Category Archives: Schools

History of the SBAC and How it Rose to a Nationwide Movement

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was created in 2010 with the aim of producing a universal assessment system to help students be well prepared for college and careers. The creation of the tests aimed to produce a vigorous assessment of the new, challenging common core state standards (CCSS) and help educators and school districts align teaching to these new standards. The SBAC originally consisted of a consortium of 30 states that submitted a proposal for a $178m federal grant to develop a new, groundbreaking series of tests for students. In 2014 the federal grant came to an end and the SBAC was transferred to UCLA and became a public agency.

 

The SBAC is funded by the memberships of the 16 states, that currently offer the tests, and all tests have been available for students to take since April 2015. Testing costs around $28 per student for the full package of resources and although it can cost states a significant amount of money to introduce, the resources that are included can actually end up saving money and time for educators. Around 220 colleges nationwide accept the high school summative SBAC tests as evidence for college readiness for credit level courses.

 

The progressive tests were created using a dynamic process of field-testing and in Spring 2014, 4.2 million students took the first field tests which facilitated the evaluation of over 19,000 assessment items. This allowed for the first set of achievement standards to be set, which were a starting point for discussion about achievement standards across the states that took part and as a baseline measure for the future.

 

The SBAC is designed to be a valid and reliable approach to student assessment, providing actionable data to provide interventions to help students succeed. For states offering the tests, the SBAC provides three components developed by nearly 5000 teachers nationwide:

 

  • Formative and practice assessments with a digital library of resources for students and educators.
  • Interim assessments
  • Summative assessments towards college and career readiness in English, Language Arts and Math

 

The SBAC summative tests are available for students in grade 3-8th and high school and are all administered via an interactive online platform. The tests take between 2.5 – 4 hours for each component and are either marked digitally or by qualified professional scorers. The marks for each assessment are available in 2-3 weeks for parents, educators and students. Each student receives a result of 1,2,3 or 4 on each test with 1 representing a student who is minimally qualified and 4 a student who is thoroughly qualified.

 

The movement towards rigorous and valid assessment helps both states and the nation ensure that students are leaving high school with a diploma that prepares them for adult life. The SBAC provides a way to ensure that every student succeeds and every school district is accountable for that because of the tests.

 

The History of Tablets and Why its Important for you to know

What if I say you know absolutely nothing about tablets? What if I say there is much more for you to know about them?

Firstly, let me answer the latter part of the title of this article; why is it important for you to know about the history of tablets? You buy a tablet, gift it to your kid or use it all by yourself; why should you know how it all started? Because that’s the best way to cherish the thing you have in your hands and realize how far technology has brought us all.

Tablet computer may seem like just another development in technology to you, but it’s not. There is a whole history attached to this invention and it can get you awestruck within minutes.

The tablet computer has historical roots. The first device could only do one thing – recognize handwritten characters after analyzing the handwriting motion. The patent was granted in the year 1915; Yes – the very first system could only recognize handwriting and didn’t work on any keyboard.

After a few research systems came several companies with various commercial products in the year 1980s. To name a few, Pencept, Linus and Communications Intelligence Corporation were the ones that topped the list.

In case you didn’t know this already – the tablet computer is nothing but an example of pen computing technology, which refers to the computer user-interface using a stylus or a pen, instead of using devices like joysticks, mouse or keyboard.

Way before the actual tablets were introduced, fictional tablets had come into the picture in various science fiction movies in the second half period of the 20th century. If you have seen Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey movie (1968), you surely know what I am talking about. Apart from this, there is a description of the Calculator Pad in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novel (1951), which is way before the first tablet was even brought into the market.

If you have read Stanislaw Lem’s Return from the Stars novel (1961), it talks about a fictional device that represents tablets, too. There are also a few comedy movies that talked about fictional tablets. I am sure those who have watched such movies or read such novels were awestruck with the introduction of the first tablets in the market.

The most surprising thing is the presence of tablet computers in Star Trek, The Next Generation; could the writer really read the brains of all those professionals who were already working on tablets? I think so!

