129th General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are not scheduled to hold sessions or hearings this week.
98th House Seat Temporarily Filled: Mary Brigid “Bridey” Matheney was sworn in on February 14, 2012 to fill the vacancy in the 98th House District. She will fill the seat temporarily until a candidate is selected in the March primary. Former 98th House District Representative, Richard Hollington, resigned to become mayor of Hunting Valley.
Governor Appoints Senator Daniels: Governor John Kasich appointed Senator David Daniels (17th Senate District) as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) on February 15, 2012. The Senate Republican Caucus has yet to announce a process to replace Senator Daniels.
SAVE THE DATE: Diane Ravitch will be the featured keynote speaker at the “Save the Public Common School” conference in Columbus, OH on October 16, 2012.
Dr. Ravitch is a highly accomplished education historian and scholar. In the early 1990s she was an assistant secretary and counselor to the secretary in the U.S. Department of Education during the administration of George H. W. Bush.
Although she became an enthusiastic advocate for choice, competition, and market forces in public education, she changed her views when confronted with the evidence. In the first chapter of her new book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education” she states, “I will attempt to explain how these mistaken policies are corrupting educational values.”
The October 16th conference is being sponsored by the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. Details will follow.
Opinion Issued in Challenge of New Legislative Districts: The Ohio Supreme Court issued a 6 to 1 opinion on February 17, 2012 in a lawsuit filed by 36 voters on January 4, 2012 regarding the constitutionality of the new Ohio House and Senate districts, approved by the Apportionment Board on September 28, 2011. (Wilson
et. al. v. Kasich, Governor, et. al.)
The court denied the relators’ request to block the new legislative districts, saying that the relators took too long (96 days) to file their constitutional objections, and that the public and candidates are relying on the new districts for the March 6, 2012 election. But, the Court also said that it would consider challenges to the redrawn districts for future election cycles, and would issue a separate order for arguments. The court also said that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on a claim that the Apportionment Board violated the Sunshine Laws while it was developing the district maps.
The lawsuit, supported by Democratic lawmakers, claims that Republican lawmakers violated the Ohio Constitution Article 11, which requires that when lawmakers are redrawing legislative districts following the 2010 census, that the districts be compact and contiguous and that local units of government such as counties, townships, cities and villages not be split unnecessarily. The lawsuit claims that the district maps approved by the Apportionment Board divide 51 counties, 108 townships, 55 cities and 41 wards for a
total of 255 divisions.
Read the opinion.
President Obama’s FY13 Budget Proposal: President Obama submitted his FY13 budget proposal to the U.S. House on February 13, 2012. The budget focuses on the Obama administration’s commitment to support policies outlined in his agenda, “America Built to Last”.
The $3.8 trillion budget implements the discretionary spending caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011, and includes approximately $1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Reductions are achieved through program consolidation; increased efficiencies; the sale of federal property; decreases in administrative costs; and a reduction in the Defense Budget. Discretionary spending is reduced from 8.7 percent of GDP in 2011 to 5.0 percent in 2022.
The proposed budget also expires the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year and the 2009 changes in the estate taxes. Other changes in the tax structure to raise more revenue include eliminating special tax breaks; closing loopholes; and reducing health care costs by reforming Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs over 10 years. There are also mandatory savings through reductions in agricultural subsidies, changes in Federal employee retirement and health benefits, reforms to the unemployment insurance
system and the Postal Service, and new efforts to provide a better return to taxpayers from mineral development. These mandatory proposals would save $217 billion over the next decade.
Budget for Education: The 2013 request includes $69.8 billion in discretionary funding (an increase of $1.7 billion over 2012) for elementary and secondary education programs and supports the Administration’s plan for re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as outlined in “A Blueprint for Reform: The Re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act”.
The President’s budget request for FY13 focuses on three priorities:
- improving the affordability and quality in postsecondary education,
- elevating the teaching profession to the same high status it enjoys in nations with the highest-performing education systems, and
- strengthening the connections between school and work and better aligning job training programs with workforce demands.
The request continues to support education reforms by providing $850 million for the Race to the Top (RttR) program and $150 million for the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund. A new program, the College- and Career-Ready Students program, would replace Title I Grants to LEAs, and would direct $14.5 billion to help students in high-poverty schools meet State academic standards.
The budget includes policy changes that would restructure State accountability systems to target interventions on a State’s lowest-performing schools, and would provide $534 million for a re-authorized School Turnaround Grants program. The proposed budget would also consolidate 38 existing program authorities into 11 new grant programs.
The following is a summary of some of the proposed programs and funding levels:
Funding for Arts Education Through the Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education Initiative:
Total funding for this initiative is $426.6 million, including funding for three programs:
- Effective Teaching and Learning: Literacy: $186.9 million
- Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM: $149.7 million
- Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education: $90 million.
Based on the President’s proposal to re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the President’s FY13 budget proposal would eliminate separate funding lines for Arts in Education, Excellence in Economic Education, Teaching American History, Foreign Language Assistance, and Civic Education. These line items are combined into the Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education Program. Of the programs listed above, only Arts in Education was funded in 2012. ($25 million, which was a reduction of $2.5 million from FY11 levels).
The Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education program would support competitive grants to SEAs and high-need LEAs, alone or in partnership with other entities, to develop and expand innovative practices for improving teaching and learning in the arts, health education, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, environmental education, economics and financial literacy, and other subjects.
Funds from the Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education would also support a range of national activities, including identification of effective programs and best practices, development of high-quality educational and professional-development content, technical assistance, and dissemination, using technology across the core academic content areas, and support public telecommunications agencies, such as the Public Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other entities, in efforts to create high-quality educational content for children.
- Job Training: $8 billion for a new Community College to Career Fund to turn community colleges into community career centers, where individuals can learn skills that local businesses need, and paid internships would be available for low-income students. ($4 billion from Education and $4 billion from the U.S. Department of Labor.)
- Career Technical Education: $1.1 billion to support the re-authorization and reform of the Career Technical Education program.
- Teaching Compensation Systems: $5 billion in competitive funding to support the development of new teacher compensation systems.
- Presidential Teaching Fellows: $190 million for a new Presidential Teaching Fellows program that would provide scholarships to talented students who attend top-tier teacher prep programs and commit to working in high-need schools.
- Effective Teachers: $620 million in new grants for states to reward and support highly effective teacher preparation programs, help decrease STEM teacher shortages ($80 million), and invest in efforts to enhance the teaching profession.
Making College Affordable
- Pell Grants: Sustain the maximum Pell Grant and increase the maximum award amount to $5,635, supporting nearly 10 million students across the country. Total funding for Pell would be the same as last year, $22.8 billion.
- Student Loans: Freeze the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent. Currently the rate is scheduled to double to 6.8 percent this summer if Congress doesn’t act.
