Members of three legislative committees put their heads together Wednesday on the thorny issue of how to pay for a new state testing system.Read more »
A revised “parent trigger” bill is among the latest batch of education bills introduced in the Colorado legislature.Read more »
The bill to reduce statewide testing has been introduced, and the Department of Education finally got through its budget hearing.Read more »
Department of Education leaders will face tough questions on testing costs and more when they meet with the Joint Budget Committee later this month.Read more »
A top legislator’s request for an audit of state online education programs is moving ahead.Read more »
Updated – The State Board of Education has voted to request bids for new state tests and supported seeking a NCLB waiver.Read more »
Testing costs and the possibility of waiving out of the NCLB law sparked lively discussion among State Board of Education members.Read more »
The State Board of Education got an estimate on new test costs Wednesday and an earful about proposed teacher evaluation regulations.Read more »
Several high-profile education reforms passed by the Colorado legislature in the last few years rely on massive collections of data to work as planned. For example, the 2009 accountability bill requires administrators at struggling schools to use school-level data to drive the improvement planning process.
Senate Bill 191’s teacher evaluation provisions require more, however. Administrators must be able to drill down to the individual level, accurately linking teachers with students to evaluate teachers based on how well their students progress over the year. And Senate Bill 10-036 tills the soil for teacher prep programs to monitor the achievement of their graduates’ students in order to improve teacher prep programs.
All are ambitious laws — and I sometimes fear that Colorado’s reform cart has raced ahead of the data horse. The Colorado Department of Education, school districts and the Department of Higher Education are still working out the details on the kinds of data needed. That’s not a criticism. Collecting data that links every student, teacher, school and public university in the state is incredibly slow and painstaking when done right – and you definitely want it done right. I just worry that the public enthusiasm for the reforms will fade before they even get a chance.
That would be a shame because Colorado is headed toward building one of the most sophisticated data systems in the country, one that can be used to help improve our schools in many ways. Administrators and teachers can use data to identify their schools’ weaknesses and work together to set targets and monitor improvement. Principals can provide useful feedback to individual teachers, helping the weakest improve or find a new profession. Researchers can measure which programs and reforms are most successful over time and examine why.Read more »
Interesting thoughts from Dropout Nation’s RiShawn Biddle on how some standardized testing critics are using the Atlanta scandal to overstate their case. Here’s a highlight:
Plenty has already been said about the cheating scandal at the Atlanta school district. And, as one would expect, education traditionalists such as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Diane Ravitch proclaimed that the mess proved that standardized testing leads to perverse incentives that force teachers to behave unethically, provide low-quality instruction, and ultimately, poorly serve the children in their care…Read more »