The LD Source
Jun. 5, 2014

Schools skip standardized tests, but keep learning standards high
MindShift
Anya Kamenetz, a contributor for MindShift, writes: "Bate Middle School is a mundane '70s-era, red-brick building. But what's happening inside is anything but mundane. I've driven the 37 miles from Lexington to see one of the most closely watched efforts in the country to change the way schools assess student learning. Principal Amy Swann and the district's Superintendent, Carmen Coleman, have completely overhauled their school's educational philosophy, moving away from standardized tests toward an approach called performance-based assessment."More

Study finds reading possible despite low IQ
Disability Scoop
For students with intellectual disability, functional skills are often prioritized over academics, but a new study finds that children with low IQ are capable of learning to read. With persistence and specialized instruction, researchers found that kids with mild to moderate intellectual disability can read at a first-grade level or better. They say the results could have life-changing implications for thousands of students with low IQ.More

States struggle to make school report cards useful
U.S. News and World Report
School report cards published by state education agencies are a staple for parents deciding which schools their children should attend, but many states are still struggling to collect and report key accountability information and make it easy to understand for parents, a new report finds. The Education Commission of the States asked researchers, parents and education experts for their thoughts about school accountability systems: whether the report cards are easy to find, whether they are easy to understand and which measures are essential to include in them, such as student achievement, student academic growth, achievement gap closure, graduation rates, and college and career readiness.More

Common Core test experts explain ELL and special education supports
Education Week
The two experts closest to the development of features designed to make the new Common Core assessments accessible to all students, including English language learners, appeared on edweek.org yesterday to answer questions from the field. Magda Chia, the director of system design and support for underrepresented students for Smarter Balanced; and Tamara Reavis, a senior adviser for assessment, accessibility, and equity at PARCC; spent an hour taking questions and explaining the range of supports and features for students with disabilities and English language learners.More

Students' brains might benefit from an extra year in middle school
The Atlantic
The practice of voluntarily delaying school transitions, either by red-shirting kindergarten, repeating twelfth grade, or introducing a gap year between high school and college, is a well-established tradition in the United States. The extra year gives students time to mature athletically, academically, or developmentally. Although kindergarten entrance and the transition from high school to college have long been seen as the ideal times to take an extra year, recently eighth grade has been seen as an opportune time for kids to catch up with — or maybe even gain an advantage over — their peers.More

12 ways to help kids with ADHD get things done
PsychCentral
Kids with ADHD have a hard time completing tasks, such as homework and chores. They may understand the material and be capable of completing the assignment, said Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC, an ADHD parent coach, mental health counselor and teacher trainer. More

Common Core's promise collides with IEP realities
Education Week
One of the most promising elements of common academic standards for students with disabilities, say experts in special education, is that they offer explicit connections from one set of skills to another.More

In plain language: 5 big FAQ's about dyslexia
Psychology Today
Psychologists, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists are unraveling the mysteries of dyslexia. But if you are a parent, teacher or caregiver, it may be hard to read and comprehend the latest research.More

Longer school days mean better grades, studies say
Deseret News
Underperforming schools are raising student-performance levels by lengthening their school day from six-and-a-half hours to eight. Concerns over how to successfully improve failing schools have lead researchers to look at the benefits of longer days with a more varied curriculum. They found that when students in low-income areas are given more time, test scores improve between 11 and 24 percent.More

Common Core State Standards face a new wave of opposition
The New York Times
Opposition to the Common Core, a set of reading and math standards for elementary, middle and high school students that were originally adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, has gathered momentum among state lawmakers in recent weeks. The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina are considering signing bills to repeal the standards and replace them with locally written versions. In Missouri, lawmakers passed a bill that would require a committee of state educators to come up with new standards within the next two years. More

America has a STEM crisis — and this is how to solve it
eSchool News
Products that use principles of science, technology, engineering, and math can be found in many of our children's most valued possessions — from video game systems to computers to the smartphones attached to their hands. Unfortunately, their interest in these items does not often equate to an interest in these subjects. It is a fact underscored in the most recent study by the Program for International Student Assessment.More

Survey highlights teacher concerns about class size
Statesman Journal
Large class sizes and not enough instructional time to meet the needs of all students were among the top concerns of Oregon's Salem-Keizer educators, according to statewide survey results. But the data also showed that the district's teachers and administrators were more satisfied with professional development than the statewide average. Overall, 82.3 percent of Salem-Keizer educators who responded to the survey agreed that their school was a good place to work and learn. There were 1,541 educators in the district who responded to a new statewide survey about the teaching and learning conditions in their schools, representing a response rate of 72 percent. The district's participation rate was higher than the state's average.More

12 ways to help kids with ADHD get things done
PsychCentral
Kids with ADHD have a hard time completing tasks, such as homework and chores. They may understand the material and be capable of completing the assignment, said Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC, an ADHD parent coach, mental health counselor and teacher trainer. She shares her unique insights and experience to build an environment where kids feel safe, supported and capable of learning. But "they often have significant weakness in their ability to get started, stay focused, plan and organize their work, monitor themselves to regulate their actions, and manage their emotions."More

Why telling on bullies backfires
Psychology Today
An important research study recently made the news. Sibling bullying has been going up in recent years. This follows on the heels of another important study that found that kids who attend schools that have anti-bullying programs are more likely to be bullied than those who attend schools without such programs. Why is this happening? For the past fifteen years, the modern world has been conducting war against bullying. All of society has embraced the "anti-bullying" message. Schools have been declaring that they won't tolerate bullying, and that kids must tell the adult authorities whenever they are bullied so they can step in and make the bullying stop.More