4 and in Cleveland at grades 4 and 8, where there were no significant changes. No districts showed a decline in scores at either grade" (Description section posted at https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010452rev).

HOTJanuary 14, 2010:
Not everyone is in agreement with the Common-Core Standards movement.  For an alternative viewpoint, read Alfie Kohn's commentary, Debunking the Case for National Standards.  He stated, "The standards movement, sad to say, morphed long ago into a push for standardization. The last thing we need is more of the same" (last paragraph).  Additional reader comments follow.

HOTJune 2, 2010:
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the final form for a set of state-led education standards for K-12 English-language arts and mathematics, the Common Core State Standards.  Read the key shifts for mathematics.

HOT: August 2011:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released its draft model content frameworks for English language arts/ literacy and mathematics to help link the standards to PARCC assessments and to provide greater insight into the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  PARCC's Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics (October 2011) had detailed information for grades 3–8 and high school, including the big ideas of the CCSS for each grade level and high school, and three priority levels for instructional emphases by cluster for addressing the standards.  Note: The math framework was later revised; see Version 5.0 of November 2017.

HOTSeptember 7, 2011:
The Mathematics Common Core Coalition was formed to "ensure the successful communication, interpretation, implementation, and assessment of the Common Core State Standards" (Mission statement section).  There are eight member organizations providing their expertise and advise on issues.

HOT: November 1, 2011:
The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card was released for mathematics.  "Nationally representative samples of about 209,000 fourth-graders and 175,000 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure their knowledge and abilities across five mathematics content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra" (Summary of Major Findings section, para. 1).  Among major findings: Students at grades 4 and 8 scored higher in 2011 than in previous assessments; A higher percentage of fourth- and eighth-graders performed at or above Proficient in 2011 than in 2009; There was a higher percentage of fourth- and eighth-graders who performed at or above Proficient in 2011 than in 2009 (Summary of Major Findings section).  See a summary report for each state or jurisdiction that participated in the NAEP assessments.  Also see results noted in the "Classroom Context" section in which teachers responded to questions in four areas: their highest degree earned, time spent on mathematics, frequency for allowing use of calculators on tests and quizzes; and their emphasis on algebra and functions.

HOTNovember 9, 2011:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released its October 2011 Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics, Grades 3-11 to the public.  Its purpose is "to serve as a bridge between the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessments" (p. 4).  Within the document you will find guidance in several areas.  Per PARCC (2011):

Note: The grades 3-11 math framework was later revised; see Version 5.0 of November 2017.

HOTFebruary 9, 2012:
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences "an umbrella organization consisting of sixteen professional societies all of which have as one of their primary objectives the increase or diffusion of knowledge in one or more of the mathematical sciences" released The Mathematical Education of Teachers II.  This 2012 document was prompted by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.  It updates the first MET of 2001 with "recommendations for the mathematical preparation of teachers of elementary grades, middle grades, and high school."  It has "recommendations for the professional development of teachers of mathematics" and discusses "the mathematical needs of elementary mathematics specialists, and of teachers in early childhood education and special education" (Preface section).  Also see parts of the book at https://www.cbmsweb.org/the-mathematical-education-of-teachers/

HOT: April 25, 2012:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Partnership for Asssessment of Readiness for College and Careers released guidance for the minimum hardware specifications for K-12 technology purchases that may be needed to ensure that schools are equipped to deliver the Common Core online assessments.  There are some commonalities to those specifications in terms of hardware, operating system, networking, and device type.  Note: The link to PARCC's version 7.0 for 2017-2018 is provided here.

HOT: May 2012:
From an announcement by Achieve.org, Common Core Math Standards Implementation Can Lead to Improved Student Achievement, we learn that "Dr. William Schmidt released key conclusions from his research detailing how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics can potentially improve the performance of U.S. students if implemented appropriately" (para. 1).  Dr. Schmidt's work was entitled: Common Core State Standards Math: The Relationship Between High Standards, Systemic Implementation and Student Achievement.  "Unlike previous research, Schmidt analyzed the link between states with standards that were similar to the CCSS and their NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] math scores. He used cut scores aligned to NAEP as a proxy to determine if states were serious about high expectations and implementation of standards. The preliminary results showed states with standards in line with CCSS combined with higher cut scores also had higher NAEP scores" (para. 7).  Schmidt's PowerPoint presentation and video are available.

HOT: July 20, 2012:
The writing team for the Common Core State Standards in mathematics (CCSSM) finalized a set of guidelines "to support faithful CCSSM implementation by providing criteria for materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics" (p. 1).  While meant for publishers, the document, K-8 Publishers' Criteria for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, will be valuable to school districts in reviewing previously purchased materials and tools, and for educators to review their existing teacher-developed materials and to develop new materials aligned to the standards, and for providing professional development.  The 24-page document, free for download, has three sections:

  1. Focus, Coherence, and Rigor in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
  2. Criteria for Materials and Tools Aligned to the Standards
  3. Appendix: "The Structure is the Standards"

HOT: August 20, 2012:
PARCC released sample test items and performance tasks for the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.  [Find released test items at New Meridian, which took over management of PARCC's testing business in 2017.  See: PARCC Agent Rolling Out Pool of Items for Custom State Assessments by Dian Schaffhauser, December 6, 2018.]

