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By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The educators at Marley Elementary School near Glen Burnie are a little worried about what may happen when their students receive the next generation of tests. These new assessments have been billed as more challenging, but a room of fourth-graders practicing the test on computers Thursday morning seemed unfazed. "The questions were more simple," said Elena Waller, 9, who will be one of the 65,000 students across the state to take a field test of the new PARCC assessments next week.
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NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2014
Last year, the Common Core was debated by everyone from conservative talk show hosts to parents flooding state capitals, and teachers rebelled against a new evaluation system they believe is unfair. Now it's year two for the phase-in of controversial education reforms. And while students returning to Maryland classrooms this week may be blissfully unaware of the debate, they will see more changes. First, they can forget about the MSA (Maryland School Assessment) and learn the name for new state tests: PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers.
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NEWS
March 28, 2014
In response to your article on the new school assessments (PARCC), there is no mention of their validation using accepted research methods ( "Superintendent wants to keep local control over schools," March 25). There should be at least the gold standard of 500 in the cohort; 250 experimentals and 250 controls. For example, since teachers teach to the test, 250 students could receive MSA preparation and testing, and 250 receive PARCC preparation and testing, and then compare the two testing results.
NEWS
By Amanda Hughes | April 23, 2014
While no standardized test can ever truly measure all that a child has learned or can do, the new Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam represents a vast improvement over the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Both teachers and students are ready for this welcome shift. As a middle school English teacher in Baltimore County, I participated in the PARCC English Language Arts field test this year. Students were adequately prepared for the PARCC assessment.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2014
Last year, the Common Core was debated by everyone from conservative talk show hosts to parents flooding state capitals, and teachers rebelled against a new evaluation system they believe is unfair. Now it's year two for the phase-in of controversial education reforms. And while students returning to Maryland classrooms this week may be blissfully unaware of the debate, they will see more changes. First, they can forget about the MSA (Maryland School Assessment) and learn the name for new state tests: PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers.
NEWS
Erica L. Green and Erica L. Green | October 17, 2013
After rolling out a four-phase, early-childhood education plan , Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur addressed what she called the state's "sloppy transition" to the Common Core this year. The Montgomery County delegate called the new standards, which overhauled curricula throughout the state this school year, "a step in the right direction," but said she had concerns about how it's been implemented. The state has grappled with how to transition to the new curriculum while also complying with outdated mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law. "We would push for a different approach," Mizeur said.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | July 24, 2013
A number of education leaders are calling for a moratorium on annual student assessments until Maryland switches to tests that match a new curriculum being implemented in classrooms. The state teachers union and school superintendents association said Wednesday that they would support a halt to the Maryland School Assessment, which is given every year to students in the third through eighth grades. "We should just not give the current MSA. Just stop giving it tomorrow," said Joshua Starr, Montgomery County's superintendent.
NEWS
September 21, 2013
We read with interest The Baltimore Sun's recent editorial calling for Maryland schools to skip testing every student in grades 3-8 this year because new assessments aligned to the curriculum will not be available until the 2014-2015 school year (" Md. should skip the MSA ," Sept. 16). Like the Sun's editorial board, we wish everything in education could be perfect before a change is made, but unlike the Sun editors, we cannot afford to turn our backs on students while waiting for our assessments to catch up to the curriculum.
NEWS
Erica L. Green and Erica L. Green | July 25, 2013
As the state noted its first test-score decline in at least a decade , superintendents changed their tune in predicting what impact the new, rigorous Common Core curriculum would have on the Maryland School Assessment scores this year. In 2012, amid angst from educators that they'd be teaching a new curriculum and assessing students with old tests --the assessments reflecting the Common Core won't be implemented until 2014 --officials went so far to say that if teachers were teaching the Common Core right, students should be able to breeze through the less rigorous MSAs.
NEWS
By Amanda Hughes | April 23, 2014
While no standardized test can ever truly measure all that a child has learned or can do, the new Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam represents a vast improvement over the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Both teachers and students are ready for this welcome shift. As a middle school English teacher in Baltimore County, I participated in the PARCC English Language Arts field test this year. Students were adequately prepared for the PARCC assessment.
NEWS
March 28, 2014
In response to your article on the new school assessments (PARCC), there is no mention of their validation using accepted research methods ( "Superintendent wants to keep local control over schools," March 25). There should be at least the gold standard of 500 in the cohort; 250 experimentals and 250 controls. For example, since teachers teach to the test, 250 students could receive MSA preparation and testing, and 250 receive PARCC preparation and testing, and then compare the two testing results.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The educators at Marley Elementary School near Glen Burnie are a little worried about what may happen when their students receive the next generation of tests. These new assessments have been billed as more challenging, but a room of fourth-graders practicing the test on computers Thursday morning seemed unfazed. "The questions were more simple," said Elena Waller, 9, who will be one of the 65,000 students across the state to take a field test of the new PARCC assessments next week.
NEWS
Erica L. Green and Erica L. Green | October 17, 2013
After rolling out a four-phase, early-childhood education plan , Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur addressed what she called the state's "sloppy transition" to the Common Core this year. The Montgomery County delegate called the new standards, which overhauled curricula throughout the state this school year, "a step in the right direction," but said she had concerns about how it's been implemented. The state has grappled with how to transition to the new curriculum while also complying with outdated mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law. "We would push for a different approach," Mizeur said.
NEWS
September 21, 2013
We read with interest The Baltimore Sun's recent editorial calling for Maryland schools to skip testing every student in grades 3-8 this year because new assessments aligned to the curriculum will not be available until the 2014-2015 school year (" Md. should skip the MSA ," Sept. 16). Like the Sun's editorial board, we wish everything in education could be perfect before a change is made, but unlike the Sun editors, we cannot afford to turn our backs on students while waiting for our assessments to catch up to the curriculum.
NEWS
Erica L. Green and Erica L. Green | July 25, 2013
As the state noted its first test-score decline in at least a decade , superintendents changed their tune in predicting what impact the new, rigorous Common Core curriculum would have on the Maryland School Assessment scores this year. In 2012, amid angst from educators that they'd be teaching a new curriculum and assessing students with old tests --the assessments reflecting the Common Core won't be implemented until 2014 --officials went so far to say that if teachers were teaching the Common Core right, students should be able to breeze through the less rigorous MSAs.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | July 24, 2013
A number of education leaders are calling for a moratorium on annual student assessments until Maryland switches to tests that match a new curriculum being implemented in classrooms. The state teachers union and school superintendents association said Wednesday that they would support a halt to the Maryland School Assessment, which is given every year to students in the third through eighth grades. "We should just not give the current MSA. Just stop giving it tomorrow," said Joshua Starr, Montgomery County's superintendent.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie and By Liz Bowie | July 29, 2013
The leaders of a consortium of states trying to create common student tests for elementary through high school grades are battling defections. Last week, Georgia said the upcoming tests now being created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are too expensive at $25 to $29 a test and decided to drop out.  This week it is Indiana as the governor said his state is bailing as well. Florida leaders also are discussing whether to continue.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie and By Liz Bowie | February 14, 2014
Maryland was given a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education on Friday that will allow them to avoid double testing several thousand students who are piloting a new test this spring that is tied to the Common Core. Under federal law, all students in grades three through eight are to be tested annually in math and reading. The federal government is allowing that law to be waived for the students who take the pilot test, meaning they will not also have to take Maryland's state assessments.
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