In the year 1986, Hindsight developed a tablet computer called Letterbug. This beauty was designed specifically for the educational market. Several prototypes were displayed at trade shows conducted in New England in the year 1987; however, no production models were introduced for the buyers and that surely saddened everybody.

In the year 1987, Apple Computer came up with its tablet project. Several devices were proposed with three different sizes; eventually, one was released in the year 1993. This released device was named Apple Newton, which was the smallest, yet the most perfect device with a screen of 6 inches and weight as light as 800 grams. Need I say more about this beauty?

After the introduction of the very first tablet came various other companies; that’s how the race began. While the initially introduced tablets were quite expensive, at present, tablets are not very expensive and can be afforded by most of the people around the globe.

The Right Tablets for Students

In this high-tech world, a good tablet always plays an important part of students’ activities, either in school or home, playground or classroom, they just happen to pull the tablet out of pockets and their fingers begin to dance nonstop on the screen. They play, they text, they listen to songs, they surf internet, they watch videos on YouTube, they video-call, they play games and their fingers go through lots of apps one after another without waiting a second – especially when they are in a hurry.  To make their activities more interesting and uninterrupted, parents are always on the hunt to bag a right kind tablet for their kids. Finally, KIKOWA, one of the top computers and mobile phones manufacturers in the world just announced, ‘an incredible tablet with plenty of new features and functions would soon reach into the hands of tablet lovers.’ However, is that tablet already here?

A best tablet for young generation

Having a brand new tablet in the pocket is what young people crave for and it is more than certain that Kikowa Tab-16 GenX is going to be their best friend. It has been reported that millions of people of all age groups have already booked this incredible device. The tablet was launched in Japan last month and it became a bestseller among school and college going in two weeks, their reviews captured worldwide:

  • Slick and attractive designs, TFT, LCD
  • Window 10 operating system, Wi-Fi with satellite internet for 3 months
  • Best Battery backup
  • Fast connectivity, 5G, Blue-tooth
  • 150 GB storage with 30 Mega-pixel camera, with Selfie Expert, and HD video Recording
  • Mood Sensor

Apart from all modern features and functions that a tablet hold, this extraordinary device proudly runs a special function called ‘The Mood Sensor’ as it senses the feelings of the person as long as he/she is holding the tablet or even if they are inches away from the device. It will let people know what their friends, and girlfriends or boyfriends or family members feeling on the other end. This special sensor only exists in Kikowa Tab-16 GenX, the source found.

It is more classroom and less Tablet

Thousands of eBooks are accessible featuring images and illustrations, audios and videos. The tablet will take you to a private server where only registered students in high school and college can access hundreds and thousands of study materials, all free. Along, they can find mood-cheering music when any boringness drifts into readers. Even they can open many educational apps and work into it at the same, hanging problem is highly rare here. This is the demand of the current young generation and we have made it.

It is the BEST and charges LESS

Yes, it is true. Many experts agree that the other companies may cost a fortune if they were to launch this product in the marketplaces. But its only KIKOWA that has made it possible. It is clear that this particular device has a lot ranges in Pricing but for students of poor family background can comfortably pocket the tab and enjoy life at ease.

10 Signs You Should Invest in Tablets

In the past few years, more and more people started to be focused on the idea of purchasing a mobile device. Usually, when you must choose between multiple devices like this you either have to pick between a tablet, mobile phone or a laptop. Laptops are heavy and smartphones can have a tiny screen, but tablets are a great middle ground that deliver a larger screen and good processing power for an affordable price. But is it a good idea to invest in a tablet? Will it last more than a tablet and how can you get the best results from it? Let’s find that out right now.

  1. Tablets are great for reading

A major benefit for many users is that tablets are very good for reading. Unlike e-readers that have e-ink screens, tablets have a customizable screen, the ability to change brightness and opacity as well as many other similar features. This makes it a lot easier for you to read the content you want and in the end the entire reading experience is a lot more interesting.  Plus, tablets bring you the ability to read multiple types of files. From PDFs to long web articles, comic files and so on, all of these run natively on a tablet while an e-ink reader will struggle with them.

