Education News

New Reviews: Measuring Up to the TEKS Mathematics

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[Source: Mastery Education]

Mastery Education Measuring Up to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills: Mathematics is a supplemental print resource to help students in grades 3-8 (i.e., Levels C-H) prepare for STAAR testing in math. Content is organized in short lessons that address specific TEKS. Instruction provides ample opportunities for students to practice and apply problem-solving strategies. Learning List recently these materials for grades 3-8.

Content is organized in chapters that address key concepts in the TEKS for each grade level (e.g., rational numbers, place value, measurement). Each chapter is made up of short lessons that address specific TEKS. Lessons are presented in five parts: (1) Understand the TEKS, (2) Guided Instruction, (3) Critical Thinking, (4) STAAR Practice, and (5) STAAR Assessment. Content is scaffolded, building from simple to more complex concepts, and includes frequent opportunities for students to write about mathematics.

Student worktexts contain a letter to parents in English and Spanish. The letter explains the importance of the TEKS and the STAAR test, describes the Measuring Up program, and suggests ways that parents can support mathematics education at home (e.g., involve students in mixing recipes).

TX_MEASURING_UP_MATH

[Source: Mastery Education]

About Mastery Education*

Mastery Education®, formerly Peoples Education, is a creator of print and online educational materials for the K-12 school market, best known for the flagship brand Measuring Up®. The company focuses on supplemental instructional and practice materials that are standards-based and customized for specific markets. Founded in 1991, Mastery Education has a long history of accurate and astute content creation, working closely with educational partners and analyzing mandated standards and assessment criteria in order to create the most useful and relevant teacher support tools.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Mastery Education.

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EdNext Poll on Testing

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[Source: The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform
WINTER 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 1]

Over the last few months, the national conversation about public education seems to have shifted from a debate over the Common Core State Standards to a debate over state testing.  Daily, newspapers feature stories about states dropping out of the Common Core testing consortia, PARCC or Smarter Balanced; states abandoning long-standing state testing contracts; and parents opting [their children] out of taking state tests.  Increasingly, state legislatures are examining ways to reduce the number of tests students have to take.

A new poll by Education Next suggests that there may be less hostility towards testing than the media would have us believe.  The nationally representative survey solicited responses from approximately 4,000 members of the general public, parents and teachers.

When asked:  “Do you support or oppose the federal government continuing to require that all students be tested in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school?” respondents answered as follows:

Members of the public:  67% supported vs. 21% opposed continuing the federal requirements for annual testing (contained in the federal  No Child Left Behind Act)
Parents:  66% supported vs. 23% opposed continuing the federally-mandated testing;
Teachers:  47% supporting vs. 46% opposed continuing the federally mandated testing.

In answer to the question, “Do you support or oppose letting parents decide whether to have their children take state math and reading tests?” The responses were as follows:

Members of the public:  25% supported vs. 59% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state tests;
Parents:  32% supported vs. 52% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state testing;
Teachers:  32% supported vs. 57% opposed giving parents the right to “opt-out” of state testing.

While federal and state policymakers may change the type, number and timing of tests students have to take, testing will remain an indispensable part of our education system.  Learning List’s independent alignment reports help educators understand how the instructional materials they use may be affecting their students’ test results.  If students repeatedly missed test questions associated with a particular standard or group of standards, teachers can refer to Learning List’s alignment report(s) to determine (1) whether the district’s instructional material(s) is/are aligned to those standards, and (2) more specifically, whether the specific citations (e.g., page numbers, lessons) they assigned are aligned to those standards.  If either the material or the citations were not aligned to those standards, students likely did not learn what those standards required them to know.  Either situation is easily fixed by providing supplemental materials aligned to those standards or by assigning other citations listed in the publisher’s correlation that have been verified to be aligned to those standards.

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Teacher Shortages Force Districts to Rely on Online Courses

help-wantedAs the new school year approaches, schools across the country are in a hiring frenzy.  The layoffs from 2008-12, an increasing population of limited English speaking students and college graduates wary of going into teaching because of the uncertainty in that traditionally stable employment market, are just a few reasons why districts are scrambling to fill vacancies. The California Department of Education estimates that California districts have 21,500 slots to fill while fewer than 15,000 new teacher certificates are issued annually.  