- College Costs and Quality: $1 billion for a new Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion program.
- Perkins Loans: Increase Perkins loans by $7.5 billion.
- First in the World: $55 million for a competition to drive innovation among postsecondary institutions.
- TRIO: $839.9 million, the same as the 2012 level, to maintain strong support for services to help disadvantaged students enroll in and complete college.
- GEAR UP: $302.2 million for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), the same as the 2012 level, to help approximately 725,000 middle and high school students prepare for and enroll in college.
- College Pathways and Accelerated Learning: $81.3 million, a new authority under the Administration’s ESEA re-authorization proposal, designed to increase graduation rates and preparation for college matriculation and success by providing college-level and other accelerated courses and instruction in high-poverty middle and high schools, including Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) courses, dual-enrollment programs, and “early college high schools.”
- Aid for Institutional Development Programs: $431.1 million in discretionary funds, the same as the 2012 level, to maintain support for ongoing efforts to improve the academic programs and administrative and fund raising capabilities of institutions that enroll a large proportion of minority and disadvantaged students, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Hispanic-serving Institutions: $109.4 million in discretionary funds, the same as the 2012 level, to help ensure that Hispanic students, half of whom enroll in Hispanic-serving institutions, have access to high quality postsecondary education.
Reform and Innovation
- Race to the Top: Increase RttT by $300 million for a total of $850 million next year. That money would support state and school district reforms and programs aimed at closing achievement gaps between students of different racial and economic backgrounds.
- Investing in Innovation Fund: $150 million to evaluate and scale-up evidence-based approaches to improve student achievement, raise graduation rates, and increase teacher and school leader effectiveness. A portion of these funds would be used to support the development of breakthrough learning technologies through the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education (ARPA-ED). In addition, the U.S. DOE would increase funding for Promise Neighborhoods to $100 million in total to support the development and implementation of comprehensive community projects designed to combat the effects of poverty and improve education and life outcomes for disadvantaged students.
- Expanding Options: $255 million for Expanding Educational Options to support the creation and expansion of effective charter schools and other effective autonomous schools.
- Safe and Healthy Students: $195.9 million for Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students, a new competitive grant program to improve the physical and mental health of students; reduce or prevent drug use, alcohol use, bullying, harassment, or violence; and collect and report better information on school climate and student safety.
- Title 1, Part A College and Career Ready: $14.5 billion, the same as the 2012 level, to maintain support for State and local efforts to help disadvantaged students in high-poverty schools meet challenging college-and career-ready (CCR) academic standards. The request also would help States create statewide accountability systems based on CCR standards and aligned assessments, measure school success in helping all students graduate high school ready for college and a career, reward schools and LEAs making significant progress and closing achievement gaps, and carry out rigorous interventions in the lowest-performing schools. These funds also would help States carry out similar reforms under approved ESEA flexibility plans.
- Turnaround Grants Program: $533.6 million, the same as the 2012 level, to fund a new round of awards to local school districts to support the implementation of rigorous interventions in their persistently lowest-performing schools as identified under the College- and Career-Ready Students program. These funds also would support rigorous interventions in the lowest-performing “priority schools” identified by States under approved ESEA flexibility plans.
- Assessing Achievement: $389.2 million, the same as the 2012 level, for formula and competitive grants to help States improve the quality of their assessment systems as they transition to assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards. Grantees also could use funds to develop and implement CCR standards and assessments in other subjects, such as science and history, needed to ensure that all students receive a well-rounded education.
- Special Education Grants: $11.6 billion, the same as the 2012 level, to continue paying a significant share of State and local costs of improving educational outcomes for children with disabilities. The request would provide an estimated average of $1,762 per student for about 6.6 million children ages 3 through 21.
- English Learner Education: $732.1 million for a re-authorized English Learner Education program, the same as the 2012 level, for formula grants to help States and LEAs meet the needs of the growing population of English Learners, and to help these students reach the same college- and career-ready goals for reading and mathematics as other students. The Administration’s re-authorization proposal supports strengthened professional development for educators, improved accountability, and the development and implementation of innovative and effective programs.
- Title 1 Migrant Student Education and Neglected and Delinquent Children Youth Education: $443.5 million, the same as the 2012 level, to help meet the educational needs of approximately 241,000 children of migrant agricultural workers and to help an estimated 109,000 neglected and delinquent students return to and complete high school or a GED program and obtain employment.
- Homeless Children and Youth: $65.2 million, the same as the 2012 level, for locally based services to help homeless children enroll in, attend, and succeed in school. In addition to academic instruction, the program helps ensure access for these children to preschool programs, special education, and gifted and talented programs.
- PROMISE – Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI: $30 million, an increase of $28 million to expand pilot demonstration programs in selected States to improve the health, educational attainment, and employment outcomes for children receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments and their families by better coordinating and increasing the use of existing services for which they and their families are eligible. A portion of these funds could be used for Pay for Success bonds to engage social investors, the Federal Government, and a State or local community to collaborate to finance effective interventions.
Early Childhood Education
- Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge: Use a portion of Race to the Top funds to pair with new investments by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the quality of early childhood programs and prepare young children to succeed in school.
- Grants for Infants and Families: $462.7 million for the Grants for Infants and Families program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an increase of $20 million over the 2012 level, to help States implement statewide systems of early intervention services for all eligible children with disabilities from birth through age 2 and their families.
- IDEA Preschool Grants: $372.6 million for IDEA Preschool Grants to help States provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to all children with disabilities ages 3 through 5 to help ensure that young children with disabilities succeed in school.
Research and Development
- NAEP: $132.3 million for Assessment, a decrease of $6 million from the 2012 level, to support the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The proposed funding level is sufficient to enable NAEP to fulfill its mission and continue to provide important information on student achievement over time.
- Statewide Data Systems: $53.1 million for Statewide Data Systems, an increase of $15 million over the 2012 level, to help States develop enhanced longitudinal student data systems that track student progress from early childhood to entry into the workforce. The proposed increase would support postsecondary data initiatives designed to improve information on students as they progress from high school to postsecondary education and the workforce.
- Research and Development: $202.3 million for Research, Development, and Dissemination, an increase of $12.5 million over the 2012 level, to support critical investments in education research, development, dissemination, and evaluation that provide parents, teachers, and schools with evidence-based information on effective educational practice. The request would fund additional awards under existing programs of research and development in areas where our knowledge of learning and instruction is inadequate as well as the completion of an impact evaluation of whether expanding Pell Grants to support additional training and education for unemployed adults results in higher earnings and employment.
Information about the FY13 budget proposal is available.
Grant Program to Transform the Teaching Profession: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on February 15, 2012 a competitive grant program entitled the RESPECT Project, which stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching. The program is included in President Barack Obama’s proposed FY13 budget, and is modeled after the federal Race to the Top program.
