Arts On Line Education Update 09.02.2014

Ohio News

•130th Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate will not meet in session this week. According to the House and Senate calendars for the second half of 2014, House sessions are scheduled for November 12, 19, and December 3, 10, and 17, 2014. Senate sessions are scheduled for November 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, and December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 16, 2014.  The House has also scheduled committee hearings on November 25, 2014, while the Senate has scheduled committee hearings on September 23, 24, and 25, 2014. Some “if needed” sessions and committee meetings are also scheduled this fall.  Of course sessions can be added and canceled.  The House and Senate calendars are available at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/today.cfm.

•Committee Hearings this Week: In an unusual move the leadership of the Ohio House scheduled a series of August hearings on one bill, which was introduced on July 28, 2014, Sub. HB597 (Huffman/Thompson) Repeal/Replace Common Core State Standards.  Hearings started on August 18, 2014.  HB597 would replace the new Common Core State Standards and make other changes in law regarding the implementation of academic content standards, testing, and graduation requirements.  Normally an education-related bill would have been assigned to the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, but this bill was assigned to the Rules and Reference Committee, chaired by one of the bill’s sponsors, where it is expected to receive a favorable vote, due, in part, to last minute changes in the committee’s membership. More details about HB597 are included below.

The House Rules and Reference Committee, chaired by Representative Huffman, will meet on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM in hearing room 313.  The committee will continue to receive testimony on Sub. HB597, and amendments are expected.

•Appointments to Ohio Arts Council:  Governor Kasich re-appointed Emma Scharfenberger Off of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Ohio Arts Council for a term beginning
August 4, 2014 and ending July 1, 2019, and Juan P. Cespedes of Columbus (Franklin County) for a term beginning July 31, 2014 and ending July 1, 2019. Ms. Off is an attorney with Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP, where she practices in the areas of general corporate law and commercial loans and financial transactions, and Mr. Cespedes is a principal with The Oxley Group, where he works in business development and government relations.

See http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/08.04.14%20Kasich%20Announces%20Appointments%20to%20State%20Boards.pdf

•State Board at Full Strength:  Governor Kasich appointed A. J. Wagner to the State Board of Education on August 4, 2014, filling all vacant positions, and bringing the board to full membership of 19 (11 elected members and 8 appointed members) for the first time in several years.  Mr. Wagner replaces Jeff Mims, who resigned in December 2014, after he was elected to the Dayton City Commission.  Mr. Wagner will represent the 3rd State Board District, but must run for re-election in November 2014 to retain the seat.  Mr. Wagner is a former judge for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and was a county auditor. See http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members.

•State Board Candidates Announced:  The deadline to file to run for a seat on the State Board of Education in November 2014 was August 6, 2014.  Membership on the State Board includes 11 elected members, who represent districts that are composed of three Ohio Senate Districts, and 8 members who are appointed by the governor, with the confirmation of the Ohio Senate.  Both the elected and appointed members serve four-year terms, and are limited to two terms. The terms are staggered, so about half of the members must run for re-election or be re-appointed every two years.

The following candidates will compete for seats representing State Board Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10 this November 2014:
District 2: Kathleen McGervey (incumbent); Kim Redfern; and Raymond Young
District 3: A.J. Wagner (incumbent); Mary M. Pritchard; Charlotte D. McGuire; and Sarah L. Roberts
District 4: Pat Bruns; Zac Haines; and Joe Moorman.  Debe Terhar, who is currently president of the State Board, recently announced that she will not seek re-election.
District 5: Brad Lamb (incumbent); Michael J. Grusenmeyer; Rosyln Painer-Goffi; and Chris M. Sawicki.
District 7: Sarah Fowler (incumbent); Michael Charney; Sarah Freeman; and David A. Spencer.
District 8: Ida Ross-Freeman; Representative Bob Hagan, and Kathleen Purdy.  Debbie Cain currently serves in this position, but is term-limited.
District 10:  Ron Rudduck (incumbent); Michael Kinnamon; Ross Hardin