HOT: December 2012:
The TIMSS 2011 International Results in Mathematics was released.  It was authored by Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Arora, A. (2012), Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.  It summarizes fourth and eighth grade student achievement in each of the 63 countries and 14 benchmarking entities which participated in TIMSS 2011. https://timss.bc.edu/

HOT: February 2013:
Horizon Research, Inc. released The Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education, which "details the results of a survey of 7,752 science and mathematics teachers in schools across the United States. Areas addressed include: teacher backgrounds and beliefs, teachers as professionals, science and mathematics courses, instructional objectives and activities, instructional resources, and factors affecting instruction."  The entire report or selected chapters can be downloaded.  The following are among the multiple conclusions:

HOT: June 27, 2013:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012 was released.  This report is on long-term trend assessments in reading (1971-2012) and mathematics (1973-2012) and "is based on the performance of nationally representative samples of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds attending public and private schools. Over 17,000 students at each age were assessed in either reading or mathematics during the 2011-2012 school year. ... The assessments provide a unique opportunity to look back on student performance across more than four decades."  Among trends of note: "Both 9- and 13-year-olds scored higher in reading and mathematics in 2012 than students their age in the early 1970s. Average reading and mathematics scores in 2012 for 17-year-olds were not significantly different from scores in the first assessment year" (Summary of Major Findings section).

HOT: July 2013:
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released its Contents of the Grade- and Subject-Specific Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) in Mathematics.  A 2013 PowerPoint presentation is available to explain the structure of the PLDs.  "The PLDs are rubrics indicating the broad categories that will be used to report learner performance on an assessment.  Five levels of command include 5: Distinguished, 4: Strong, 3: Moderate, 2: Partial Command, or Level 1 indicating a range from no work shown to Minimal command."  PARCC also released its Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual (updated July 25, 2013). [Note: PARCC's Math Performance Level Descriptors and names for performance levels 1-5 were later revised in 2015.  See the updates in https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED582072.pdf]

HOT: September 2013:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) adopted its Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines that outline the kinds of testing supports and tools that will be made available to all students, and particularly those with disabilities and English-language learners for the Common Core assessments. The Governing States of the SBAC voted to approve the guidelines on September 11, 2013.  See the updates for Accessibility and Accommodations.

HOTNovember 2013:
The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card: Mathematics and Reading was released.  The report indicates students in grades 4 and 8 are making progress. Per the Executive Summary, "Nationally representative samples of more than 376,000 fourth-graders and 341,000 eighth-graders were assessed in either mathematics or reading in 2013. Results are reported for public and private school students in the nation, and for public school students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools."  Data revealed:

HOTJanuary 2014:
In its news release of January 15, 2014, the California Department of Education announced it has adopted mathematics programs aligned to the Common Core Standards.  The list of 31 programs from major publishers can be viewed online and are grouped into three categories: basic grade-level (n=20), algebra I (n=10), and mathematics 1 (n=1).  Such programs might assist other states in locating programs of interest for their learners.

HOTSeptember 1, 2014:
The Education Commission of the States released its report on the Common Core Standards, States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now? by Tonette Salazar and Kathy Christie.  "This brief provides a sampling of state legislative activity and executive branch action around the CCSS through Sept. 1, 2014. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list; rather, it is narrowly focused on the single issue of state affirmation, modification or replacement of the Common Core" (para. 2).  Within the Appendix are state names for Common Core Standards.

HOTJuly 2015:
First released in August 2011, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium released its revised draft dated July 2015: Content Specifications for the Summative Assessment of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.  The document describes the evidence students must exhibit to demonstrate mastery of the college- and career-ready knowledge and skills identified in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

HOTApril 27, 2016:
The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card:  Per the Overview of results for grade 12 mathematics, "In 2015, twelfth-grade students had an average score of 152 on the NAEP 0–300 mathematics scale. This was lower compared to the average score [153] in 2013, but was not significantly different in comparison to 2005. No significant change from 2013 was seen in the average mathematics score for any racial/ethnic group. For male and female students and for twelfth-grade students attending public schools, the average score in 2015 was lower compared to 2013.  Approximately 13,200 students took the NAEP mathematics assessment in 2015. The results of their performance are compared to 2013, 2009, and 2005, which is the first trend year for mathematics because of changes made to the assessment framework."  See the April 27, 2016 remarks on results from Dr. Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

HOTJune 23, 2016:
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute released Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey, authored by Jennifer Bay-Williams, Ann Duffett, and David Griffith.  Their analysis was "based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 K–8 public school math teachers from the forty-three states (as well as the District of Columbia) that had adopted and retained the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics as of March 2015" (p. 8).  The following are among findings:

The report also addresses curricular materials being used, and recommendations such as advice for involving families.

HOTJuly 2016:
The Institute of Education Sciences released its Synthesis of IES-Funded Research on Mathematics: 2002–2013.  The report lists 28 ways that federally funded research during this time period contributed to what we know on how to teach mathematics and approaches to professional development.  Almost 200 federally funded studies about math learning and teaching were analyzed.  The report is organized into two sections: 1.  Whole Numbers, Operations, and Word Problem Solving in Elementary School (10 contributions), and 2. Fractions and Algebra in Middle School (14 contributions).  The report revealed 4 contributions related to professional development approaches.

HOTNovember 13, 2017:
Achieve, Inc. released a report, Strong Standards: A Review of Changes to State Standards Since the Common Core.  Twenty-four of the 45 states and the District of Columbia that adopted the CCSS in 2010 have revised their English Language Arts and Math standards, largely due to political influences or "associated opposition to testing and accountability policies."  However, Achieve's analysis of those 24 states revealed that "most states kept their standards rigorous and maintained college- and career-ready expectations for students."

HOT: April 2018:
The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card was released for mathematics and reading for grades 4 and 8.  National results for mathematics were "flat overall."

Per its mathematics summary, "NAEP mathematics scores are reported on a scale of 0–500. Scores are reported as a national average at grades 4 and 8.  Findings were reported based on "five selected percentiles to show the progress made by lower- (10th and 25th percentiles), middle- (50th percentile), and higher- (75th and 90th percentiles) performing students."

"Compared to 2015, there was no significant change in the average score for mathematics at either grade. Scores were higher than those recorded in 1990, the first year of the assessment." 

