Monday, March 24, 2014

Common Core and What is Coming

I remember from talking to a teacher in Pittsburgh (where coincidentally, this photo was taken), that she told me her school had a "data room" where any teacher in any class could see how every single student was doing AND look up all the data on them - discipline records, F/RL, etc.  This appears to be such a room.  She said the door was not locked and any adult could wander in there.  Would you want other parents seeing this kind of thing? 

 I see a pink highlight on most of the students in the red section and fewer in the green or yellow sections but I don't know what it means. 

From Seattle Education blog, a great video of a 4th-grade mom in Arkansas who uses her three-minutes before her school Board, to explain her deep unhappiness with Common Core.  She even gets the board to interact with her (something you would never see here). 


mirmac1 said...

Those do exist in SPS schools. Once I find the picture, I'll pass it along.

Anonymous said...

I have a child who has struggled with standardized testing due to a previously undiagnosed visual condition (20/20 vision; something else was wrong).

If I saw one of these, even in a LOCKED room, I would be tempted to bring spray paint and put the word PRIVATE across it in BIG letters. In my view, no teacher other than my child's has a right to that information. My child is not the color red. And my other child who does very well at tests, but is very stressed about them (we're opting out of many due to stress) is more than green.

This sucks. Really really sucks.

signed: furious

mirmac1 said...

Here is one (on pg 6) at RBHS. The work being done may benefit many students, but are the public displays necessary?

mirmac1 said...

Another on pg 5. Somehow I don't think this would exist at, say, McGilvra.

Anonymous said...

CCSS news:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country. (more)


Melissa Westbrook said...

District Watcher, you made my day.

States need to hit the pause button and rethink this whole thing.

ben said...

Criticism of the Common Core is coming from many different political camps. So far it looks like the conservative critics in states like Indiana are going to be more effective at pulling out. It wouldn't surprise me if most red states eventually leave the consortium.


Anonymous said...

According to Senator Schneider (IN), "....we are moving forward, moving away from Common Core, protecting Indiana sovereignty and student data [bold added]."

a reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Common Core has multiple issues for many different people. Hence, the fighting back on many fronts. It's not so much"this must be defeated" as "what the heck is going on and how did it get this far with so little notice."

Eric B said...

Mirmac, that might or might not happen at McGilvra, but there was a very similar board in at least one classroom at Loyal Heights a few years back. It wasn't the red/yellow/green, but it did identify which students had passed which math standards (quick recall addition/subtraction etc.). That board was out in the middle of the classroom so every student saw it.

Anonymous said...

Not related to data walls, but to common core - my fifth grader now brings home math tests with an explanatory page stapled to the front as to what common core standards that unit covered. Then, bizarrely, the test is graded by assigning each problem a numerical score from 1 (below standard) through 4 (above standard) - basically the same system they use on the report cards. There is no overall score on the whole test, nothing to show if all the problems are weighted the same, etc. Now, I can go through and do the math, counting up how many 1s, 2, and 3s she got, and figure out the overall grade, but why do I have to? Also, the grading seems kind of harsh - if you get the right answer, but forget to label it (for example, writing "6" rather than "6 frogs") the grade is reduced from a 3 down to a 2. I understand that one has to label things, especially if dealing with actual units of measure (not just "frogs"), but is that really worth a whole letter grade?
I haven't seen this on my other kids tests (1st & 3rd grade) - but I don't need to sign & return their tests either. The cover letter comes signed by both the teachers in her grade. Is anyone else seeing this weird grading system? Suddenly this year she is getting 2s in math on her report card when she's always had 3s, and her Map test scores haven't changed much (generally high 80s/low 90s - not to my mind consistent with a 2 on the report card), so I'm thinking at least part of it due to this odd new grading system.

Mom of 4

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...

Indiana becomes first state to withdraw from Common Core State Standards:

Anonymous said...

Mom of 4 -

We are seeing this in middle school as well, but only with some teachers and classes. For 6-8 math, tests questions are categorized into certain standards, and the exceeding standard problems are not expected to be done (! - as opposed to having a test with some hard problems that everyone is expected to attempt). For LA/SS, we're seeing similar standards based grading. They are graded on a strict 1-4 scale, then the teacher translates the number to a percent. There is no in between grade. A 2 is a 75%, a 3 is an 85%, and a 4 is 100%. If you partially exceeded standards, well tough luck, you still get an 85%. It has been very demotivating for my child. Students are given the opportunity to improve grades, but it may mean redoing the entire assignment.

Welcome to Standards Based Grading.

There also seems to be a district wide mandate for teachers to display the particular standard they are covering on a given day. It's posted on the board, or on the lesson. Perhaps the goal is to keep lessons focused on the standards, which seems valuable, yet it would drive me nuts as a teacher. It somehow assumes that teachers wouldn't focus on the standards otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of when the tree huggers and loggers finally teamed up to stop clearcutting.

Those with mutual enemies make powerful allies.

Go, Indiana! (I honestly never thought I'd say that in my lifetime.)

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

I'll bet that requirement is one of the many inane BS evaluation elements in the Charlotte Danielson Framework.

The observer can just pop in the classroom, look at the board, and check that box in the eval.

Josh Hayes said...

MSParent, we had a lot of discussion about standards-based grading in my recent class on assessments, and I must admit I'm pretty well opposed to the idea. It begs the question of the atomized nature of student learning, IMO: that in, say, biology, my students have to reach competency on the carbon cycling standard before they can start learning about cellular respiration, and respiration before photosynthesis -- certainly those topics make sense to take in that order, but to impose some hierarchical structure of gates each student must pass through gives me the heebie jeebies.

I also wonder what college admissions officers think about standards-based transcripts; are they simply translated into 2=C, 3=B, and 4=A? If so, why not just do that in the first place? It seems like a hoop to jump through for the sake of hoop-jumping, not for any pedagogical purpose.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Josh, you just opened a can of worms.

What will higher ed think of Common Core? SAT scores based on Common Core versus ACT score that are less so?

I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Josh, standards-based grading has been around since at least No Child Left Behind. I can't say with any certainty how many high schools have fully implemented standards-based transcripts but I think the number is pretty small.

However, I think you could probably email Phillip Ballinger, the UW admissions director, to ask how they handle non-traditional transcripts, including standards-based transcripts. I have always found Phillip to be fairly responsive and quite helpful. Simply let him know you're in a class on assessments and you're making a research inquiry.

--- swk

Lynn said...


District grading policy requires use of an eleven point weighted grading scale in high school.