More “Flexibility” From The Feds

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Here’s another example of “flexibility” from the Feds that will directly impact parents who want to opt their students out. After we were told that the Every Student Succeeds Act will end the “national school board” and will “provide greater flexibility to local schools and states,” the U.S. Department of Education under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doesn’t seem to have received the memo.

Shocker.

Utah is the latest state to get slapped down when they asked the Feds, “Mother may I?”

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports:

After its series of requests for flexibility from federal education laws were denied, the Utah Board of Education has agreed to count opt-outs as students who took tests but failed in order to achieve a minimum participation rate of 95 percent.

That means schools with high numbers of students who opt-out of assessments — including many charter schools and some school districts — could see their performance ratings plummet, as those children are awarded zero points for the purpose of accountability calculations. The ratings are used in programs like Title 1, school grading and school turnaround efforts.

The change in policy is part of Utah’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which mandates that at least 95 percent of students participate in annual testing in grades three through eight and at least once in high school. Utah’s plan was approved Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education, following several delays as the state requested and failed to receive a waiver from the participation requirements, or a one-year reprieve from ESSA’s mandate.

Let’s say this again – The Every Student Succeeds Act does not provide flexibility. The Every Student Succeeds Act does not return local control. Those who think it does are either devious or deluded.

If the Trump Administration is serious about ratcheting back federal education policy they can start by convincing Congress to repeal this horrendous law.

New Mexico House Candidate Promotes Parental Opt-Out of PARCC

Dr. Lisa Shin

I read an op/ed by a state legislative candidate that I found refreshing. Lisa Shin who is running for the New Mexico House of Representatives in House District 43 said that parents should have a say whether their child takes PARCC. Shin is running unopposed in the Republican Primary that is being held today in an open seat that was previously held by State Representative Stephanie Richard, a Democrat who is running for public lands commissioner.

She writes:

PARCC testing has not improved the educational system for New Mexico as a whole. One thing for certain, the PARCC rebellion reflects the need for local control over education. Each community has vastly different needs and priorities. A responsive, accountable, and accessible school board and superintendent seeks input from teachers, parents, and students, to determine the best ways to assess and improve academic proficiency. What works in Los Alamos, doesn’t work in Cuba or Silver City.

Sen. Morales decries huge corporations that profit millions from PARCC, but it is the bad fruit from the tree of corruption and cronyism. Common Core is “infested with essentially the same set of people rewarding each other with taxpayer dollars and huge private grants, decades before there can be any proof that all this money laundering produced a genuine public good. Common Core is a giant experiment, remember.” When in doubt, follow the money.

In the end, parents have the final say, and should exercise their right to opt-out, if they so choose. Districts that tell parents they cannot do so, in Sen. Morales’ words, violate “a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and it is unacceptable. Our children must not be used as leverage in a misguided national trend of high-stakes testing in public education.”

I am happy to see a candidate write about this. She is a rare candidate to do so.

South Dakota Gubernatorial Candidates Weigh-In on K-12 Education

(From Left) Democrat Billie Sutton and Republicans Kristi Noem and Marty Jackley

The Rapid City Journal asked the three leading candidates in South Dakota’s gubernatorial race about education. The candidates are State Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton (D-Burke), Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD), and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley who is a Republican.  I wanted to highlight a couple of the topics that are of interest here: Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Universal Pre-School. After that, I take a look at what the candidates tout on their websites about K-12 education.

Career and Technical Education

All three candidates were supportive of CTE. Jackley focused on post-high school, but Noem and Jackley addressed what happens before college:

Both Noem and Sutton responded by emphasizing what happens prior to college.

“I think we try to connect students who have an affinity for technical trades at a younger age to apprenticeships and training,” Noem said.

Sutton pointed to a bill he introduced last session to create a grant funding schools that share technical education resources, such as a mobile lab for engineering or manufacturing classes for high school students in Gregory County.

“Sioux Falls has a CTE high school, and that’s great,” Sutton said, “but our rural communities don’t have the resources to do it on their own.”

Universal Pre-School

South Dakota currently does not fund pre-school, and we’ve noted that education reformers pushed early childhood education.

