testing

Education
1:27 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

A Conversation With Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor

Stefan Pryor in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor attended his final State Board of Education meeting Wednesday. He announced earlier this year he’d leave the post, and will depart in January. A process is underway to select an interim commissioner.

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School Performance
7:52 am
Fri November 14, 2014

A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions

John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University, will resign at the end of November.
Paula Burch-Celentano Tulane University

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 7:03 am

New Orleans, where nine of 10 children attend charter schools, has perhaps the most scrutinized public school system in the country.

And since Hurricane Katrina, a major source of information about the city's schools has been the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a research group connected with Tulane University. The institute has been widely cited by political leaders and in the news media, including our reporting.

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No Child Left Behind
12:57 pm
Sat October 11, 2014

It's 2014. All Children Are Supposed To Be Proficient. What Happened?

President George W. Bush, seated, signs No Child Left Behind into law at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio.
Ron Edmonds ASSOCIATED PRESS

Take yourself back to those highly emotional, patriotic months after the 9/11 attacks.

In the midst of war, terrorism, fear and mourning, one bill passed 87-10 in the Senate and by a similar margin in the House — with equal support from both sides of the aisle. It was signed into law in January 2002 by George W. Bush, with the liberal lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, by his side.

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Ethics
5:15 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 6:30 pm

Opening arguments began today in the trial of 12 Atlanta educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy that came to light in 2009.

Prosecutors claim there was widespread cheating on state tests throughout the city's public schools, affecting thousands of students.

The case has brought national attention to the issue, raising questions about whether the pressures to improve scores have driven a few educators to fudge the numbers, but also about broader consequences.

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Over-Testing
10:22 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Should Connecticut Students Spend Less Time Taking Tests?

Credit carlosbezz/iStock / Thinkstock

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to reduce the number of standardized tests taken by Connecticut students. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, he offered a solution to cut down on all of the testing.

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Standardized Testing
12:38 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Malloy Looks to Reduce Time Connecticut Students Spend on Standardized Tests

Credit Alberto G. / Creative Commons

Appealing to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Governor Dannel Malloy is taking action to try to reduce the amount of time students in Connecticut spend taking standardized tests.

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WAMC News
8:16 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Common Core Tests To Be Given In Majority Of Springfield Schools

Dan Warwick,Superintendent of Public Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, addresses the 2014 convocation at Van Sickle Middle School.

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 6:16 pm

A new school year begins Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts where rising standardized test scores and a falling dropout rate are seen as signs of a turnaround in the struggling public school system. A new test, based on the Common Core educational standards, will be introduced in a majority of the city’s schools next year.

The scores of last year’s MCAS tests given to Springfield school students rose across the board at a higher rate than the gain recorded by school districts statewide, and the dropout rate has fallen  more than any other school system in the state.

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Teacher Evaluations
10:42 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Connecticut Educators May No Longer Be Judged Based On One Test Score

Alberto G. Creative Commons

The advisory council responsible for developing Connecticut's evaluation system for teachers and principals is recommending changes to the guidelines. If the changes are adopted, educators may no longer be judged based on just one test score.

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Testing
7:34 am
Wed April 9, 2014

An Education Reporter Puts Himself To The (Standardized) Test

New standardized tests put more emphasis on using evidence to support arguments.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:14 pm

What are the two most feared — most reviled — words in the English language?

"Tax day," maybe? Or "traffic jam"?

"Pink slip" still connotes an awful brand of helplessness, even though, I assume, most Americans who get pink-slipped these days never see a pink slip.

No, my vote is for "standardized test."

That's right. You felt it, didn't you? Shivers up the spine. The stab of a No. 2 pencil. And oh! Those monstrous, monotonous bubbles. They may as well be a legion of eyes staring back at your inadequacy.

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Education Reform
9:03 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Indiana Repeals Common Core, Connecticut Charges Ahead

Now that Common Core is repealed in Indiana, teachers who spent several years preparing for the standards don't know what to do next.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week, the governor of Indiana signed a bill that would repeal the implementation of the Common Core educational standards. Although there are widespread concerns about Common Core in Connecticut, state officials continue to move ahead, but at a slower pace than originally intended.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Legislative Deadlines, Money In Politics, and Common Core

There are six weeks left in the legislative session.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Key deadlines are coming up for some proposed legislation at the state capitol and some have already passed. On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we talk about what bills may or may not make it out of committee.

We also discuss the role of money in this year’s statewide elections. Common Core remains in the national headlines, with Indiana actually dropping the standards.

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Common Core
9:37 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Education Officials Urge State Lawmakers to Roll Out Common Core Standards

Credit Noah Strycker/iStock / Thinkstock

Despite complaints from teachers across Connecticut about the rollout of new education standards and guidelines, education officials are urging state lawmakers to oppose efforts to stop it.

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Where We Teach
2:42 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

What It's Like to Be a Teacher in Connecticut Today

WNPR hosted approximately 70 teachers in the CPBN Learning Lab to talk about what it's like to teach today.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Why do teachers want to teach? In the era of education reform, teacher evaluations, and standardized testing, it's a question that some teachers are asking themselves.

Last week, WNPR's Where We Live hosted an evening panel discussion with teachers from across the state in order to accommodate their schedules which don't line up with a live morning call-in show. 

We invited educators to join us in the audience and there was a general sentiment of openness to new evaluation methods and ways of measuring performance. But they also expressed a desire to balance it with support from administrators. The teachers on the panel said they are interested in getting better at teaching, and so they want feedback and support, not a stern visit that comes with a score and an up or down vote.

