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Are Children Learning
Going beyond the acronyms to explain how state exams are changing.
July 26, 2017
Why Tennessee’s high school test scores, out this week, matter more — and less — than usual
The statewide scores will kick off the second year of results for TNReady, the state's standardized test.
July 20, 2017
Two fewer testing days in New York? Thank goodness. Here’s what else our students need
My students are concerned that all of their hard work throughout the year will boil down to six intense days of testing.
a failure of accountability
July 14, 2017
High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
July 14, 2017
Now hiring: Indiana is looking for a testing company to create ISTEP’s replacement
The testing system goes into effect in 2019.
Making the grade
July 13, 2017
New data show more than half of NYC teachers judged, in part, by test scores they don’t directly affect
Just over half of New York City teachers were evaluated in part by tests in subjects or of students they didn’t teach in 2016.
act for all
July 10, 2017
When states pay for the SAT or ACT, more poor students go to college
New research finds a simple strategy can modestly boost the share of poor students who go on to college: requiring, and paying for, all students to take the ACT or SAT.
July 6, 2017
Weary of stagnant ACT scores, Tennessee is giving all its seniors a second chance to test
The state's inaugural ACT Retake Day a success, state officials are expanding the program to all public high school students in the Class of 2018.
July 5, 2017
From CSAP to PARCC, here’s how Colorado’s standardized tests have changed (and what’s next)
To help keep it all the changes straight, here is a timeline of the past, present and future of Colorado’s standardized tests.
rules and regs
June 22, 2017
New York shortens length of ‘gag order’ on teachers discussing Regents questions online
After pushback from teachers, the New York State Education Department has changed a new provision that temporarily prohibits teachers from discussing Regents exam questions online.
June 20, 2017
Calculator mix-up could force some students to retake ISTEP, and Pearson is partially to blame
Students at 20 schools used calculators on a section of the 2017 ISTEP math test when they shouldn’t have.
End of an era
June 14, 2017
Colorado backing away from PARCC English and math tests, forging its own path
However, Colorado will likely keep using some PARCC questions in the math and English tests given to students in grades three through eight.
June 12, 2017
The state’s final answer? Math and English tests will be cut by one day each
Shortening the tests is a win for teachers, students and parents who argued New York’s classrooms are too focused on giving tests and preparing for them.
Making the grade
June 6, 2017
What we know so far about an alleged grading scandal in Memphis, and why it’s not as unusual as you might think
In an era of high-stakes testing, educators are increasingly pressured to pass students, even if they haven't earned it.
May 25, 2017
Tennessee’s ill-timed score delivery undercuts work to rebuild trust in tests
TNReady testing went smoother this year, but score delivery issues have put state education officials back on the defensive.
May 23, 2017
Memphis students won’t see TNReady scores reflected in their final report cards
Shelby County Schools joins the growing list of Tennessee districts not getting the test score data in time.
Making the grade
May 19, 2017
TNReady scores are about to go out to Tennessee districts, but not all will make student report cards
The Tennessee Department of Education will start to distribute test score data beginning on Monday, but that's too late for final grades in some districts.
May 12, 2017
Colorado schools were a hot topic at the state Capitol this year. Here’s what lawmakers did.
Colorado lawmakers this week are celebrating major education-related policy wins, including finding more money for public schools. This year’s legislative session, which ended Wednesday,…
May 9, 2017
TNReady took almost twice as long as Tennessee tests in 2012. Here’s why.
Elementary and middle school students took about eight hours of end-of-year tests this year, an amount consistent with national trends toward longer tests.
May 8, 2017
McQueen declares TNReady a ‘success.’ Here’s what comes next for Tennessee.
After a non-eventful testing period with the state's new test, Tennessee is marching ahead with its plan to test all high school students online next year.
May 4, 2017
Here’s a sneak peek into how Indiana’s new ILEARN testing system might work
Lawmakers approved the framework for the new testing system late last month, a move that has been years in the making.
April 27, 2017
Matt Damon’s latest role: The voice of an education documentary featuring Tennessee testing
Called “Backpack Full of Cash,” the 90-minute film features a Nashville elementary school and school board member Amy Frogge.
April 22, 2017
“ILEARN” is in, ISTEP is out — Indiana legislature approves test set to begin in 2019. Now awaiting governor’s OK.
The “ILEARN” testing system in House Bill 1003 passed the House 68-29 and passed the Senate 39-11. Next, the bill will go to Gov. Eric Holcomb for him to sign into law.
April 20, 2017
It’s not just older students. Tennessee second-graders also started testing this week in nearly 100 districts
The new optional assessment is designed to provide teachers with helpful information and ensure the state's younger students are on track in reading and math.
April 19, 2017
Drop TNReady scores from teacher evaluations, urge Shelby County leaders
The county's Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to urge the state to use TNReady results as only a “diagnostic” tool.