  1. Portability

One of the main reasons why you have to consider getting a tablet is the portability you will receive. There will be no need for docking stations, tablets are portable and you can easily take them with you whenever you want. They work great for businessmen but regular people can also use them during their travels. It’s really nice to have a tablet when you need to access the web, stay in touch with friends/colleagues or when you need to enter a videoconference while on the go.

  1. Internet Connectivity

Some tablets allow you to connect to your 4G network or they can easily connect to any Wi-Fi hotspot. One thing is certain, you never have a problem finding a good internet connection nowadays so you can always reach anyone regardless of where you are. Thanks to owning a tablet, you will be able to get in touch with your family as fast as possible and results can be second to none all the time!

  1. Tablets are stable

Yes, unlike computers, the tablet OS is a lot more stable. There will be a few crashes here and there but you just need to restart the unit and you are back on track. This is great if you want to access special applications or features on your device and the results you get from here can be quite impressive in the end. That alone, combined with a very good debug system and plenty of reset options, makes using a tablet very easy and safe.

  1. Affordable

A great benefit brought by any tablet is that it helps you get access to great mobile apps on the inexpensive side. A tablet is a lot cheaper when compared to high end mobile phones or even regular laptops, so you should consider investing in a tablet if you want to have the very best results. Keep that in mind and the experience will be worth it in the end. Plus, you can use the extra money to purchase accessories or invest in other electronics of your own choosing.

  1. Tablets are great for multimedia

You can use a tablet to listen to your favorite music, you can watch videos on it or you can share content on social media. Yes, tablets are perfect for social content creation and they can deliver amazing multimedia features. They are a delight to use and the experience you get is a very good one. Plus, you don’t have to carry an iPod or similar unit around, you get a complete round of features in the same device which is very important.

  1. Great for business and productivity

Tablets give you access to the Google Play and iOS App Store, mobile app stores that are filled with great productivity tools that will help boost your productivity and take it to new heights. All you should do is to download the ones which seem promising and based on trial and error you can pick the right one to suit your needs.

  1. Easy to customize

One of the main benefits of owning a tablet is that it offers you endless customization options right from the start. This makes the experience simple and a lot more immersive than ever before. All you should do is to pick the right tablet for you and customize it in any way you want.

  1. They help you manage your time a lot better and easier

Time management can be very troublesome and stressful for all of us. But if you’re not careful you can easily find yourself losing most of the day dealing with day to day issues and postponing the most important tasks. With that in mind, a tablet will help you better manage your daily tasks by delivering special tools and apps that help you do exactly that. If you want the very best results, you just should get a good tablet and results can be amazing.

  1. Tablets adapt to your needs

All tablets are versatile; they are units that you can use for specific tasks depending on your needs. It doesn’t matter if you are a coach that schedules his team or an artist that creates beautiful art pieces, you can easily use a tablet to do all of that and so much more. It’s a delightful, unique experience and one that will pay off very well in the long term.

As you can see, there are many signs and reasons why you should invest in a good tablet. If you want to boost the way you work, you want to better manage your tasks or access the web while you are on the go, getting a tablet can be a very good idea. Plus, tablets can easily adapt to your own needs which is exactly what you want to have in the end! So, consider purchasing a good tablet soon as you will be very impressed with its versatility, usability and quality!

Comparing laptops to computers; what is best for your student?

Computers came into existence a long time ago. From the size of a football field, to a room, to a table and now to a lap; computer systems have also progressed as the World has moved forward. Being permitted only to influential offices when they were initially introduced and only being operated by a professional, now they have been given access to every human on earth. As a student, it becomes a tad tough to decide whether laptops are better or computers are more appropriate. Thereby, we shall see the pros and cons of various aspects of both, as to decide which one will serve the purpose better.