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Connecticut First
5:39 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase Proposed; Delay in Common Core Standards

The day before the legislative session begins, Governor Dannel  Malloy proposed on Tuesday that the legislature raise the stage minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Malloy signed legislation that raised the minimum wage to $8.70 on January 1, and will raise it to $9.00 January 1, 2015. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Evaluating Common Core

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor
Chion Wolf WNPR

After mounting complaints from teachers, officials recently announced the state plans to delay the implementation of teacher evaluations. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are calling for a re-examination of the Common Core standards. Two years after Connecticut approved sweeping education legislation, we'll check-in on the implementation and receive an update on Common Core in the state. 

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Cheating
8:49 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Investigators Confirm Test Tampering at Hartford School

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

An investigation has confirmed test tampering at a Hartford elementary school. In a report submitted this week to state education officials by an outside law firm, investigators concluded there were irregularities in more than two dozen Connecticut Mastery Tests at the Early Reading Lab at Betances Elementary School. The report was obtained by The Hartford Courant.

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Testing
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Rise in Connecticut Public School Students Who Took the SAT

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

More Connecticut public school students took the SAT college entrance exams this year than last year. It was a more diverse group than ever, according to the State Department of Education.

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Where We Live
11:04 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Back to School: Common Core, Bilingual Education, and School Safety

Students across the state are heading back to school this week – and they’ll be seeing a lot of changes.  The common core state standards are taking effect and changing the way teachers teach and students take tests.

Schools are struggling to find the best way to teach ESL kids English.  New Britain school system was recently featured on PBS Newshour for changing all their bilingual classes to English only. 

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Testing
4:00 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Differing Takes On Test Scores In Hartford

In Hartford, school district officials say test scores held firm and showed some healthy gains. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the way you talk about test scores can be just as important as the scores themselves. It wasn't the press release Matt Poland would have written. "I would have written it with both the good and the not-so-good sharing common billing."

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Schools
7:03 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Common Core: Too Much, Too Fast?

School districts across Connecticut are wrestling with how to implement  the new Common Core state standards, which mean changes to the way teachers teach reading and math along with new computer-based tests. 

The transition is expected to take place over the next year and a half. But some districts say that time frame may be hard to meet.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for language arts and math. The goal is to ensure that  students have the skills they need for success in college and careers. 

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Education Reform
8:01 am
Tue July 24, 2012

New CMT Measure Reveals Different Picture Of Academic Improvement

A new way to interpret Connecticut Mastery Test scores reveals a different picture of academic improvement in the state’s schools. This measure looks at whether students are growing over time.

Vertical scales match a student from year to year, say from the first year of CMT testing in third grade to fourth grade. The system compares how that student performs one year to the next despite the more advanced material.

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Education Reform
10:23 am
Fri October 28, 2011

CT Supreme Court To Hear Arguments In Bridgeport Schools Case

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday challenging the state’s takeover of the Bridgeport Board of Education. The plaintiffs argue that the state cannot deny residents the right to vote for their local school board.

Last summer, most of the members of Bridgeport’s Board of Ed, along with the city’s superintendent and mayor asked the State Board to intervene in the city’s schools.  Within weeks, Connecticut’s Acting Education Commissioner had replaced Bridgeport’s elected school board with a state-appointed panel. 

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Where We Live
10:22 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Cheating Schools

albertogp123

The state is investigating teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests.

This follows widespread cheating scandals uncovered in the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Atlanta…just this year.  In a story this month, the magazine Education Week put it this way:

“As long as test scores are used in any field to make decisions on rewards or punishments, including for schools or educators, a small percentage of people will be willing to bend the rules - or break them.”

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Testing
3:53 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Teachers And Staff Suspected Of Cheating At A Waterbury Elementary School

An investigator for the State Department of Education has begun to question teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests.  This is the latest in a string of cheating scandals nationwide.

17 teachers and other employees at Hopeville School in Waterbury have been placed on leave as an investigator looks into possible test tampering.  A preliminary review showed many wrong answers on this year’s CMTS had been erased and corrected.  

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Achievement Gap
3:12 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

Achievement Gap Between Hispanic And White Students Found In Every School District

For the past two decades, the achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white classmates nationwide has remained largely unchanged. Hispanic students perform about two grade levels below their white peers in math and reading.

Connecticut has one of the largest gaps in the nation, and a new study finds the problem exists in every school district in the state.

White students in Connecticut are two to three times more likely than Hispanic students to achieve at or above goal on the Connecticut Mastery Tests. 

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Health & Wellness
3:01 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Study Finds Link Between Lead Poisoning And Mastery Test Scores

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study finds a link between lead poisoning in young children and lower scores on the CT Mastery Tests.  And black children in the state are more likely to be exposed to lead.

First, researchers looked at blood lead data for all Connecticut 4th graders in the 2007-2008 school year. Then they studied test scores on the CMTs.  

Rebecca Anthopolis is a statistical analyst with the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative at Duke University where the data were analyzed.

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Academic Progress
9:10 am
Fri May 6, 2011

State Intervention Starting To Close Achievement Gap

A new report finds noticeable academic progress in fifteen low-performing Connecticut districts where there’s been intensive intervention by the state.  Test scores in these districts show substantial improvement over time, particularly among minority students.

Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Stamford are among fifteen school districts that are part of the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative or CALI.  All were identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act.  

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Testing
9:45 am
Thu February 3, 2011

Snow Days Could Affect CT Mastery Test Prep

Record-setting snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous travel conditions have meant plenty of missed school days this year.  Educators are worried that lost classroom time may affect preparation for standardized tests. 

State Department of Education spokesman Tom Murphy says he’s seen school closings, late openings and early dismissals in other years, "but this is really beyond what we’ve seen ever.  And it couldn’t happen at a worse time in our high schools, when we have our end of course exams" 

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