In more detail when compared to performance in 2015, findings revealed that scores in mathematics decreased for lower-performing grade 4 students, those performing at the 10th and 25th percentiles.  Performance also decreased for lower-performing grade 8 students at the 25th percentile.  However, scores increased for higher-performing grade 8 students, those performing at the 75th and 90th percentiles. There were no significant changes in math scores for either grade 4 or grade 8 middle level performers, those at the 50th percentile.

Note: Caution should be exercised in considering the implications of results, as concerns have been raised regarding using computers for test-administration.  As noted in The Hechinger Report (Barshay, 2018, April 10): "The 2017 NAEP was the first time a majority of students across the nation took the test on a computer, instead of with pencil and paper" (Concerns over computers section).  A student's computer skills may have affected performance on the test.

HOT: April 26, 2018:
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics called for major changes in high school mathematics in its publication, Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics, Initiating Critical Conversations.  The executive summary is available.  Per its news release (p. 2), NCTM recommends:

HOT: August 22, 2018:
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute released The State of State Standards Post-Common Core, which "focuses on those [states] that have made the most substantive changes to the Common Core, or that never adopted them in the first place. ...Specific recommendations for all of these states, as well as broader guidance for the majority of states that have kept the Common Core and a detailed discussion of recent trends in ELA and math standards, can be found in the report."  ELA standards in 14 states and math standards in 10 states are reviewed.

HOT: March 11, 2019:
In its press release, Study finds curriculum alone does not improve student outcomes, Harvard University stated:

"In recent years, education leaders have hailed curriculum choice as a low-cost way to improve student success. But in the first multi-state effort to measure textbook efficacy since the implementation of the Common Core, researchers at the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University saw no difference in the average fourth- and fifth-grade math achievement gains of schools using different elementary math textbooks.  At current levels of curriculum usage and professional development, textbook choice alone does not seem to improve student achievement" (para. 1).  The study, Learning by the Book, involved a sample of almost 6,000 schools and over 1,200 teachers across six states.

HOT: October 30, 2019:
The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card was released.  Per the report, "Approximately 296,900 students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment. Results are compared to those from 2017 and the previous mathematics assessments back to the 1990s. ... In 2019, average mathematics scores for the nation were 1 point higher at grade 4 and 1 point lower at grade 8 than in 2017."

HOT: October 14, 2021:
Results of the 2020 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Long Term Trends in Reading and Mathematics Assessments at ages 9 and 13 were released.  Per the news release (p. 2):

HOT: October 24, 2022:
The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress Nation's Report Card was released.  Per the report, "In 2022, the average fourth-grade mathematics score decreased by 5 points and was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2005; the average score was one point higher compared to 2003. The average eighth-grade mathematics score decreased by 8 points compared to 2019 and was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2003. In 2022, fourth- and eighth-grade mathematics scores declined for most states/jurisdictions as well as for most participating urban districts compared to 2019. Average scores are reported on NAEP mathematics scales at grades 4 and 8 that range from 0 to 500."

Paper on fire for hot newsHOT: March 2023:
Mathematicians Excited About New 13-Sided Shape Called 'the Hat' (2023).

In March 2023, Kevin Hurler at gizmodo.com reported that "Researchers [mathematician David Smith and colleagues] identified a shape that was previously only theoretical: a 13-sided configuration called “the hat” that can tile a surface without repeating. The hat is what’s known as an aperiodic monotile, which means that a single shape can tile a surface without any translational symmetry, or without its pattern ever repeating." (para. 1-2)

So what does it look like?

"The 13-sided hat is a polykite shape, consisting of eight kites [highlighted in gray in the image] connected at their edges."

Gray "Hat" Polykite

Image source: David Smith et al.

Smith, D., Myers, J., Kaplan, C., & Goodman-Strauss, C. (2023, March 20). An aperiodic monotile [Preprint]. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2303.10798.pdf

 

HOTFebruary 2024:
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) released its position on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics Teaching.  Its position on the use of AI refers to "technologies derived from generative AI machine learning approaches (e.g., ChatGPT, Bard, etc.)" (Defining Terms section).  Key takeaways: Although generative AI has the potential to personalize learning and streamline teaching tasks, "AI tools do not replace the need to teach math or problem solving."  AI output might include biased data, hallucinations (untrue or unreaonable results), and inaccurate citations, making it important for educators to tell students to be skeptical of results and to teach them how to verify results.  Further, use of such tools requires math educators to have deeper knowledge about instruction and assessment techniques.  They also "need to be involved in developing and testing AI tools in math education to stay up to date with current AI trends to best prepare students for an AI future."  All this requires "math teachers with more experience, not less."

 

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Technology News Dates of Interest

 

January 7, 2005:
The U.S. Department of Education released a National Education Technology Plan: Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today's Students are Revolutionizing Expectations (2005). The plan highlights seven action steps with accompanying recommendations for states, districts, and individual schools:

  1. Strengthen Leadership
  2. Consider Innovative Budgeting
  3. Improve Teacher Training
  4. Support E-Learning and Virtual Schools--
  1. Encourage Broadband Access
  2. Move Toward Digital Content--
  1. Integrate Data Systems--

February 17, 2009:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009.  The goal of this economic stimulus package was saving and creating jobs and reforming education.  Read about the law at https://www.fcc.gov/general/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act-2009 and https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/eop/sicp/initiatives/recovery-act.

