包 括前台北市教育局局長郭生玉、師大教育學院院長吳武典、台北商業技術學院校長賴振昌等教育界人士，昨與黃昆輝在立法院議場前召開記者會，強烈質疑實施十二 年國教的目的何在？並表示若要提高國民知識水準，現已有九十八％的升學率，還能提高多少？若是減輕升學壓力，未來卻有會考、超額比序，壓力有增無減。若為 教育機會均等，學費卻排富，何來均等？
Some of the News Fit to Print
ABOUT HIGHER ED
HIGHER EDUCATION CHANGES FUELED BY GREAT RECESSION
More urgent. More crowded. More expensive. Also, more flexible and accessible to millions. That, in a nutshell, is how higher education has changed around the world in the wake of the global financial crisis that struck five years ago, and the Great Recession that followed. Here's how it happened: Increasing financial pressures to get more people through higher education more efficiently opened the door to new technologies. Those technologies, in turn, have begun "unbundling" individual classes and degrees from traditional institutions – much in the same way iTunes has unbundled songs from whole albums and the Internet is increasingly unbundling television shows and networks from bulky cable packages. The article is in the Huffington Post.
NEW PROGRAMS USE DATA TO STEER POOR KIDS INTO COLLEGE
Thick white envelopes are landing in the mailboxes of thousands of high-school juniors nationwide this summer, with hip graphics in greens and blues and colorful photos of happy-looking people just like them. In simple but carefully chosen language, the mailings try to persuade these students of something that research shows they don’t necessarily believe: that they can get in, and afford to go, to college. The contents include a very specific list of fairly selective colleges—customized especially for them—with vouchers they can use to apply to eight for free. It’s not a marketing gimmick. It’s one of several earnest attempts by reputable backers to plug a massive leak through which countless smart but poor high-school graduates are cascading at the very time policymakers are trying to increase the proportion of the U.S. population with university degrees. Using sophisticated combinations of test scores, census data about neighborhood characteristics, and university admissions histories, these initiatives are zeroing in on students who are low-income but high-achieving, yet end up at poorly chosen colleges and universities with abysmal graduation rates—or forgo a higher education altogether—and trying to steer them into institutions where their backgrounds suggest they’re most likely to succeed. The article is in The Hechinger Report.
TEACHER EVALUATIONS DON’T FULLY MATCH NEW CURRICULUM
Teachers could face salary freezes or eventual firing under a new evaluation system based on results of old tests that don’t match up with the new curriculum they are teaching. Maryland’s school districts are revamping their teacher evaluation guidelines as required by the Maryland State Department of Education. The new standards were required to finish receiving $250 million in federal Race to the Top Funds, which call for greater teacher accountability. At the same time, the state is implementing a new curriculum — Common Core, a state-led effort to make curriculum across the United States more uniform. It has been controversial in some states because of objections to a national curriculum, but Maryland educators seem to be embracing it. The article is in the Cumberland Times-News (MD).
SCHOOLS TEST-DRIVE COMMON CORE
More than a million students across the country have traded their No. 2 pencils, test booklets, and bubble sheets for computing devices to participate in a pilot of math and English/language arts online assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium launched a pilot of its computer assessments to glean information about the performance of different test questions and the test-delivery system under real-world conditions. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, another consortium developing online tests for the common core, also has piloted some of its prototype online-assessment questions to support educators as they transition to the new standards and to PARCC assessments. Although there were bumps in the road for some schools that took part in the pilot testing, many educators say test-driving the assessments helped them better understand how they need to prepare for the time when all their students in grades 3-12 take the new tests, starting in 2014-15. The article is in Education Week.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE, AND PAYING THE PRICE
The rising cost of college looms like an insurmountable obstacle for many low-income Americans hoping to get a higher education. The notion of a college education becoming a financial albatross around the neck of the nation’s youth is a growing meme across the culture. Some education experts now advise high school graduates that a college education may not be such a good investment after all. “Sticker price matters a lot,” said Lawrence Katz, a professor of Harvard University. “It is a deterrent.” College graduation rates in the United States are continuing to slip behind, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, failing to keep pace with other advanced nations. In 2000, 38 percent of Americans age 25 to 34 had a degree from a community college or a four-year institution, putting the nation in fourth place among its peers in the O.E.C.D. By 2011, the graduation rate had inched up to 43 percent, but the nation’s ranking had slipped to 11th place. The article is in The New York Times.