Under this program, funds would be awarded competitively to states with participating districts, and, in non-participating states, to consortia of districts to transform the teaching profession. According to Secretary Duncan, “Our larger goal is to bring a new generation of well-prepared, bright and capable men and women into the classroom from a diversity of backgrounds, lift up the accomplished teachers in our classrooms today, ensure that schools are led by strong teams, and establish teaching as a respected profession on a par with medicine, law, and engineering. Society’s most important work should also be society’s most valued work.
The program would have six key elements:
- Attracting top-tier students into education and preparing them for success.
- Creating a professional career continuum with competitive compensation. Provide support for novices and create career pathways that offer competitive compensation, opportunities, and responsibilities for educators.
- Creating conditions for success that optimize outcomes for students. Create school climates and cultures that are innovative in the use of time, approaches to staffing, use of technology, deployment of support services, and engagement of families and communities.
- Evaluating and supporting the development and success of teachers and leaders. Improve the effectiveness of teachers and leaders by highlighting and sharing the practices of those who successfully improve student outcomes; supporting continuous improvements in instructional practices for everyone; and dismissing those who (despite support) are not effective in improving student outcomes.
- Getting the best educators to the students who need them most. Create an education system that provides the highest need students (including low-income students, minority students, English learners, and students with disabilities) with the most effective teachers and principals, and provides access to other necessary resources (such as technology, instructional materials, and social, health, and nutritional services) to support every student’s academic success.
- Sustaining a new and improved system. Use the funds from this grant to transition to a significantly more effective and efficient educational system that is sustainable after the grant is over.
More information is available.
News from the ODE
Free student motivation surveys available for Grades 6-12: Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner announced on February 13, 2012 that the Ohio Department of Education is partnering with the Pearson Foundation and the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations to offer schools with grades 6-12 a free student survey called the “My Voice Survey”.
The purpose of the survey is to find out how students are motivated to learn and achieve more. The survey is based on the research of Russ Quaglia of the Quaglia Institute. He has identified eight qualities of a motivated student: a sense of belonging, learning-related heroes, a sense of accomplishment, fun and excitement, curiosity and creativity, a spirit of adventure, leadership and responsibility, and the confidence to take action. Those qualities in turn fall under three guiding principles — self worth, active engagement, and purpose.
Educators will also have an opportunity to attend a regional meeting in Columbus on Wednesday, February 29 from 8:30 AM to noon to meet Russell Quaglia, Ph.D., along with staff and students from Northmont City Schools. They will share their experiences with the My Voice survey. The meeting is at the Columbus City Schools’ Northgate Center, 6655 Sharon Woods Blvd. For more information please contact Michelle D’Amico of ODE’s Office of Strategic Initiatives at Michelle.DAmico@education.ohio.gov
In addition to free surveys of grades 6-12, schools can also inquire about additional administrations for grades 3-5, professional staff, and parents.
State Board of Education: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on February 12-14, 2012 at the Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus, OH.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2012
On February 12, 2012 the State Board of Education (the Board) participated in a work session led by Superintendent Stan Heffner, Jim Herrholtz, associate superintendent, Division of Learning, and Sasheen Phillips senior executive director, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. The work session focused on the Board’s participation in the roll-out of college and career readiness standards articulated through the Common Core standards for math and English Language Arts and Ohio’s standards for science and social studies.
Board members agreed that college and career readiness means that students are workforce ready after high school and prepared to do college work without remediation. Ohio defines college and career ready as “high school graduates have the necessary knowledge and skills to qualify for and succeed in entry level, credit bearing, college level courses, and postsecondary job training and/or education for a chosen career.”
Board members discussed their role in communicating to students, educators, and the public the purpose and goals of the college and career ready standards. They agreed to reach-out to their constituents and communities and provide information to them about the importance of these standards, and how the standards will ensure that Ohio students are prepared for work, careers, and citizenship in the 21st century.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012
119 CHAPTER HEARING: On February 13, 2012 the Board held a Chapter 119 Hearing on Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-89-01 to -04, Territory Transfers. No one testified.
The Executive Committee, chaired by Debe Terhar, discussed the June 10-12, 2012 Retreat. Board member Dannie Greene suggested that the Board receive information about the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC) Ohio Improvement Process (OIP), which promotes building leadership and team work skills among educators.
Board member Dennis Reardon suggested that the Board discuss the Next Generation of Learning and the what is a practical framework for schools to follow to move into the 21st century.
The Board also discussed a proposal to appoint a member of the State Board to an ODE Office of Professional Conduct advisory committee, that makes recommendations regarding the development and approval of consent agreements pertaining to the professional conduct of educators. The purpose of the appointment would be to give the Board a voice in the development of the consent agreements. This proposal will be brought to the full Board in March 2012.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, received an update about the Standards for Fine Arts and Foreign Languages; received an update on Financial Literacy and Business Education Standards; and received an update about the work of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
Tom Rutan, associate director for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, provided information about the process that is being used to revise the standards for fine arts and world languages; the development of new academic content standards for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship; and new academic content standards in non Career-Technical Business Education.
Revision of the Standards for the Fine ArtsThe process for revising standards for the fine arts and world languages began in 2010 as directed by House Bill 1 of the 128th General Assembly. Stakeholders representing all disciplines of the arts (dance, drama/theater, music, and visual art) convened to review the current standards and recommend changes to improve rigor, clarity, and relevance. Nineteen different focus groups were held.
According to a written report, “ODE is exercising transparency throughout the process by providing recurring updates about the process, progress and direction through a special ODE web site link “Arts Standards Re-Visioning”, E-newsletters, regional educator workshops, focus groups, and presentation at arts association board meetings and statewide conferences.”
“ODE also submitted the draft of the revised Fine Arts standards to art education experts for their review, feedback and recommendations. Lastly, the draft revised Fine Arts standards were posted online from mid-November 2011 – January 2012 for public view and input.”
Comments about the draft standards are now being reviewed. A revised draft of the Fine Arts Standards will be presented to the State Board in April 2012, with a tentative adoption set for June 2012.
According to the presentation, the draft fine arts standards are “streamlined” and the framework for the standards has been updated. The current five standards for the fine arts have been condensed into three standards.
The work of the National Coalition of Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is also being monitored, “..so as to ensure coordination and continued alignment between the Ohio art standards revision work and that of NCCAS.”
Board member Jeff Hardin asked if a representative of the International Thespian Society was among the stakeholders who had participated in the revision of the standards. The response was no.
The current standards for World Languages were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2003. According to the written report, “The revised standards will be titled Ohio’s K-12 World Language Academic Content Standards to reflect the inclusiveness of the standards and discipline and to align to the national agenda.”
The revised standards for World Languages reduces the five content areas to two, by subsuming the content of three standards into two standards.
