Thursday, March 27, 2014

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 4/1/14

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, April 1, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m. and student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12 and is rebroadcast throughout the week. Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system website at Select CCPS TV and then choose the Live Broadcast tab. The following is a tentative meeting agenda and is subject to change.

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance, Westlake High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board Member update
  • Student athletes grade-point average
  • CIP update
  • Overview of TEAM’s Dashboard
  • Budget update
  • Board policy on student discipline
  • Legislative update
Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items
  • New business
  • Future agenda items
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Staff
  • Resolutions: Teacher Appreciation Week; Administrative Professionals Week; Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week; and National Physical Education and Sport Week.
Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • 2015-16 calendar
  • Ninth grade Earth science textbook
  • Middle school health textbooks
  • High school government textbook

Commissioners host Board for joint meeting

The Charles County Commissioners are hosting a joint meeting with the Charles County Board of Education on Tuesday, April 1, at 10 a.m. in the Commissioner’s meeting room of the county government building. Topics for discussion include:

  • Common Core
  • Regional English Language Learners (ELL) program
  • Technology upgrades
  • Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) program
The meeting is open to the public. The county government building is located at 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Md., 20646. Call 301-645-0550 for more information.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Teen wins $70,000 after being forced to hand over Facebook password to school officials

MailOnline News
Lydia Warren
26 March 2014

  • Riley Stratton was just 13 when she wrote online that she disliked a teacher's aide for being mean - and she was suspended from school
  • A parent then told the school Riley had an online conversation of a sexual nature with her son and the school demanded her password
  • She gave it to them and was humiliated as they looked through her messages; her mother had not given her consent
  • Her attorney argued that administrators should not be in charge of dealing with what students write out of school
  • She dropped out of the school and is now being home schooled

A teenager who was forced to hand over her Facebook password by school officials so they could check her private messages has been awarded $70,000 in damages.
Riley Stratton, now 15, was just a sixth grader in Minnewaska, Minnesota when she gave staff the sign-in details - an incident that left her so distraught that she is now being home schooled.
Minnewaska Area Schools have agreed to pay $70,000 in damages and rewrite its policies after a lawsuit claimed officials violated Riley's constitutional rights by viewing her online accounts.
Riley was just 13 when she posted to Facebook two years ago that she hated a school hall monitor because she was mean, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
The school was alerted and she was given an in-school suspension for what she had said, even though the comments were made out of school time.
Afterwards, she went on Facebook and asked who had told on her - a move that could have been seen as threatening to students, school officials argues.
'I was a little mad at whoever turned me in 'cause it was outside school when it happened,' Riley told the Star Tribune on Tuesday.
Her attorney, Wallace Hilke, who took the case pro bono with the American Civil Liberties Union, said she had been punished for doing what school students had been doing for generations.
'She wasn't spreading lies or inciting them to engage in bad behavior, she was just expressing her personal feelings,' he said.
Following that incident, she was hauled before school officials again after a parent complained that Riley had engaged in a conversation of a sexual nature online with her son.

I was in tears,' she said. 'I was embarrassed when they made me give over my password.'As a deputy sheriff looked on, school officials looked through her Facebook page.
Her mother, Sandra Stratton, said the school had called her about the complaint but that she had not been told that her daughter was expected to hand over her password.
'It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone,' Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt said.
But Schmidt said the district did not have a signed consent from the parent, which is now a policy requirement, he said.
After the incident, Stratton fell behind on schoolwork because she was too distraught and embarrassed to attend school, according to the lawsuit.
The new rules state that electronic records and passwords created off-campus can only be searched if there is a reasonable suspicion they will uncover violations of school rules, the Star Tribune reported.
Schmidt, who was not superintendent at the time of the incident, said that they wanted to make children aware that their actions outside school can harm them.
'The school's intent wasn’t to be mean or bully this student, but to really remedy someone getting off track a little,' he said.
Stratton released a statement about the settlement decision, saying: 'I am so happy that my case is finally over, and that my school changed its rules so what happened to me doesn’t happen to other students.
'It was so embarrassing and hard on me to go through, but I hope that schools all over see what happened and don’t punish other students the way I was punished.'

Read posted article HERE.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

MABE (Maryland Association of Boards of Education) opposes bills increasing "prevailing wage" contracts

For those of you who follow how we budget and fund building projects for the school system, there are two bills -- HB 727 and SB 232 -- of concern to us right now. 

Until 2000, any building project that required at least 75% funding from the state required that the contracts for that project include "prevailing wage" clauses.  In 2000, that threshold was lowered to 50%, which meant that more contracts had to include "prevailing wage" clauses, which has been shown to increase the costs of those contracts overall. 