'AMPLIFYING' EDUCATION'S VALUE
The latest edition of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s "Education at a Glance" report highlights the relationship between educational attainment and employment, finding that the gap in employment rates between those with high and low levels of education widened during the recession. On average across the OECD member countries, the proportion of postsecondary degree holders who were unemployed increased by 1.5 percentage points from 2008 to 2011, to 4.8 percent, while it increased by 3.8 percentage points for individuals without a secondary degree, to 12.6 percent. In the United States, the situation for lower-skilled workers is particularly stark. Unemployment rates for those without a secondary education climbed 6 percentage points from 2008 to 2011, to 16.2 percent, while the proportion of postsecondary-educated individuals who were unemployed increased 2.5 percentage points, to 4.9 percent. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
BELOW THE TOP-LINE FINDINGS IN THE CREDO
Big charter school news today as the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO*) releases an update of its much-cited 2009 study of charter school performance. That study, which compared performance of charter and traditional public schools across 16 states, found that charters, on average, produced student learning gains slightly worse than those for comparable students attending district-run public schools. Today’s study, which expands the analysis to include 26 states (including the District of Columbia) and New York City, reaches a different conclusion: In the aggregate charter schools are producing slightly larger learning gains for their students than traditional public schools in reading, but there is no difference in math. Thus, the new study adds to a growing body of recent research showing that charter elementary and middle schools, on average, perform slightly better than traditional public schools. The top-line findings will generate the greatest attention, in part because the 2009 CREDO analysis has long been a major talking point for charter school critics. But the really important stuff is actually not in the top-line findings, but the details that underlie them. As in 2009, the most important finding in this study is not the findings for average charter school performance, but the tremendous variation in school performance that underlie those averages—and, just as important for policymakers, the large variations in charter performance between states. The post is from theQuick & The Ed blog.
PRINCIPALS GET MORE CONTROL OVER TEACHER EVALUATIONS
An announcement last week by Superintendent of Education John White that principals would be given more authority in evaluating teachers may be a step in the right direction. There has been an outcry among teachers and administrators over the use of the COMPASS evaluation system, which depended heavily on data, including students’ standardized test scores and students’ progress. But this change can be considered an improvement on the original method only if principals are held accountable for their assessment of teachers in their charge. They will be, said Heather Cope, executive director of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The success of teachers will be part of principals’ job evaluations, Cope said. This commentary is in The Advertiser (LA).
ABOUT HIGHER ED
COURT RULING CONTINUES TO STIR DEBATE ABOUT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
The Supreme Court’s decision Monday to force another look at the legality of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas is likely to intensify debate about affirmative action at colleges and universities nationwide. The high court affirmed its precedents on the use of race in college admissions but ruled that courts reviewing college policies must consider whether “workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.” Several states have banned racial preferences in public university admissions since the 1990s, and instead have sought to achieve diversity through other means. Experts said the ruling is likely to spur widespread internal reviews of school policies to ensure that they comply with the law. Some analysts say that initiatives already in use, on the whole, show that it is possible to assemble a balanced class of incoming students by focusing on factors such as family income and geography instead of skin color and ethnicity. Others say that race remains an essential ingredient for admissions officers seeking to ensure diversity. The article is in The Washington Post.