Said Sutton, “There’s just a lot of kids in South Dakota who don’t have access to Early Childhood Education,” repeating a common pledge to provide a pathway for publicly funded preschool.

“Last session I introduced a bill just to study the impact of pre-K because so often we hear fellow legislators dismissing all these studies that suggest it’s a great return-on-investment,” he said. “But even that was killed in committee.”

Noem agreed of the importance of educating children prior to kindergarten. Yet, the state’s budget doesn’t have a “lot of extra money” rolling around.

“We need to go in with our eyes wide open,” she said.

She also suggested a bigger philosophical question at play.

“We should not have the government doing the job that parents and families should be doing.”

In an education initiative released Friday morning, Jackley called for expanding ECE to “under-resourced communities.” On the phone, he also framed the question in personal terms, saying he and his wife chose to have their children benefit from preschool.

“There’s no disputing that early childhood education is critical to brain and social development.”

But he also noted that as a low-tax conservative, he would work with the legislature to prioritize education funding while “remaining fiscally responsible.”

Noem’s comment that it is the parents’, not the government’s job to provide early childhood education is spot on.

What they promote:

I was curious what the candidates promoted on their campaign websites.

Billie Sutton:

Sutton’s website addressed CTE in K-12 education:

One of the most important elements of economic and workforce development is education. It is through carefully designed educational experiences that students find their fit in the workforce. Our high schools offer great opportunities to present career and technical exploration earlier, and the need is especially strong in rural South Dakota. In Billie’s hometown of Burke, the school district partnered with three others to buy four mobile units with a grant from the Future Fund, each offering a career & technical class like manufacturing, engineering, biomedical engineering, and welding. This is the kind of innovation we can bring to all our schools, urban and rural, so all our students get exposure and experience to job opportunities before making post-secondary decisions.

Billie’s plan for a stronger economy includes developing CTE grant programs to encourage schools to be collaborative and innovative in creating these opportunities for students and in connecting them with the post-secondary options that put them on the path to jobs. We must give schools the resources to build partnerships with tech schools and industries to give opportunities to students of all interests. Billie will work with educators to develop tech experiences for our students and explore more ways students can earn high school and college dual credit while gaining work experience in the community.

I should note that Legislative Democrats in South Dakota have been opposed to repealing Common Core. I don’t have Sutton’s voting record in front of me, but I doubt he stands for local control in education in any meaningful way.

Kristi Noem:

Noem had more to say on her website about K-12 education:

South Dakota students consistently produce good test scores, graduate on time, and meet college readiness benchmarks. But many schools struggle to make ends meet, jeopardizing the long-term success of South Dakota’s K-12 education system. As governor, I will be committed to balancing the needs of families, teachers and administrators, and taxpayers as we prepare students for college, the workforce, and citizenship.

Empower families. When it comes to raising kids, family is better than government. As a conservative, I will protect the rights of parents to choose the educational path that’s best for their child, whether it’s homeschooling, public schooling, or a private education. Regardless of a family’s decision, I will work to ensure all students have equal opportunity within the education system.

Do more with every taxpayer dollar. Public education policy is too often evaluated by expenditures, rather than student success. That’s a mistake. We need to focus on creating a better system, not a more expensive one – a goal that can and should be accomplished without taking necessary resources out of classrooms. As governor, I would:

  • Work to centralize and standardize purchasing, giving local schools more options to cut costs by taking advantage of the state’s massive buying power;
  • Encourage schools to share resources and expand long-distance learning opportunities;
  • Assist local school districts in pursuing private funds to mitigate the cost of capital projects;
  • Continue leveraging the state’s AAA bond rating to help schools borrow at a lower cost;
  • Reform the Department of Education, adopting a model that promotes much closer collaboration with locally elected school boards; and
  • Improve transparency in school district budgeting, as proposed in my Sunshine Initiative.

Create a culture of performance. From teachers and administrators to school board members, South Dakota is fortunate to have many talented people dedicated to student success. I want to elevate high-performers while expanding continued learning opportunities for those running our classrooms and school districts. As governor, I will pursue public-private partnerships to financially reward rockstar teachers. For instance, I’d like to collaborate with local businesses to sponsor a robust “Teacher of the Month” program. Additionally, my administration will explore opportunities to improve overall performance through evidence-based school board training and teacher mentorship programs.