March 5, 2010:
The U.S. Department of Education released a draft for a National Education Technology Plan: Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology (2010).  The plan presents a model of 21st century learning powered by technology, with goals and recommendations in five essential areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity:

  1. The plan promotes leveraging technology to provide personalized learning instead of a one-size-fits-all curriculum, pace of teaching, and instructional practices.
  2. The plan recognizes that technology-based assessments can provide data to drive decisions on the basis of what is best for each and every student and that in aggregate will lead to continuous improvement across our entire education system.
  3. The plan calls for using technology to help build the capacity of educators by enabling a shift to a model of connected teaching. In such a teaching model, teams of connected educators replace solo practitioners and classrooms are fully connected to provide educators with 24/7 access to data and analytic tools as well as to resources that help them act on the insights the data provide.
  4. For infrastructure, the plan calls for always on learning resources "available to students, educators, and administrators regardless of their location or the time of day. It supports not just access to information, but access to people and participation in online learning communities."  The underlying principle is that infrastructure includes people, processes, learning resources, policies, and sustainable models for continuous improvement in addition to broadband connectivity, servers, software, management systems, and administration tools. Building this infrastructure is a far-reaching project that will demand concerted and coordinated effort.
  5. The plan recognizes a need for fiscal responsibility and calls for a redesign of American education for improved productivity, which moves away from the traditional 19th and 20th century models we currently have based on "seat time." For example, radically redesigned schools that have emerged in the last decade have been organized "around competence rather than seat time and others that enable more flexible scheduling that fits students’ individual needs rather than traditional academic periods and lockstep curriculum pacing. In addition, schools are beginning to incorporate online learning, which gives us the opportunity to extend the learning day, week, or year."  (Executive Summary section, pp. 4-9)

March 17, 2010:
The Federal Communications Commission released The National Broadband Plan: Connecting America.  The FCC's plan recommends "changes to the E-rate program—which offers schools and libraries discounted telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections to improve the broadband infrastructure available to schools" (p. 236).  The report is extensive. Sections related to Education include supporting and promoting online education, unlocking the power of data and improving transparency, and modernizing educational broadband infrastructure.  See the FCC Broadband Progress reports.

May 4, 2010:
The Obama administration released a series of documents outlining the research that supports the proposals in the blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The blueprint released March 13, 2010, included the following sections:

November 2010:
The U.S. Department of Education released the final version of the National Education Technology Plan: Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology (2010).  In his letter to the members of Congress, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated:

The model of learning described in this plan calls for engaging and empowering personalized learning experiences for learners of all ages. The model stipulates that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know and how they learn. It calls for using state-of-the-art technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts to enable, motivate, and inspire all students to achieve, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities. It calls for ensuring that our professional educators are well connected to the content and resources, data and information, and peers and experts they need to be highly effective. And it calls for leveraging the power of technology to support continuous and lifelong learning. (Nagel, 2010, p. 1)

February 6, 2013:
In an ISTE blog post, Great Start for Digital Learning Policy in the 113th Congress: Comprehensive Education Technology Bill Introduced in House of Representatives, Hilary Goldman reported that on this date, "George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced the Transforming Education through Technology Act. The introduction of this legislation is an important milestone in digital learning policy. With no dedicated federal funding over last few years for classroom technology, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act stalled, the Transforming Education through Technology Act will be a rallying opportunity for the entire education community to highlight and underscore the key role digital learning plays in all aspects of teaching and learning to ensure all students are college and career ready" (para. 1).  Track this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr521  Ultimately, it was not enacted.

July 2013:
The National Education Association released its NEA Policy Statement on Digital Learning.  Highlights include:

"The appropriate use of technology in education—as defined by educators rather than entities driven by for-profit motives—will improve student learning, quality of instruction, and education employee effectiveness, and will provide opportunities to eradicate educational inequities."

"It is of critical importance that the use of technology is recognized as a tool that assists and enhances the learning process, and is not the driver of the digital learning plan.  These plans also should include the provision of adaptive technologies to meet individual students’ needs, including assistive technology to support students who are English Language Learners and students with a variety of disabilities or challenges."

"All educators—pre-k12 and postsecondary teachers, ESPs, and administrators—are essential to student learning and should have access to relevant, high-quality, interactive professional development in the integration of digital learning and the use of technology into their instruction and practice."

"...education employees should own the copyright to materials that they create in the course of their employment."

"Optimal learning environments should neither be totally technology free, nor should they be totally online and devoid of educator and peer interaction. The Association believes that an environment that maximizes student learning will use a “blended” and/or “hybrid” model situated somewhere along a continuum between these two extremes."

"Teachers should be fully qualified, certified, and/or licensed to teach the subjects they are teaching, including in online instructional settings."

"Technology is a tool to enhance and enrich instruction for students, and should not be used to replace educational employees who work with students or limit their employment."

October 8, 2015:
Per the press release of October 8, 2015, from the Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, President Obama signed into law the STEM Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 1020).  The Act strengthens Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM) and expands the definition of STEM to include computer science.

The STEM Education Act of 2015 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to award competitive merit-reviewed grants to support informal STEM education.  Informal education is work that takes place outside of the classroom at places like museums, science centers and afterschool programs. These types of efforts engage students in STEM subjects and fields in ways that formal classroom training often does not. (Smith’s STEM Education Act Signed Into Law Press Release, 2015, para. 4)

December 2015:
The U.S. Department of Education released the National Education Technology Plan: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education (2016).  "The principles and examples provided in this document align to the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons (ITECH) program as authorized by Congress in December 2015 through the Every Child Achieves Act" (About This Plan section, p. 1).  The plan includes five sections elaborating on technology for learning, teaching, assessment, leadership, and the infrastructure.  Note: This plan was updated January 2017.

September 2022:
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Education Technology released Advancing Digital Equity for All: Community-Based Recommendations for Developing Effective Digital Equity Plans to Close the Digital Divide and Enable Technology-Empowered Learning.  The document provides "guidance on equitable broadband access, with particular emphasis on adoption, to support leaders in building their digital equity plans" (p. 19).  The report elaborates on three components of access: availability, affordability, and adoption and addresses barriers and strategies within the following questions:

January 25, 2023:
Roberto Rodriquez, Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development of the Office of Educational Technology, released a Dear Colleague Letter: Leveraging Federal Funds for Teaching and Learning with Technology.  It "provides some examples of how funds under Titles I through IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may support the use of technology to improve instruction and student outcomes" (p. 2).  For example, funds can be used for "(1) improving and personalizing professional learning and other supports for educators; (2) increasing access to high-quality digital content and resources for students; (3) facilitating educator collaboration and communication; and (4) providing devices for educators and students to access digital learning resources" (p. 2).  The letter also includes sets of questions for selecting educational technology strategies (i.e., Systems, Models, Platforms, and Tools).  They "help support decision-making related to the critical areas of needs assessment, policy and infrastructure, alignment with instructional approach, professional learning, and evidence" (p. 4).