COLLEGE PREPARATION: CLOSE GAP BETWEEN RHETORIC, REALITY
California’s system of measuring school performance should not give secondary status to college readiness. But the state’s current approach obscures the glaring mismatch between K-12 policy and college expectations. The state needs to bridge that gap, and part of that task includes providing stronger incentives for schools to focus on college preparation. The reality is that for all the talk about encouraging college attendance, the state’s accountability system stresses other goals. The emphasis is on improving the performance of low-achieving students — the 43 percent of pupils who scored less than proficient in English-language arts in 2012 and the 49 percent who did the same in math. But the system concentrates on that vital objective at the expense of another key issue: readiness for college. Consider, for example, the fact that more than 60 percent of the freshmen entering the California State University system require remedial courses in English, math or both — a trend which adds to both student and taxpayer costs for higher education. Yet these are students who took all the required college preparatory courses and graduated high school with at least a B average. So why do apparently capable high school graduates struggle with college work? As it turns out, a score of proficient on the state standards test is no indicator of college readiness, as Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Young points out. Young’s careful analysis of 2012 test data offers the disturbing conclusion that far fewer high school students are prepared for college than the state’s testing regime might suggest. Young compared the results on the state’s standards test with those of Cal State University’s Early Assessment Program. That optional program uses an expanded version of the standards test to measure 11th-graders’ readiness to do college-level work. This commentary is from the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE IMPROVING, A STUDY SAYS
An updated version of a widely cited study that found many students in charter schools were not performing as well as those in neighborhood public schools now shows that in a few states, charter schools are improving in some areas. The study, to be released Tuesday by Stanford University researchers at the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, examined the standardized test results of students enrolled in charter schools in 25 states, the District of Columbia and New York City. The charter school results were compared with those of students with the same demographics and academic profiles in public schools that the charter students would have otherwise attended. The original study, conducted four years ago, showed that only 17 percent of charter schools managed to raise student math test scores above those of local public schools. The new report said that 29 percent of charter schools performed better in math than local public schools. And while the 2009 study showed 37 percent of charter schools were actually providing a worse education than local public schools, that figure declined to 31 percent in the new report. The article is in The New York Times.
EDUCATIONAL REFORMS RAISE BAR FOR TENNESSEE TEACHERS
Some teachers may think they've lived through a roller coaster of educational changes in recent years. But they haven't seen anything yet. Already, classroom standards are more rigorous. Evaluations are tougher and more regular. And accountability is no longer a catch phrase, but a component of many parts of a teacher's career. On Friday, the Tennessee School Board opened the door for teacher pay schemes that link salary to performance. And state officials rolled out plans that will make it tougher to become a teacher and harder to stay in for the long haul. State officials argue that collectively the changes will aid their quest to get more Tennessee students to meet academic standards and thus help build a more competitive workforce. And to do that, officials say, teachers need to be put under the microscope. Their performance must measure up. Last week's action by the state board was just the latest in a host of reforms redefining what Tennessee expects of students and teachers. The article is in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
HOW IS VALUE-ADDED CALCULATED?
The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell explains. The goal is to find whether a student made a year’s worth of academic growth in a school year, but there are many different methods you could use. Ohio’s system is intentionally complicated. The simplest way would be to take a student’s test scores on the Ohio Achievement Assessments one year and see if scores were higher or lower the next. But that’s too simple, say experts on the subject. That doesn’t allow multiple years of testing to be used to set expectations for a student, adjust for changes in the tests from year to year, account for missing years of test scores or uncertainties with small numbers of students or to measure students’ performance against others. SAS Inc., the company Ohio hires to calculate value-added, uses a few regression models that combine multiple variables in its Education Value-Added Assessment (EVAAS). SAS officials say that it takes a complicated formula to account for enough variables to be fair. The models essentially take all students’ scores and place them on a curve, or, similarly rank them in percentiles. A student’s test scores the following year are ranked and placed on a curve the same way. In its simplest terms, to meet value added targets, a student will appear at about the same place on the curve or score at the same percentile from year to year. If they’re lower on the curve or have a lesser percentile rating, they do not meet value added. If they’re further along, they score above it. Those scores are combined to create value-added ratings for teachers and for schools. The article is from StateImpact Ohio.