  1. Cost price: Due to the fact that desktop computers are larger and have more than one component attached to them that can vary per package, the prices are also in a wide array. However, the lowest price you must pay with the maximum number of gadgets is also pretty minimal and you can still attain a perfectly good setup. On the other hand, laptops do not have that much hassle attached to them, but to have the best package like speed, memory space, durability and sleekness you must pay a lot more. Thereby, judging by pricing, laptops can be heftier on the pocket of a student or an educational institution if they want the best one available in market.
  1. Handiness: Desktop computers not only have a monitor but also a processor that is quite heavy. To transport it from one place to another you need quite some time and effort. Furthermore, all the wires attached to a switchboard, to the monitor and the keyboard also need to be detached and carried along making it a very troublesome process. Howbeit, laptops have everything they need in their system so you can merely pick it up and put it in another place. As a student, that is the biggest advantage you can get because you can carry it wherever you want.
  1. Processor power: Since desktop computers have a larger sized processor, the power it harnesses is also proportional to its size. This means that more activities that involve heavy power can be done on the computer like gaming. Laptops have smaller sized and lesser powered systems, on which you cannot do very dynamic activities. In case of students, it depends on the type of study they have and how much work they need off the system. If the student is a graphic designing course, he must prefer a computer because they can install all his software easily. On the other hand, if they are fifth graders, a laptop will do just fine.
  1. Assembling: Arranging, setting and starting up a desktop computer is a cumbersome process owing to the large number of components involved. Thereby, it also takes up more area. To the contrary, laptops only need to be inserted with a battery the first time, and every time after you just need to click the power button to get it in use. So, for educational institutes that install them or students, laptops can save a lot of precious time, as well as space in the room. 
  1. Keyboards: In case of desktop computers, you need to purchase an additional keyboard, but there are so many options to choose from. There are different sizes, various types, numerous colors and eye-catching themes to your liking. In the case of laptops, the good part is that the keyboard is already installed so you need not buy an additional one, however you cannot customize it to your liking. Again, their ease to a student depends on the type of educational program he/she is in. If they need a larger keyboard with more features, then a computer would do. However, if his scope of studies does not require any fancy keyboards, a laptop is all he/she needs.
  1. Size of screen: In the case of screen size, both the subjects at hand are equal. Monitors, whether of the laptop or the desktop computer, come in all size ranges. You can pick the one you want. Both of them can also be connected to any external monitor like a television screen with a single cable so you need to worry about the size.
  1. Improvement: Everything changes after a while, new advancements and gadgets come into existence and you think about updating. Since the desktop computer has all externally attached components, you can change any one of them at any time as per your requirements. Diversely, the laptops and their components are not removable, meaning that you cannot upgrade them except for the hard-disk, memory and such. You can only purchase a brand new laptop. In this case, desktop computers have a clear advantage because as soon as a component wears out becomes out-dated you can change it.
  1. Repair: Same goes the case for repair. Since the components can easily come off, you can repair them, replace them and upgrade them with ease. However, laptops usually need to be sent to an expert to get it back into shape because you cannot repair it on your own, neither can you replace any component. Here, also desktop computers have a significant advantage.
  1. Fashion statement: Well, we cannot rule out the trends of the modern world can we? And that is laptops. While desktop computers still exist, they are now being considered obsolete, and laptops are readily taking their place more or less because of their portability and smoother designing. So if you want to follow the bandwagon effect, or simply to fit into your surroundings, a laptop will be a more probable choice.

In conclusion, whether you need a desktop computer for your student or a laptop, depends widely on the subject of the study, the requirements of the syllabus, the classroom ethics and the ease of the student. After assessing all these factors in light of the pros and cons mentioned above, the student plus the teacher can decide which of them is more suited.

What are the benefits of Tablets vs. Laptops for Schools?

Education has taken a giant leap forward, with digital tools in common use in classrooms. Students today may not even know what a blackboard is. If they do, they may consider it something like a dinosaur. But when it comes to tablets and laptops in the classroom, students are giving an astounding affirmative vote, but they are showing a definite preference according to most studies. The digital divide will be hard to cross later if teachers are not using at least these two tools in the classroom. There are some who favor the tablet, and others who use the laptop as the go-to tool.