May 2023:
U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology released its policy report, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Insights and Recommendations.  Per the website, the report "addresses the clear need for sharing knowledge, engaging educators, and refining technology plans and policies for artificial intelligence (AI) use in education. The report describes AI as a rapidly-advancing set of technologies for recognizing patterns in data and automating actions, and guides educators in understanding what these emerging technologies can do to advance educational goals—while evaluating and limiting key risks."  The report is also at https://tech.ed.gov/ai-future-of-teaching-and-learning/

January 2024:
The U.S. Department of Education released the National Education Technology Plan: A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides (2024).  The plan has 113 pages and includes recommendations for closing each divide and examples of schools that have addressed each divide along with examples of programs or products they use.

HOT: March 6, 2024:
The ILO Group released its Framework for Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in K-12 Education.  This 30-page document has two parts.  Part 1 addresses District-wide AI Areas of Consideration (Political, Operational, Technical, Fiscal).  Part 2 includes Department-Specific AI Applications (Risk Profiles and Department-Specific Examples).  Risk profiles include the potential for inaccurate communications, bias, and misuse of personal information.  There are potential technological and operational risks, eductional and pedagogical risks, and legal and compliance risks.  Within department-specific applications, there are curriculum and instruction and special education examples, and more.

 

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No Child Left Behind

 

No Child Left BehindThe purpose of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was to "close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind" (107th Congress, Public Law 107-110, 2002, 115 STAT. 1425).  It required states to assess students in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once during grades 10-12 to ensure that they were meeting grade-level content and achievement standards.  States were to have annual math and reading assessments in place by 2005-06.  Until then they were required to administer reading and math assessments at least once during grades 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12.   States were required to begin testing in science once in grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 beginning in the 2007-08 school year.  They were also to participate in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) in math and reading for grades 4 and 8.  A sample of students statewide were to be used.

January 8, 2002:
President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, called in its press release "a historic new law that will change the culture of America's schools and, most important, improve student achievement in classrooms across the country" (para. 1).  Find out what this landmark legislation meant for your state: http://web.archive.org/web/20031011172530/http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2002/01/01082002.html

June 11, 2002:
U.S. Secretary of Education Paige Releases a Report to Congress that Calls for Overhaul of State Teacher Certification Systems.  The No Child Left Behind Act called for highly qualified teachers demonstrating subject matter knowledge to be in place in every classroom by the end of the 2005–06 school year.  According to this release, "To raise academic standards, the report calls on states to require prospective teachers to pass rigorous exams in the subjects they plan to teach.  Research shows that teachers with strong academic backgrounds in specific content areas are more likely to boost the academic performance of their students in those subjects."  The report also calls for institutions with teacher preparation programs to eliminate many of the rigid certification requirements, such as an extensive number of methods courses, and it examines successes in alternate routes to teaching.  Read this report:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Office of Policy Planning and Innovation. (2002). Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality.  Washington, D.C. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED513876.pdf

June 10, 2003:
Approved State Accountability Plans: Every state has submitted an accountability plan to the U.S. Department of Education for ensuring that students are proficient in reading and math by 2013-2014.  Each received a letter noting actions required to become fully approved.  View the updated state plans posted at the U.S. Department of Education: https://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html

August 18, 2003:
Phi Delta Kappan, the professional journal for educators, posted results of the 35th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.  Conclusions reached by authors, Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup, include that, "The public sees itself as uninformed on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, with 69% saying they lack the information needed to say whether their impression of the act is favorable or unfavorable. Forty percent say they know very little about the NCLB, with an additional 36% saying they know nothing at all about the act."  However, "Responses to questions related to strategies associated with NCLB suggest that greater familiarity with the law is unlikely to lead to greater public support."  The report is available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/003172170308500113

In The Politics of No Child Left Behind, Andrew Rudalevige, assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College, detailed the context of NCLB and its evolution through Congress.  He stated, "No Child Left Behind was the cumulative result of a standards-and-testing movement that began with the release of the report A Nation at Risk by the Reagan administration in 1983" (2003, online, para. 2).

February 23, 2005:
A special task force of the National Conference of State Legislatures released the results of a 10-month study, No Child Left Behind Task Force Final Report, in which they identified key areas of NCLB that need to be changed so that all learners can reach their potential.  See Key Recommendations from the NCSL Task Force on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Final Report at https://web.archive.org/web/20210416152635/https://www.ncsl.org/documents/educ/NCLBRecommendations.pdf    Selected recommendations below from this 6-chapter report are quoted from the Executive Summary:

Chapter 1: The Role of the Federal Government in Education Reform:

Chapter 2: Adequate Yearly Progress:

Chapter 3: AYP: Students with Disabilities and Limited English Proficiency:

Chapter 4: Flexibility for States to Address Unique Schools and Districts

Chapter 5: Highly Qualified Teacher and Paraprofessional Requirements

Chapter 6: The Cost of Closing the Achievement Gap: Compliance vs. Proficiency

 

What do we mean by multiple measures?

Question markAccording to Susan Brookhart (2009), there are many ways to define and apply the concept of "multiple measures."  First, one needs to know what counts as a measure. " 'Multiple measures' describes at least three different ways of using more than one score: (1) measures of different constructs, (2) different measures of the same construct, and (3) multiple opportunities to pass the same test" (p. 9). Second, one needs to know how multiple measures might be combined. Brookkart notes three ways: "Methods of combining information from multiple measures include (1) conjunctive, in which the student or group must pass all measures; (2) compensatory, in which higher performance on one measure can compensate for lower performance on another; and (3) complementary, in which the student or group must achieve the standard on just one of the multiple measures" (Chester, 2005, cited in Brookhart, 2009, p. 10).