Now, HB 727 and SB 232 propose the LOWERING of that threshold yet again to only 25%.

The MABE position statements are available as follows:

MABE opposition to HB 727

MABE opposition to SB 232

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Yes, Schools Do Discriminate Against Students of Color -- Reports

March 13, 2014
Huffington Post

A so-called school-to-prison pipeline flows from school discipline that lands disproportionately on students with disabilities and students of color, according to a set of reports by 26 experts released on Thursday.
African-American students and students with disabilities are suspended at "hugely disproportionate rates compared to white students," said a report by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, which includes experts from fields such as advocacy, policy, social science and law.
Research shows that removing so-called "bad kids" from the classroom doesn't help non-disruptive kids learn, according to the collaborative. The group found that some restorative justice programs and prevention programs that call for more student-teacher engagement can help lower suspension rates and minimize disruptions. The researchers also found that school police often make arrests for “what might otherwise be considered adolescent misbehaviors.”
The idea of a school-to-prison pipeline that punishes students of color and students with disabilities more than their peers has gained steam in recent months. In January, the Obama administration released its first legal guidance on school discipline, telling schools that they may be legally accountable for the disparate impact of their actions on different races, and that they are liable for all disciplinary actions in their buildings -- even those committed by police not employed by the school district. The guidance relied on the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
In late February, President Barack Obama himself highlighted the problem with the launch of the My Brother's Keeper initiative. The program kicked off with $200 million in foundation money aimed to help males of color succeed in school and graduate into steady work through mentorship and communal solutions. Some of those efforts, according to a White House memo, will be school discipline reform.
"School districts have just been put on notice and now we're showing them there's real research to show that there are alternatives to frequent use of suspension that will not just reduce suspensions but also reduce racial disparities," said Dan Losen, a member of the collaborative who directs the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Civil Rights Remedies.
According to the collaborative, evidence “suggests that police presence in schools, particularly armed police, should be a very last resort in school discipline strategies.”
"There is a tendency in times of threat to focus on implementing more extreme solutions," Skiba said. "There are schools that feel they need to use metal detectors or video surveillance but we also need to realize that kids who really get to the point where they want to engage in these incidents, they're looking for ways around those things. Our best bet is to be comprehensive from the start and say let's look at all levels."
The school-to-prison pipeline thesis has its skeptics, including Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the right-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
"This is part of the steady drumbeat now of people talking about different approaches to student discipline," Petrilli said. "I have to say, it makes me very nervous that we're going to be making it harder on educators to be able to discipline students when necessary. This push to make it harder to suspend students is going to have a chilling effect on teaching and learning. We would be incredibly naive to think we would stop disciplining kids and not see an adverse impact on learning."
Read the complete article HERE.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 3/11/14

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, March 11 will be re-broadcast on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon FIOS Channel 12 and is available via webstream at . To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes.

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance, Thomas Stone High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update

Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Bowie - attended cluster recognition ceremony and Bunkyo Syanora party
  • Lukas - County Chess tournament
  • Cook - Spelling Bee; Years of Service; Science Fair
  • Wise - 4.0 Students Assembly
  • Pedersen - Annapolis Middleton Spoken Wheel fresh produce FARMS students
Education Association of Charles County update
Student Board Member update
School Administration Update - Charles County's bring-your-own devices pilot program
CIP update
Fine and performing arts opportunities for students
Ninth-grade Earth science textbook
Middle school health textbooks
  • HealthTextBooks_infoItem.pdf (13 KB)
  • 8 separate workbooks; will they hold up
  • not proposing purchase as of yet; not sure of complete alignment with common core
  • Health curriculum update - gaps will be updated in the 14-15 school year.

High school government textbook
 2015-16 school calendar
Board policy on student discipline
Legislative update
  • HB300 - Alcohol beverage license in Charles County - bill has passed out of committee in the house and moving to senate
  • SB332 - grants for local boards to expand PK programs - Gov has already put money in budget. Senate has passed and moved to house; not facilities just teachers; not recurring funds
  • SB203/HB209 - Board of Education Salary in Charles County has passed in both committees and going to other houses. expected to pass and go to Gov.
  • SB779/HB1198 - Burden of Proof Special Education - being watched
  • HB571 - increase # of school counselors & require boe to have a plan; passed in house moving to senate
  • SB204 - increase prevailing wage law (increase 2015 CIP); watching, send a letter to delegation
 Unfinished business - None

