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A Peek Inside New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment Pilot – Education Week

New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) program is closely followed throughout the country as a demonstration of how schools can reduce their use of once-a-year standardized assessments and move toward integrated classroom assessments – “performance assessments” – that contribute to learning while providing feedback on each student’s progress.

Here’s an interview with a PACE teacher who gives a clear view of how it all works.   (more…)

Have you heard confusing rumors about PACE and HB 323? Here are the facts you need.

The bill has become a lightning rod for people who just plain oppose NHDOE, some of whom want to shut it down.  But most legislators will acknowledge that the criticisms are baseless.

House Education Committee chair Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill) wrote HB 323 as an expression of legislative support for the hard work done by four New Hampshire school districts and the department of education in creating a way for local classroom based assessments to replace some standardized tests.  Here is some background on New Hampshire’s innovative PACE program.

HB 323 passed the House with an overwhelmingly positive voice vote but has drawn opposition from some in the Senate based on serious misinformation provided by opponents of competency based education. (more…)

Governor Hassan vetoes SB 101, prohibiting the state from requiring school districts to implement the Common Core standards

Voicing strong support for the Common Core standards and high expectations for our students, Governor Hassan today vetoed SB 101, saying

“…allowing it to become law would have real and lasting consequences to New Hampshire’s economic competitiveness by sending a damaging signal that our state is not committed to the education standards necessary to prepare a 21st century workforce.

….there is no need to pass a law exempting districts from compliance. School districts are already well aware that they have such a choice.

….Common Core has the support of educators and businesses, and of Republicans and Democrats. As this bill has no practical impact, its purpose appears to be that of sending a message, and it is the wrong message.”

Read Governor Hassan’s full message here.

Marc Tucker on how we should gauge student success: trust teachers

In a recent blog post, Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, marches straight at the question at the center of today’s debate about the direction of American education: what role should testing play? (more…)

If you think “Common Core math” is confusing, watch this video!

Here’s a great video by Vox, the news website that’s all about the bottom line reality of issues in the news.  In other words, the video is not from an advocacy group.  And it shows in 3 minutes and 11 seconds why the Common Core standards want our second graders to understand more about subtraction than “borrow the one.” (more…)

‘Thank God for New Hampshire’ – EdWeek about the PACE locally managed assessment program

Here in New Hampshire, it’s easy to lose perspective on how important the PACE pilot program is.  Years in preparation, it is the nation’s first step beyond standardized testing.  The four participating districts – Sanborn, Rochester, Epping and Souhegan – are doing hard creative work that will clear the way for other districts in New Hampshire and eventually throughout the country.

That’s why Kentucky education commissioner said, (more…)

Teaching the Next Generation Science Standards With ‘Mysteries’ – EdWeek

New Hampshire’s current science standards are nine years old and will need to be updated soon.  The Governor’s STEM Task Force, including business, teachers, scientists and many others, recommended that the starting point be the widely respected Next Generation Science Standards, based on the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education.  So in the coming months, the New Hampshire State Board of Education may begin the process of reviewing the standards.

A recent EdWeek article concisely captures the difference between the NGSS and traditional science teachers: (more…)

Manchester Board of School Committee votes to adopt statewide test – Union Leader

Sarah Ambrogi and other key board members understood that there was really no choice in the end.  Here is how the Union leader reported the meeting:

MANCHESTER — The Board of School Committee reversed its collision course with state education officials on Wednesday and voted to adopt the Smarter Balanced statewide assessment test.


Talk to your child and good things happen – Concord Monitor editorial

There are many important initiatives in New Hampshire to support early childhood development but, so far, with no substantial support from the State.  There are several modest bills pending in the Legislature that serve to put the discussion on the plate.  Today’s lead editorial in the Concord Monitor contributes to the discussion by featuring the innovative Providence Talks program: (more…)

Fluency Without Fear – the Best Ways to Learn Math Facts – by Jo Boaler and others at Stanford

Here is a wonderful piece by Stanford math professor Jo Boaler.  I offer it not as part of the Common Core debate but because it lives in a world so far beyond that debate.  Whether or not you are a math person, so to speak, you will enjoy this. (more…)