The new “Common Core” assessments have been released

It appears that Victory in Every Classroom is going to be very, very difficult.

The first “Common Core” assessments have been released and the numbers are beyond dismal.

The Balanced Score Card has been posted online and has been updated with the achievement data. The scores are not good. This test was given AFTER teachers taught the curriculum for one quarter. Then they tested to see if there was mastery. So, these numbers reflect how well the children mastered the concepts taught to them for one quarter. This is the first time teachers have taught this curriculum which is aligned to the new, more rigorous “Common Core” standards. It’s a big jump from the Georgia Performance Standards we have been using as a evaluation tool for years. Also this is the first time we’ve used these new Common Core based tests, so, expect the tests to be tweaked in the future.

But still, these are not good numbers. For example, 4th grade English/Language Arts proficient or better score is 25.1%. For sixth grade that score drops to 3.1%. Eighth grade math percent passing score was 15.9%. Eighth grade science, 9.3%. Or how about high school physical science? 1.7% passed. Compare these new results with the 70+% pass rates posted for the CRCT tests. The CRCT is a Georgia-made test. The Common Core is national. We have a lot of work to do to get in step with the rest of the country, much less the world.

The DCSS stated goal on the report says, “OBJECTIVE: Over the next five years, demonstrate a 3-5% annual increase in student achievement.” At that rate, many of these scores might get to 50% by the end of the next decade. [By the way, whatever happened to the “Triage” plan introduced by Ramona Tyson’s crew?]

We’re glad that the state is going to nationally competitive standards but we all know that these results will lay bare the reality of education in Georgia. Although we are not happy at all about the scores, we are relieved to get the message out to citizens: We are not properly educating the children of Georgia. We have light years of catching up to do, as the Edu-establishment in Georgia hasn’t been honest for a very, very long time.

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Download the full report here:
balanced-score-card-

Read our post on the Common Core Standards:
https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/a-sneak-peak-at-common-core-test-questions/

Check out the Common Core Standards online:
http://www.corestandards.org/

Take a look at the Georgia DOE’s info on the Common Core:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Pages/CCGPS.aspx

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21 Responses to The new “Common Core” assessments have been released

  1. Leo says:

    Is there any data available that provides this information on a school-by-school basis? It would be interesting to see if some of our schools are far outperforming others and also if the schools live up to their reputations (good and bad)

  2. We don’t know about school by school. We are trying to access other district’s results.

    We have learned: The state has not yet developed/finalized their measurement (PARCC) tool that will replace the CRCT. One problem is money. The CRCT is $5/student and the PARCC is $22/student. The state has not set achievement score goals and will be administering the CRCT this year; even though it won’t be testing what the children learned in the new curriculum. So, whatever “goals” the state has are not aligned with what is taught so what will they even mean? Of course, if our kids aren’t acing the CRCT, what does that say?! So, DeKalb awaits information from the state here. But …our state isn’t doing a good job either. Surprise?

  3. Concerned_Teach says:

    Don’t panic! I teach and my students scored very low, though not as low as the county average, but I am not worried. I knew going in that I had not covered the entire content that was being assessed. Obviously this means my students were taking more of a pretest rather than a post. I never put much thought into the posttest. For many years now my students have been inspired, learned, and achieved much more than is required of them, certainly when it comes to the CRCT. For those concerned with that test predominantly, my students average over 90% each year and that is combined average of gifted/general/inclusion. I am shocked that the county even released these scores.

  4. Teacher Source says:

    I know the high school students who took this pre-test at my school did not take the test seriously at all. If anything, they knew that the lower the score is now, the better chance they have of showing improvement on the post-test. Some of the students simply wrote their name on their pre-tests and then turned it in…. I am still not sure why we gave a pre-test during week 8 of school.

  5. thedeal2 says:

    Good God, this is awful. It is awful regardless of the reason or justification. How is our board of education not calling an emergency meeting on this? This is the only reason for the school system to exist, and they are failing miserably according to their own data!

  6. Dedicated Teacher says:

    Students do not have any incentive for performing on these benchmarks. If you know anything about reliable and valid data you would not spend any time on these numbers. It is not worth the millions we paid for these benchmarks if we are just doing them for the sake of doing something.

  7. Actually, I am wrong to use the word benchmark. These are not benchmark tests results, these are test results after having been taught the material. I guess a benchmark only refers to a pre-teaching tool to assess where students are before you begin the lesson.

  8. 1stgradeteacher says:

    You were accurate, the county gave system-wide benchmarks to see where students were academically, only in reading and math in the lower grades. However, like most data there are variables that can not be accounted for. Most counties prepared for the common-core state standards as early as last school year. As a county, we have done a poor job preparing teachers in a timely manner for this upcoming school year. Also, the unit plans with the new standards were only released in August, and as a result the proper resources had to be in place and teachers are learning a curriculum as it is being taught.

  9. Concernedmom30329 says:

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/11/08/kentucky-test-results-offer-glimpse-into-how-common-core-assessments-will-affect-georgia-and-other-states/

    At Get Schooled, they are discussing the scores in Kentucky which is the fist system to fully implement the standards and are already testing all students on them. Interesting read.

  10. Weary worker says:

    Concerned-teach may be on target with the student perception of the tests. The tests may not be used for grading. For the students these tests might be regarded they way most people regard robo-market survey calls – they have no reward or meaning. They are also sending mixed signals that learning, grades and testing are not related. The abundance of testing may be resulting in increased student apathy and in the long run diminished learning and possibly a higher drop out rate. The bottom line is that good teachers and good administrators should know who is learning and who is not as what is not working in the educational process. Maybe that is too much to ask.