Future agenda items
  • Wise - Athletic GPA scores
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Elizabeth Gerstman, 5th grade, Career Readiness, William A. Diggs Elementary School; Mya Carter, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, J.P. Ryon Elementary School; Michael McPhereson, 8th grade, Personal Responsibility, John Hanson Middle School; Andrew Wright, 8th grade, Personal Responsibility, General Smallwood Middle School; Kaitlyn Crook, 12th grade, Academic Achievement, Thomas Stone High School
  • Staff - Leigha M. Phelivan, art teacher, Ryon; Michael E. Hoffman, teacher, Diggs; Jason P. Mackey, administrative assistant, Smallwood; Charlotte M. Kelton, reading instructional assistant, Hanson; Karen A. Elliot, instructional assistant, Stone
  • Resolutions: Month of the Young Child and National Student Leadership Week
Public Forum – 6 p.m. - none

Action items
  • Personnel
Motion to accept the personnel by Cook; Second by Pedersen
Yes=Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise
  • Minutes
Motion to accept the minutes from 2/11/14 by Pedersen; Second by Cook
Yes=Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise
    Motion to accept the minutes from 2/24/14 by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
    Yes=Abell, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise; Absent = Cook, Bowie

  • Technology Upgrades
  • Motion to accept the technology upgrades by Cook; Second by Pedersen
    Yes=Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise
  • Intercategory Transfers
  • Motion to accept the transfers by Pedersen; Second by Abell
    Yes=Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise

Say Bye, Bye, to Spring Break

Dear Parents/Guardians:

So far this winter, the school system has closed nine days due to inclement weather. We have made up five of those days, but have four remaining make-up days to meet the state's 180-day school year requirement.

Today, I sent a request to the State Superintendent of Schools requesting a four-day waiver to the state's requirement. Pending a waiver decision, we are opening schools four days during spring break, April 14, 15, 16 and 17. If the state grants the waiver, spring break will remain intact.

Additionally, I am changing four two-hour early dismissal days to full days of instruction in order to make up for lost time. Two-hour early dismissal days converted to full days are March 19, April 25, May 7 and May 21. Remaining two-hour early dismissal days are April 1 and the last four days of school, June 13, 16, 17 and 18. April 1 will remain as a two-hour early dismissal day in order to provide time for report card preparation. The waiver will not affect this change.

We will keep you informed as we learn more about our waiver request.


Kimberly A. Hill, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Monday, March 10, 2014

BYOD in CCPS (Bring Your Own Device)

The Committee has met, research has been done, gone on field trips, done homework and we are now ready to present to the board tomorrow night.  The committee is recommending a Pilot Program to begin at select schools by the end of this school year.

Is Charles County Public Schools ready to allow students to bring their own devices to school and use them in school? 

Drum Roll Please....

We will have to wait and see if the board passes it, but if it could go into affect as early as the next school year system-wide.


See the Committee Presentation HERE.

See the Proposed

Common Core Curriculum...the Politcal Hot Button

The Common Core Curriculum is sure to be one of the political hot buttons during this year's election.  This is just one of many articles I will be posting regarding the pros and cons, from the supporters and the opposition on Common Core.  This particular one actually contains a lot of hyperlinks to other articles with quite a bit of information.  Please start posting your opinions and thoughts, keeping in mind this site is open to staff, teachers, parents AND students.  Please debate respectfully.  Thank you.
Common Core: Myths and Facts

March 4, 2014
By Amy Golod
U.S. News

As the new standards roll out across the country, myths and misconceptions abound.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have already adopted the Common Core State Standards, which were released in 2010 by the bipartisan National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. But as the K-12 educational standards are rolled out across the country, misconceptions abound.

“The Common Core State Standards began with the idea that math in Massachusetts is not any different from math in Maryland, and now politics are involved,” says Chris Minnich, executive director of the CCSSO.

Supporters of the new standards tout the fact that teachers from any part of the country can share ideas, and hope that if students move across state lines, they will have a smooth academic transition. Despite the potential for greater national unity among public school districts and bipartisan support at the outset, since the Federal government has voiced support for the standards, there is opposition, Minnich points out.

[READ: The History of Common Core]

Here are some of the most prevalent myths – and the facts – about Common Core.

Myth: The Common Core State Standards are a federally mandated curriculum.

The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act forbids the Federal government from intervening in school curriculum development. States independently adopted the Common Core, a set of math and English Language Arts standards for K-12 students to reach by the end of each grade level. School districts design the curricula, and teachers create their own methods for instruction, selecting the resources best tailored to their lessons.