April 18, 2017
‘I think you will do well,’ says governor to Tennessee students preparing for TNReady
Tennessee's youngest students who began testing this week receive a pep talk from Haslam and a No. 2 pencil courtesy of SCORE.
April 17, 2017
Unlike last year, TNReady testing starts without hiccups in Tennessee
On the first day of the state's testing window, nearly 11,000 students use a new online system without issue.
TNReady or not
April 13, 2017
Tennessee promises this year will be different when TNReady testing begins, but some educators are anxious
After last year's botched debut of its standardized test, the state prepares to try again with a new testing company, a revised test, and a new game plan.
Here We Go
April 11, 2017
Testing materials delivered as Tennessee schools prepare to try TNReady again
Testing coordinators at the state's 1,800 public schools should now have TNReady materials following deliveries this week by Questar.
April 7, 2017
The new-look SAT is here, ushering in more changes to how Colorado tests kids
The shift from the ACT, to the SAT comes as the state continues to refine its testing system amid a public backlash against standardized tests.
April 4, 2017
Indiana’s testing overhaul gets Senate signoff, with one lawmaker urging colleagues to back it ‘even if you have to gag’
The bill would take effect for the 2018-19 school year, with a new test for elementary and middle school students that would be “computer-adaptive."
March 30, 2017
In final year of Common Core, Tennessee teachers can use practice test questions from PARCC
As TNReady testing approaches in mid-April, teachers are looking for practice questions to prep their students for the state's revamped assessment.
March 29, 2017
Senators kill two education proposals, but plan to replace ISTEP moves ahead with a new high school test
The committee killed two bills and passed four, including an amended version of the bill to overhaul the state testing system.
March 27, 2017
To test or not to test? That’s the question families face as students head into state exams this week
Here’s what you need to know as students start taking English exams on Tuesday.
March 16, 2017
For third straight year, TNReady prompts Tennessee to adjust teacher evaluation formula
The State Department of Education is asking for another change to teacher evaluations in response to last year’s test cancellation of TNReady.
March 15, 2017
Last year, Ritz’s computer-based testing plan was largely dismissed. Today, McCormick adopted part of it as her own.
These “computer-adaptive” exams adjust the difficulty-level of questions as kids get right or wrong answers.
Up and down
March 13, 2017
How changes to Michigan’s school ranking system hurt Cass Tech — and helped the DeVos family charter school
Testing experts say the dramatic swings say more about a rating system that’s been in turmoil in recent years than it does about individual schools.
March 10, 2017
Get ready for the 2017 ISTEP test with these 13 practice questions
Schools can begin giving the multiple choice section in mid-April.
March 8, 2017
Data shows Indiana students are taking AP exams, but half aren’t passing them
Statewide, 36 percent of Indiana 2016 graduates took an AP test in high school, and 18.1 percent passed.
March 3, 2017
READ Act reform bill advances with full support from Colorado House
If this bill becomes law, districts that test English learners in Spanish would not be required to monitor the students in English.
February 22, 2017
Tennessee will halve science and social studies tests for its youngest students
Responding to complaints of over-testing, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announces plans to slim down assessments for third- and fourth-graders.
February 17, 2017
Here are the 25 districts committing to taking TNReady online this spring
One year after Tennessee’s first attempt at online testing fizzled, almost a fifth of Tennessee school districts have signed up to try again.
February 14, 2017
Tennessee sees ACT gains after becoming first state to fund retakes for all students
Nearly 26,000 students in the Class of 2017 opted to participate in the state’s first ACT Senior Retake Day, 40 percent of whom increased their scores.
February 13, 2017
Proposed bill that has governor’s blessing would drop PARCC from Colorado high schools
Lawmakers are stopping short of eliminating the ninth grade testing requirement.
February 13, 2017
Much-criticized teacher literacy test could be on the chopping block next month
The state’s education policymakers were set vote on eliminating a controversial teacher certification requirement on Monday until their plans were derailed by snow.
Politics of testing
February 9, 2017
From ISTEP to ILEARN: GOP test plan clears first legislative hurdle
A proposal to replace ISTEP won approval from Indiana’s House Education Committee today.
February 6, 2017
You’re representing Tennessee, says State Board chairman to students testing for the Nation’s Report Card
A sampling of Tennessee students have begun taking math and reading tests to gauge academic progress for the upcoming Nation's Report Card.
February 1, 2017
Which Colorado school districts are outshining the rest — and which are falling behind? New report seeks answers
We highlight six interesting findings from the report.
January 19, 2017
One year after TNReady collapse, Tennessee unveils plan to test online again
All high schools will administer the test online in 2018, followed the next year by other grades.
January 11, 2017
‘ILEARN’ test would replace ISTEP in 2019 under House GOP plan
Behning’s bill is the first to outline a plan to replace the test, and it still faces a number of legislative hurdles.
January 11, 2017
Like schools, fewer Indiana districts got As in 2016
Although for individual schools, poor grades can bring consequences such as state intervention or takeover, for districts, there are no sanctions.
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