The following elected members will continue to serve their terms, which end on December 31, 2016:
District 1:  Ann E. Jacobs
District 6:  Michael L. Collins
District 9:  Stephanie Dodd
District 11:  Mary Rose Oakar

The terms of the following appointed members end on December 31, 2014. These members can be re-appointed by the governor.
Tess Elshoff
Cathye Flory
Joseph L. Farmer
Thomas Gunlock

The terms of the following appointed members end on December 31, 2016:
C. Todd Jones
Mark A. Smith
Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings
Melanie P. Bolender

See http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members.

•Action on Voter ID Bill:  The Ohio Christian Alliance announced on August 29, 2014 that Representatives Matt Lynch, John Becker, and John Adams will hold a news conference on September 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM on the South Law of the Ohio Statehouse to announce bringing HB269 (Becker), Voter Identification Law Change, to a vote in the Ohio House through a discharge petition.  HB269 would require all voters to have photo identification in order to cast a ballot.  The bill was introduced in September 2013, and assigned to the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Dovilla, but has not received a hearing. Proponents of the bill would need 50 signatures in the Ohio House to bring forth the discharge petition.

See http://www.ohioca.org/enews.php?Discharge-Petition-on-H.B.-269-Voter-Photo-ID-Requirement-410

National News

•More Flexibility Regarding Teacher Evaluations:  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on August 21, 2014 that the U.S. Department of Education will allow states more flexibility regarding the requirement that states incorporate student growth results in teacher evaluations as a condition of waivers granted from the No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

According to a statement issued by Secretary Duncan, “States will have the opportunity to request a delay in when test results matter for teacher evaluation during this transition. As we always have, we’ll work with them in a spirit of flexibility to develop a plan that works, but typically I’d expect this to mean that states that request this delay will push back by one year (to 2015-16) the time when student growth measures based on new state assessments become part of their evaluation systems – and we will work with states seeking other areas of flexibility as well.”

See “A Back to School Conversation with Teachers and School Leaders” at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/08/a-back-to-school-conversation-with-teachers-and-school-leaders/

•Polls Find Support for Common Core Falling:  Education Week reports that two recent national polls show increasing opposition to new academic standards, referred to as the Common Core State Standards, being implemented in most states. Phi Delta Kappa International/Gallup released the results of its survey on August 20, 2014 and Education Next released its results on August 19, 2014.  According to Education Week, “Among the various highlights from the two surveys: While awareness of the standards jumped in the past year, many U.S. adults have misperceptions that the standards are a federal initiative; support for the standards by teachers is slipping; and there is a steep partisan divide over the common core.”

See “Polls Capture Public’s Sour View of Common Core” by Lauren Camera, Education Week, August 26, 2014 at
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/08/27/02pdk.h34.html?cmp=ENL-EU-MOSTPOP

•Texas Court Finds School Funding System Unconstitutional:  Terrence Stutz of the Dallasnews reports on August 28, 2014 that Texas State District Court Judge John Dietz found unconstitutional the Texas system for funding K-12 education.  This is the second time in 18 months that Judge Deitz (State District Court of Travis County) ordered the Texas legislature to fix the state’s school funding system, which the Judge found to be unfair and inadequate.  The lawsuit was filed by 600 school districts in 2012, and the ruling is expected to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

See the decision at http://www.co.travis.tx.us/courts/civil/district/pdfs/school-finance-final-judgment.pdf.

See “Judge Overturns Texas School Finance System; Discounts Fixes by Legislature” by Terrence Stutz, Dallasnews, August 28, 2014 at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/08/judge-overturns-texas-school-finance-system-discounts-fixes-by-legislature.html/

•Florida School District Votes to Opt out of State Testing:  Ashley A. Smith reports on August 28, 2014 that the Lee County Board of Education in Florida voted on August 27, 2014 to opt out of state standardized testing. According to the article, Lee County is the first of 66 counties in Florida to formally pass a resolution regarding testing, although other Florida counties are considering taking the same action.  The results of standardized testing in Florida are currently used to rate schools, principals, and teachers, and impact teacher salaries and funding for school districts.  The decision by the school board is supported by several grass roots organizations in Florida, including Teaching not Testing and Opt Out Lee County.