One source, Techcrunch, writes that kids today are at home using their tablets more than the laptop for accessing the internet, playing games and watching videos. The article about the subject reports that tablet use is rising across the board, and that is has become the device that children feel that they must have. Their source is a research company by the name of Ofcom. Teachers can capitalize off this tablet obsession by making tablets a common tool in the classroom. And they can use them in the same ways that kids use them at home, by spinning things a little differently.

In order to get the necessary curriculum into the classroom through tablet use, teachers can make or use existing videos that help with content enrichment, exposure and even tests. The teacher can also use tablets for playing learning games. A teacher can create learning stations with such games, or activities that reinforce learning. There is a flood of games on the internet that help students to grasp and master content. For Math alone, you will see learning sites like Mr. Mussbaum, coolmathgames.com and many others. Mussbaum and some others specify that their games are for tablet users, although they may be configured for laptops as well. Some of the games are arcade style, while others are delivered in other forms.

Tachertube.com, watchknowlearn.com and many other sites have an explosion of educational videos that cover content ranging from the solar system to various cultures around the world and the animal kingdom. As one site indicated, namely edudemic, teachers can expose students to new content knowledge, supplement the learning that’s taking place in the classroom and inspire them through educational videos. There is even a YouTube channel specifically dedicated to education.

The same article, which explored the use of laptops, has dropped 68% while tablet use has grown from 15%-42% since 2012. It’s important to mention that the article credited the drop of smartphone ownership as part of the reason why the tablet holds more appeal than the laptop.

One master teacher, who indicates that they were trained to use laptops for teaching, reported that she found that students preferred tablets over laptops. She cited a few reasons for the preference, as follows: the tablet is smaller and lightweight, the tablet is easier to store and they have faster start-up times. She said she finds tablets great for creating content. Narrated screencast and digital storytelling are two high potential learning platforms geared toward creating content that seem easier for students to navigate with tablets versus laptops.

This same teacher, who is also an educational technologist, pointed out that she likes laptops for the older students because they can learn trouble-shooting through the devices. She felt that students need a basic grasp of computers, and that laptops can give them that experience.

Online curriculum and apps seem to be here to stay. Both have changed the landscape of the teaching and learning experience. Both are accessible through laptops and tablets.

Joseph Morris, Director of Market Intelligence for the Center for Digital Education, reports that classrooms are continuing to evolve with new technology.

On the center’s website, it indicates that a new Horizon Report came out in September 2016 to show where classrooms are needing to go in order to optimize use of learning technology in the near future.

Samantha A. Becker, the NMC Horizon Project senior director was quoted as stating, “We believe it’s important to set a precedent that technology that’s not in service of promoting better teaching and learning practices is just a set of devices.” She is also researcher and lead writer of the series of Horizon reports.

One article stayed away from the tablet versus laptop argument, and instead focused on the fact that educators needed to look at the features and conveniences that they want a device to offer. That being said, it seems that the decision is a matter of who is making the important decision, and what their goals and anticipated lessons will involve

The Technology Hurdles of SBAC Testing in the Classroom

Even giant leaps forward in technology, education and other fields comes with some setbacks or deficiencies. Often they can be worked out over time. The SBAC or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is one nifty example. This test gives students who are exposed to it a leg up on the question stems which are aligned with their grade level. It’s available for students in grades 3-8, and high school for the core subjects. Questioning stems refers to the way the questions might be worded and the kinds of questions that would be presented. Even the advance exposure of the SBAC brings some glitches. Clearing the hurdles is possible, but they do exist. Here are a few:

On Screen Reading

There’s a certain amount of eye strain involved in reading content on screen. Called Computer Vision Syndrome, the American Optometric Association suggests that 70% of Americans suffer from this malady. The problem presents itself as stress on the eyes. For children it may include a negative impact on their normal vision and development. The brain is said to not respond the same way to characters on the computer that they do characters on paper. Pixels and points on the screen all converge to make the images, but there is not always the fluidity people expect. There are all kinds of recommendations for writers and others who are on the computer a lot. The idea is to give the eye muscles a break. Looking away periodically is one of them. Wearing computer eyeglasses is another. For testing, students are conditioned to stay on task for the duration, so they may need retraining in order to even grasp the idea of taking short seconds long eye breaks. In addition, not all students who are prepared to take the SBAC test can go out and get an eye exam and glasses for onscreen reading.

