Category Archives: SBAC Testing

Headphones for School Testing

The industry of educating our country’s youth is constantly changing in order to keep up with new inventions and the advances of modern technology. Subsequently, there’s no question that school testing is extremely different these days than it was just a few decades ago. Children now need to have skills to fit the world around them and school officials are encouraged to take this into consideration when preparing testing materials. Modern technology allows teachers and staff to implement the use of devices like computers and tablet when testing children for proficiency. Many state’s standardized tests are now even incorporating a digital section into the test to ensure each child is well prepared. For the most accurate results when it comes to these type of tests, it’s only understandable that students will require some type of headphone gear for audio portions. If you’re a school administrator looking to purchase new headphones for your school, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Purchase the Right Type – Knowing exactly what type of headphones you need before ordering is key to supplying classrooms with the appropriate items required to assist with audio testing. Earbud style headphones are the most popular choice for adults, but aren’t always the best choice for children. These small buds usually don’t fit a child’s ears properly and can be difficult for small hands to put in and take out. Earbuds are lightweight and easily breakable, which is why most schools purchase disposable buds or opt for more durable styles that fit over the entire ear. If you will be ordering the traditional over the ear type of headphones, consider whether you will need wireless ones or the standard type with cable attachments. Computer labs will be fine housing attached headphones, while classrooms that use wireless technology like tablets and laptops might benefit more from wireless ones.

Buy in Bulk – The best way to save money on headphones for the students at your school is by purchasing in bulk. It’s recommended you know exactly how many pairs of headphones you will need to adequately supply your entire school or specific department without spending too much. You might want to coordinate with other departments or other schools in the district to consolidate your order to save more money by buying wholesale. Most retailers also offer discounts to schools and educational institutions, so be sure to ask. Also, don’t forget to keep and file the purchase records for tax purposes.

Don’t Forget Accessories – Some sets of headphones require the accompaniment of accessories, so be sure to order all that you need for your new audio devices to work accordingly. When placing your order, don’t forget items such as headphone cushions, cables, speakers and chargers. Also, keep in mind that school headphones can often times get extremely dirty after multiple uses, so it’s recommended you purchase a quality cleaner to keep in the classroom in order to wipe them down between uses.

If the audio equipment at your school need replacing, use these valuable tips to guide you through the process of purchasing the best headphones for today’s students.

Maryland: One of the First in Complete Adoption of Common Core Standards

Officially adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education on June 22, 2010, the state has since enacted full implementation during the 2013 to 2014 school year, preceding many of the other states that only this current school year brought about full integration. Their College and Career-Ready standards are used to define what every child should have mastered by the end of each school year so as to be best prepared for entering college and then pursuing a career in any field. By enforcing such a change, they hope to raise the educational bar of the state thereby producing students that are intellectually competitive at a global level.

State Standards

When researching Common Core, it’s hard not to come across the controversy surrounding it. At the core of the debate lies the fact that these new standards introduce a yet unseen involvement by the federal government, one that supersedes all state governance. In Maryland, however, this is not the case. Maryland took the official Common Core Standards and redesigned them to fit the exact needs of the state. They are officially known as the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards. It should also be noted that these standards are not a curriculum, they are simply benchmarks. Teachers are allowed to pursue whatever tactics and lessons they deem appropriate to help all of their students excel. In a way, this allows far more adaptability which very well could translate into higher scores.

Increasing Intelligence

Currently, the goal of many schools is to simply have each child graduate to the next level, completely negating the future. If a child is lucky enough to have great grades when young, they will probably be sent to a specialized high school that does what Common Core aims to do—imbue the students with the skills they need to advance outside of a structured system. By implementing such a thought process at the most basic levels, it is assumed the students will then become top performers after graduation. In addition, all of the decided upon benchmarks have taken into account what students in top performing countries, like Japan and Germany, are learning at their various grade levels. It would be remiss of any forward thinking program to not address the fact that the world becomes more globalized with each generation and to not perform to world standards will only mean harder times in the future.

