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Archive for the ‘Reading proficiency’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

This year’s MCAS test results have been released.

And while this assessment of Massachusetts students is 25 years old, this year’s results are part of a “new generation” of testing that’s designed “to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it may need,” according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The next-generation MCAS “is more comprehensive than the previous system and complies with the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” This is the second year that the new MCAS has been administered, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s – and not to earlier years.

Students’ test scores are sorted into one of four assessment categories:

• exceeding expectations

• meeting expectations

• partially meeting expectations, and

• not meeting expectations

The year’s results are similar to last year’s, the press release notes. In English and math, “approximately 50 percent of the students who took the test scored Meeting Expectations or above.” (more…)

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Members of the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership. Source: Education Trust’s Twitter page.

 

Massachusetts is a great place to get a K-12 education — but not for everyone.

Many students in this state do extremely well on a national standardized test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. A May 2018 report from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says:

• “Massachusetts tied for first place on the grades 4 and 8 NAEP reading assessments,” and

• “On the NAEP mathematics assessments, Massachusetts tied for first with five other states at grade 4 and one other state on grade 8.”

But not every student does this well. Massachusetts is also home to “glaring and persistent disparities in opportunity and achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.”

That’s the finding of a new report called, “#1 for Some: Opportunity and Achievement in Massachusetts,” that has been released by the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, a growing coalition of nonprofit organizations. Strategies for Children is one of 15 current members. (more…)

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The second of a three-part series on summer learning.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Summer is a great time to learn.

But as we blogged last week, summer learning loss — all the things that students forget when they are not in school — can help fuel the achievement gap.

A National Summer Learning Association report says that high-quality programs can address learning loss, but only “about one-third of young people nationally are enrolled in a summer learning program.”

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, cities are closing the summertime gap in creative ways.

Action at the city level is crucial according to a 2016 report on a workshop’s proceedings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report notes:  (more…)

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Sally Fuller testifying at the State House. 

“Growing up as the ‘whoops child’ for a mother who taught high-school English, Sally C. Fuller could not avoid being engulfed in a world of words. Her siblings were 10 and 12 years older, so Fuller wound up being her mother’s focus.”

“It was in 2005 that Fuller first became associated with the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation when she was named project manager for the Springfield Cherish Every Child initiative. She has most recently overseen the foundation’s Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade community initiative with a goal of ensuring all of Springfield’s children are reading proficiently by the end of the third-grade.”

“Fuller will be feted this week upon the occasion of her retirement with a gathering at the Community Music School.”

“For Sally Fuller and Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, gift of words enriches children’s lives: Viewpoint,” by Cynthia Simison, MassLive.com, June 17, 2018

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

As the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers slug it out in the World Series, playing 10 innings for more than five hours in Game 5, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is once again going to bat for children – using baseball to make the case for early literacy.

DeLeo was speaking at Raising a Reader Massachusetts’ third annual Leadership in Literacy Award Breakfast where he was being honored as the Legislator of the Year.

“Some of you may know that I’m a big baseball fan,” DeLeo said at the breakfast. “So, I was struck by a Strategies for Children report that equated the experience of watching a game at Fenway Park with learning to read.”

That report is “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” written by Nonie Lesaux, a Harvard Graduate School of Education professor. It’s on page two that the the report tells the story of two children at Fenway Park.

DeLeo explained it this way:

“The report followed the experiences of two 10 year olds at Fenway Park: one child whose father exposed her to baseball at an early age, explained the rules of the game to her, and sparked her love for the sport. She knows when to cheer, and when to boo.  (more…)

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Worcester delegation to All-America City event: Erin Dobson, Tim Garvin, Patrick Lowe, Kim Davenport, Joanne Gravell, Amy O’Leary, Sally Fuller, Chris O’Keefe, and Steven Zrike.

Patrick Lowe used to send some his emails in the middle of the night. As a busy medical school student, this was sometimes the only time he had to work on Worcester’s application for an All-America City award.

Bestowed by the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the award recognized communities that helped “more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success.”

Kim Davenport, meanwhile, worked during the day, reading Lowe’s emails and working with him to submit a convincing application for the award. Davenport, the managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services, was steeped in the work of pooling resources from across the city to help young children succeed.

Worcester had won the award five times before. But not since 2000. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Next time a child says, “tell me a story,” ask them instead to tell you a story. It may help them become stronger readers.

New research shows this may be particularly true for African-American boys.

Strong storytelling skills correlate with better reading in some children, according to researchers at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Knowing how to tell a clear and coherent story is an important skill for helping young children to develop strong reading skills, which, in turn, can help them to be successful across a number of different subjects in school,” says Nicole Gardner-Neblett, an FPG advanced research scientist. (more…)

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