Common Core

Illinois Issues - Education Desk
7:08 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Springfield Schools Are Prepped for PARCC

The PARCC test is designed to be given on computers or tablets, though there is a pen-and-paper version available.
Credit Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Illinois schools are preparing to implement a new standardized test based on the Common Core standards. Some school districts have pleaded with state officials to delay the implementation of the new test, but Springfield school officials say they're ready.

Educators refer to this new test as the PARCC test. That’s the acronym for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It’s a standardized test, designed by the Pearson company, that will be given to most Illinois students beginning in March.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
6:21 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Illinois Set To Test Common Core Standards

Christopher A. Koch, superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education, says opting out of PARCC is not an option.
Credit isbe.state.il.us

Illinois students are scheduled to take the new Common Core test this spring, despite a growing chorus of parents and educators opposing it. 

To get some idea of how controversial the test is, consider this: The number of states that have legalized marijuana use -- 23 -- is double the number of states that have agreed to use this test -- just 11. Of those 11, only eight have agreed to use both the elementary and high school portions of the test. Illinois is one of these states.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
6:10 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Are Computer Keyboards Killing Cursive?

Teens we showed this letter to had trouble reading because it was written in cursive.
Credit The Papers Of Abraham Lincoln

With the rise of computers and electronic communications, educators have all but written off penmanship. And kids who don’t learn to write cursive tend to have trouble reading cursive. 

Last week, I went around torturing teenagers. I handed them a copy of a letter, written on stationery from the Executive Mansion and dated April 5, 1864. The letter is addressed to Mrs. Horace Mann.

It was especially challenging for 18-year-old Edwin Robles. 

“I’m sorry, I’m really bad at cursive. Like horrible at it," Robles said. "Why? Is this like a test?”

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Education Desk
6:53 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Missed Any Of Our Education Specials? Find Them Here

Credit Stephen Smith

The Science Of Smart

Schools across the country are trying new ways to teach based on brain science. Teachers say current techniques are failing, but new approaches can help students learn more deeply.  

Until recently, we didn't know much about the best ways to learn. Now that's changing. Over recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

New Test, New Stress: Exam Promises Headaches as Schools Adjust to Common Core's Latest Challenge

A computer lab at North Elementary School in Marshall
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 Benjamin Churchill has been spending extra time with his daughter at the computer lately. Quinn, 8, will be taking her first state exam this school year, and unlike the tests her dad took, this one won’t require a No. 2 pencil. 

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Education Desk
6:26 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Illinois Sees Slight Gains On ACT Scores

Credit Eastern Kentucky University

The Illinois State Board of Education says Illinois' high school graduating class of 2014 earned a composite score of 20.7 on the ACT.  

The score on the four-subject test is slightly higher than the class of 2013's score of 20.6. The national average is 21.  

Board officials say Illinois had the second-highest composite score among the 12 states that tested 100 percent of graduates, next to Utah.  

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Education
5:06 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Credit flickr/LizMarie_AK

After more than two years of trying, Illinois has finally won a waiver from the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. Brian Mackey reports on what this means for schools in Illinois.

  The short answer is not much.

Illinois has already been moving beyond the No Child Left Behind law for some time, even as it waited for permission from the federal government.

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, says there were problems with No Child Left Behind.

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Education
6:00 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Grade Deflation On School Report Cards

Illinois schools and school districts get report cards Thursday. Many will appear to have suffered a significant drop in student achievement. But state officials say that’s just because they’ve changed how students are evaluated.

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