See “Educator Taking Wait and See Approach on Opt-Out” by Ashley A. Smith, News-press.com at http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2014/08/28/educators-taking-wait-see-approach-opt/14772935/

•Governor Jindal Sues US DOE: The Washington Post reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit on August 27, 2014 claiming that the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) violated state rights under the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution when it included in federal grant requirements and waiver requests that states adopt rigorous college and career ready standards, including the Common Core State Standards.  The lawsuit states that the intent of the U.S. DOE under the direction of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is to impose a national curriculum, in violation of federal law, which prohibits the U.S. DOE from interfering with local education associations. The lawsuit was filed in the United State District Court Middle District of Louisiana as Bobby Jindal, Governor of the State of Louisiana v. The United States Department of Education and Arne Duncan in his official capacity as U.S. Secretary of Education.

See “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sues Obama over Common Core State Standards” by Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post, August 27, 2014 at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/louisiana-gov-bobby-jindal-sues-obama-over-common-core-state-standards/2014/08/27/34d98102-2dfb-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html

More Details about Sub. HB597 (Thompson/Huffman)

Sub. HB597 makes a variety of changes in law regarding the adoption and implementation of state academic content standards, known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), for language arts and math, and state standards for science and social studies. The bill does not affect state standards for the arts.

The State Board of Education approved CCSS and state standards for science and social studies in 2010, but recently CCSS have become more controversial, nationally and here in Ohio, as the public and policy makers know more about them, and question the role of the federal government in the development of the standards; the quality and age-appropriate content of the standards; the amount of resources and time needed to adequately implement the standards; the new consortia-developed tests aligned to the standards; how the results of student testing are used to rate teachers and schools; the confidentiality of student data; and more.

Sub. HB597 is one of several bills introduced during this legislative session regarding standards, graduation requirements, student data, etc. The other standards-related bills (HB237 (Thompson) Repeal Common Core; HB181 (Brenner) Student Identifiable Data: HB193 (Brenner) High School Graduation) were assigned to the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton. Hearings have been held on them, and some of their provisions have been added to other bills.  For example, several changes in law regarding academic standards, student data, teacher evaluations, and graduation requirements were included in HB487 (Brenner), which was signed into law in June 2014. House Bill 487 states that boards of education are the sole authority for selecting textbooks, instructional materials, and the curriculum; creates academic standards and assessments review committees for English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies; requires boards of education to establish a parental advisory committee or other methods to review the selection of textbooks and reading lists, instructional materials, and the academic curriculum; and reinforces student data privacy laws. But, according to the proponents of HB597, the provisions in HB487 do not adequately address concerns about the origins and content of the new academic content standards and the imposition of federal law in local decision-making. As a result, opponents of CCSS introduced HB597, which does the following:

Amends the following sections of Ohio law:

•Sections 3301.07 – Eliminates the ability of the State Board to address “other such factors the Board finds necessary”, when developing state standards.

•Section 3301.078 – (A), (B), and (C) Prohibits the State Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education from implementing the CCSS after the current school year; prohibits the use of Ohio’s standards for science and social studies; prohibits the use of assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) or other consortia; prohibits Ohio from joining consortia that develop assessments; limits content standards to specific language prescribed in law; prohibits the state from withholding funds from school districts or schools for failure to use or adopt state academic content standards or assessments; and states that data regarding students and teachers and required by the U.S. Department of Education shall be released only in aggregate form.

•Section 3301.079 – Requires that the State Board of Education adopt standards that are new, distinct, and independent from CCSS in English language arts, math, science and social studies by June 2016, and prescribes what the new standards will emphasize.