The same difficult dynamic applies to those who take the SBAC test, as it is an online test. Students used to paper test may be some of the most difficult ones of all to struggle with taking a test where they have to constantly look at the screen.

Pause Feature

Students taking the test can put their computer on pause for up to twenty minutes. If they return and resume the test in 20 minutes or under they can return to the same section when they are done with their break. They can even go back and work on (modify, change, review) answers in that same section. If the student keeps the test on pause for longer than 20 minutes, they may not be able to do any further work on the page they were working on before the pause.

Taking Audio and Video Notes

If students are not used to taking notes from audio and video, this test may present them with some frustrations. Without the value of prior experience at note-taking from audio and video, students will often have problems keeping up with the speed of delivery of audio and video content. Students may also struggle with organizing the notes as they watch or listen to content if this balancing act is not familiar to them. The best solution for them is pre-test experience with shorthand note-taking, note-taking technology or experience organizing notes efficiently through a program like Cornell Notes (from AVID). When it comes to note-taking in general, practice makes perfect. It is more so true with taking video and audio notes.

Arkansas Dismantles the Core

Arkansas has been one of the oldest adopters of Common Core, bringing it into the state July 12, 2010. Taking this involvement a step further, they are also one of the governing members of PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, a collection of states that works to write yearly assessments based on the Core standards. While there has been a growing amount of recent controversy, this southern state has performed the most peaceful coup as they work to find standards that fit their own state.

 

Initial Controversy

Starting in 2010, the state has been slowly transforming its standards to those aligned with the Common Core, having now fully implemented all changes. However, not all individuals were happy about this toward the final stages of implementation. In 2014, legislation was filed trying to block funding for the Core. This failed to get very far.

Then, during Asa Hutchinson’s run for governor in 2014, he stated that, if elected, he would found a task force faced with the responsibility to study they Core’s standards and make recommendations based on what they found. He was indeed elected and, in early 2015, founded a team comprised of 16 people. It actually proved to be a successful venture.

Following this, a bill was proposed in 2015 that would remove Arkansas from PARCC. This failed and the state ran its first statewide PARCC exam that same year. Yet this bill didn’t remain quiet. Instead of giving up completely, it was toned down, merely asking that the committee’s decisions be considered going forward. Interestingly enough, the committee called for the state to not administer PARCC tests but ACT tests instead.

 

Slow Dismantling

As it stands, Arkansas is now fully set on going after the ACT assessments, citing the four hour test as being much better for college preparation determination than the eight hour PARCC. In addition, the committee found that the ACT is also aligned strongly with Common Core standards, making it an ideal replacement.

The overhaul didn’t stop there, though. In fact, the Department of Education decided to appoint their own team of educators to review the standards and make recommendations due by July 1 of this year. These new standards will then drop the Common Core moniker and become one that belongs to the state itself as requested by the governor.

In Arkansas, it would seem that protests against the Core are not loud and boisterous like in other states. Instead, opponents have slowly but surely worked their way into positions of power and have been dismantling it from the inside. First to go was the assessment. Next is the Core itself. However, this hasn’t been bad because the changes have been easy to adapt to. With the Core in place now and only recommendations being made in the future, this upheaval has proven to be healthier for the state’s educational system.