How are districts filling the gap? As one rural Texas principal told me recently, “We’re having to rely on online courses more heavily than ever before.  High school math teachers are hard to come by in small Texas towns. So, smaller districts like ours are using self-paced online courses when we can’t find a teacher for the course. What’s scary is that we don’t really know how good the courses are.”  

Students can’t learn what they’re not taught. A material’s alignment to state standards becomes even more crucial when there’s not a certified teacher in the classroom to act as a safety net for a material’s deficits.  In such cases, students have to rely exclusively on the online course for the knowledge and skills he/she needs to master the state tests.  If the material is not well aligned, the district is setting the student up to fail.

Learning List gives districts peace of mind that the materials they are using are teaching their students what they need to know to be successful.  For each material, Learning List provides three types of reviews, including an independent review of the material’s alignment to state standards.  Our detailed alignment reports show specifically where the material (e.g., page numbers, lesson titles) is aligned to each standard and where necessary, which standards the material is not aligned to at all. If a material is not aligned to 100% of the state’s standards for a grade and subject, our Fill-in-the-Gap tool recommends additional materials – supplemental and/or comprehensive; publisher-produced and/or open educational resources – that fill in the gap to ensure that students are getting materials that teach 100 percent of the state’s standards.

With reviews for over 1000 of the most popular materials, Learning List has reviewed many online, self-paced courses (e.g., Compass, Edgenuity, Khan Academy, Think Through Math, US History.org, and Vschoolz) that can help districts fill in their gaps.  Subscribe today to find the materials that will propel your students to success!

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Infographic: 14 Ways to Celebrate National Teachers’ Day

National Teachers’ Day is a special day to recognize and show appreciation to teachers in the USA for their extraordinary contributions to education and development. Let’s celebrate and honor them for their special contributions throughout Teachers’ Appreciation Week (May 4-8).

Share this Infographic with others; more details and active links are included below the image:

Click the Infographic to download and share.

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3 Empowering and Inspiring Videos

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A Letter to the Future [Kid President]

 

 

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What’s Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals?

 

 

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The Science of Happiness

 

 

 

 3 Popular Facebook Sites

  • NEA Today: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA’s 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States (source: NEA}
  • We Are Teachers: WeAreTeachers celebrates educators with classroom ideas, “helpline” advice, inspiration and laughs every day. Why? Because teachers are AWESOME! (source: We Are Teachers)
  • Mind Shift: Exploring the future of learning in all its dimensions – covering cultural and technology trends, groundbreaking research, and innovations in education. (source: Mind Shift)

4 Ways to Celebrate

  • Host a mini class party for class teachers.
  • Make an Award or Artwork for your Teacher
  • Hang banners on classroom doors as decoration and sign of gratitude.
  • Write a personal “Thank You” note or card to your teachers.

Famous Teacher Quotes

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth. – Dan Rather

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. – Chinese Proverb

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. -George Bernard Shaw

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around. – Jim Rohn

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. – George Bernard Shaw

© 2015 Learning List

 

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Happy Birthday, Ralph W. Tyler!

20150422 Educating AmericaBorn in Chicago on April 22, 1902, Ralph W. Tyler was a visionary educator and a leading proponent of student-centered learning. His seminal work “Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction” was a best seller when it was published in 1949, and it continues to influence curriculum development to this day. In it, Tyler lays out what has come to be known as “Tyler’s Rationale,” which asserts that effective instruction is organized around four basic questions:

  1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
  2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  3. How can purposes be organized?
  4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

“Basic Principles” also introduced the concept of student-centered instruction, establishing that “learning takes place through the active behavior of the student; it is what he [the student] does that he learns, not what the teacher does (p. 63).”

