Posted January 27, 2020
New analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonpartisan research and policy organization, shows significant progress among the nation’s teacher prep programs in their adherence to the methods of reading instruction that are most likely to result in the highest number of successful readers. The NCTQ 2020 Teacher Prep Review shows that for the first time since the 2013, over half (51%) of evaluated traditional elementary teacher prep programs in the country earn an A or B for their coverage of the key components of the science of reading. Seven years ago, this number was only 35%.
As part of the report, NCTQ analyzed textbooks being used in teacher preparation programs to determine which comprehensively and rigorously cover the scientific basis and instructional elements of the five essential components of effective reading instruction. CORE’s Teaching Reading Sourcebook was among the 10 textbooks deemed exemplary in the report and was found to be used in more teacher preparation courses than any other textbook.
Posted January 24, 2020
Monica Ng, Pivot Learning’s* Director, Education Programs, recently shared details of Pivot Learning’s collaboration with Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Monterey, CA), Lancaster School District (Lancaster, CA) to pilot an innovative peer-to-peer learning model. Leadership teams from these two districts were provided the opportunity to learn strategies for leveraging multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) models to address the needs of at-risk student populations from educators in Sanger Unified School District (Sanger. CA), a national leader in the use of MTSS.
In many cases, school districts look to outside providers to offer support for the implementation of new initiatives. Through a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation, Pivot Learning was able to work with two California districts, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Monterey) and Lancaster School District (Lancaster), to pilot an innovative peer-to-peer learning model.
Posted January 16, 2020
Student Achievement Partners has released a report that offers a deep dive into Teachers College Reading & Writing Project’s Units of Study English language arts instructional program. Seven literacy experts evaluated the program to determine its adherence to research-based practices that should be evident in literacy programs and in use in classrooms, particularly to accelerate students who are not reading at grade level.
Dr. Claude Goldenberg, a CORE Advisory Board member, is one of the experts who reviewed Units of Study. The focus of his review was the adequacy of supports for English learners present in the program.
This is the first in a series of reviews that Student Achievement Partners will be doing, each will focus on one of four common categories of elementary ELA instructional programs reviewed against the relevant research base. Because Units of Study is a widely used balanced literacy/workshop program, it was selected as the program for analysis in that category.
The report is available for download from Student Achievement Partners.
Posted January 15, 2020
By Dr. Dale Webster, Chief Academic Officer, CORE
Recently, there have been many responses to Lucy Calkins’ essay ”No One Gets to Own the Term, Science of Reading.” Many have responded with strong disagreement to her point of view. Two of the responses are very informative and can be found here and here. More disputes to her essay can be found here. Interestingly, none of the responses that I have seen to date address Calkins’ inaccurate attack on the Reading First initiative, which was the academic cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While there are criticisms of the NCLB Act, in fact, many educators and those directly involved with Reading First have argued that the Reading First Initiative was one of the strongest components of NCLB.
Calkins makes the following statements about Reading First.
Instead, the experiment involved tens of millions of kids. It was called Reading First, the reading instructional program for K-3 mandated in schools funded by No Child Left Behind….involved a set of top-down mandates for intensive phonics instruction that resembled what the science of reading people today are supporting. The mandates included not only intensive systematic phonics based on “the science of reading” but also an unbalanced reliance on highly decodable texts, to the exclusion of trade books…The results of Reading First were not good…the problem with Reading First was not that it taught phonics, but that phonics was largely all it taught.
Calkins makes several factual errors in her statements above which are largely based on anecdotal musings from many who didn’t like Reading First.
Posted December 18, 2019
By Dean Ballard, Director of Mathematics, CORE
Implementing a new curriculum is a daunting task. Often the organization, layout, and even the instructional approach can be drastically different than the previously used curriculum. Change takes time, especially if that change includes learning new instructional approaches. Therefore, the first year or two of implementing a new curriculum may be focused on changing instructional practices and deepening the knowledge base of teachers and instructional leaders. Taguma and Barrera (2019) cite teacher commitment, beliefs, and content and pedagogical understanding of the new curriculum as key factors that either facilitate or impede successful curriculum implementation. For example, if teachers do not know some of the new pedagogy that is embedded within the new curriculum, they will need more professional learning and support.