Confusion about what part the federal government plays in Common Core may stem from President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, which awarded more than $4 billion in federal grants to 19 states that demonstrated a commitment to education reform and innovation. Race to the Top applicants who agreed to adopt the Common Core standards had a small number of points (40 out of 500) added to their score, since the Core standards align with Race to the Top’s goals. While some right-leaning groups reject the standards, calling them an example of government overreach, other traditionally conservative groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce support them.

“There were several myths that kept rising to the top,” says Cheryl Oldham, vice president of education policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and vice president of education and workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. But the Common Core is not a federal takeover of education, she points out. “If that was the case the Chamber wouldn’t support it,” she says.

Myth: The Common Core State Standards mandate more student testing.

There will be new Common Core-aligned exams to measure student progress. According to the Common Core website, these exams measuring student progress will merely replace current year-end standardized tests.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are still developing the new tests, so they will not be administered until 2015.
Teachers feel pressure to uphold both the old and new standards since the 2014 assessments are not aligned with Common Core, explains Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. In certain places, teacher evaluations are based partly on student test scores. Until the transition to the Common Core is complete, some states are adjusting how they link teacher evaluation to student performance.

In Florida, for example, public school students in Broward County will continue to take Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. Since Florida is part of Race to the Top, it is required to use student test results when assessing teachers. In the past, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation reflected the school-wide average of reading and math scores. This year, evaluations will be tied only to the scores of the students a teacher instructs, says Marie DeSantis, executive director of instruction and interventions at Broward County Public Schools.

Myth: The Common Core State Standards de-emphasize literature.

Unless college students major in literature, they will spend most of their time reading complex, non-fiction informational texts. One of the over-arching goals of the Common Core is to improve students’ critical and analytical reading skills. The Common Core mandates that by Grade 12, 70 percent of reading assignments across all subjects use informational texts and 30 percent use literary ones. So while the change may be most noticeable in English Language Arts courses, it applies to subjects like history and science as well.

American literature is still an integral part of high school curricula. In Grades 11 and 12, for instance, Common Core standards require that students “demonstrate knowledge of 18th, 19th, and early 20th Century foundational works of American literature.” They must read stories, poems and dramas, including at least one play by Shakespeare.

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University and a member of a Common Core K-12 Standards Development Team, believes that it is vital students read classic literary and historical texts so they become culturally literate. He says the Common Core should include a required reading list, so teachers can provide a uniform literary and historical foundation to students.

“If you care about the English literary tradition, and if you think that these books… form an inherent tradition that is an essential part of being an American, of our patrimony, our history, our values, you will put it on the syllabus,” he says. Other teachers question the necessity of teaching “old, classic” texts and prefer to assign more contemporary reading because they believe students better relate to it, he says.

Myth: The Common Core State Standards are “one-size-fits-all.”

Some have complained that the Common Core standards will lower the achievement rates in high-performing schools, bringing education down to a “common denominator” countrywide. But as the introduction to the English Language Arts standards points out, teachers still have the flexibility and responsibility to customize instruction depending on their students’ abilities. “The Standards set grade-specific standards but do not define the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below or well above grade-level expectations,” the introduction reads. “No set of grade-specific standards can fully reflect the great variety in abilities, needs, learning rates, and achievement levels of students in any given classroom.”

A misconception which arose early in the development of the standards was that “Common Core would mean a uniform and standard set of instruction that would negate the need for gifted and talent programs, which is obviously not true,” says Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a national coalition of urban public school systems. While some people worry that Common Core sets the bar too low, others are concerned that lower-performing students may struggle to keep up. “Some parents and teachers find the Common Core too challenging. It’s a fair point. How challenging do we want our schools to be?” asks David Conley, professor at the University of Oregon, founder and CEO of the Educational Policy Improvement Center, and co-chair of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Validation Committee.

The aim of the Common Core is to encourage students to rise to the academic occasion.
“The Common Core is about raising the bottom half,” says Common Core Development Team member Bauerlein. “One problem is the broader issue of trying to equalize school situations. We need to do so, but we will never equalize home situations.”

Myth: The Common Core State Standards are not researched-based.
Perhaps due to either the perceived weakness or rigor of Common Core, critics have faulted the process of writing and finalizing the standards, arguing that there was not enough trial before implementation.

“The standards represent an amalgamation and integration of a dozen years of research and practice,” confirms Conley. The English standards were based on the NAEP frameworks in reading and writing, “which draw on extensive scholarly research and evidence,” representatives state on the Common Core website. Mathematics standards “draw on conclusions from TIMSS and other studies of high‐performing countries that the traditional US mathematics curriculum must become substantially more coherent and focused in order to improve student achievement.”