Illinois Changes its attitude about Common Core

A weird amalgamation of liberalism in its city of Chicago and conservatism out in every other area, Illinois has taken the more liberal route in regards to education. Following the reveal of the Common Core, the state voted to adopt the standards on June 24, 2010. In addition, it became and has remained an active member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC), the group tasked with developing the new standardized test for the Core. That being said, the state is slowly becoming more two-sided in light of the PARCC test scores that released in 2015.

 

Growing Pains

Like most states, Illinois saw an extreme drop in readiness for college as determined by these test scores. Across every district, scores were low, prompting educators to send home letters of explanation so as to shield the children from any parental punishment. That being said, it’s the conservative districts that took the scores in stride, logically drawing the conclusion that a new test was bound to be lower since both teachers and students had never taken anything like it before.

 

Growing Resentment

While the non-Chicago areas are continuing to work to improve, it’s the big city that’s harboring a growing break between the Core and everyone else. From educators to parents, the PARCC test has been vilified as ruining the already struggling school system. Educators see it as an evil that is turning away both prospective and current teachers. Parents encouraged students to protest the exam, leading to certain schools reporting a 54% no-show rate. Unlike other states, educators are fully supportive of the parents doing this, even in light of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel shaming them for siding with the parents.

While it might seem like a great stand against a perceived evil, the fight to force the students to take the test is embroiled in a much more complex issue of funding and poor performing schools. In reality, it was only the higher performing schools with the wealthier parents that supported such a boycott of the PARCC. Such skip rates did not happen in the poorer districts. In addition, the state needs to maintain a 95% participation rate in order to continue to receive funding for these lower-performing and often underfunded schools – schools that have no bearing on the costly private institutes that are causing such a fuss.

In the end, the PARCC results have done nothing to prove or dismantle any theories so much as entrench individuals further in their current beliefs. Parents that believed the Core to be an evil now have found justification. Educators that knew lower test scores were coming are further convinced that this change is for the better, they just need more time. Though the Core will no doubt remain a staple of the state’s education system, what happens to the PARCC remains to be seen.

Wyoming keeps pushing for Common Core Success

Ever since the predominantly red state of Wyoming adopted the Common Core standards in June of 2012, it has actually proven to be one of the few Republican states that has found the Core to be a benefit rather than a deterrent. In fact, the state, despite its opponents, actually likes the changes these implementations have wrought over the past three years it has been put into practice.

 

Republican Concern

It really is no surprise that Republicans have shown a strong distaste for the Core. Believed to be a plan by the government to implement federal control of state-run education systems, it’s been a scary prospect for many. However, despite this criticism, the educational and political leaders of the state are doing what they can to take good criticisms and apply them to the current standards so as to make the state’s standards better, something all parents want for their children.

 

The Happy Medium

In order to calm the caustic voice, Wyoming has instigated a review of Common Core scheduled to happen once every five years (with the next slated for 2017). This guarantees that the new standards are being held accountable for doing what they promised to do – prepare children of all backgrounds for successful careers in college and beyond. In addition, the new superintendent worked pragmatically to find such a balance rather than dismissing the Core simply because of her political leanings. To further push her in this direction, it was cited that if the Core were dropped, Wyoming would have to start from scratch for educational standards, an expensive move that would be costly to taxpayers and children alike.

As far as the teachers are concerned, they almost all see the Core as a drastic improvement over previous standards. However, they are frustrated with the continual changes the state keeps applying. These educators are begging for at least three years of steady standards so that they can figure them out before being asked to alter them.

 

Future Implications

Though there are still a few years needed before the state can truly tell if the Core is leading to better grades, there has been an interesting change of thought. Up until now, the ACT has been the standardized tests students have had to take in 11th grade to determine their readiness for college. Every since Common Core came in, this has drastically shifted with teachers saying their new standards only match 70% of those required by the test itself. In fact, these last years’ scores actually fell. To the educators, it’s a clear mismatch because students are being tested with a test that in no way aligns with the current curriculum. In short, it’s unfair and forces the teachers to balance two different sets of standards. While this won’t cause the death of Common Core in Wyoming, it could very well spell the end of required ACT testing.