Reject Common Core and federal overreach. In the U.S. House, I helped get legislation signed into law limiting the federal government’s role in our education system. As governor, I will take advantage of those flexibilities, continuing to reject Common Core and seeking appropriate waivers and grants to customize South Dakota’s education system.

Promote civic education. Our republic only works if citizens are active and informed. The next generation of South Dakotans must understand the foundations of our nation, the tremendous sacrifices made to protect our constitutional rights, and the freedoms, liberties, and responsibilities we have as citizens. In collaboration with school districts, I will work to expand civics and U.S. history programs and encourage schools to include the citizenship test as part of their graduation criteria.

Encourage kids to explore in-demand jobs early. South Dakota already faces severe labor shortages, and even greater demands for a skilled workforce are on the horizon. As governor, I would work to:

  • Provide career counseling and information regarding in-demand jobs beginning at the middle-school level;
  • Inspire students by expanding experience-driven learning opportunities before college;
  • Coordinate resources to identify and help at-risk children plan for their futures; and
  • Dramatically increase shared-learning opportunities among high schools, technical schools, universities, and employers to better manage the transition from home to post-secondary education to the South Dakota workforce.

Noem’s support of public-private partnerships, workforce development, and CTE are dog-whistles for education reformers. Also, her support of the Every Student Succeeds Act and falsely claiming it provides flexibility for states is unfortunate.

Marty Jackley:

Here’s what Jackley had to say about education on his website.

  • Work side-by-side with educators, administrators, parents, school boards, and students. My primary opponent has announced opposition to collaborative task forces such as the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Teachers and Students that was convened in 2015. A Jackley administration, however, will welcome these stakeholders to the table. These voices deserve to be heard, and volunteer task forces do not grow government—they bring expertise to government and make it more efficient.
  • Equip South Dakota educators and institutions with adequate funding to ensure competitive salaries and safe, secure learning environments so every learner has a highly trained, well-prepared, skilled adult guiding them along the educational journey to reach their maximum potential. We will support educational institutions with flexibility to customize systems and processes to best serve a broad spectrum of education needs necessary for entering a modern, vibrant workforce. As your attorney general, I have already brought $28 million in education funding to the state through the tobacco settlement—without raising taxes—and I am committed to expanding education funding opportunities without raising taxes.
  • Expand South Dakota’s K-12 system to include adequate early childhood educational opportunities for the most under-resourced communities by working with both public and private entities to support our youngest, most vulnerable learners. Putting learners on a path for success early in their journey reaps rewards for the individual as well as economic stability and sustainability for communities.
  • Provide equitable educational experiences for Native American students. This is paramount to sustaining a vital aspect of our state culture and heritage. As a board member of Jobs for America’s Graduates I am dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who have serious barriers to graduation and/or employment. As Governor, I’ll work with our public and federal education systems to break the gridlock on best serving students in under-resourced communities. I will also reach out to leaders of the nine tribes to listen and learn about how we can work together to best serve all children.
  • Engage our entire pre-kindergarten to graduate-level education community to create a pipeline of opportunity that propels our citizens toward increased economic opportunities. Students must be exposed early to employment options that both leverage their unique talents and capitalize on their personal interests. They must be counseled during their K-12 experience to efficiently access the advanced training and educational opportunities that make best use of state and personal financial resources. For students to appropriately access employment opportunities that boost our workforce and economy, we must continuously improve the educational experience by pairing the most effective instructional methods with modern technologies to support a more personalized, competency-based learning experience that powerfully engages learners and sets them on a path for success both personally and professionally.
  • Empower our institutions with partnerships that capitalize on our strong South Dakota work ethic and can-do nature. By working together, we can empower people, streamline resources, and ensure relevant and meaningful learning opportunities successfully launch our learners to appropriate secondary learning institutions in our technical institutes and university systems.
  • Create incentives that encourage in-state placement. Our Opportunity Scholarship and Build Dakota programs are strong. We should continue to provide financial aid to South Dakota students who are committed to remaining in the state after receiving their postsecondary education.
  • Reduce barriers to teacher innovation. I will work with the South Dakota Department of Education to reduce the negative impact of ineffective mandated programs that don’t work well for rural states (ex. school improvement regs, Smarter Balanced testing) and to creatively, but appropriately, leverage federal dollars for programming that benefit our educational community.
  • Defend the rights of parents to educate their children on an even playing field. I support higher education opportunities for homeschool graduates, including SB 94 which would have expanded Opportunity Scholarship eligibility for homeschool students. In addition, students who need access to additional educational tools, such as the South Dakota Virtual School or classes offered by the e-learning center at Northern State University, should not be turned away because they are homeschooled.
  • Partner with local law enforcement to keep our schools safe. As your attorney general, I have seen firsthand the meaningful relationships our resource officers have formed with teachers and students. I will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure our schools are adequately protected and our students have methods to report potential threats to their safety. These kinds of decisions will be made together with administrators, teachers, parents, and students.