Putting those three ways to define multiple measures together with the three ways to combine those yields nine different combinations.

Read The Many Meanings of "Multiple Measures" in Educational Leadership, November, 2009.

 

August 3, 2005:
The U.S. Department of Education issued Highly Qualified Teachers: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, revised non-regulatory guidance to help state and local educational agencies meet NCLB's teacher quality goals.  "This Non-Regulatory Guidance explains how State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and State agencies for higher education can effectively use Title II, Part A funds to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified and effective, a critical component of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (Purpose of this Guidance section, para. 1).  The document also includes clearer answers to the definition of a highly-qualified teacher, what is meant my core-academic subjects, and what is meant by highly-qualified professional development.

March 2006:
The Center on Education Policy in Washington, DC released From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act (http://web.archive.org/web/20210416123800/https://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=301). Research for this annual report  on the implementation of NCLB included a survey of all 50 states and a national representation of 299 districts, case studies of 38 geographically diverse districts and 42 schools, analyses of critical issues, and three national forums.  The summary of this report reveals four broad conclusions as to what happened during 2005:

  1. NCLB has impacted teaching and learning.  There has been an effort to align curriculum and instruction with state academic standards and assessments.  Schools are making better use of data to assist with planning instruction to meet individual student and group needs.  However, there has been narrowing of curriculum in at least one subject area to accommodate an increase in time devoted to reading and mathematics.  Case studies revealed that teaching is becoming more prescriptive.  There is skepticism among the surveyed state and district officials as to whether the quality of teaching has been improved, even though teachers are meeting the highly qualified conditions mandated by NCLB.

  2. According to state and local officials surveyed, scores have risen on state tests in a large majority of states and school districts.  Factors were attributed to the adequate yearly progress requirement of NCLB, but far more attributed gains to school district policies and programs.

  3. Although there may be different schools each year, the overall percentage and number of schools identified in need of improvement has varied little. Percentages of eligible students exercising the option of school choice (less than 2%) and participating in supplementary education services (tutoring, around 20%) remains low over the last two years.

  4. NCLB is increasingly having the greatest effects in urban districts.  A major reason is due to their diversity.  The majority (54%) of Title I schools identified in need of improvement are in urban districts.  Urban districts are more affected by sanctions because of their size and greater number of low-income students (poverty has been linked to achievement).

January 13, 2009:
As reported in the Chicago Sun Times by Lynn Sweet,  Arne Duncan sails through confirmation hearing for Education Secretary.  In the hearing Duncan stated, "I know that the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind will be a priority for the 111th Congress. I have seen first-hand the impact of the federal law on our students and schools. I have seen the law's power and its limitations. I agree with the President-elect that we should neither bury NCLB nor praise it without reservation. I support the core goals of high standards for all - black and white, poor and wealthy, students with disabilities, and those who are just learning to speak English. Like President-elect Obama, I am committed to closing achievement gaps, raising expectations and holding everyone accountable for results" (section: Testimony of Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, United States Senate).

August 12, 2009:
The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and the National Center for Performance Incentives (NCPI) hosted a research conference entitled NCLB: Emerging Findings, the purpose of which was "to present and debate emerging findings on the merits and the weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind Act."  See presentations at  https://my.vanderbilt.edu/performanceincentives/conferences/

February 12, 2010:
While speaking to school superintendents during the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlined the Obama administration's vision for rewriting the No Child Left Behind law.  He identified three principles that will guide the administration’s approach: (1) higher standards, (2) rewarding excellence, and (3) a “smarter, tighter federal role” in ensuring that all students succeed.  Read Dennis Pierce's full commentary of February 14 in eSchool News: Duncan offers ‘guiding principles’ for rewriting NCLB.

Read more about the No Child Left Behind Act:

 

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Every Student Succeeds Act

 

ESSA Every Student Succeeds ActOn December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), thus replacing the controversial NCLB Act.  ESSA maintains the requirement that each state implement "a set of high quality student academic assessments in mathematics, reading or language arts, and science" (114th Congress, 2015, p. S.1177-24) among its provisions.  Further, mathematics and reading or language arts assessments will be administered in each of grades 3 through 8, and at least once in grades 9 through 12 (p. S.1177-25).  However, the provision of adequate yearly progress mandated in NCLB is history (Walker, 2015).

 

Paper on fire for hot newsESSA at the U.S. Department of Education is highly recommended as the primary source for news on the Every Student Succeeds Act, which President Obama signed on December 10, 2015.  This act replaces the NCLB law of 2001.  Also get the latest on effective teaching, accountability and reports, choices for parents, and more.

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released the final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the ESSA.  However, over time regulations have been updated, and are available at the link provided.

On March 9, 2017, the Senate voted to overturn regulations on how states comply with ESSA, as reported in the New York Times.  As a result, states now have a new application form to use in developing their accountability plans for ESSA, per Education Week's Trump Education Dept. Releases New ESSA Guidelines (March 13, 2017).

Evidence for ESSA is a free website from the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, which began in 2017.  It's purpose is to provide educators with the most up-to-date and reliable information regarding K-12 programs (e.g., in math and reading) that meet the strong, moderate, and promising evidence criteria per the ESSA.

Evidence for ESSA: Standards and Procedures Version 2.0 was released in May 2023.  This version was written to better help educators select effective tools and programs.

 

Read more about the Every Student Succeeds Act:

 

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Assessment

 

April 9, 2007:
The U.S. Department of Education released Final Rule 34 CFR Parts 200 and 300: Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Federal Register, 72(67), Washington DC: Author.

