This free Information Age Education Newsletter is written by Dave
Moursund and Bob Sylwester, and produced by Ken Loge. The newsletter is
one component of the Information Age Education project. See http://iae-pedia.org/
and the end of this newsletter. All back issues of this newsletter are
available free online at http://i-a-e.org/iae-newsletter.html.
Common Core Standards:
Some Additional Important CCSS Topics
University of Oregon
This is the tenth IAE Newsletter in a 10-newsletter series that
addresses various issues related to the Common Core State Standards
(CCSS). These 10 newsletters will become a short book that will be
published by IAE and made available free on the Web.
My recent Google search of the quoted term “Common Core State
Standards” produced nearly 27 million hits. This IAE Newsletter lists a
number of important aspects of the Common Core State Standards
initiative not covered previously the newsletter series. For most
of these, I merely list the topic and perhaps give a reference or two.
However, for three of them I have provided a short introduction that
cites and summarizes a couple of references that I have found appealing.
IAE is seeking volunteers who will take one or more of these topics—or
other topics of their choice—and develop them into full-blown chapters.
These accepted articles will be added to the book. The Web edition of
the free book will be updated to include new chapters. Please send your
ideas and/or draft chapters to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of Some Potential CCSS Topics
Here are some additional topics that are well deserving of inclusion in discussions about CCSS.
Impact on the Publishing Industry.
The CCSS initiative allows for states to individualize some of the
content and assessment to fit their needs. This opens up the
possibility for smaller for-profit and non-profit organizations to
develop materials they are specific to the needs and desires of
Staff Development. A
number of school districts have started on the needed staff
development. However, there seems to be little information about the
nature, extent, and duration of the staff development that is needed.
Computational Thinking and CCSS.
The media of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the
thinking underlying use of ICT tools has the potential to produce
substantial changes in our educational system. See a section on this
topic later in this newsletter.
There are many people who argue against the CCSS initiative. In brief summary, they present two major cases:
Our educational system is quite good. There is insufficient
evidence for the types of changes incorporated into the CCSS
initiative. Such changes may decrease the overall quality of our
precollege educational system.
Our educational system has considerable room for improvement.
However, there is little if any data to support the idea that the CCSS
approach will achieve the needed improvements.
The first case is presented in the two articles that follow: Lind (8/1/2012) and Zhao (2/27/2012).
Quoting Michael Lind:
To begin with, the U.S. public school system is hardly the abysmal
failure portrayed in the conventional wisdom. The international
comparative data is skewed, …
If you look at the facts, then, they don’t suggest that the U.S. public
K-12 system is a failure. Rather American public education is a
world-class success except among poor natives and immigrants, whose
educational challenges have more to do with poverty and rural cultural
legacies than alleged failings of public K-12.
Quoting Yong Zhao:
America is on the
precipice of ruining its foundation for success. The movement toward a
centralized education system through federal mandates and common
curriculum and testing is threatening the very system that has
contributed to America’s success and that holds the potential for its
future success: that is a decentralized, diverse, largely locally
controlled education system.
Even without empirical evidence to support their proposals, these new reformers are winning the day.…
CCSS Approaches to Assessment
We all know that timely and informative feedback (formative assessment)
is essential to learning. Such feedback can be provided by the learner
and/or from external sources. Students can learn to reflect on what
they are learning, and they can also do metacognition to analyze their
thinking about the content they are studying. Self-assessment is an
important component of learning. See http://iae-pedia.org/Self-assessment_Instruments#Introduction.
Two other forms of assessment are summative assessment and residual impact assessment.
Summative assessment provides information about how well students have
learned at the end of a unit or course of study. Residual impact
assessment provides information on long-term retention of the knowledge
and skills a student has studied in a unit of course of study. Both
forms of assessment are useful to students, teachers, instructional
designers, and the many different groups of educational stakeholders.
The CCSS initiative is committed to developing assessment instruments
that can be used on a nation-wide basis and administered via computer.
A number of CCSS assessment resources are briefly discussed at http://educationnorthwest.org/resource/1331. There are two major Federally-funded groups working on CCSS assessment.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Pilot testing is scheduled for February through May 2013. Quoting from Smarter Balanced (n.d.):
The Smarter Balanced
Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is a state-led consortium
working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure
student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced
is one of two multistate consortia awarded funding from the U.S.
Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned
to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year.
K-12 teachers and higher
education faculty from Smarter Balanced Governing States collaborated
with content experts to write and review items and performance tasks
that appear in the Pilot Test. In addition, Smarter Balanced conducted
more than 900 cognitive labs around the country in 2012. Through these
one-on-one sessions, students provided valuable feedback on innovative
item types, the test interface, and accessibility features. Small-scale
trials in more than 500 schools in 23 states also provided critical
information for the development of the Pilot Test.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
Quoting from PARCC (n.d.):
The U.S. Department of Education awarded “Race to the Top” assessment
funds to the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College
and Careers (PARCC or Partnership) for the development of a K-12
assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English
language arts and mathematics. Florida is a member of this Partnership
of 23 states, whose primary goal is to help states dramatically
increase the number of students who graduate from high school ready for
college and careers. Together the PARCC states educate approximately 25
million K-12 public school students in the United States.
Here is a frequently quoted statement by Marshall McLuhan:
The medium is the message.
This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any
medium—that is, of any extension of ourselves—result from the new scale
that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or
by any new technology. (Marshall McLuhan; Canadian educator,
philosopher, and scholar; 1911–1980.)
Today’s students spend a great deal of their time immersed in the
medium of texting, instant messaging, email, cell phone conversations,
and using a wide variety of computer-based and/or television-based
forms of entertainment.
The people involved in the CCSS initiative are well aware of this new
medium. They are designing CCSS summative assessment that is
computer-based and adapts to individual students.
However, they are mostly ignoring how important Information and
Communication Technology has become, both as an everyday medium for
students and as an aid to representing and solving problems in the
various disciplines that are taught and/or could be taught in the K-12
Computational thinking is a term used to summarize the routine
combining of ICT capabilities and the human mind in representing and
solving problems (Moursund, 2011 and 2012). Quoting from the Center for
Computational Thinking (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~CompThink/):
Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing
systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts
fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today's world,
computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people
think and understand the world.
Computational thinking means creating and making use of different
levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more
Computational thinking means thinking algorithmically and with
the ability to apply mathematical concepts such as induction to develop
more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.
The CCSS initiative represents the work of a great many
dedicated educators. The results of this work will be with us for many
years. Thus, it behooves all of us to understand the changes that are
being implemented due to the CCSS initiative, how they will affect the
quality of education that students receive, how they will impact
teachers and other educational employees and volunteers, and how they
will impact the publishing and assessment industries.
David Moursund earned his doctorate in mathematics from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught in the Mathematics Department and
Computing Center at Michigan State University for four years before
joining the faculty at the University of Oregon. See his vita at see http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund.
A few highlights of his professional career include founding the
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), serving as
ISTE’s executive officer for 19 years, and establishing ISTE’s flagship
publication, Learning and Leading
He was a major professor or co-major professor of 82 doctoral students.
He has authored or coauthored more than 60 academic books and hundreds
of articles. Many of these books are available free online. See http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund_Books.
He has presented hundreds of professional talks and workshops.
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About Information Age Education,
Information Age Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to
improving education for learners of all ages throughout the world.
Current IAE activities include a Wiki with address http://IAE-pedia.org,
a Website containing free books and articles at http://I-A-E.org, a Blog
and the free newsletter you are now reading.