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3 Measuring Student Performance on the Common Core State Standards

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS as of the writing of this book. According to Kendall (2011), this widespread adoption means that “the Common Core will dominate dialogue in the United States; the number of states that have signed on represents a critical mass. It will be difficult to work as a teaching professional and be part of the dialogue of education without sharing the context of the Common Core” (p. 55). Most of the teachers in the United States will be expected to ensure that their students are proficient with the CCSS. The transition from previous state standards to the CCSS may not be easy for all teachers. Rothman (2011) predicted that “the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, while hugely significant, pales in scope to what must be done to implement them” (p. 119).

The CCSS describe what students should know or be able to do as a result of instruction in school. As discussed in the introduction, the authors of the CCSS strove to resolve many of the problems with previous standards efforts, including multidimensionality. Each standard in the CCSS was designed to focus on a single dimension of content, rather than combining many dimensions into one standard. Porter, McMaken, Hwang, and Yang (2011b) measured whether or not the CCSS achieved a greater level of focus than previous state standards and found that, when standards from all the states were aggregated into one group of standards, “the aggregated state standards are less focused than is the Common Core” (p. 108). However, when Porter and his colleagues compared the Common Core to sets of standards from individual states, they found that “the Common Core has more focus than some states’ standards and less focus than other states’ standards” (p. 108). Although more research will shed further light on this issue, it seems that the Common Core is generally more focused than most previous sets of standards but could have been even more focused. Because of this, it is important for teachers to “take the time to analyze each standard and identify its essential concepts and skills” (Bell, 2011, p. 113). For example, mathematics standard 4.OA.A.3 says:

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Making the Inherently Inefficient (More) Efficient: Neoliberalism as “Aim” in Teacher Education

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Making the Inherently Inefficient (More) Efficient

Neoliberalism as “Aim” in Teacher Education


There is an old teacher story that was passed down to me early in my career in education. It goes something like this:

A CEO of a juice company is speaking to a room full of teachers. She’s going on and on about how their juice is the highest quality, how they make sure each and every berry is at the peak of ripeness, all their various quality and spot checks, and about their constant focus on improving their productivity: at getting better at what they are already “great” at. Toward the end of the talk, a teacher raises her hand and asks “What about the berries that are bruised, or broken? What do you do with those berries?” The CEO replies, “Oh, we would never put any bruised or broken berries into our juice! We throw them away.” The teacher looks around at her colleagues and then explained to the CEO, “Every parent sends the best kids they have to school, and even if they are bruised and broken, we cannot and will not throw them away. So we really can’t run our school the same way you run your juice company.”

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Chapter Five Selecting Words to Teach

Calderón, Margarita Solution Tree Press ePub

Verbal ability has long been the basis of grade-level tests, college entrance exams, and graduate-level selection tests, and vocabulary knowledge is one of the best indicators of verbal ability (Graves, 1986; Stenberg, 1987). Due to the low literacy levels of students in grades 6 through 12, there has been a renewed interest in teaching vocabulary from preschool to twelfth grade. Chapter 6 will detail the process of teaching vocabulary, but before an educator can teach vocabulary, he or she must select which words to teach.

In selecting words to teach to ELs, one must have a thorough understanding of “academic language.” The term academic language has been defined by various practitioners since Jim Cummins first wrote about it in 1979. Some simply differentiate it from “conversational English” or “schoolyard English.” Researchers William Saunders and Claude Goldenberg (2010) define academic language as “the specialized vocabulary, grammar, discourse/textual, and functional skills associated with academic instruction and mastery of academic material and tasks” (p. 58). Jeff Zwiers (2008), who works with teachers and schools on the development of language, literacy, and content, explains academic language as “a set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas, higher-order thinking processes, and abstract concepts” (p. 20).

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Appendix B: Surveys of Students and Staff

Robert D. Barr Solution Tree Press ePub

Following are links to reports summarizing the results of Adlai E. Stevenson High School’s student surveys for the years 2008–2011. Results are for each survey question given to all students at the school, graduates from the year before, and graduates from five years before to see how they are doing in the larger world. We provide these links to share the types of questions to ask to monitor school/staff effectiveness in preparing students for postsecondary success. Visit go.solution-tree.com/schoolimprovement to access these resources.


•  www.d125.org/assets/1/Documents/student_survey_2011.pdf

•  www.d125.org/assets/1/Documents/student_survey_2010.pdf

•  www.d125.org/assets/1/Documents/student_survey_2009.pdf

•  www.d125.org/assets/1/Documents/student_survey_2008.pdf

The following URL offers links to staff, parent, and student surveys on school climate, culture, and academics: www.uidaho.edu/cda/ibc/resources

This organization offers scoring and data analysis services for the surveys used by Idaho Building Capacity: www.effectiveness.org/default.aspx

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Introduction to the Special Issue: What Role Do Principals Play in Implementing Policy?

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

What Role Do Principals Play in Implementing Policy?


E ducation leaders at the school level experience policy demands coming at them from every direction. They are faced with decisions about how to respond to a particular demand and how to integrate the resulting actions or initiatives with other practices already in place within the school. Taking the central position between policy mandates and the instructional staff, principals need to craft an organizational response that will replace, modify, adapt, or augment existing routines without constraining those that have proven highly productive.

For this issue, I invited a number of junior scholars to consider the question What is the principal’s role in implementing policy? The authors of the articles included in this special issue drew on their recent dissertation research to explore that question. A central focus of each policy addressed is improvement of teachers’ knowledge and skills. This concern for strengthening schools’ human capital is important for readers of the Journal of School Public Relations, and the set of studies provides a lens for how teachers experience investments in their skill sets after they are employed.

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