The ODE began developing the academic content standards for Financial Literacy in 2010 by convening a Financial Literacy steering team to draft the standards at the high school level for particular courses. The steering team includes education experts from business, family and consumer sciences and social studies, and representatives from the business community, higher education, and the government.
The Steering team is now drafting the standards for elementary and middle grades, focusing on the economic concepts of scarcity, goods and services, opportunity costs, markets, etc. The standards are designed to easily integrate into existing social studies class curricula and other instructional threads.
Focus group presentations on the draft high school standards are underway. The draft standards for elementary and middle level grades will be posted on the ODE web site in March for public review.
The ODE created a committee in the fall of 2011 to develop a common agenda for entrepreneurship education in grades K-12. The committee drafted a set of common expectations for what all students should know and be able to do upon completion of high school. The draft was presented to stakeholder groups of business and industry consultants and educators. The draft was revised, and is now being prepared for another review from stakeholders.
Business Education (non-career-technical) Standards
An initial draft of the Business Standards was reviewed by representatives of business and industry, and then revised. A second draft was later reviewed by representatives from several business education groups. This led to more revisions and a third draft. The standards will soon be posted on the ODE website for public comment.
Sasheen Phillips, senior executive director for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and Jim Wright, director for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, led a presentation about the new assessments that will be implemented in 2014-15 in math and English language arts, and similar assessments that will be developed for social studies and science.
The standards for all of these areas are referred to as Ohio’s College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS). College readiness means the following:
- mastery of core competencies in Common Core State Standards
- placement into general education types of English and college Algebra
- not intended to determine admission to college or university
- does not replace college/university tests to place students into higher level math and English courses
- does not address non-traditional students who delay enrollment
Ohio and its partner states participating in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are working to approve test specifications, develop sustainability plans, determine model instructional tools, build the capacity of educators, and create assessments that will support state accountability systems.
The goal is to develop a coherent assessment system that includes diagnostic and informative assessments (formative assessments), aligned instructional resources, implementation and transition support, and summative assessments (performance-based and end of year/course assessments).
Students will receive feedback from assessments in high school to identify who is ready for college level work, and those students who are not ready will participate in targeted interventions and supports.
According to the presentation, PARCC is considering three end of course assessments for English Language Arts and six end of course exams for math.
The PARCC assessments will measure student mastery of Common Core State Standards, provide online testing with immediate results, and provide a common measure of career and college readiness. The assessments for social studies and science will look similar to the PARCC online assessments. However, at this time social studies is not an assessed area, and so state law would need to be changed.
The PARCC Assessment System will also provide instructional tools to support implementation, professional development modules, student achievement data, and training.
A variety of tools and resources will be developed to support the implementation of the common core, social studies, and science standards, and the new assessments. The tools include model content frameworks; instructional prototypes (online items and performance tasks; model instructional units; college readiness tools; professional development modules; and a partnership resource center.
State Board of Education members will be considering several policy issues over the next years. For example, should the graduation requirements continue with the new assessment? how should the graduation requirements or alternative accountability measures change based on the new assessments? when should the requirements be phased in and what are the implications?
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, discussed the new Praxis II exams and qualifying scores for the areas of arts education, technology education, and the Principles of Learning and Teaching exams. The exams (and scoring) take effect in 2012, and the Capacity Committee will review them again next year.
Update about Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System
Teachers and administrators from six schools piloting the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) presented information to the Board about their experiences so far. Schools/districts participating in Race to the Top are required to implement new teacher evaluations by July 2012, while other schools/districts must implement teacher evaluations by July 2013. Schools/districts are required to adopt policies to support teacher evaluation systems based on Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System framework, which provides latitude for schools/districts to develop teacher evaluations based on their needs and circumstances.
Participating in the discussion were representatives from the Cincinnati Public Schools, Dayton Early College Academy, Lion of Judah Academy, Valley Local School, and Van Wert City Schools.
School representatives expressed optimism about the overall implementation, but also raised concerns about the following:
- the capacity of schools to conduct fair evaluations with few resources and little time
- time lines for implementing the new evaluations while also implementing new Common Core standards and eventually new assessments
- measuring student growth in untested subjects and grades
- measuring individual student growth in courses such as choir, band, or orchestra, in which students work as a team
- the timeliness of receiving value added data
- training for consistent evaluations
- evaluators evaluating teachers in content areas in which they are not familiar
The ODE has hired MGT to evaluate the pilot districts and the Ohio Principals Electronic System. The ODE is scheduled to release a list of approved assessments to augment student results from statewide assessments in mid March.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON URBAN EDUCATION
The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, continued to discuss implementation of the State Board of Education’s diversity policy.
Professor Sharon Davies, executive director of the Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, and Steve Menendian, senior legal associate of the Kirwan Institute, presented draft guidelines based on the recommendations in the report “Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools: Final Recommendations”, which was accepted by the State Board in September 2011.
The committee is developing a guide and procedures for schools/districts to use to promote local diversity efforts.
The draft Policy “…is intended to promote diversity by providing careful guidance to districts and by creating infrastructure to allow the existing diversity best practices to be lifted-up and shared.”
Diversity is defined as “…a multi-dimensional concept that acknowledges and embraces the richness of human differences,” and encompasses, but is not limited to, race and ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, familial status, (dis)ability, and linguistic diversity.
According to the report, diversity must not only be incorporated into a general set of educational values, but also into the curricula, instructional materials, and educational methodologies.
Some committee members recommended that separate courses be developed to instruct students about diversity. Also committee members have requested that religious diversity be included and information about how to resolve inter-group conflicts be added to the guide. These and other recommendations will be included in the next draft of the guidelines for the March 2012 Select Committee meeting.
During the discussion the presenters noted that the title of the report has been changed to “Strategies for Successful School Policy: Empowering Districts to Promote Diversity and Reduce Racial Isolation in Ohio’s Schools.”
At the direction of the Board the presenters distinguished those recommendations that schools/districts are encouraged to implement; strongly encouraged to implement, or are required to implement. The required recommendations also recognize the capacity of schools/districts to implement them without added resources.
RECOGNITION OF BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS
The Board held a ceremony to recognize Ohio’s 18 Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon School program identifies top-performing schools in both the state and the nation. The U.S. Department of Education initiated the Blue Ribbon Schools recognition program in 1982 to identify and bring national attention to outstanding public and private schools that have demonstrated sustained academic success.