So Jackley promotes a preK-12 “pipeline”… just wonderful… His comment about reducing regulations on school districts is encouraging however.

Conclusion:

Sutton, suprisingly for a Democrat, has the least to say about education. All of the candidates have bought into the workforce development model of education. Noem and Jackley at least appear to support parental rights. Noem says she’s anti-Common Core, but support of ESSA tarishes her record. Jackley seems to understand that state mandates on local school districts is problematic.

I’m writing this to inform our readers, especially those in South Dakota, about where the candidates stand, not to make an endorsement. Each candidate holds a position or has a record regarding K-12 education that is problematic for me (however like most of you I’m not a single issue voter). I would encourage our South Dakota readers to meet the candidates and ask questions as you get an opportunity. I would be curious to hear what Jackley has to say about Common Core, how Noem plans to address Common Core, and why Sutton supports Common Core. All candidates still need to weigh in on parental opt-outs and student data privacy.

If you live in South Dakota and receive additional information, please feel free to send it to me at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

NY Assembly Introduces Bill to Bar Using Assessment Scores on Teacher Evaluations

Photo Credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

A bill was introduced Thursday in the New York Assembly that would bar schools from using standardized assessment scores on teacher evaluations.

The New York Post reports:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie introduce the bill late Thursday and Cuomo’s office released a statement indicating the governor was on board.

“We have been working the Legislature and education community for months to address this issue and would like to reach a resolution this session‎,” said Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi.

The announcement came hours after Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo’s Democrtic primary opponent, called for a repeal of the evaluation system.

Eliminating the mandate would be a victory for the teachers’ union, which has long opposed the use of state English and math exams for grades 3 to 8 exams to rate teachers.

“It has become increasingly clear that standardized tests do not fully account for the diversity of our student populations,” said Speaker Carl Heastie.

Read the rest.

Common Core is still present in New York State regardless of the recent revisions of their state standards. In 2016, The New York State Education Department adjusted their statewide assessment to encourage “opt-ins” as the state has seen the most student opt-outs of any in the nation and that did not change in 2016 as some deemed the 3rd-grade assessment to be age-inappropriate.

This bill will, at the very least, ensure teachers that they won’t have to teach to the test in order to help their standing with evaluations. Also, it is true that some students just don’t test well. That does not mean they are not learning. I also hope that it will reduce potential pressure parents may receive from their local school districts if they decide to opt their student out.

We are still waiting for a bill from the New York Legislature that affirms a parent’s right to do just that.

Colorado Senate Bill Seeks to Protect Students Who Opt-Out From Assessments

Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, CO
Photo Credit: Sascha Brück (CC-By-SA 3.0)

SB18-011, filed this week in the Colorado Senate, seeks to ensure that students whose parents opt them out of assessments do not face punitive measures at school.

Here is an excerpt from the summary of the bill:

Under current law, a local education provider shall not punish a student whose parent excuses him or her from taking a state assessment. The bill clarifies that a local education provider also shall not prohibit the student from participating in an activity or receiving any other form of reward that recognizes participation in the state assessments. If a local education provider does not comply with these restrictions, the department of education must note the failure to comply on the performance report prepared for the local education provider and for the specific public school if the local education provider is a school district or board of cooperative services. If a local education provider fails to comply 3 or more times during a school year, the state board of education must impose a significant penalty, as provided by rule, on the local education provider in calculating the local education provider’s accreditation rating for that school year.