Shifting Focus

Before this system went into effect, educators were given specific curricula that was then used to judge their performance as well as that of their students. As it has been in effect, this has now shifted. Instead of trying to do 25% history, 25% math, 25% English and 25% science, math and English language arts, or ELA, have now become the core subjects upon which everything else is built. After all, language and numbers are the building blocks of how we express information. From Kindergarten, children are tasked with explaining their literary arguments through evidence and research. This, of course, teaches them the importance of how to properly come up with, execute and defend thoughts. As for mathematics, minor memorization is required in place of explaining how answers were achieved. All of this comes together to create a learning environment where teachers are now able to delve deeper into the important concepts while still having more time to cover supplemental material.

Common Core is still and will remain a hotly debated educational shift for years to come. As for Maryland, one of its first complete adopters, the program seems to be working well. By now, they have had about a year longer than most other states to work out the initial hiccups that come with any new implementation. Even among its glitzy promises for change through continual testing and higher standards, there remains the fact that standardized testing has never been deemed a good thing, no matter how well or poorly the tested student usually does. Hopefully, though, it won’t be the students that suffer.

How common core standards have changed education

classroom-379216_640Education would not have evolved to the place where it now stands were it not for standards, those well-defined articulations of what students should know by a particular benchmark, such as a certain grade level. Some states use terms like essential knowledge and skills to define such standards. For example, in Texas they have the acronym of TEKS, for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. At any rate, state agencies had their state specific standards outlined in detail so that educators and others would be in compliance by setting up lesson plans and activities that exposed students to the right learning opportunities and content at the right time. Ultimately, standards informed what a graduating student should know when they finished high school. The only drawback, was that Johnny could move from Texas to Virginia and find that another standard was in place while he was getting his education. This could conceivably put him too far behind or too far ahead of his peers. Common Core standards were designed to eliminate the variances among different states.

One additional argument in favor of a common standard was that graduating high school seniors could find themselves in a college or university in another state where the preparation was deficient. Many reasons were raised that seemed to justify an across-the-board standard. It’s math and English language arts, some core subjects, that are directly impacted by the new standards. A justification given for focusing on these subjects is that they are building blocks for other subjects like Social Studies and Science. Common core applies to grades from Kindergarten to 12th grade.

Teachers were contributors to the dialog related to Common Core, and were involved in its development and implementation. Parents, administrators, state leaders, experts and others were involved in the process, as well.

Even with the advent of standards that were held to be agreed upon as consistently relevant and appropriate for all states, there was no mandate that any participate if they chose to keep their state standards intact. After all, it is a standard and not an absolute law. There are a few states that opted out, but, according to www.CoreStandards.org, 43 states are now participants.

What it means for teachers in the participating states is that the tools, resources, materials and other things should provide content that aligns with the standards. In addition, teachers in various states can now work together to develop curriculum material that aligns with the standards.

Likewise, each state does not have to have its own unique assessments with common core standards. The core standards website indicate that each state’s best came into the mixing pot, so that the end result would be a top-tier set of standards for core subjects that would provide rigor, be aligned with future goals and based upon research. Even the standards and ways students learned in other countries where student performance was high was taken into consideration.

In addition to the need for new curriculum material, ranging from digital resources, books, teacher materials, headsets for testing, audio/visual aids, flash cards, maps, textbooks and other resources; common core also requires that teachers in participating states receive adequate training so they can take their new standard back to the classroom and properly implement them. Without teacher training, and teacher buy-in the common core standards would amount to interesting text on paper.

Policymakers, leaders in business, the College Board, the National Parent/Teacher Association, and other thought leaders are in support of common core standards, according to the website.

Common Core Initiative: a better tomorrow for the students

The Common Core State Standards Initiative or CCSSI in short is a step taken in the United States which specifies as to what the K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. This initiative has been taken by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and it tends to establish proper and stable educational standards throughout the states. This step also ensures the fact that the students who are graduating from the high school are well prepared while they enrol into the credit bearing courses or the work sector.

headphones-for-parcc-common-coreThe objective of the CCSSI is to ensure that the students are ready for entering in the college and career as soon as they complete their high school. There are five major elements for the standards namely, reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and media and technology. As the students advance step by step through each grade, there is a greater level of complexity in terms of what the students are expected to do. Students are expected to go through a great range of knowledgeable books and study materials. The students are made to improve their writing skills so that they can perform standardized writings based on claims, proper reasoning along with relevant evidence. This standard also states students should learn to gain, evaluate and present complex information, ideas and evidence specifically via listening and speaking.