The following schools were recognized:
- St. Columban, Loveland (Clermont County);
- Putnam Elementary School, Blanchester Local (Clinton County);
- Citizens Academy, Sponsor: Cleveland Metropolitan School District (Cuyahoga County);
- Kensington Intermediate Elementary School, Rocky River City Schools (Cuyahoga County);
- Saint Angela Merici School, Fairview Park (Cuyahoga County);
- St. Joan of Arc School, Chagrin Falls (Cuyahoga County);
- Timmons Elementary School, Kenston Local Schools (Geauga County);
- All Saints School, Cincinnati (Hamilton County);
- South Range High School, South Range Local (Mahoning County);
- West Boulevard Elementary School, Boardman Local (Mahoning County);
- St. Francis Xavier School, Medina (Medina County);
- Cardington-Lincoln Elementary School, Cardington-Lincoln Local (Morrow County);
- Lake Elementary School, Lake Local (Stark County);
- Saint Barnabas Catholic School, Northfield (Summit County);
- Maplewood Elementary School, Maplewood Local (Trumbull County);
- Kings Mills Elementary School, Kings Local (Warren County);
- Springboro High School, Springboro Community City (Warren County);
- Union Elementary School, Upper Sandusky Exempted Village (Wyandot County).
Following lunch the Board received a closed-door presentation regarding the performance audit of the Ohio Department of Education being conducted by the State Auditor’s office.
The Board then convened its business meeting and immediately moved into Executive Session.
LEGISLATIVE AND BUDGET COMMITTEE
The Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, met following the Board’s executive session. The committee discussed proposed legislative and budget recommendations for FY14-15. The discussion was led by Kelly Weir, executive director of the Office of Legislative Services and Budgetary Planning and Emily Gephart, assistant director of Legislative Services and Budgetary Planning.
The committee identified which General Revenue Funds (GRF) would be considered foundation funding. These items, which are based on formulas, will not be included in the Board’s budget recommendations pursuant to a decision by the Board to address non-formulaic line items rather than duplicate the work of Governor Kasich’s administration, which is revising the state’s school funding system. However, the Board will still be able to make policy recommendations regarding these line items.
The committee also received information presented by Stephanie Siddens, director of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness about the budget line items that pertain to early childhood education and special education preschool.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2012
The following three State Board of Education task forces met in the morning: The Ohio School for the Blind and Ohio School for the Deaf Governance Task Force, chaired by Dannie Greene; the Policy and Procedures Task Force, chaired by Rob Hovis; and the Superintendent Evaluation Task Force, chaired by Dennis Reardon.
PRESENTATION FROM THE CLEVELAND METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT
The State Board of Education received a presentation from Eric Gordon, CEO and Superintendent of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), regarding a plan introduced by Mayor Frank G. Jackson on February 2, 2012 to transform the city’s public schools. (“Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools: Reinventing public education in our city and serving as a model of innovation for the state of Ohio,”)
The plan was submitted to Governor Kasich, Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, Ohio Senate President Thomas Niehaus, House Minority Leader Armond Budish, and Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney.
According to the presentation, Mayor Jackson appointed a task force that included representatives from the Cleveland Foundation, the Gund Foundation, and Breakthrough Schools, to develop a plan that would accomplish two goals: “….ensure that every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and that every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose.”
Reform initiatives in CMSD over the past six years have led to new schools, new partnerships, a new teacher evaluation system, and improved safety and learning conditions. In 2010 CMSD adopted the “Academic Transformation Plan”, which redesigned the central office to cut costs and better support schools; implemented a customized approach to managing schools; and expanded the number of new and redesigned schools. The plan included a partnership with the Cleveland Teachers Union and with high performing charter schools, and resulted in an increase from 14 to 31 of schools rated excellent in the district.
But 31,000 students still attend failing schools in Cleveland, even when seats in higher performing schools are available; 30,000 students have left CMSD; and the district has a deficit of $64.9 million in 2012-13, which will increase by $40 million in 2013-14. (There are 66,000 children of school age in Cleveland. Approximately 43,000 students attend CMSD; 9,000 attend Catholic schools; 14,000 attend charter schools.)
To address these issues, the newly proposed transformation plan supports a new type of public education system referred to as a “portfolio model”. The model is based on the work of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (University of Washington) and the following tenets: citywide choices and options for all families; school autonomy; pupil-based funding; diverse support providers; talent-seeking strategies; extensive public engagement; and performance-based accountability for all schools. CMSD is part of the
Portfolio School District Network, with cities such as Hartford, Baltimore, Denver, New York, and more.
Cleveland’s portfolio school proposal includes the following strategies:
- Grow the number of high-performing district and charter schools and close and replace failing schools. Just don’t close schools, but replace the schools so that students have options in their neighborhoods. And, help students make good choices, by filling the available seats of high performing schools. Continue to create new schools; refocus mid-performing schools; and use turn around strategies that work. (The presenter specifically mentioned the work to turn around poor performing schools being done at the University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program, Darden School of Business.)
- Focus the district’s central office on key support and governance roles and transfer authority and resources to schools. Redistribute funds to schools and classrooms through a weighted per pupil formula that adjusts resources to address special education, poverty, and academic performance, including students in the third grade who are not reading. High performing schools will have more autonomy, and poor performing schools will implement aggressive intervention plans based on research.
- Invest and phase-in a high-leverage system of reforms across all schools from pre-school to college and career. This includes high quality preschool; college and workforce readiness; year-round calendar; recruiting talented teachers and building the capacity of teachers; academic technology enhancement; and support for high quality charter schools based on national standards. Half of the students who enter the CMSD do not have preschool experience. The intent of the plan is to provide all four year olds with preschool.
- Create the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to ensure accountability for all public schools in the city. This alliance will be composed of representatives from the district, the charter sector, and the community (business, foundation, civic, and neighborhood), and will be supported through a combination of private and publicfunds. “The alliance will not replace the existing authority of the Cleveland Board of Education or the boards of independent charter schools.”
The Alliance will assess all schools in Cleveland based on indicators such as demographics; the number of special education students compared to the number in the community; how schools use their resources; and meeting the National Quality Standards for Charter Schools. The Alliance will direct students to high performing schools, and recommend where new schools should open to address neighborhood needs.
In order to implement this plan, advocates will ask for legislation to do the following:
- Provide CMSD the same waivers and exemptions provided to charter schools.
- Enable CMSD to manage its fiscal assets flexibly, including the sale of real estate.
- Require CMSD to take immediate action with regard to its lowest performing schools.
- Eliminate seniority as the sole or priority factor in any employment or assignment decision including RIF situations.
- Enable more streamlined and standards-defined dismissal process.
- Empower CMSD leadership to determine contract duration, terms and non-renewal criteria, and establish a probationary period for all staff.
- Require a differentiated compensation system to attract and retain excellent teachers and principals, aligned to the new evaluation system (with performance as a key, but not sole, factor).
- Allow the district to share local levy revenues and other assets (including buildings) with high-performing charter schools sponsored by or under contract with the CMSD.
- Allow the district to count enrollment of district sponsored charter schools.
- Provide the Cleveland Transformation Alliance with sign-off authority on new charter authorizations in the City of Cleveland.