“It is a misconception that [the standards] were experimental or should go through a field testing or validation before they were used,” Conley says. “The idea that they shouldn’t be used with students should not be believed.”

Friday, March 07, 2014

AGENDA for Board of Education Meeting, 3/11/14

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, March 11, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m. and student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12 and is rebroadcast throughout the week. Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system website at Select CCPS TV and then choose the Live Broadcast tab. The following is a tentative meeting agenda and is subject to change.

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance, Thomas Stone High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board Member update
  • CIP update
  • Fine and performing arts opportunities for students
  • Ninth-grade Earth science textbook
  • Middle school health textbooks
  • High school government textbook
  • Technology upgrades
  • 2015-16 school calendar
  • Board policy on student discipline
  • Legislative update
Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items
  • New business
  • Future agenda items
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Staff
  • Resolutions: Month of the Young Child and National Student Leadership Week
Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Abell files to continue work on board of education

Cites technology as key area of interest, growth

Gretchen Phillips, Staff Writer
Southern Maryland News
March 5, 2014 

After 10 years on the school board, Jennifer S. Abell said she is ready, willing and able to serve more.

Abell filed last week for re-election to the Charles County Board of Education. Seven seats are available, and there are 20 candidates in the race.

Abell, 45, of La Plata said she wants to “continue the work we’ve already started on the board of education.”

She and Michael “Mike” Lukas are the only two incumbents to file for re-election.

She cited her involvement on the Adequate Public Facilities committee, which is working to balance development with school capacity; and a board subcommittee working to let students bring and use their personal electronic devices, such as tablets, to school. She said she would like to be on the board when telepresence in all high schools is used for students dual enrolled at the College of Southern Maryland. These are all things that she has been a part of while on the school board, and she would like to see them through.

“When I first started in 2004, we didn’t even have televised meetings,” she said.

Abell said she considers herself on the forefront when it comes to technology, and she would like to continue advocating students to use their tablets and to get schools to embrace e-books.

Abell said she will rely on technology and word of mouth only for her campaign.
“I will not be accepting any campaign contributions or donations, and I will not be spending any money on campaign advertising. I will do it all via social media and word of mouth.”

During the 2010 election, Abell took the same approach and won the second highest vote total in the school board race next to current board Chairwoman Roberta S. Wise.

As for the APF committee and the several months worth of work it has done to find balance with school capacity and development, “I want to see it actually balance,” Abell said.

Abell is the March of Dimes division director for Suburban Maryland. She also sits on the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Board for five counties including Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s.

She volunteers on many boards and committees in the community including the Partnership for a Healthier Charles County. If re-elected she said she is “ready to take on responsibility, willing to set high standards for education and able to meet the challenges necessary for the future of our children.”

Abell is a graduate of Thomas Stone High School and has had four children go through county public schools. She currently has a child at Maurice J. McDonough High School.

She said she has a “proven track record of thinking independently and not along with the mainstream.”

Sharpen those pencils; the SAT test is getting harder

Gregg Zoroya
USA Today
March 5, 2014

Exam for high-schoolers gets a makeover designed to promote rigorous thinking and analysis.

Creators of the SAT exam announced plans Wednesday to toughen the test in the face of stagnant national scores, planning to challenge students to provide more analysis, cite evidence and even turn in their calculators before answering some math questions.

The new version will be first administered in 2016.

"It is time for an admissions assessment that makes it clear that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming but the challenging learning students do every day," said David Coleman, president of the non-profit College Board, which produces the SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The SAT last underwent a redesign in 2005.

The other major college admissions exam for American students is the ACT, delivered to nearly 1.7 million each year. That test was recently changed and will be made available digitally in 2015, allowing students to see their results in minutes.

The freshly overhauled SAT test includes a more challenging essay assignment scored on the strength of analysis as well as writing. But the score for it will not be part of the final overall test result. Colleges can choose whether to consider it.

As a result of this change, the top score for the new SAT will drop from 2400 to 1600.

Test scoring also was changed, no longer deducting for an incorrect answer. Points are only added for correct answers.
While the scope of the exam has been narrowed in areas such as math and vocabulary, what remains requires more demanding problem-solving – what Coleman described in remarks released Wednesday as "doing a few things very well."

In analyzing reading passages in the exam, students must cite specific passages from extracts of well-known writings to support answers, something not necessary in the current version.

The new test will include science, history or social studies source documents that students will be required to analyze or draw citations from to support answers.

"We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying the answer," Coleman said.
Read the full article HERE.