In terms of vocabulary, the CCSSI states accurate vocabulary standards via the combination of conversations, direct instructions as well as reading so that the students can determine the meanings of the words and also expand their usage in their day to day life. The standards require the students to use formal English in their speaking and writing as well. Since media and technology have get tangled with the life of every individual student. In the 21st century, the skills related to the usage of media comprises of the analysis and production of various forms of media. These standards also specify that testing may require headphones.

The Common Core State Standard Initiative aims at improving the educational system in the United States so that the children can be ready for getting them enrolled in various courses or jobs. The CCSSI has drawn support and criticism from various representatives as well as educational commentators. The Common Core initiative only specifies what students should know at each grade level and describes the skills that they must acquire in order to achieve college or career readiness.

Teachers, Parents, and Students Using Common Core Headphones

Between technological advances and changes in education theory, school is changing fast enough to make anybody’s head spin. One of the major changes is of course, the Common Core, and with that change come new formats of testing. If your school hasn’t already done so, it will likely soon replace its former tests with digital assessments that align with the Common Core.

Two consortiums are responsible for creating these tests: the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
These tests are intended to evaluate more than just knowledge—they are also supposed to assess communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and creativity. Students will be asked to solve “real world math problems,” compare and contrast, and synthesize information from multiple sources. We have come a long way from the bubble sheets and number two pencils.

Traditionalists may not even recognize these tests as tests. They may look more like games, as the students will be completing them on computers, using headphones and microphones.

Teachers, parents, and the students themselves are getting ahead of the game and familiarizing themselves with this new type of testing, in part by familiarizing themselves with this equipment.
Students will perform best on the tests if they are already comfortable writing on computers. They will need to have mastered basic word processing skills, especially since the Common Core puts a specific emphasis on writing skills. Older students may also need to be familiar with spreadsheets and graphic representations of data.

If you are shopping for Common Core headphones, be aware that many students (and teachers) prefer headphones with built-in volume controls. Of course, each student will want to be able to adjust his or her volume. Yet, if students make these adjustments via the computer, they could easily accidentally exit the test.
Beyond the equipment, students can prepare for Common Core testing by practicing writing and by becoming familiar with different methods of research. For example, instead of the old-fashioned “read this paragraph” model, students may be asked to listen to a paragraph before answering questions.

All of this will require children to adapt in many different ways. Educators are fortunate that most students are highly adaptable. It will be a learning curve, but over time and with effort, students will likely appreciate this new high-tech trend in assessment.

Tech-Savvy Students are Likely to Succeed at Common Core Tests

Are you looking for an easy way to increase your students’ scores on Common Core assessments? Today’s education system is changing rapidly as schools begin to integrate new Common Core standards into their teaching and curriculum. Common Core not only changes the way that teachers teach various subjects, but it also changes the formats of tests. If your school hasn’t already done so, it will most likely soon replace its tests with high-tech digital assessments that align with Common Core standards.

kid-with-headphones-testingThese new Common Core tests are designed to test critical thinking skills, creativity, and communication skills. Students are asked to solve real-world math problems, compare and contrast information, and synthesize information from a variety of sources. We’ve indeed come a long way since the days of bubble sheets and number two pencils.

You may not even recognize Common Core tests are tests. They actually look more like online games, as the students take these tests on computers using headphones, and microphones. Many teachers, parents, and students are getting ahead of the game by familiarizing themselves with this new equipment. Students who are comfortable using computers, and related technology will likely perform better on Common Core assessments. Students who have mastered basic word processing will feel at ease with the new Common Core tests, and older students may even be asked to use spreadsheets, and understand graphical representations of data.

Having the best headphones for Common Core assessments is of the utmost importance. Most student and teachers prefer headphones with built-in volume controls. This is because many students who aren’t very tech-savvy may make mistakes when attempting to change the volume via the computer. Some studies show that students even accidentally exit the test when attempting to change the volume. In order to ensure that all students are comfortable taking these news tests, it is very important to have high quality computers, and headphones for the tests. Quality headphones that are easy to use, and include built-in volume control can help students with special needs excel at their Common Core assessments.