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Testing, testing: A look at other assessments


Fabiola Cineas

on Nov 30, 2015 11:14 AM

In Pennsylvania, the PSSAs and Keystones are probably the most familiar standardized tests, in part because of the high stakes associated with them.

But students in the School District of Philadelphia take a number of other assessments each year whose names are less well-known. Some help identify for the teacher that a child is not making sufficient progress in learning to read, and others pinpoint why.

A backlash against pervasive testing


Bill Hangley Jr.

on Nov 25, 2015 04:29 PM

Growing up in China, Janet Zheng got used to taking tests. But she also got used to getting the preparation she needed from her classes, which is why the American system makes no sense to her.

“You take this much test,” she said, holding her hands apart, “with this little knowledge,” pulling them together.

December edition editorial cartoon


Eric Joselyn

on Nov 25, 2015 12:01 PM

End of a nightmare?

By the Notebook on Nov 25, 2015 12:01 PM

High-stakes standardized tests are falling out of favor. From President Obama and Congress to School District leaders, we are finally hearing recognition of the unintended consequences of over-testing and overemphasizing test results.

Philadelphia schools have lived through 20 years of test-based accountability. At first, it involved rewards and some punishments for schools based on standardized test scores.

Supporters honor editor/publisher with brunch


Lauren Wiley

on Nov 24, 2015 04:04 PM

More than 160 supporters of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook gathered Nov. 15 at WHYY event space to honor outgoing editor and publisher Paul Socolar, who will step down in early 2016.

Raza, clase social y los exámenes estandarizados


Dan Hardy es un escritor autónomo que cubre asuntos de educación.

Traducción por Mildred S. Martínez.

on Nov 24, 2015 04:08 PM

¿Qué es lo que se conoce como brecha de desempeño?

New website on the way; publisher search continues


Wendy Harris

on Nov 24, 2015 03:37 PM

Last winter the Notebook began the exciting process of planning a redesign of its website. The nonprofit contracted with P’unk Ave., a design agency in South Philadelphia, to develop a new look that strengthens the nonprofit’s online presence while being more engaging and user-friendly.

High-stakes tests are being reconsidered


Bill Hangley Jr.

on Nov 24, 2015 03:07 PM

When it comes to standardized testing, Helen Gym and Bill Green may not exactly be on the same page, but they’ve both been reading the same book.

“It’s like any pendulum – has it swung too far in favor of standardized tests? Probably,” said Green, the reform-minded School Reform Commission member and champion of data-driven decisions.

Staffing woes plague District schools this year


Dale Mezzacappa

on Nov 24, 2015 03:28 PM
Superintendent William Hite (Photo: Brianna Spause)

For Djervin Uylimos, the beginning of his high school career has not been what he expected.

Not at all.

In September, the Northeast High School freshman was signed up for seven classes – English, world history, algebra, physical science, Spanish, health, and gym.

A typical roster. What is not typical is that for much of the semester so far, he has had no teacher in four of these classes.

So he has spent hours in the classroom with whatever staff member can fill in – doing busywork or turning to his smartphone.

New leadership in City Hall has a focus on community schools


Dale Mezzacappa and Paul Socolar

on Nov 24, 2015 03:33 PM

With the election of Jim Kenney as mayor and Helen Gym as a City Council member, there is a new dynamic at City Hall regarding education policy.

Kenney is prioritizing work toward universal preschool, which has been a focus of the Nutter administration. But the mayor-elect has also thrown his support behind community schools as the primary reform strategy for the District.

And he named a highly regarded principal of a neighborhood high school, Otis Hackney, to be his chief education officer.

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