- Close loopholes in existing law that allow bad charters to close and re-open under different sponsorship, and ensure that bad schools are closed permanently, including prohibiting transfer to the Ohio Department of Education for continued operation.
- Require notice for school closures to be made to parents in June, thereby eliminating a “lame duck” year.
- Require the CMSD and contracting parties to begin future negotiations without carryover terms from previous contracts.
- Start-up and expansion of new and high-performing school models.
- Implementation of year-round schooling.
- Support for high quality charter schools (i.e., a Cleveland pilot of “Invest in the Best”).
- Introduction of new business systems to support the plan (e.g., per-pupil funding model).
Response from the State Board of Education
Following the presentation Board members asked questions about how the plan was developed? how the plan would support rebuilding communities in Cleveland? how the proposal about local levies for charter schools would work? when would legislation be drafted? how the plan would help prepare students for Kindergarten and college and careers? and more.
Overall Board members expressed qualified support for the proposed plan as described by Mr. Gordon. It was mentioned that the presentation clarified a number of concerns that have been raised about the plan as presented in the media. Several Board members invited Mr. Gordon and Mayor Jackson to work with the State Board as the process continues.
Responding to a question from Dennis Reardon, Mr. Gordon said that teachers were not part of the task force that Mayor Jackson put together to draft the plan. He said there needs to be a deeper dialogue with teachers and other employees about the proposal, and in the next steps of the process there will be opportunities for teachers and teacher leaders to influence the plan and how it is implemented.
He later expanded upon his good working relationship with the teacher’s union in Cleveland in response to questions from Rob Hovis and Jeff Mims, and said that it is difficult to remove poor performing employees, but the teachers union in Cleveland does not support poor teachers. As a matter of law the union must defend its members and ensure due process, but he believes that the Cleveland teachers’ union wants good teachers.
When asked how the levy proposal would work, Mr. Gordon told Mary Rose Oakar that if CMSD had the authority to put a levy on the ballot to raise local tax revenue for CMSD and charter schools that are contracted with CMSD, the ballot language would indicate that XX mills would go to CMSD and YY mills to charter schools.
Mr. Gordon also said that there is an aggressive time line for the draft legislation to be introduced. Legislators representing the Cleveland area have already been briefed about the proposal.
To address the issue of students not being prepared for school, Mr. Gordon stated that the plan includes voluntary residential schools. CMSD believes that all children, even those with problems, can learn. (Families are giving us their best children.) The plan supports preschool and social emotional learning, and a variety of types of schools to meet the needs of children and parents.
Mr. Gordon also said in response to a question from Mr. Hovis that he is responsible for the academic achievement of the students in Cleveland, but the current rating system and state report cards are unfair and not transparent. The system does not give a fair picture of the district, which has made progress on several indicators, but still received a negative value added score. He said that the system needs to be stable and the value added rules should not have been changed in the middle of the year.
Tom Gunlock expressed concern over the proposal to create another bureaucracy to oversee community schools and return control of the schools to the district. In response Mr. Gordon said that the proposed Transformation Alliance will have control over the district schools and community schools. The district won’t sponsor the schools, but will shift responsibility about who controls the schools, so that the focus will be on students and success. Charter schools that want to join will have to meet the national quality
standards, and the district will take specific action to improve its poorer performing schools.
Mr. Gordon also spent some time distinguishing CMSD schools from those that don’t serve all students in a neighborhood or community. He said that he believes in performance plus integrity. If schools are screening out certain students or not serving students in a community, than even if they are meeting standards they are not quality schools.
The Cleveland Transformation Plan is available at http://www.cmsdnet.net/
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION BUSINESS MEETING
The State Board reconvened its business meeting, and received public participation on non-agenda items from Ann Sheldon, Colleen Grady, Eric Price, and Dr. Jim Broyles.
Ann Sheldon, executive director of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC), and Colleen Grady, OAGC’s government relations liaison, presented their concerns about the Ohio Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education.
The OAGC representatives cited the following concerns, and requested that the ODE make changes in the proposal to reflect their recommendations:
- Accurately describe in the waiver request the State Board of Education’s resolution adopted in December 2011 to add the gifted performance indicator in the unified accountability system and, among other provisions, develop a value-added growth measure and a gifted dashboard, which by 2014-2015 will contribute to districts’ ratings.
- Reconsider the suggestion to increase weights for accelerated and advanced levels. Such a change could lead to unintended consequences that could affect gifted students’ access to accelerated and advanced courses. Any new accountability system should provide incentives to accelerate gifted students rather than provide artificial barriers that serve as disincentives for districts to do the right thing for students.
- Include in the waiver the State Board of Education’s federal platform request to allow for above-grade level state assessments.
- Correct the inaccuracies in the description of curricula supports for diverse learners including gifted, included in the waiver request. OAGC is concerned that districts and policy makers will interpret the description of support for gifted students in this application as evidence that fewer resources for gifted are needed, when in fact the opposite is true.
The testimony is available.
Eric Price also testified about quality schools in Dayton, and Dr. Jim Broyles, president elect of the Ohio Psychology Association, requested the Board reconsider its policy on harassment and bullying, and enumerate the characteristics of individuals who should be protected from bullying. He said that research has shown that enumerated anti-bullying policies work better than generic policies.
Following public participation on non-agenda items, the Board received the report of Superintendent Heffner. He explained the process for submitting the waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education regarding the No Child Left Behind Act. A one-page framework describing the waiver was distributed. The ODE is requesting flexibility to replace Adequate Yearly Progress; produce a single plan; develop a new report card based on performance and growth; establish an early warning system; and have more flexibility regarding federal funds. The deadline to submit the application has been extended to February 28, 2012.
Board members discussed whether or not they should officially “endorse” the waiver request, but no action was taken.
The Board then took action on the resolutions included below; considered old business, new business, and miscellaneous business, and adjourned.
Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Resolutions 1, 2, 5-9 are personnel items.
Resolution 3: Adopted a Resolution of Intent to consider confirmation of the Lake Local School District’s determination of impractical transportation of certain students attending St. Matthew’s School in Akron, Summit County, OH.
Resolution 4: Adopted a Resolution of Intent to consider confirmation of the Westerville City School District’s determination of impractical transportation of certain students attending St. Matthew Catholic School in Gahanna, Franklin County, OH.
Resolution 10: Adopted a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-11-01 to -03, and -07 of the Administrative Code regarding the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program.
Resolution 11: Adopted a Resolution to Amend Rules 3301-24-18 of the Administrative Code regarding the Resident Educator License.
Resolution 12: Adopted a Resolution to Adopt Rules 3301-101-01 to -13, of the Administrative Code regarding the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program.
Teacher Value-Added Study Reviewed: The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice, Think Tank Review released a review of the study “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood”, by Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, and Jonah E. Rockoff, published in December 2011.
