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    Standards 2017: Assessment and Evaluation

    By April Hall
     | Feb 28, 2017

    virginia goatleyA draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.

    Assessment and Evaluation are the focus of Standard 3 of Standards 2017, addressing how teaching candidates use a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective literacy instruction.

    When lead writer Virginia Goatley, professor and chair of the Literacy Teaching and Learning Department at University of Albany-SUNY, and her team approached this Standard, the first step was to include more educators in the assessment process, including literacy coaches and specialists. Assessments do not solely fall to the classroom teacher, she said.

    Goatley notes Standard 3 is meant to work closely with Standard 2, Curriculum and Instruction: “Standard 2 will provide guidelines for Curriculum and Instruction, while Standard 3 addresses how to assess it. We focus on using multiple sources of data and letting that data drive decision making in instruction.”

    “As professionals, we understand the value of assessment. If you have teachers who are using data to inform instruction and are considering multiple forms of data, there are implications for necessary intervention. We’re saying you need to be strategic.”

    Goatley and her team did not take on the politics or controversy of assessment, although there are expectations for specialists to be advocates for students with various audiences and stakeholders.

    The Standard 3 writing team was:

    • Darion Griffin, senior associate director of Educational Issues for the American Federation of Teachers
    • Debra Miller, professor of education, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
    • Jennifer Jones-Powell, associate professor, Radford University, VA

    Peruse the entire Standards 2017 draft when it is posted for public comment on April 17 and be sure to make your voice heard.

    April Hall was editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing, and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.

     

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    Standards 2017: Curriculum and Instruction

    By April Hall
     | Feb 21, 2017

    A draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.

    Beverly DeVries PhotoStandard 2 addresses curriculum and instruction in the classroom. Lead writer Beverly DeVries, professor emerita of reading at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma, said it is closely related to others, particularly Standard 3, Assessment and Evaluation, and Standard 4, Diversity and Equity.

    In other words, Standard 2 identifies the skills, knowledge, and dispositions literacy professionals need to align their curriculum and instruction with their individual students or with the classroom community.

    The Standard also addresses collaboration in the creation of curriculum, whether with the research from professional associations like ILA and institutions of higher education, with the Department of Education, or with local school districts.

    “There has to be a connection between schools and the local universities,” DeVries said. “We believe they should collaborate on curriculum and instruction with a lot of integration.”

    She said that when writing the latest revision, her team used feedback they received from reviewers, for example, incorporating more emphasis on inclusion and differentiation. She also said the diversity of her team helped inform their work.

    The team for Standard 2 included the following:

    • Dana Robertson, assistant professor, elementary and early childhood education, University of Wyoming
      • Susan Piazza, associate professor, Western Michigan University
        • Cindy Parker, educator/education management, Lexington, KY

        Remember to review the Standards 2017 when it is posted for open public comment on April 17 and be sure to have your voice heard.

        April Hall is editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.


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        Introducing Improved Access to ILA Online Journal Content

        By ILA Staff
         | Feb 16, 2017

        wileyhub021617Ease and efficiency—educators have time for nothing less. To help you get the information you need when you need it, ILA has streamlined access to its journal content.

        • A new user-friendly look: Designed to help subscribers access online journal content faster than ever before, the new ILA Journals Hub makes it easy to find the most cited, the most read, and recently published journal content.
        • Easily searchable: Searching for the material you want is easier than ever. Enter a topic or an author and search articles in one ILA journal or among all three: The Reading Teacher, Reading Research Quarterly, and Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
        • Access the same favorites: The free virtual issues and open source articles are now simpler to find and read in the Hub.

        Get more familiar with this improved access to your journal content with these detailed instructions.

        Ready to get started? If you already subscribe to a journal, access the Hub by signing in to your account on literacyworldwide.org, clicking My Account & Journals, and selecting a journal under My Journals. If you’d like to add a journal subscription to your ILA membership, please contact Customer Service.

        Let us know what you think about the new Hub! E-mail your feedback to customerservice@reading.org.

         

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        Standards 2017: Foundational Knowledge

        By April Hall
         | Feb 14, 2017

         

        helen perkins headshot
        J. Helen Perkins

        A draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.

        Standard 1 in ILA’s Standards 2017 addresses “foundational knowledge,” or the role of theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading, writing, and communication in the preparation of literacy professionals. J. Helen Perkins, associate professor at the University of Memphis and lead writer on Standard 1, said her team didn’t approach the standard as an expansion from Standards 2010 but rather as a rewrite to include the latest research in the field. The Standard 1 writing team also included the following:

        • Anne McGill-Franzen, professor and director of the Reading Center, University of Tennessee
        • Jeanne Schumm, professor emerita, University of Miami
        • Vicky Zygouris-Coe, professor of Education, University of Central Florida

        “The Standard is much more rigorous, and there are high expectations that require a deeper understanding of literacy access and acquisition,” Perkins said.

        She noted that the writing team gave a lot of consideration to reciprocity, or the idea that when students improve in reading, other communications will improve in turn. Perkins emphasized that Standard 1 now requires literacy professionals to not only have the knowledge base but also be able to demonstrate that knowledge.

        Perkins shared that Standard 1 now has a focus on multimodal literacy, which wasn’t even addressed in Standards 2010. She noted, “Students are reading and writing in completely different ways now.”

