Education Roundup: Smarter Balanced Assessments, McCleary, and Levy Reform

There’s an inevitable complexity about standardized testing and education accountability. From one year to the next, the terms change. There are new acronyms to learn. It’s easy to get lost in the details. Ready Washington offers a clear explanation of what’s important in the current education policy arena. Follow the link to this important new resource: 

Just in time for back to school, Ready Washington’s new handout provides high-level information on Washington’s K-12 learning standards and assessments. It’s now available in 16 languages. Please download and share within your networks.  

We’re also grateful to Ready Washington for reminding us of this op-ed by Edmonds teacher Tom White on why the Smarter Balanced Assessments matter and how they improve learning.

Meeting the standards means that a student is performing at grade-level, for example, fourth graders who read at a fourth-grade level. A score showing that students have not met the standards indicates that the student is struggling to perform grade-level tasks. This indicator tells parents and teachers sooner rather than later just where students are having trouble so that we can make course-corrections.

The “sooner” part of this is critical so that we are assured that students have mastered what they need to learn in each grade before advancing to the next.

He closes:

The Smarter Balanced assessment is a test worth taking. It asks students to show what they have learned, not just what they have memorized. In this way, we are meeting the promise of the Common Core, which is to promote academic excellence to all students to give them the best opportunities for success in their lives.

For a clear, concise explanation of the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and its impact on current education discussions, check out the Washington Research Council’s 90-second podcast series. It’s an excellent summary of where we stand and what lies ahead.

The Olympian editorial board believes “levy reform is in the cards.” And, in one of those “out on a limb” headlines, the Daily Record notes that the “court is not satisfied with the Legislature.” Both editorials are worth your time.