The review of this study was released on February 16, 2012 and was conducted by Dale Ballou, Vanderbilt University. (Review of The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood, NEPC, February 16, 2012.)
The study, based on data from a large urban school system, found a pattern of positive effects of “high value added teachers” on students as they transition to adulthood. The researchers identified as positive effects the probability of going to college, the level of earnings once students enter the workforce, the probability that female students do not give birth as teenagers, the quality of the neighborhood in which students live at age 25, and the establishment of a retirement savings account.
The study’s conclusions have made it popular among proponents of more rigorous teacher evaluation systems and compensation programs for teachers based on merit. (See The New York Times, Room for Debate to access some of the articles in response to this study.)
But, Dr. Ballou states in the review of the study that the conclusions about the value-added assessment of teachers raise the following concerns:
“Part of this controversy involves concerns that a policy of high-stakes teacher evaluation linked to students’ test scores would intensify practices such as the narrowing of curriculum and teaching to the test. A second part involves questions of whether value-added models are reliable and valid. This review focuses on the latter, modeling and measurement questions, setting aside for the moment those other elements of the policy debate.”
According to Dr. Ballou, “….there are concerns that the statistical methods do not sufficiently control for other factors that influence test-score gains. But this is not all. The focus on testing is deemed unsatisfactory, in light of the following: (1) Tests are often poorly aligned with the curriculum and fail to reflect what is taught; (2) Test performance is noisy, measuring student ability with considerable measurement error; (3) Other important parts of a teacher’s job (e.g., building character, teaching citizenship) are not captured by performance on tests. Thus, evaluating teachers on the basis of students’ performance on a single test (an examination that frequently holds no consequences for students) can yield a reading on teacher performance that is incomplete at best, and possibly seriously misleading.”
Dr. Ballou suggests that in order for the researchers to support their claim about value added assessment of teachers, they would also need to rule out plausible alternative explanations, such as the role of parents to support the long-term success of their children and even “endeavored to secure high value-added teachers for their children.”
This review explains that, for the most part, “…the evidence needed to rule out these alternatives is missing from the report. Thus, policy-makers should tread cautiously in their reaction: the case has not been proved.”
The review is available.
Who is Charlotte Danielson? An interview with economist, teacher, and education consultant Charlotte Danielson in the New York Times describes her efforts to define “What is good teaching?” in order to help teachers improve. (“An Evaluation Architect Says Teaching is Hard but Assessing It Shouldn’t Be” by Theodoric Meyer, February 15, 2012).
Working as an economist in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Ms. Danielson decided to become a teacher and later worked in the District’s schools. She then became involved in professional and curriculum development, and worked with Educational Testing Service to redesign their teacher assessments for licensing. It was through this work that she decided to define the components of good teaching, which were included in her book, “Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching” (ASCD, 1996). Ms. Danielson also included a rubric to determine the level of performance, and then developed ways to train classroom observers to be consistent evaluators of teachers.
Her work is now the basis of several teacher evaluation models that States are implementing.
According to the interview, Ms. Danielson believes that teachers should be assessed for quality, because the public is paying. However, she doesn’t agree that teachers should be continually evaluated. She says, “Now, how you ensure quality is then the question. Does that mean continuous assessment of teacher practice? I don’t think so. But what does it mean? Periodic? And what counts as evidence?”
“There’s observations of practice, but there’s other things that you can do for evidence, like look at the work that teachers are asking kids to do. Is it intellectually engaging, for example? Is it high-level work, or is it busy work? That can all be part of an evaluation system.”
Ms. Danielson advises States that are implementing teacher evaluation systems to start small. She uses Arkansas as an example.
“Arkansas is a good example. I worked with the State of Arkansas over about an 18-month period to design a new statewide system, and then they offered it up on a small-scale basis to, I think, 10 districts, and the districts had to apply to do it. They were selected based on various criteria. They wanted them to be representative of the state regionally, different sizes of districts and so on.”
When asked about using standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, Ms. Danielson replied, “My expertise is on defining good teaching. It’s not on how to use test scores. I do think that it’s reasonable for teachers to demonstrate that their kids have learned. I think that does make sense. Beyond that, though, I’m not at all convinced that it can be done fairly for teachers based on what we know now, particularly in a high-stakes environment.”
The interview is available.
Arts Assessment Report Released Just in Time: The National Endowment for the Arts and WestEd released on February 14, 2012 a new report that “….examines the current trends, promising techniques, and successful practices being used to assess student learning in the arts throughout the country, as well as identify potential areas in which arts assessment could be improved.” (“Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts — State of the Field and Recommendations” Sharon A. Herpin, Adrienne Quinn Washington, Jian Li)
The study comes at a time when States are adopting new policies about preparing students to be college and career ready; implementing teacher evaluations based on student academic growth in content areas, including the arts; and revising national standards for the arts. (National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.)
The following are the findings of the report based on data collected from conversations with expert consultants in the field; a review of arts assessment literature, including tools, resources, informational materials, and research reports; and a nationwide survey administered to policy makers, educators, arts and cultural organization staff, and researchers:
There is a lack of publicly available high-quality assessment tools, informational documents, how-to resources, and technical reports related to K-12 student learning in the arts.
- Of 727 individual items reviewed, only 148 (20.4%) were both relevant to the study and of high quality.
- The majority of high-quality assessment tools focused on visual arts and/or music. Few research and technical reports are publicly available.
- Although evaluation reports for arts projects are required by many funders, they are generally not being released publicly.
- Much of the available research literature focuses on learning through the arts rather than learning in the arts. A lack of clarity exists regarding the difference between arts knowledge and arts skills.
- Survey respondents reported measuring student knowledge with methods more appropriate for measuring skills and vice versa (e.g., use of a paper/pencil test to measure student skills). This calls into question the validity of assessments designed and used by those who may not fully understand the difference. Survey respondents use a variety of assessment tools to collect data for multiple purposes.
- All groups of respondents reported using many different types of skills assessment tools, including rubrics, observation protocols, portfolio reviews, and performance-based assessments.
- The majority of survey respondents reported that the tool they found most useful was created by a teacher or teaching artist.
- Reasons for collecting data included formative feedback, program evaluation, and district/school accountability. School staff most often reported using data for student grades, while arts and cultural organizations and state/county arts council staff were significantly more likely to collect data as a funding requirement. The majority of high-quality, publicly available assessment tools are created by large-scale testing agencies and state education agencies. In general, assessments created by these larger agencies scored higher for quality than did assessments created by individuals or smaller organizations. A need exists for a single, comprehensive clearinghouse for tools, information, and resources focused on assessing student knowledge and skills in the arts.
- Existing documents identified during the literature review process were scattered across many websites, journal articles, books, and other documents. High-quality materials were often mixed in with low-quality materials, making them even more difficult to locate and identify.