        She said of the Standards 2017 drafting process that she enjoyed the collaborative work with the other writing teams and learned a lot within her own team. In two years of conference calls and virtual work sessions, the Standard 1 team compiled an extensive list of research sources. Significant effort went into examining that list and determining what was really relevant to foundational knowledge. “Whatever we were putting into Standard 1 was very clearly research-based,” Perkins said. “I think the product will be well worth the labor we put into this.”

        Peruse the entire Standards 2017 draft when it is posted for open public comment on April 17 and be sure to have your voice heard.

        April Hall is editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.

         

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        Confirmation of DeVos Portends Education Policy Upheaval

        By Dan mangan
         | Feb 09, 2017

        DeVos_300One tiebreaking vote by the vice president.

        On that slender a margin, Betsy DeVos—the billionaire philanthropist, GOP mega-donor, and school choice advocate who has no direct experience in public schools—was confirmed as Secretary of Education following a 50-50 split vote in the U.S. Senate.

        High drama preceded the floor vote when two republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, broke ranks and declared they would not vote to confirm DeVos, citing high constituent opposition.

        Their announcement touched off a massive last-ditch effort to produce one more scale-tipping defection, but to no avail despite an historic overload of the congressional phone system. Not even an all-night rally organized by congressional democrats on the eve of the vote was able to break the stalemate.

        Relevant experience

        DeVos’s lack of public school experience cut both ways during the battle over her confirmation. Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, who introduced her at the start of the Senate HELP Committee hearing, extolled it as an asset because “the nation needed a disruptor to fix its ailing schools.”

        Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) expanded upon this theme as the floor vote neared, noting that DeVos is an outsider, not just “another education bureaucrat who knows all the acronyms.” To him, what opponents of DeVos really want is “to keep power over public education right here inside the beltway.”

        Nevertheless, the limitations of such a credential became apparent during her hearing. DeVos stumbled when Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) asked if all schools receiving taxpayer funding should be required to meet the requirements of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), first replying that the matter was better left to the states, and then acknowledging that she may have confused the law.

        When asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for her view on using tests to measure whether students are making progress, as opposed to focusing on whether students meet proficiency standards, DeVos suggested that advancements should be the measure, leading Franken to reply that growth is not proficiency and to express surprise that she didn’t seem to know the issue.

        Conflict of interest

        DeVos underwent an extensive review by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for conflict of interest issues, an effort that delayed the final vote until the OGE report was available to each member of the senate committee. In the end she agreed to divest from 102 companies and investment funds.

        Committee democrats asked that the floor vote on DeVos be delayed to allow for additional inquiries on potential conflicts based on the OGE report, a request denied by the chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who noted that DeVos had already provided answers to 837 written questions from the senators.

        Ironically, those answers gave rise to a side controversy as some appeared to have been lifted from older documents prepared by staff in the Justice and Education departments.

        School choice and public education

        Central to DeVos’s perspective on improving education is the conviction that school choice, including charter, magnet, and private options, must be available to parents of children whose learning needs are not met by the local public school.

        “If confirmed, I will be a strong advocate for great public schools,” she explained in her opening statement to the committee, but added that if a school is troubled, unsafe, or not a good fit for a child, parents should have the right to “a high quality alternative.”

        Sen. Murray (D-WA) challenged DeVos on this point, asking if she would commit not “to privatize public schools or cut a single penny for public education.” The nominee countered that she would work to address the needs of all parents and students while empowering parents to make choices on behalf of their children. It was a pivotal exchange that marked a clear divide.

        Charter schools proved to be another flare-up issue. DeVos has successfully advocated for charter school options in her home state of Michigan. However, the performance of Michigan charter schools has been a matter of continuing controversy. Critics have zeroed in on the accountability of these institutions, which they claim is minimal at best.

        DeVos rejects any such characterization, calling it “false news.” She maintains that these schools remain accountable to their oversight bodies, and that 122 of these schools have been closed in Michigan since the state first authorized them.

        Civil rights groups, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association seized on DeVos’s school choice views to mount a major publicity effort to block her confirmation due to concerns that choice continues inequity between minority and white students. Meanwhile, 18 republican state governors circulated a letter supporting her for the same reason.

        The challenges ahead

        Since DeVos was first nominated, an intense debate has been ignited on education policy. A vision predicated on the strength of existing models is now confronted by one that draws its power from taking a different tack.

        The assumption that vital progress has been made and is best preserved by current approaches now faces the charge that those approaches have outlived their time and become obstacles to achieving the student learning breakthroughs most sought after.

        As if these deepening rifts were not daunting enough, the discourse needed to bridge them is vexed by presumptions of exclusive legitimacy and assertions of settled fact that all but preclude the finding of common ground. References to what is “mainstream” and what is “troubling” have become a reflexive frame. All is counterpoint, and the result is paralysis.

        Much of the current impasse centers on the respective roles of the federal and state governments. For many, Washington is the only real guardian and guarantor of equal educational opportunity. For others, Washington has become an overbearing national school board whose funding-tied regulatory reach too often puts undue burdens on local officials and classroom teachers.

        At this turning point, critical questions seek urgent resolution. What should be considered indispensable in public education, and what can fairly be put in play? Which existing regulatory mandates ought to be preserved, and where should new options be tried instead?  What is the appropriate educational use of taxpayer dollars? Right now a workable consensus appears almost out of reach.

        Amidst the ferment, literacy professionals continue to grapple day in and day out with instructional realities that lie beyond political paradigms and school system structures. To succeed in this time of upheaval, teachers and school administrators need to hold fast to research-informed approaches to literacy education. With that fealty, forward progress can always be made.

        dan-mangan

        Dan Mangan is the Director of Public Affairs at the International Literacy Association.

         
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