We're back at you with another issue of Straight A's, the Alliance for Excellent Education's bi-weekly newsletter! As always, you can read the entire articles online, or you can sign up to receive Straight A's in your inbox by emailing JAmos@all4ed.org. Here are the highlights.
President Obama releasd his budget proposal today, but will he be able to convince Congress his plan is as good as he believes it to be? The congressional budget resolution is a nonbinding spending blueprint that sets monetary limits for the spending and tax legislation that the U.S. Congress will consider for the rest of the year. It does not require presidential approval and only the grand total of the discretionary spending laid out in the final budget resolution is binding on the appropriations committees. Nonetheless, the congressional budget resolution is an important step in the budgeting process because it provides guidance to the chairmen of the appropriations committees on how to divide resources among various federal departments and agencies, and sets the stage for the twelve annual appropriations bills that must be passed by Congress and signed by the president. Congressional Budget Resolutions
A large percentage of American middle-class high schools have not kept pace with countries like Singapore, Finland, Korea, and Germany that have raised standards, invested in teachers, and lifted their overall performance, according to a new report from America Achieves. The report, Middle Class or Middle of the Pack?: What Can We Learn When Benchmarking U.S. Schools Against the World’s Best?, finds that middle-class American fifteen-year-olds are “significantly” outperformed by their peers in twenty-four countries in math and fifteen countries in science based on a pilot study involving 105 American high schools that administered a new test known as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Test for Schools (based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)). The test measures students’ abilities to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems, the kinds of deeper learning necessary to succeed in college and the workplace. Middle Class or Middle of the Pack?
The Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education (the Gordon Commission) recently issued a public policy statement based on its two-plus years of work designed to “stimulate a productive national conversation about assessment and its relationship to teaching and learning.” Transforming Assessment
School districts and states must find affordable and feasible ways to improve student assessments so that they measure high-level skills and knowledge, a new report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education finds. The report, Developing Assessments of Deeper Learning: The Costs and Benefits of Using Tests that Help Students Learn, provides data on what states and districts currently spend on tests; examines the failings of current multiple-choice tests; and analyzes the costs and opportunities of creating, implementing, and scoring assessments that ensure students are equipped with twenty-first-century competencies. Developing Assessments of Deeper Learning Read Entire Post