Apparently, the current law was not clear enough.

This is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by State Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood), State Senator Chris Holbert (R-Douglas County), State Representative Paul Lundeen (R-Monument), and State Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada).

The bill has been referred to the Colorado Senate Education Committee.

Colorado: Another Example of Federal “Flexibility”

Colorado saw a lot of opt-outs when new science and social studies assessments were introduced. In 2015, tens of thousands of students opted-out of PARCC equaling roughly one in ten students did not take PARCC because of parental refusals. Colorado’s State Board of Education adopted a policy afterwards that did not count those students in a school’s average score so the state would not penalize schools if they had a high number of opt-outs.

That new policy was part of Colorado’s ESSA state accountability plan and the Feds rejected it, and so the board caved.

Chalkbeat reports:

That proved to be a sticking point when state officials submitted Colorado’s plan for complying with the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. Federal officials sent the plan back, saying the opt-out provision didn’t comply with the new law.

In the compromise, the state will continue to issue state school quality ratings that don’t penalize schools for high opt-out rates.

However, the state will create a separate list of schools based on the federal requirement that students who opt out are counted as not proficient.

Some state board members worried two systems would create additional work for teachers, create confusion among the public or misidentify schools.

State officials said Wednesday, teachers, students and parents shouldn’t notice much difference. No school or district will be responsible for submitting more data. The state will be responsible for slicing and dicing results from annual tests as they have in the past.

Because Colorado students who opt out tend to be white and more affluent, this change could flag schools for financial support to boost learning that really don’t need it.

State education officials assured the board that it had discretion in identifying whether a school is truly low-performing or if its scores are deflated from low participation.

Colorado’s policy gave parents who wanted to opt their children out from assessments some space. Now schools could, yet again, ramp up pressure on those families to have their students take the assessment. It is ludicrous that a student will be considered “not proficient” in the federal system simply because they didn’t take a standardized assessment. That student could very well be the school’s valedictorian.

This news from Colorado further demonstrates that ESSA does not provide the promised flexibility to states. Colorado’s State Board of Education had the opportunity to challenge this farce of a law, it’s unfortunate they chickened out.

This Is One Reason Why Standardized Tests Aren’t Effective

Photo source: PureParents.org

If you really believe that standardized testing can help teachers better teach to their students’ weaknesses then they probably need results back sooner than a year.

From the Chicago Tribune/Naperville Sun:

Schools will have to wait until at least summer 2017 to get the results of the state science tests students took in 2016.

As high school biology students in Indian Prairie District 204 begin taking the Illinois Science Assessment this week, Superintendent Karen Sullivan said schools will push ahead despite the district having no idea how students performed when they took the assessment last spring.

“That makes it really useful to be able to know how to adapt to your instruction and your curriculum when you know what the results were,” said Sullivan at a recent board meeting.

Illinois State Board of Education officials said districts should see assessment results this summer.

This summer? Gee, thanks….

I realize that this is an extreme example, but every standardized assessment has lag time, and ultimately is not helpful in fine tuning individual instruction. Sure lessons could possibly be learned in the aggregate, but just because one class had a particular weakness it doesn’t mean the next class will be the same.

Anyway if this is a reason to push standardized testing those who advocate for it should be honest about its limitations. Parents would do well to opt their students out of these assessments that are ineffective and that waste time that is better spent teaching.

Poll: Support for Common Core Drops by 40% Since 2012

Teacher at Maxwell AFB Elementary/Middle School (Air Force photo/Kelly Deichert)

Teacher at Maxwell AFB Elementary/Middle School
(Air Force photo/Kelly Deichert)

Support for the Common Core State Standards has dropped 40 points since 2012 according to a new poll. Education Next conducted their annual poll in May and June of 4,181 adults including 609 teachers and 1,571 parents with school-aged children living at home.

They report support for Common Core has dropped like a rock.