Removes specifications that academic content standards include “essential academic content and skills”; include skills that promote information, media, and technical literacy; include interdisciplinary, project-based, real world learning opportunities; and instill lifelong learning by providing essential knowledge and skills “based on the liberal arts tradition”, as well as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and career-technical education.

This section of law also states that “The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.”

•Section 3301.0712 – Adds the term “norm-referenced” to the standardized assessments required to determine if a student is college and career read; reduces the number of end of course exams to five in the areas of English language arts, math, science, American history, and American government; and makes other changes regarding assessments.

•Section 3301.0714 – States that access to student data and information “…shall be restricted to the fulfillment of contractual obligations to process data on behalf of the school district. Such contract shall include a stipulation that the personally identifiable information shall not be shared with additional parties.”

•Section 3301.0718 – New section.  Requires that the Ohio General Assembly and newly created academic content steering subcommittee approve new academic content standards before they go into effect.

Creates the academic content steering subcommittee and designates its members.  States that the subcommittee shall oversee the development of the standards documents, and creates separate subcommittees for each subject area in language arts, math, science, and social studies to create new academic content standards.

•Sections 3313.61, 3313.612, 3313.618, and 3328.01 – Eliminates references to “end of course exams”.

•Repeals Section 9 of Am. Sub. HB487 regarding state assessments.

•Section 4:  Temporarily replaces CCSS and standards for science and social studies with standards that are “consistent with the standards adopted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as they existed prior to December 21, 2010.”  These standards shall be effective for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school year only. Requires that the State Board adopt or develop elementary and secondary assessments aligned to the Massachusetts standards.

To facilitate hearings on HB597, the bill was assigned to the smaller House Rules and Reference Committee, chaired by Representative Huffman, one of the bill’s sponsors, and the members of the committee were also changed.  Representatives Andrew Thompson, Tracy Heard, Tony Burkley, and Tim Derickson replaced Representatives John Adams, Stephanie Kunze, Armond Budish, and Andrew Brenner.  Other members of the committee include House Speaker William Batchelder, and Representatives Dorothy Pelanda, Jim Buchy, Debbie Phillips, Dan Ramos, and Michael Ashford.

Update on Recent Hearings: Hearings on Sub. HB597 began on August 18, 2014 in the House Rules and Reference Committee and extended over five days.  Over 70 proponents, 100 opponents, and interested parties testified on the bill. The following are selected quotes from testimony, representing the common ideas and issues expressed during the hearings by attendees.  The complete list of proponents and opponents and their testimony is available at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/rules-and-reference.

Proponents:  Proponents of the bill included parents; teachers; administrators, students, school board members; representatives from organizations; and two elected members of the State Board of Education, Sarah Fowler and Kathleen McGervey.

•Representative Andy Thompson, co-sponsor of HB597:  “Today my joint sponsor and I present House Bill 597, which will repeal Common Core standards in the State of Ohio, replace them with proven superior standards, prohibit the state board of education form using any assessments based on Common Core standards, and stop any taking of data that is not aggregate in nature without the informed, written consent of the student’s guardian.  This protection would also apply to teachers and their personally identifiable data; their informed, written consent would be necessitated before the release of any such data.  We also want to restore some sanity in the assessment process, so that we aren’t so caught up in data gathering that we destroy what makes for a meaningful career for teachers and a thoughtful exchange in the classroom.  Excessive and time-consuming assessments are another drawback to the Common Core initiative; we hope to ameliorate that if we can.”

•Sandra Stotsky, University of Arkansas emerita and member of the Common Core Validation Committee:  “In the absence of official information from all four private organizations, it seems likely that Achieve, Inc. and the Gates Foundation selected most of the key personnel to write Common Core’s standards. Not only were no high school mathematics teachers involved, no English professors or high school English teachers were, either. Because everyone worked without open meetings or accessible public comment, their reasons for making the decisions they did are lost to history. To this day we do not know why Common Core’s high school mathematics standards do not provide a pathway to STEM careers or why David Coleman was allowed to mandate a 50/50 division between literary study and “informational” text at every grade level from K-12 in the ELA standards, with no approval from English teachers across the country or from the parents of students in our public schools.”