EXPERTS URGE STATES TO STAY THE COURSE ON HIGH-QUALITY ASSESSMENTS
A bevy of heavy-hitting assessment experts has identified five things that make assessments high quality, and is urging states to hold out for such tests in the face of political and financial pressures that might weaken their resolve. Their report, "Criteria for Higher-Quality Assessment," urges states and districts to demand these five things when evaluating or building assessment systems:
· That they examine higher-order thinking skills, especially those that are transferable and relate to applying knowledge to new contexts.
· That they provide "high fidelity" evaluation of those higher-order skills, such as through researching and presenting arguments.
· That they are internationally benchmarked to align assessment content and measurement practices with those used in leading nations.
· That they use "instructionally sensitive" items that reflect how well teachers are teaching and give them useful guidance on how to improve.
· That they are valid, reliable, and fair, as well as accessible to all learners.
The article is in Education Week’s Curriculum Matters blog.
DUNCAN: COMMON CORE TRANSITION WILL GIVE STATES MORE TIME TO MAKE EVALUATIONS COUNT
In what some see as a tacit recognition of the Obama administration's overreach into nitty-gritty management of America's schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will give states a reprieve from certain aspects of teacher evaluations' consequences and the new wave of testing tied to the Common Core. Duncan said Tuesday that he will allow the first two groups of states that received waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to seek an extra year, until the academic year 2016-2017, before they give their teacher evaluations teeth by applying them to personnel decisions. The article is in the Huffington Post.
IS NCLB WAIVER RENEWAL THE NEXT BIG ISSUE?
Two more states—Alabama and New Hampshire—are about to get waivers from requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sources say. (Expect an announcement sometime very soon.) That will bring the grand total to ... 39 states, plus the District of Columbia. So almost everyone. (But, notably, not big juggernauts California and Texas.) One big question going forward, especially in light of this week's announcement on the teacher-evaluation timeline in the waivers: What happens with waiver renewal? The post is from Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog.
NEW JERSEY MOVING AHEAD WITH PLANS TO LINK TEST SCORES WITH TEACHER EVALUATIONS
New Jersey will forge ahead with plans to link student test scores to thousands of teachers’ evaluations starting with next spring’s state tests, despite a new federal offer to delay using them in tenure decisions, officials said Wednesday. Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said he would not ask for an extension because New Jersey had “edged our way into this in an extremely thoughtful, measured way,” and its timeline for launching new evaluations was part of the state tenure law passed last August. The article is in The Record.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
STATES BOOST COLLEGE FUNDING, REIN IN TUITION
After years of deep budget cuts, several states are poised to boost higher education funding this year, often in exchange for a promise by colleges and universities to freeze tuition. Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, and Nebraska are among states where universities have agreed to such compromises. Governors of California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island support similar deals. The article is in USA Today.
WASHINGTON THINK TANK LAUNCHES CENTER OF HIGHER ED REFORM
In a move to strengthen its influence on higher education reform in the U.S., Washington think tank The American Enterprise Institute announced Thursday the launch of the Center on Higher Education Reform (CHER). The center, which is led by AEI resident scholar Andrew P. Kelly, is expected to “conduct independent, data-driven research and analysis designed to inform policymaking and shape the higher education reform conversation,” according to AEI. The article is in Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
WHO WILL LEAD COMMUNITY COLLEGES?
More than 40 percent of the nation’s 1,200 community college presidents are likely to retire in the next five years. And the current pipeline to replace them is not up to the task. Those are the findings of a new report from Achieving the Dream and the Aspen Institute College Excellence program. The two groups today called for an urgent national conversation about how to best prepare community college leaders to succeed in jobs that won't be getting easier anytime soon. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.