The intent of this rule is to "provide States with additional flexibility regarding State, local educational agency (LEA), and school accountability for the achievement of a small group of students with disabilities whose progress is such that, even after receiving appropriate instruction, including special education and related services designed to address the students’ individual needs, the students’ individualized education program (IEP) teams (IEP Teams) are reasonably certain that the students will not achieve grade-level proficiency within the year covered by the students’ IEPs" (Summary section).  These amended No Child Left Behind regulations gave states the option of developing alternative assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) to be administered to such students.

December 2007:
Readers interested in how states are developing AA-MAS as per the April, 2007, Final Rule 34 CFR Parts 200 and 300 should read:  Lazarus, S. S., Thurlow, M. L., Christensen, L. L., & Cormier, D. (2007). States’ alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) in 2007 (Synthesis Report 67). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. https://nceo.umn.edu/docs/OnlinePubs/Synthesis67/Synthesis67.pdf. "In July 2007 six states had an assessment either in place or in development that they considered to be an AA-MAS, but none had as of yet gone through the U.S. Department of Education’s peer review process. This study compiled and summarized information about these assessments" (p. 7), based on publicly available information at the time. State documents used in the analysis were from Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Maryland.

December 12, 2007:
Growth models on the rise
.  In Growth 'pilot' now open to all states, David Hoff (2007) reports that all states that meet federal criteria will now be allowed to take part in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2-year-old experiment with “growth models."

March 2009:
Charles Barone (2009) of the Education Sector reported on Are we there yet? What policymakers can learn from Tennessee's growth model. Tennessee was one of the first seven states that former Secretary of Education Spellings approved to use a "growth-to-proficiency" model (p. 1).  Barone reported on the advantages and disadvantages of this model, which he hopes will "help those involved in this process to make more thoughtful and informed decisions by examining the approach" of Tennessee (p. 2).  Note: The Education Sector joined the American Institutes for Research in 2013; For current information on policies, see https://www.air.org/our-work/education/education-policy

 

What's a Growth Model?

Question markEffective and accurate growth models can include a combination of state assessments, teacher-developed assessments, portfolios, grade point averages, and performance assessments such as essays and projects.

In A Practioner's Guide to Growth Models by Katherine Castellano and Andrew Ho (2013, February), the authors say "A growth model is a collection of definitions, calculations, or rules that summarizes student performance over two or more time points and supports interpretations about students, their classrooms, their educators, or their schools" (p. 16).  However, "Growth models are quickly changing to meet the needs of local, state, and federal goals, reforms, and policies" (p. 17).  In seven chapters, Castellano and Ho elaborated on seven widely used growth models of interest and labeled them by their most common names: Gain Score, Trajectory, Categorical, Residual Gain, Projection, Student Growth Percentile, and Multivariate.

 

June 25, 2009:
School Accountability: A Broader, Bolder Approach, Report of the Accountability Committee of the Broader Bolder Approach to Education Campaign is released proposing a new accountability system designed to overcome weaknesses in No Child Left Behind.  This new system would combine both qualitative and quantitative methods. "The Broader, Bolder Approach campaign proposes a new accountability system whose chief elements are: 1) an expansion and coordination of federal data collection, including expansion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, to provide comparative state-by-state information on the broad range of knowledge and skills that students need for success; and 2) federally approved and supported (but not designed) state systems of school inspection that ensure that schools are generating adequate outcomes on this range of knowledge and skills, and are following practices likely to generate these outcomes" (p. 6).

HOT: October 24, 2015:
The growing concern about student testing led the U.S. Department of Education to issue its press release: Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan.  The concern: "In too many schools, there is unnecessary testing and not enough clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students.  The Administration bears some of the responsibility for this, and we are committed to being part of the solution" (para. 2).  The press release elaborated on seven principles for fewer and smarter assessments.  Assessments must be worth taking, of high quality, time limited (i.e., "states [should] place a cap on the percentage of instructional time students spend taking required statewide standardized assessments to ensure that no child spends more than 2 percent of her classroom time taking these tests"), fair "including providing fair measures of student learning for students with disabilities and English learners," transparent to students and parents, just one of multiple measures, and tied to improved learning.  The press release also included administrative actions it is undertaking to reduce over-testing.

HOT: August 11, 2016:
The Brookings Institute released its Evidence Speaks Report (Vol. 1, #25), Student test scores: How the sausage is made and why you should care, authored by Brian Jacob.  The K-12 report cautions educators and policymakers about the use of standardized test scores to make high-stakes decisions regarding teachers, students, and schools.  Per the Executive Summary:

Contrary to popular belief, modern cognitive assessments—including the new Common Core tests—produce test scores based on sophisticated statistical models rather than the simple percent of items a student answers correctly. While there are good reasons for this, it means that reported test scores depend on many decisions made by test designers, some of which have important implications for education policy. For example, all else equal, the shorter the length of the test, the greater the fraction of students placed in the top and bottom proficiency categories—an important metric for state accountability. On the other hand, some tests report “shrunken” measures of student ability, which pull particularly high- and low-scoring students closer to the average, leading one to understate the proportion of students in top and bottom proficiency categories. Shrunken test scores will also understate important policy metrics such as the black-white achievement gap—if black children score lower on average than white children, then scores of black students will be adjusted up while the opposite is true for white students.

The scaling of test scores is equally important. Despite common perceptions, a 5-point gain at the bottom of the test score distribution may not mean the same thing in terms of additional knowledge as a 5-point gain at the top of the distribution. This fact has important implications for the value-added based comparisons of teacher effectiveness as well as accountability rankings of schools. ... (p. 1)

HOT: March 14, 2018:
Education First released results from its research on "What Happened to State Tests?" The analysis delved into all 50 states, noting that there has been a significant decrease in membership in the two consortia, PARCC or Smarter Balanced.  The consortia's goal was to develop high quality state summative assessments to be used by the membership states of each.  In 2010, 46 states were members in either of those consortia.  By 2017 consortia membership decreased to 20 states in which "16 of these states fully participate[d] in PARCC or Smarter Balanced, while an additional four states populate[d] their assessments with consortia items" (p. 3).  Other key findings:

 

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Other Education and Technology News Sources

 

Paper on fire for hot newsASCD News and Media includes ASCD responses to a variety of issues affecting education.  Subscribe to ASCD SmartBrief and the Math Education Smartbrief.  It's free.