•Lisa Cagigas Johnson, parent from NE Ohio:  “HB 597 is about returning local control to communities, keeping personal data on our children from being released without parental consent, keeping a lid on the powerful testing machine that is about to own our schools and keeping the promise of the 10th amendment for the people of Ohio who elected you.”

•Michael Wisnor, Assistant Principal, Elyria Catholic High School:  “The letter from Brian Roget of the Ohio Department of Education highlights my personal concerns with the adoption of Common Core State Standards for Ohio.  As noted in his own words, failure to adopt the curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards can result in grave consequences for the students, teachers, and district.  Without question, this letter from the Ohio Department of Education is an attempt to coerce the local district to abandon its plan to maintain local control over its curriculum and learning standards.  The notion that districts maintain local control over curriculum is simply a fallacy; the adoption of Common Core State Standards is a thinly veiled attempt for federal control and standardization of education.”

•Sarah Fowler, Elected member of the State Board of Education District 7: “As it stands, the parents and teachers of Ohio were not given an adequate opportunity to learn about the CCSS or to voice their opinion on them. However, as my constituents become more informed, many are expressing outrage at the obliteration of local control and personal privacy.”

•Carrie Moenster: Parent and 4th grade teacher: “I have seen my students in tears because they cannot understand these “rigorous” Math standards that are abstract and developmentally inappropriate. Our highest (TAG) students who once believed they were smart now doubt themselves. One child who was once very confident comes up to our desks repeatedly while working on an independent assignment because he doesn’t trust his own mind and judgment anymore.”

Opponents:  Opponents of the bill included parents; teachers; administrators; school board members; several school district superintendents; representatives of statewide education organizations, including the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers; representatives of state and local chambers of commerce; and representatives of national organizations, including Ray Hart, director of research for the Council of Great City Schools in Washington, D.C. and Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

•Joe Roman, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Cleveland Partnership:  “On behalf of the five chambers I mentioned, we firmly believe that Ohio would be moving backwards by rejecting the New Learning Standards. These higher, more rigorous standards are a significant improvement over the previous standards. And because they place greater emphasis on reading and writing, as well as critical thinking and depth of knowledge in contrast to memorization, the new standards will drive improvements to the quality of education that Ohio’s children – and our future employees – need and deserve.”

•Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce:  “Students are the “product” of our education system and businesses are the “consumer” of this product. It is critical that Ohio has a rigorous educational foundation in place, so that these students can be an attractive product for Ohio business to hire and utilize in their future workforce.”

•Katie Hofmann, Fine Arts Specialist, Cincinnati Public Schools:  “Throughout the Three years of working on the Race to the Top and the Teacher Incentive Fund grants, I have had opportunity to participate in extensive Common Core Professional Development. As a Fine Arts Specialist, I have been excited about the Common Core focus of Literacy in all content areas. Furthermore, through the Common Core, students will have the opportunity to show what they know and are able to do through Performance Based Assessments.”

•Debbie Tidwell. Parent and past state present of the Ohio PTA: “Ohio PTA and National PTA support Common Core. They have been working with other educational stakeholders to educate families on how these new standards will ensure that our children acquire the requisite skills and knowledge for a 21st century education. In fact, several school districts in Northeast Ohio participated in a video series that was developed through a partnership with the Hunt Institute as part of National PTA’s ongoing effort to provide accurate information about the Common Core State Standards.”

•Scott DiMauro. Elected Vice President of the Ohio Education Association (OEA):  “While the OEA supports the Common Core standards, we recognize that there are a range of practical challenges that need to be consistently addressed in order to ensure a smart and successful implementation.  For example, schools and teachers need sufficient planning time, resources, professional development and technological capacity to support student learning under the new standards and assessments.  Students need up-to-date instructional materials that are aligned with the standards.  Further, parents and local communities should be provided access to needed information so that they can fully participate in local decision making surrounding implementation.  Laws protecting personal student data should be strictly enforced.”