  • Only 50% of all those taking a side say they support the use of the Common Core standards in their state, down from 58% in 2015 and from 90% in 2012. This number represents only 42% of the general public (got to love how they took out the 16% who didn’t take a side to make support seem higher).
  • For those Republicans who have expressed an opinion backing has plummeted from 82% in 2013 to 39% in 2016. (In total only 35% of all Republicans polled support Common Core, 53% oppose.)
  • Only 60% of Democrats taking a side support Common Core which is down from 86% in 2013 (49% of all Democrats support, 32% oppose).
  • Teachers have seen the largest drop. In 2013 87% of teachers taking a side supported Common Core now only 44% do. (41% of all teachers support, a majority –
  • More parents of school-aged children oppose Common Core (43%) than support it (42%).
  • Opposition is the lowest among African Americans (24%) and Hispanics (29%).
  • A majority of the public believes it is the state’s role, not the federal government’s role to establish education standards – 51%. Only 39% believes it is a federal role.
  • This was surprising – more Republicans (40%) believe the feds have the biggest role in setting standards compared to Democrats (37%). This doesn’t necessarily indicate support for that position, but how they view the way things are.

I’m less enthused about the polling on parental opt-outs and assessments.

  • 69% of the general public support the Feds requiring testing. Only 20% oppose.
  • 68% of parents support testing with 24% opposed.
  • Only 50% of teachers support testing with 46% opposed.
  • 60% of the general public opposes parental opt-outs. 25% support.
  • Among parents only 49% oppose opting out with 38% supporting opt-outs.
  • Only 52% of teachers opposed opting out with 40% supporting a parents’ right to opt their child out.
  • 63% of the general public support using the same test across states with 24% opposed.
  • 62% of parents support using the same tests across states with 25% opposed.
  • 53% of teachers support using the same tests across states with 38% opposed.

I have to admit that I’m surprised that more teachers support opting out of tests than parents. What doesn’t surprise me is that support for testing is so high. If education reformers have been successful at all it has been with the idea of schools being accountable which so far has primarily been done through testing.

U.S. Department of Education Wants to Punish High Opt-Out Schools

john-b-king-barack-obama

In New York in 2016 more than one in five students opted-out taking the Common Core assessment given by the state, they have the highest rate of opt-outs in the country. If the Secretary of Education John King and the U.S. Department of Education has their way high opt-out schools, those who don’t hit 95% of their students participating, will be punished.

Lohud.com reports:

A looming deadline for public comment on proposed changes to federal education policy, including consequences to participation in opting out of testing, has sparked outcry from parents, legislators and education groups.

The new regulations, when adopted, would explain how states and school districts must implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed by Congress in December 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Law. The new law was aimed at relaxing federal control of education policy and giving more flexibility to the states.

The proposed amendment to ESSA, drafted by U.S. Secretary of Education John King, the former New York education commissioner, would punish schools with high opt-out rates by having school ratings lowered and require improvement strategies.

…In the drafted amendment, states would be required to take action against schools that fail to have at least 95 percent of participation from students by assigning them “the lowest performance level” on a state rating system, according to the proposal. In addition, those schools will require “targeted support” to improve the rating and increase the test participation numbers.

So much for giving control back to the states. As we said before the Every Student Succeeds Act erodes state control, it doesn’t increase it. This is just one example. Some lawmakers said that states could include opt-out provision in their state plans. Well obviously that isn’t the case unless these regulations are shot down.

2016 Saw More Assessment Opt-Outs in New York State

New York State Flag

New York State saw more parents opt their students out of state assessments in 2016.

From WHEC News Channel 10:

The percentage of Common Core opt-outs increased in 2016. In 2015 about 20 percent of the students statewide decided to opt out of the Common Core tests. This past spring about 21 percent of students opted out.

Opt outs were down in many Monroe County districts, including Brockport, Fairport, Pittsford and Spencerport. As for the results – only 6.7 percent of Rochester students were proficient in English. That is the worst percentage across New York’s big five school districts. Rochester also had the lowest percentage of students proficient in math among the big five.

In April we spoke with State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia. She noted that this year changes were made to the tests to try and bring those opt-outs down. Next year even more changes might come.

“We’re going to continue to have teachers involved in the assessments and to a greater degree next year,” says Elia. “We’re looking at the length of the assessments. We also are moving to have more of the questions released online immediately after the assessment.”