  11. thedeal2 says:

    @Weary Worker, all good points. Good teachers and good administrators should not be forced to waste valuable class time on these tests every 9 (?) weeks. If the scores are so bad that there is a myriad of excuses and the tests are ultimately disregarded as a tool, then students and teachers should not be subjected to them. Our students are not guinea pigs. Don’t “beta” tests on them. Get it right, show some actual effort, or don’t do it at all, DCSD.

  12. mom/teacher/taxpayer says:

    If I am not mistaken, these tests were created by a cohort of DeKalb County teachers in order to save money. The tests that many other districts used cost too much. I guess the county has way too many things to spend money on other than the students these days. I would be very interested to find out exactly who it was that generated the tests and what their qualifications were. As an upper grade elementary school teacher, I found the language arts questions to be well above the reading level for the grade that I teach. I also found that the math was focused on a concept that we had just begun to teach. It had very few questions on the concepts that we had spent the majority of our time on (following the county provided pacing chart). I don’t like to rely soley on the textbook, but I found only one problem in the textbook that was comparable to many of questions that were on the test. I have some very high achieving students in my class who scored at 11th and 12th grade reading levels on the Star reading test and 98-99% on IOWA and CogAT tests who failed these tests miserably. In my opinion these were very, very poorly written tests. I am not sure what the tests writers were trying to prove. I know that DCSD needs to save money, but it is a waste of valuable time (that could be spent teaching/learning) to subject our students to tests that mean absolutely nothing. If we are going to spend the time testing them every 5 minutes, we need to at least provide teachers with meaningful assessments. This was a disheartening experience for students and teachers alike.

  13. Just another day in Paradise says:

    The district received Title II-A funds at the last minute last year from the state and were told that the were only to be used to develop the benchmarks. They weren’t allowed to use the funds for any other teacher development (which is the purpose of these funds). They could NOT refuse the funds – even if they had other existing funds in the district that they could spend for the purpose. The state had leftover money to spend and split it among districts. This was not something that the district decided to do on its own. They had to call in teachers at the last minute, in all content areas, to develop these assessments. It was NOT part of the plan.

  14. Undercover Reformer says:

    Sorry, friends, but DCSD paid professionals (Pearson, of course) to create the benchmarks. This is from the agenda item presented to the board in June by Dr. Howe asking for approval.

    The district will implement aligned curriculum-based assessments known as benchmarks during the 2012-2013. The benchmarks will be administered quarterly for each subject-content area for grades K-12. Additionally, a teacher cadre will be selected to participate in the pilot of designed performance tasks as DCSD makes plans to transition to national assessments that will be developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The pilot of performance tasks will include development and training for performance task assessment items.

    Quick Summary / Abstract
    Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum & Instruction

    Financial Impact
    The financial impact for the benchmark and writing assessments will not exceed $1,255,620.00 using Race to the Top (RT3) federal grant funds.

  15. Bye bye says:

    Rumor of the weekend. Atkinson is going to ask for contract extension. Anyone else concerned? This is exactly what she did in Loraine. A state committee has now taken over financial control and decision making of the Loraine school system.

  16. I gotta say, is that a new logo for DCSD? (Balanced Score Card) That is awful. I get the V for victory thing but did we actually pay someone to sit down and draw that? Wasted money again.

  17. Edugator says:

    Perhaps there is a point in publishing the atrociously low benchmark scores, even if the tests were flawed. Scores are bound to be higher next year, “proving” that our county administration is accomplishing its goals. Call me when we see improvement on legitimate national measurements, not these absurd little benchmarks.

  18. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I would give Edugator 5 thumbs up if I could.

  19. being blamed says:

    Don’t believe everything you see. As a a dekalb teacher I know that these benchmarks were created by dekalb county teachers. There were spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, and muddy wording that confused students. Also, there are many schools that teach on a different pacing chart but are forced to administer these benchmarks when we haven’t taught theseconcepts yet. Therefor, students were bound to fail them. Teachers ARE TEACHING. At least, I know the teachers in my building are.

  20. Below is a link to a newly released, interesting article on Common Core and reading – from Education Week:
    http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/14/12cc-overview.h32.html

  21. Private Publication Editor says:

    And, since they are subject to closure every 5 years or so, the conversions are a lot more subject to “special favors” for friends and family as they hope to remain on the good side of those who will be reviewing them. If you get a commission charter, that means the appointed commission may now ask your school to do their bidding and the community made up of voters and taxpayers who are the most affected by the school’s decisions will have little or no input or influence in what happens, good or bad.

    If the schools no longer represent the community and they can’t really influence property values if they are subject to closure every five years, then we need to come up with a different way of paying for them. Property taxes are no longer a logical means to support a school that educates everyone and doesn’t require you live in a certain area in order to attend. The students can drag down a community’s value. We are already making the kids feel like their scores on stupid tests will affect the employment status of their teachers, now we want them to also influence the value of the homes in an area. That’s a pretty hefty burden for children. I wouldn’t want to take a test if all that was riding on it and I’m grown.

    Why bother paying so much money for a house in a “good” neighborhood these days? You can live anywhere and choose any school if you are willing to gamble or game the system. The favors and wink-wink backroom deals in this county are ridiculous.

    Private school is the only way to ensure you have a voice because they truly do need your money in order to stay open. Public schools, charter or otherwise, get their bosses paid regardless of how they perform or how many children attend. They keep taking our money regardless of what school we “choose” or even if we “opt out.” The price to pay to live in DeKalb is the necessity of paying taxes that fund corruption while also paying for a private education for your children. If you can’t pay that price, don’t raise your family here if you care about them.

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