Tyler worked with the Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson administrations to shape the nation’s education policy, contributing to the development of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965. At the request of the Carnegie Corporation, he chaired a committee that developed the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, in 1967. At the time, the introduction of a national test was controversial. It ignited fears of a federal takeover of education and unfair comparisons of students and schools. However, Tyler insisted that NAEP would not produce scores for individual students and schools. Instead results would be disaggregated across students’ demographic characteristics. Today, NAEP is known as the “Nation’s Report Card” and it remains the most reliable national data on student achievement.

About NAEP

[Source: NAEP]

[Source: NAEP]

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representativ​e and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics,readingsciencewritingthe artscivics,economicsgeographyU.S. history, and beginning in 2014, in Technology and Engineering Literacy​ (TEL).

Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, NAEP results serve as a common metric for all states and selected urban districts. The assessment stays essentially the same from year to year, with only carefully documented changes. This permits NAEP to provide a clear p​icture of student academic progress over time.

As NAEP moves into computer-based assessments, the assessment administration will remain uniform continuing the importance of NAEP as a common metric. Read more about the future of the NAEP assessment.

[Click here to subscribe to the Learning List blog.]

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Which Products Are Least Aligned to CCSS Mathematics Standards?

[Source: Education Week]

[Source: Education Week]

Last week, Education Week hosted a webinar addressing the mathematics standards that were most challenging for students to master. The webinar identified broad groups of standards in measurement, modeling with mathematics, fractions, and statistics and explained how these concepts build on one another. The presentation illustrated a trajectory in which elementary students who did not master early concepts continued to struggle with more advanced concepts in later grades. For example, students who did not master concepts such as length in elementary school also struggled with line graphs and coordinate grids in middle school.

[Video courtesy of CoreStandards.org]

[Video courtesy of CoreStandards.org]

This analysis prompted Learning List to think about the Common Core mathematics products we’ve reviewed. In particular, we wondered which mathematics standards were least aligned in the products we’ve reviewed. We analyzed our data to identify the CCSSM standards that were not addressed in at least half (50%) of the products for which we’ve verified CCSS alignment.

Our analysis did not identify any standards at grades K-5 for which 50% or more of products were not aligned. Individual products were not aligned to some standards, but no one standard in any grade level was consistently not aligned in 50% or more of the products.

At the middle school level, our analysis identified two standards that 50% or more of products did not address:

  • At grade 6, we have reviewed 12 products; 58.3% of these products did not address CSCCM 6.SP.5: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
  • At grade 8, we have reviewed 12 products ; 50% of these products did not address CCSSM 8.G.5: Use formal arguments to establish facts about the angle sum and exterior angle of triangles, about the angles created when parallel lines are cut by a transversal, and the angle-angle criterion for similarity of triangles.

At the high school level, we identified four standards for Algebra I and three standards for Algebra II that were not addressed by 50% of products:

  • For Algebra I, of the eight products we have reviewed:
    • 50% did not address CCSSM A-REI.4: Solve quadratic equations in one variable.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-IF.7: Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-IF.8: Write a function defined by an expression in different but equivalent forms to reveal and explain different properties of the function.
    • 50% did not address CCSSM F-LE.1: Distinguish between functions that can be modeled with linear functions and with exponential functions.
  • For Algebra II, of the four products we have reviewed:
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM A-SSE.1: Interpret expressions that represent quantity in terms of its context.
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM A-REI.11: Explain why the x-coordinates of the points where the graphs of y=f(x) and y=g(x) intersect are the solutions of the equation f(x)=g(x); find the solutions approximately, e.g., using technology to graph the functions, make tables of values, or find successive approximations. Include cases where f(x) and/ or g(x) are linear, polynomial, rational, absolute value, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
    • 50% were not aligned to CCSSM F-IF.7: Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.

The results of our analysis indicate that publishers have greater difficulty meeting the CCSSM in high school algebra courses.  If a specific instructional material does not align to 100% of the CCSM standards, Learning List has a key feature, Fill-in-the Gap™,  that identifies other products that align to the remaining standards. If needed, this enables educators to use at least two instructional materials that, in the aggregate, would align to 100% of the CCSM standards.

In a subsequent post, we will examine our TEKS data to identify the least aligned mathematics standards in the products we’ve reviewed. We welcome your comments or questions about this topic; please send comment/question to info@learninglist.com.

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