DC: Embarking on a Knowledge Revolution

Over the past few years, an increasing number of DC schools have been revamping their curricula to teach dramatically more knowledge. Frustrated by low reading scores and nudged by the Common Core standards’ explicit call for building knowledge across subjects, they’re now convinced that broad knowledge—not hour after hour of practicing comprehension strategies—is the key…

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Districts Could Do More for the Most Vulnerable Students

In my last post I highlighted two districts that are equalizing opportunity to learn and increasing teacher collaboration through districtwide curriculum and assessments. Across schools, the same knowledge and skills are being taught, and the same expectations are being met. Imagine what it would be like to have to transfer schools mid-year in one of…

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No Progress on Accountability, No Hope for Equity

I try not to give in to despair, but in reading recent recommendations for the reauthorization of ESEA, I see America wasting another 50 years on unproductive reforms. James S. Coleman said schools matter a great deal for poor kids, but we focus on the factors outside of school mattering more. A Nation At Risk…

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Reading Recovery Works—Now Let’s Make It Even Better

Reading Recovery is an intensive intervention for first graders who are struggling to learn to read. Although its research base is not huge, well-controlled studies have found it highly effective. Newly published research shows that Reading Recovery is remaining effective even as it scales up. This is great news—and could mean that Reading Recovery will…

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What’s Working?

Slowly, steadily building the knowledge and capacity of administrators and teachers—that’s what’s working in school systems around the world. As explained in a report by Geoff Masters, a leading researcher in Australia, the educational systems that are improving have invested in educator capacity, while those that are not improving (or are declining) have been tinkering…

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Smarter Balanced Confuses Fairness and Validity

Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked the ETS guidelines for fair assessments that PARCC adopted, as well as a sample item from PARCC. Now let’s turn to the “Bias and Sensitivity Guidelines” ETS developed for Smarter Balanced. While I can’t say that ETS’s guidelines for Smarter Balanced contradict those adopted by PARCC, they are…

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