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The Policy Push for College and Career Readiness Elena Silva ETS/AERA December 9, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The Policy Push for College and Career Readiness Elena Silva ETS/AERA December 9, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Policy Push for College and Career Readiness Elena Silva ETS/AERA December 9, 2010

2 Education Sector is an independent, nonprofit education organization—a hybrid of public policy and journalism. Our work crosses K-12 and higher education and focuses on a range of issues including accountability, educator and institutional quality, testing and assessment, and virtual learning. Our mission is to promote changes in policy and practice that lead to improved student opportunities and outcomes. Our key audiences are federal, state, and local policymakers; educators; the press; and other thought leaders and policy actors. Our experience shows that these leaders embrace reform when it is justified by thoughtful, independent analysis that is clearly communicated.

3 Current Drivers of Education Policy  Urgency to ensure quality education for poor children= “student-centered” reforms  Building on standards and accountability  Administration’s priorities: (1) adopt rigorous college- and career-ready standards and assessments; (2) establish data systems and use data for improvement; (3) increase teacher effectiveness; and (4) turn around low-performing schools.

4 Agreement that College & Career Ready (aka “CCR”) is an essential goal… In announcing the guidelines for the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund in late 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for states to ensure that “students exiting one level are prepared for success, without remediation, in the next.” NGA defines a CCR student as “an individual that is ready to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs…toward careers that offer competitive, livable salaries above the poverty line; offer opportunities for career advancement; and are in a growing or sustainable industry.”* * National Governors Association, “Common Core State Standards Initiative: Standards-Setting Criteria” (Washington, D.C.: 2009).

5 After all, far too few students are CCR…  In 2010, only 24% of h.s. graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks (math, English, reading, Science), meaning that 76% were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses in English Composition, College Algebra, social sciences, and Biology.  The majority of entering freshmen require remedial coursework of some kind.

6 Why this problem? Because…  Today’s high school diploma = college eligibility, not readiness. Despite decades long standards movement, still focused on classes completed, time spent, low-bar tests.  K-12 and Postsecondary expectations are disconnected e.g. 12th-grade English curriculum that emphasizes literature compared to typical entry-level college English class, which stresses expository reading and writing.  Consequently, teachers don’t emphasize readiness, and assessments don’t measure readiness.

7 And because we still haven’t figured out some basic questions… 1.What combination of content and skills do students really need to succeed after high school? 2.How best to assess student learning?

8 Policy Momentum  Common Core Standards—where the 21 st c. skills debate can finally rest?  Common Assessments---convergence of conventional standardized tests (reliable and necessary for accountability) and newer models of assessment, via new technologies (expensive, less reliable, but more meaningful for student learning)?

9 Common Core Standards  In 2005, Achieve, an independent, non-profit group of state officials created the American Diploma Project Network(ADP), which proposed that all 50 states and DC align high school curriculum, standards and assessments to career and college readiness (and adopt data systems that track from K through college graduation). Expanded quickly, set stage for…  2009 launch of the Common Core State Standards Initiative—under NGA and CCSSO---to develop a common core of state K–12 ELA and math standards that are college and career ready; internationally benchmarked; consistent for all students; and focused, clear, and coherent. Released in June,  44 states on board as of last week.

10 “To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum. In like fashion, research and media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.” Common Core Standards

11 Common Assessments  Two large state consortia have won federal funding awards totaling $330 million to design and implement comprehensive assessment systems that align with the common standards in math and ELA.  The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is managed by Achieve, has 26 member states (led by Florida), and won a $170 million award.  The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, with 31 member states (led by Washington), won a $160 million award.

12 Common Assessments  Agreement that the use of new technologies to deliver and score tests will be key to any future system — not only to allow for more innovative item types beyond multiple choice, but also to control costs.  Shared commitment to combination of summative (end of course tests), and formative (through-course/interim assessments)  Performance-based tasks that “measure the full range of knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in college and 21st century careers” (PARCC).  By the school year, assessments will be in use in any state that adopts them.

13 Considerations and Concerns  Heavy Lifting. States, districts, schools and classroom teachers will be overwhelmed by the scope of changes planned for the next five years.  Time and Money. Is there enough?  Alignment with other reforms. Teacher policy, data systems development (combine existing college and career outcome data with assessment).  Open source? Shared infrastructure?

14 Elena Silva


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