Council for Exceptional Children: Policy & Advocacy examines policy issues and provides information on special education trends and other developments affecting the education of children with exceptionalities and the professionals who work with them.

EdSurge.com produces a free weekly newsletter on edtech products, companies, and events.  You'll also find a "community driven" database of edtech products, including those related to curriculum, classroom teaching needs (e.g., assessment, classroom management, collaboration, etc.), school operations, and more.

Education Commission of the States features news on education policy issues ranging from early learning through post secondary.  You can also learn about state legislation.

Education Week provides news, special reports (including coverage of the the latest findings and trends in education research and the impact of technology on education), state information (key players, key statistics, legislative updates, and past stories), and access to Teacher Magazine.  You can sign up for a number of weekly or monthly newsletters.  Education Week also offers free webinars on current topics of interest, which are archived for six months after their presentation.

Education World's free weekly newsletter sent to your email address will keep you up-to-date with the latest education news, lesson ideas, teaching tips, and more.

eSchool News developed for K-12 decision-makers, covers all aspects of school technology news, events, issues, key players, products, services, and strategies. Also learn about the business and political issues impacting school technology.

Learning First Alliance reports on what's working in public schools in its Public School Insights.

Network for Public Education (NPE) was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody.  NPE is "an advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen public schools."

TechLearning News is brought to you by TechLearning.com.  Technology & Learning magazine and Intel Corporation also sponsor K-12 Computing Blueprint, which focuses on planning and implementing technology initiatives, such as one-to-one or bring-your-own computing.  You can subscribe to the weekly newsletters.  Research results, funding, leadership, infrastructure, professional development, and curriculum information using mobile devices are provided.

U.S. Department of Education News: Press Releases, Blog, Speeches

 

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References

114th Congress of the United States. (2015). Every Student Succeeds Act. https://www.ed.gov/essa

107th Congress of the United States. (2002). Public Law 107-110: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-107publ110/pdf/PLAW-107publ110.pdf [Note: The pdf document, also available for download, has 670 pages with the first numbered as 115 STAT. 1425.]

Barone, C. (2009, March). Are we there yet? What policymakers can learn from Tennessee's growth model. Education Sector Technical Reports. Washington, DC: Education Sector.

Barshay, J. (2018, April 10). National test scores reveal a decade of educational stagnation. The Hechinger Report. https://hechingerreport.org/national-test-scores-reveal-a-decade-of-educational-stagnation/

Brookhart, S. (2009, November). The many meanings of "multiple measures." Educational Leadership, 67(3), 6-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20210428190753/http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov09/vol67/num03/The-Many-Meanings-of-£Multiple-Measures£.aspx

Charischak, I. (2009, June 3). What's missing from this picture? CLIME Connections. http://www.clime.org/2009/06/whats-missing-from-this-picture.html

Federal Communications Commission. (2010, March 17). National broadband plan: Connecting America. https://www.fcc.gov/general/national-broadband-plan

Hoff, D. (2007, December 12). Growth 'pilot' now open to all states. Education Week, 27(15), 1, 20. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2007/12/12/15growth.h27.html

Nagel, D. (2010, November 9). National ed tech plan puts technology at the heart of education reform. THE Journal. https://thejournal.com/articles/2010/11/09/national-ed-tech-plan-puts-technology-at-the-heart-of-education-reform.aspx 

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2006a). Curriculum focal points for prekindergarten through grade 8 mathematics: A quest for coherence. Reston, VA: Author. https://www.nctm.org/store/Products/Curriculum-Focal-Points-for-Prekindergarten-through-Grade-8-Mathematics-A-Quest-for-Coherence/

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2006b, September 12). NCTM Releases Curriculum Focal Points to Focus Math Curricula. Reston, VA: NCTM News Release. https://www.nctm.org/News-and-Calendar/News/NCTM-News-Releases/NCTM-Releases-Curriculum-Focal-Points-to-Focus-Math-Curricula/

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009a, June). Guiding principles for mathematics curriculum and assessment. Reston, VA: Author. https://web.archive.org/web/20151024005936/http://scimath.unl.edu/MIM/coursematerials/files/TEAC%20801/2.%20Handouts/01.%20NCTM%20Guiding%20Principles%20for%20Math%20Curriculum%20and%20Assesment.pdf

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009b). Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making. Reston, VA: Author. https://www.nctm.org/store/Products/Focus-in-High-School-Mathematics--Reasoning-and-Sense-Making/

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009c, October 6). NCTM Releases new landmark publication: Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making. Reston, VA: NCTM News Release. https://www.nctm.org/News-and-Calendar/News/NCTM-News-Releases/NCTM-Releases-New-Landmark-Publication_-Focus-in-High-School-Mathematics/

National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. (2009, June 1). Forty-nine states and territories join common core state standards initiative. Washington, DC: NGA Press Release. http://texasedequity.blogspot.com/2009/06/forty-nine-states-and-territories-join.html

National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED500486.pdf

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. (2011, October). Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics, Grades 3-11. http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/C3PARCC MCF for Mathematics_Fall 2011 Release.pdf

Rudalevige, A. (2003, Fall). The politics of No Child Left Behind. Education Next, 3(4), 62-69. https://www.educationnext.org/the-politics-of-no-child-left-behind/

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2022, September). Advancing digital equity for all. https://tech.ed.gov/advancing-digital-equity-for-all/

Walker, T. (2015, December 9). With passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, life after NCLB begins. http://neatoday.org/2015/12/09/every-student-succeeds-act/

 

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