•Damon Asbury, Director of Legislative Services for the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), Thomas Ash, Director of Governmental Relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), and Barbara Shaner, Associate Executive Director for the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO): “We are here today to express our opposition to HB 597. Our three organizations are strong supporters of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We believe these newly implemented standards for mathematics and English language arts to be a significant improvement over Ohio’s previous standards. We have confidence they contain the elements our school children need to prepare them for the jobs of the future, particularly when we know they will be competing with their peers from other nations. We are also confident that our locally elected boards of education, in concert with Superintendents and teachers, will continue to exercise local control in determining the curriculum and instructional approaches that best serve their students and community.”

•Brad Findell. Associate Director of Mathematics Programs for Teachers in the Department of Mathematics at The Ohio State University:  “In my view, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are the best standards for Ohio’s students, particular with regard to focus, coherence, and rigor. When I hear criticisms of the math standards, however, I usually find that the examples come not from the standards but from curriculum materials that someone claims are aligned to the standards. Curriculum materials, of course, remain local decisions.”

•Sandy Orth, Teacher with Toledo Public Schools, Member of the American Federation of Teachers English-Language Arts Review Team for the Common Core State Standards. “My purpose in this testimony is to make it clear that teacher voice is present in these standards. The members of the AFT’s English-Language Arts team spent many hours reviewing drafts, discussing the content, and offering feedback that shaped the final standards document.  Specific contributions that were made include the grade-by-grade progressions, the K-5 Reading Foundations sub-strand, the standards for literacy in history, science, and technical subjects, and the inclusion of narrative writing in high school.”

Next Steps: This week the Rules and Reference Committee is expected to receive additional testimony and consider amendments to Sub. HB597. But debate is expected to continue whether or not the bill clears the Rules and Reference Committee this month.  The sponsors of the bill do not expect the House to take action on it until after the November 2014 election. According to the Columbus Dispatch, leadership in the House and Senate is not sure that the current bill would be approved, or if Governor Kasich, who has stated his support for CCSS in the past, would sign the bill into law.

See “Plenty of Questions in Common Core Debate” by Catherine Candisky and Jim Siegel, Columbus Dispatch, August 24, 2014 at
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/24/plenty-of-questions-in-common-core-debate.html

Vermont State Board of Education Adopts Resolution on Assessment and Accountability

The Vermont State Board of Education, chaired by Stephan Morse, adopted a Statement and Resolution on the proper uses of assessments and accountability on August 19, 2014 after a four-month review and study.

The resolution requests that the U.S. Congress and Administration “…amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act”) to reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality, eschew the use of student test scores in evaluating educators, and allow flexibility that reflects the unique circumstances of all states.”

The resolution calls on other states and national organizations “…to act in concert with these goals to improve and broaden educational goals, provide adequate resources, and ensure a high quality education for all children of the state and the nation.”

According to a “Statement” accompanying the Resolution, the Vermont State Board of Education is “…committed to ensuring that all students develop the knowledge, capabilities and dispositions they need to thrive as citizens in their communities, higher education and their careers in the 21st century”.

The Board believes that
-all students should be “afforded educational opportunities that are substantially equal in quality”
-standardized tests can provide comparative data about improvement over time, but cannot adequately capture the strengths of all children or provide a complete picture of learning, and
-the current use of standardized test results under federal law to measure school quality is inappropriate.

To ensure the proper use of test results, the Vermont State Board adopted the following principles to guide the appropriate use of standardized tests to support continuous improvement:

“1. The Proper Role of Standardized Testing – The purpose of any large scale assessment must be clearly stated and the assessments must be demonstrated as scientifically and empirically valid for that purpose(s) prior to their use. This includes research and verification as to whether a student’s performance on tests is actually predictive of performance on other indicators we care about, including post-secondary success, graduation rates and future employment.

