Assessment: Where’s the Tech in the Common Core?
5/30/2012 By: Ellen Ullman, SchoolCIOEditor
It’s hard to go a day without
seeing an article about the
Common Core standards (www.corestandards.org). The final
standards—released in June 2010—
have been adopted by all states
except Nebraska, Minnesota,
Texas, Alaska, and Virginia. But
what does this mean in terms of
technology? Will schools need
to toss out their interactive
whiteboards? Will 1:1 and BYOD be
Tech & Learning (T&L) editors spoke with
industry experts to get insight about how
technology will be used to both leverage
and manage the delivery of curriculum
that meets Common Core standards.
Here’s what they had
Joel Rose is CEO
of New Classrooms
(www.newclassrooms.org), a non-profit
organization that helps
schools create adaptive,
models designed to support
every student’s success.
T&L: What is the purpose of the Common Core standards?
Rose: The standards redefine what we want kids to be able to do and give schools the
opportunity to determine how we get them there. They allow us to think differently about
how we can complement the role of the teacher with other approaches that can work
toward that same common end. We know that students come to school with a wide variety
of strengths and needs, and the standards are more rigorous than what we’ve seen in the
T&L: Where does technology come in?
Rose: The only real way to meet the needs of every student against these standards is to
think about complementing the role of teachers with technology. From my perspective,
it’s exciting that this is less about technology and more about the opportunity to design
next-generation learning models that may use technology in different ways. Today, school
equals 1 teacher + 28 kids + a textbook. There are
other ways we can imagine and put into practice
that can be more effective and engaging than the
current model. We have to think more creatively
about all of the resources we have and develop new
models that leverage the talents of teachers and
the power of technology.
T&L: Do you think research and understanding how
children learn helped us get to this point?
|Students and educators are getting used to taking tests online.
Rose: It’s more than just research. We started with that ‘one-teacher
model’ 150 years ago. Even though we’ve put computers in the back
of the room, reduced class size, and adopted standards, we’ve never
unhinged ourselves from the ‘1 teacher + 28 kids in a box.’ Now we have an
opportunity, while we are working on the Common Core standards, to ask
ourselves, ‘Is this the best way to deliver this instruction?’
Now that we have a common definition of success, and given what we
know about teachers, technology, physical space, and time—what are the
best ways to put these ingredients together to get the best outcomes for
T&L: What role will technology play?
Rose: New Classrooms, which I co-founded, has a model called
Teach to One that blends live teacher-led instruction, collaborative
instruction, and virtual ins truction to enable personalized learning.
We use technology in two ways to complement the work of teachers:
to deliver instruction with software or virtual tutors as well as to
organize student and teacher schedules . In the traditional model, it’ s
generally too hard for a teacher to plan the right instruction every
day for every child, based on what he or she mastered the previous
day. Teachers typically follow a scope and sequence and teach to the
middle while doing their best for students at the high
and low ends. Our model uses technology to take all the
data we have about each child every day. Then we convert it to a
unique daily schedule for each student and teacher.
T&L: How can teachers prepare for this?
Rose: A number of teachers have perfected lessons or have
grown accustomed to teaching in a certain way. The Common
Core standards require them to take a step back and reassess the
objectives of those lessons to make sure they’re teaching to the
standards. I’d encourage teachers—as long as they ar e rethinking
the objectives in their lessons—to use that window to think
differently about the ways in which they could leverage different
technology to those s ame ends. It’s an opportunity to de velop new
models and not just grasp technology for technology’s sake.
T&L: What role will technology play in assessment
with the Common Core standards?
Rose: Technology can help take a lot off teachers’ plates,
particularly in designing, delivering, and grading assessments.
If technology gets better at diagnosing individual student
misconceptions, it will be a critical tool for helping teachers to
understand and pinpoint where a student most needs help.
How Much Time Do
Educators Spend on
In December 2011, Lexia Learning
conducted a survey of more than 7,600 K-12
educators to estimate the amount of time
they spent administering, scoring, entering,
and analyzing data for four types of
assessments: universal screening, progress
monitoring, diagnosing, and evaluating
20 days: The average amount of time
K–5 educators focus on assessing reading
1/3: The number of K–5 educators in this
survey who spend at least 1.5 months
per school year assessing their students’
8: The average number of days students
take reading tests each year.
1 in 3: The number of students who
spend at least two weeks per year taking