- Overall, the quality of assessment tools found on the web was low – yet more than three-quarters of survey respondents reported they use Internet search engines to look for assessment tools, often with little success.
- Survey respondents identified the need for exemplar tools (e.g., specific assessment tools, examples, and item banks) and models of successful assessment practices to learn from and replicate.
- More than three-quarters of survey respondents also reported they would create a new assessment tool if they needed one; however, locally developed tools tended to receive lower ratings for quality (potentially stemming from a lack of clarity between knowledge and skills and a lack of understanding about what is and is not a rubric). There is a need for professional development related to arts assessment.*Overall, the arts education field is eager to assess student learning. However, the field needs guidance and assistance to implement high-quality assessment practices.
- Findings from the literature review and survey responses indicated a need for training on the difference between assessing student knowledge and skills in the arts.
- Findings from the literature review and survey responses indicated a need for training regarding rubrics, particularly what constitutes a rubric, how it is properly used, and what components are necessary to develop or select a high-quality rubric.
- More than half of survey respondents reported receiving training on arts assessment via professional development workshops or conferences, whereas fewer than half of all respondents, including fewer than one-quarter for some respondent groups, reported receiving undergraduate- or graduate-level training on assessing student learning.
- Respondents reported needing additional training on topics such as: locating and identifying valid assessment tools, using rubrics and other assessment methods, and using assessment to demonstrate the importance of the arts. Survey respondents reported needs of the field around four main categories – guidance, trained professionals, making the case, and additional needs.
- Guidance: a clear framework aligning standards, curriculum, and instruction; access to exemplar tools; models of assessment practice; resources; and professional learning communities (PLCs) to share knowledge and ask questions.
- Trained professionals: professional development, university training, and certification programs in all art forms to improve instruction and assessment in the arts.
- Making the case: demonstrating the value of the arts, including having research to show the impact of arts education; garnering support from school and district leaders; and implementing statewide or high-stakes testing as a method to increase the perceived importance of the arts among policy makers and other stakeholders.
- Additional needs: funding, time, technology, meeting the needs of diverse students, overcoming anti-assessment sentiment, and addressing the “subjective myth” that the arts are subjective and cannot be assessed objectively.
The report included the following recommendations:
- Assemble a national advisory committee to bridge assets and come to consensus on how to improve arts assessment.
- Include members from all stakeholder groups (e.g., teachers, teaching artists, district staff, policy makers, arts/cultural organization staff, researchers).
- Tasks for the advisory committee should include conceptualizing an arts-assessment clearinghouse, setting a national research agenda, and prioritizing professional development topics for the field. Create an online clearinghouse for high-quality arts assessment materials.
- Develop a one-stop shop where teachers, teaching artists, practitioners, and researchers can access reliable and valid assessment tools, helpful how-to resources, high-quality research and evaluation reports, and relevant informational documents pertaining to arts assessment.
- Ensure high-quality, vetted measures and resources are available, leading to improved validity in arts assessment. Agencies and organizations looking to develop assessment tools must be willing to commit the time, money, and resources necessary to design high-quality measures.
Features of a high-quality clearinghouse should include:
- High-quality informational documents on myriad topics, including the distinction between knowledge and skills in the arts and glossaries of important evaluation- and assessment-related terms.
- High-quality how-to resources on myriad topics, including how to locate/identify/develop valid and reliable assessment tools, especially rubrics.
- High-quality exemplar assessment tools, including measures that are appropriate for varying art forms and grade levels, address the needs of appropriate audiences (e.g., classroom teachers, teaching artists), offer time-sensitive options, are easily adaptable with instruction on how the tool can be modified, and provide data that can contribute to larger research efforts.
- While the clearinghouse could take years to fully establish, in the short-term create a website with informational materials and/or professional development programs on high-priority topics like the difference between knowledge and skills in the arts and how to identify, develop, and use a quality rubric.
- First steps should be taken on the NEA website to maximize the impact of pre-existing traffic flow since survey respondents indicated they already visit the site in search of assessment-related tools and resources.
- Establish online professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs could be part of the clearinghouse or a separate entity.
- Maintain special communities for different stakeholder groups (e.g., policy makers, teachers, teaching artists, arts/cultural organization staff, researchers).
- Establish communities across content or topic areas, such as a location where participants can upload their assessment tool and receive constructive feedback, or share ideas on meeting the needs of diverse students.
- Increase professional development offered in the area of arts assessment.
- Provide current information aimed at developing common understandings, sharing successful practices, and building the knowledge and skills needed to implement assessment in the arts.
- Tailor professional development to arts education audiences, such as separate tracks for teachers, teaching artists, policymakers/administrators, researchers, and arts/cultural organization staff. Professional development providers should be selected based on the specific needs of each group.
- Establish criteria for high-quality professional development that encompass webinars and regional trainings/conferences.
- Address specific need for professional development related to rubrics, including how to accurately define and identify them, how to select a high-quality rubric, and how to modify or develop a rubric to meet assessment needs.
- Address specific need for professional development related to recognizing high-quality assessment materials – particularly tools – since more than three-quarters of survey respondents reported using the Internet to search for measures.
- Partnerships among offices of education, arts councils, universities, and researchers can be used to bridge assets and provide comprehensive professional development programs.
- Develop a national arts assessment research agenda and prioritize dissemination of tools and reports.
- Additional research is needed on a variety of topics (e.g., identifying models of successful practice in various settings, demonstrating how learning in the arts is beneficial to students).
- Priorities should be defined by the advisory committee and made public so researchers can respond.
- Establish a website for vetted, high-quality research offering both brief summaries and full reports. Encourage researchers to publish findings on this site and in other locations accessible to the arts education community.
- Assist funders and others to make evaluation tools and reports public. Address the issues of negative results and participant confidentiality.
- Stop re-creating the wheel.
- Take action to reduce duplication and maximize efficacy.
- Establish a clearinghouse for high-quality arts assessment tools and resources, allowing practitioners to easily locate high-quality, vetted materials that meet their needs.
- Funders with constrained resources should work together to determine criteria and methods for grantee reporting, streamlining the process for recipients of multiple funding sources and possibly allowing for some comparative data.
- Push to make evaluation reports publicly available, allowing arts organizations and researchers to learn what methodologies have been used in the past and with what results, identify and build upon best practices, and avoid pitfalls through lessons learned.
2012 ART CRITICISM INVITATIONAL
Each year a high school class is invited to view the top twenty-five works of art in the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition and write art criticism in response to the works. These writings are printed, along with an image of the work, and made available to viewers of the exhibition. This provides an audience for students’ written work and broadens the viewers’ perspective for the art work. Secondary art teachers who are interested in having their students participate should contact:
Nancy Pistone, Arts Consultant
Ohio Department of Education
25 S. Front Street, MS#509
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 466-7908
Find the 2012 Entry Form here.