In addition, standardized test results should be used only in concert with a diverse set of measures that capture evidence of student growth and school impact across all important outcomes outlined in the Education Quality Standards.

2. Public Reporting Requirement – It is a state and local obligation to report on the quality of the schools to the citizenry. Standardized testing is part of this reporting obligation. The state board encourages local public reporting of a diverse and comprehensive set of school quality indicators in local school, faculty and community communications.

3. Judicious and Proportionate Testing – The State Board of Education advocates for reducing the amount of time spent on summative, standardized testing and encourages the federal government to reduce the current requirements for annual testing in multiple subjects in every grade, 3-8, and then again in high school. Excessive testing diverts resources and time away from learning while providing little additional value for accountability purposes.

4. Test Development Criteria – Any broad scale standardized assessment used in the state of Vermont must be developed and used appropriately in accord with the principles adopted by the American Educational Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and the American Psychological Association.

5. Value-added scores – Although the federal government is encouraging states to use value added scores for teacher, principal and school evaluations, this policy direction is not appropriate. A strong body of recent research has found that there is no valid method of calculating “value-added” scores which compare pass rates from one year to the next, nor do current value-added models adequately account for factors outside the school that influence student performance scores. Thus, other than for research or experimental purposes, this technique will not be employed in Vermont schools for any consequential purpose.

6. Mastery level or Cut-Off scores – While the federal government continues to require the use of subjectively determined, cut-off scores; employing such metrics lacks scientific foundation. The skills needed for success in society are rich and diverse. Consequently, there is no single point on a testing scale that has proven accurate in measuring the success of a school or in measuring the talents of an individual. Claims to the contrary are technically indefensible and their application would be unethical.
The use of cut-off scores reports findings only at one point on a statistical distribution. Scale scores provide significantly more information. They allow a more valid disaggregation of scores by sub-group, provide better measures of progress and provide a more comprehensive view of achievement gaps.

7. Use of cut scores and proficiency categories for reporting purposes – Under NCLB states are required to report school level test results in terms of the Percentage of Proficient Students. The federally mandated reporting method has several well-documented negative effects that compromise our ability to meaningfully examine schools’ improvement efforts:

-Interpretations based on “percent proficient” hides the full range of scores and how they have changed. Thus, underlying trends in performance are often hidden.
-The targets established for proficiency are subjectively determined and are not based on research. Interpretations based on “percent proficient” also lack predictive validity.
-Modest changes to these subjective cut scores can dramatically affect the percent of students who meet the target. Whether a cut score is set high or low arbitrarily changes the size of the achievement gap independent of the students’ learning. Thus, the results can be misleading.

So that we can more validly and meaningfully describe school- and state-level progress, the State Board of Education endorses reporting performance in terms of scale scores and standard deviations rather than percent proficient. We will comply with federal requirements, but will emphasize defensible and useful reporting metrics.

8. The Federal, State and Local Obligation for Assuring Adequacy and Equality of Opportunity – Much as the state must insure a high quality education for all children, the school must be provided with adequate and equitable resources from the federal, state and local governments and must use these resources wisely and judiciously. Thus, any report on a school based on the state’s EQS standards must also include a report on the adequacy of resources provided by or to that school in light of the school’s unique needs. Such evaluations shall address the adequacy of resources, the judicious use of resources and identify any deficiencies.”

See the Statement, Principles, and Resolution at http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-SBE_AssmntAcct_Adpted081914.pdf

Bills Introduced

•SB353 (LaRose) Student Violent Behavior: Requires the Education Management Information System to include information regarding persons at whom a student’s violent behavior that resulted in discipline was directed and requires the Department of Education to submit a one-time report to the General Assembly regarding that information.

•HB597 (Thompson/Huffman) Common Core Repeal/Replace:  Repeals and replaces the Common Core Initiative academic standards and related assessment system.


This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.  The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.  The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, OhioDance, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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