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Wolfram Math World

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Wolfram Math World: Need help with a type of math? Don’t understand math terminology? Head to this site for all the guidance and materials you’ll need to master any mathematical problem.

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

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Smarter Balanced members voted to approve the initial achievement levels for the math and English assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The achievement levels help provide a more accurate picture of individual student performance, and the vote marks an incredibly important milestone in the development of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Achievement Level Setting was an inclusive, collaborative process that involved an unprecedented level of educator and public input. More than 2,500 educators, parents, and other interested stakeholders provided input during the Online Panel. Their recommendations were shared at In-Person workshops in Dallas with nearly 500 teachers, school leaders, higher education faculty, parents, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Participants reviewed test questions and determined threshold scores for four achievement levels for each grade in both subjects. In addition, a cross-grade review committee comprised of 72 members took results from both the Online Panel and In-Person workshops into consideration as they developed recommendations aligned across grades to reflect student progress from year to year.

It’s important to remember that achievement levels are a starting point for discussion about the performance of individual students and groups of students. In addition to achievement levels, there are other ways to evaluate academic progress of students and schools. Smarter Balanced states unanimously approved a position paper that provides guidelines for how scores and achievement levels can be used and interpreted.

We know that new content standards set higher expectations for students. That’s why the new assessments are designed to evaluate student performance against those higher standards. It is therefore not surprising that we may see a decline in student scores this year. However, over time the performance of students will improve.

In the coming months, Smarter Balanced states will present the approved achievement level recommendations to policymaking entities that have the authority to formally adopt achievement levels in each state.This authority typically rests with the state board of education.

To learn more about the Achievement Level Setting process, visit the Achievement Levels page.

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

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Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The vote marks an important milestone in the development of the assessment system. READ THE PRESS RELEASE

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS

Smarter Balanced Hires Deputy Executive Director

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) has appointed Luci Willits as its deputy executive director. Willits joins the state-led consortium December 8. As deputy executive director, Willits will focus on strategy and state services, overseeing communications, policy, and partnerships with higher education. LEARN MORE

Field Test Report Now Available

A report on the Smarter Balanced Field Test is now available. This report presents results from state surveys given to students and adults in 13 Smarter Balanced member states. The Field Test or “test of the test” was administered in the spring of 2014 to more than 4.2 million students across the Consortium, and provided teachers and schools an opportunity to gauge their readiness in advance of the operational assessments in spring 2015. LEARN MORE

New Resources Available on the Support for Under-Represented Students Page

To prepare states across the Consortium for successful implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, a variety of updates have been made to the Support for Under-Represented Students page. Updated versions of the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines, Accessibility and Accommodations Factsheet, and Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations FAQs are now available.

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Google Apps for Education: Deployment Guide

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Steps to transition your medium-sized business, educational institution, or government agency to Google Apps. Includes topics such as email configuration, account provisioning, data migration, mobile device management, and more.

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Best High Schools

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The 2015 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, released today, feature information on more than 19,000 eligible schools. High school performance has been under the spotlight recently, as the Obama administration announced awards earlier this month totaling more than $100 million to help schools prepare students for in-demand careers in fields including health care, technology and engineering.

The data show that receiving a gold medal is truly a rarity among the public high schools that U.S. News evaluated for this ranking. Only 2.8 percent of eligible schools ​received a gold medal. That number represents the top 500 schools and is calculated using a combination of state assessments and college readiness scores. Silver medals were awarded to just 8.6 percent of eligible schools.

The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas ​excelled, earning a gold medal along with top honors in the overall national rankings as well as the Best Magnet Schools rankings. ​

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Department of Education: 21st Century Learning

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Published on Oct 21, 2014

Various officials in the Department of Education, as well as Superintendents, discuss the need for transitioning districts, schools, teachers, and classrooms to be prepared for 21st century learning. This includes equity in access to these 21st century learning necessities.

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About the Future Ready District Pledge

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United States Department of Education

Office of the Secretary

Dear Superintendent,

As one of more than 16,000 superintendents leading school districts across the nation, you are on the forefront of the transformation of public education. Technology now allows for personalized digital learning for every student in the nation so long as leaders have the technological infrastructure and human capacity in place to ensure success.

The Future Ready District Pledge is designed to set out a roadmap to achieve that success and to commit districts to move as quickly as possible towards our shared vision of preparing students for success in college, careers and citizenship. The U.S. Department of Education seeks to encourage and support superintendents who commit to taking a leadership role in this transition with recognition and resources to help facilitate this transition to digital learning.

In June of 2013, the President launched the ConnectED Initiative to provide 99% of students in the nation with access to high-speed Internet connectivity at the classroom level. Coupled with two billion dollars from the federal E-Rate program, increased flexibility in the use of federal funds, and billions of dollars in additional commitments from the private sector, progress towards improving the nation’s physical infrastructure has already been dramatically accelerated.

However, in order for these resources to leverage their maximum impact on student learning, schools and districts must develop the human capacity, digital materials, and device access to use the new bandwidth wisely and effectively. The Future Ready District Pledge establishes a framework for achieving those goals and will be followed by providing district leaders with additional implementation guidance, online resources, and other support they need to transition to effective digital learning and achieve tangible outcomes for the students they serve.

The U.S. Department of Education is calling on superintendents like you who lead district, charter, and private schools to join us in taking the Future Ready District Pledge and working to develop, implement, and share your technology plan with other districts so they can learn from your successes and challenges along the way.

Thank you for all you are already doing to improve the education for our nation’s students. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for support. We stand ready to help you become a Future Ready district.

Richard Culatta
Director, Office of Educational Technology
Office of the Secretary

Seth Andrew
Senior Advisor & Superintendent in Residence
Office of the Secretary

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