Wolf Administration Announces Reduction in Standardized Testing (Round-Up)

first_imgLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Education,  Round-Up,  Schools That Teach,  The Blog Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, Governor Wolf joined Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, education advocates, and educators at Susquehanna Township Middle School to announce a reduction in PSSA standardized testing.“As I have traveled the commonwealth on the Schools That Teach tour, I have heard from parents, students and educators concerned about the amount of time devoted to taking standardized tests,” said Governor Wolf. “This reduction will ease the stress placed on our kids, and will allow students and teachers to focus more on learning than on testing. This change should also reassure parents that we’ve listened to their concerns about over-testing.”The Pennsylvania Department of Education worked with stakeholders to address the concerns of teachers, students and parents, and complete a reduction in PSSA testing by 20 percent for grades three through eight.Take a look at the coverage: WITF: Shorter standardized tests coming to PA public schools“This change will allow students and teachers to focus their classroom time on getting the education they need, rather than preparing for one exam,” [Governor Wolf] said…”We’re not reducing–we’re preserving, in fact–the effectiveness for measuring student progress,” Wolf said. “We understand the accountability issue, we understand the need for understanding how we’re doing in educating our children.”Philly.com: Gov. Wolf announces plan to reduce test-taking time for Pa. studentsThe State Department of Education plans to reduce one math section and one English section in the Pennsylvania System for School Assessment exams, which students take in grades 3 through 8. That should reduce the amount of time students spend taking the test by an average of 20 percent to 25 percent, depending on their age, meaning 93 minutes less for math and reading exams, according to the department.Lehigh Valley Live: Pa. students to spend less time on state tests this year“There is no doubt that reducing the actual time students spend taking state tests is good for our students,” said Dolores McCracken, of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “Gov. Wolf today reaffirmed what educators have been saying for a long time – that too much emphasis on standardized testing interferes with teaching and learning.”The Intelligencer: Bucks, Montgomery school administrators pleased with shorter PSSA test“Anything that provides more instructional time in the classroom is going to directly benefit all of our students,” Central Bucks Superintendent John Kopicki said. “Reducing the amount of high-stakes assessments is definitely a positive step.”TribLive: Western Pa. educators welcome Wolf’s call for less state testing“This is certainly a step in the right direction,” Greensburg Salem School District Superintendent Eileen Amato said by email. “While accountability is important,” continued Amato, “it is also important to realize that standardized tests have a narrow purpose to that end. We are happy the conversation is moving towards expanding the state’s view of assessment to look at student learning through a much wider lens.”The Times: Wolf’s cut to PSSA testing draws applause from all corners“The fact you’re testing less gives you more of an opportunity to teach,” said Aliquippa School District Superintendent Pete Carbone, who acknowledged the reduced testing time “lightens the load a little bit” when it comes to the stress felt by students. “A third- or fourth-grader should not feel pressured that they have to score advanced or proficient on a test,” Carbone said. “School should be an enjoyable place for them to learn and to want to learn.”Citizens’ Voice: Changes coming to yearly state tests“Reducing the amount of time testing on PSSA is to be applauded,” Wyoming Area Superintendent Janet Serino said, adding she is hoping for “the realization that the PSSA is only one form of assessment and should not be overwhelming to students, teachers or parents.”The Morning Call: Pennsylvania cutting student PSSA test questions, teacher prep time for examsThe changes, which begin this spring, should reduce the eight hours of testing time about 20 percent in PSSA math and English exams in grades 3 through 8. Depending on the school, that would give teachers at least an extra day and a half for regular classroom instruction.Associated Press: Gov. Wolf: Standardized test changes to lessen test-taking time[Governor Wolf] said the changes are being made in response to concerns from parents, teachers and students about the amount of time they must dedicate to taking standardized tests…The Wolf administration said it hoped to make additional changes to further lessen the disruptiveness that federal mandated standardized testing can produce.center_img Wolf Administration Announces Reduction in Standardized Testing (Round-Up)   SHARE  TWEET August 15, 2017last_img read more

UK defined benefit funding levels tick higher as bond yields rise

first_imgTotal assets fell back to £1,273.6bn by the end of April from £1,282.5bn a month before, and total liabilities fell to £1,515.9bn from £1,575.2bn.Schemes in deficit still outnumber those in surplus by more than three to one, with 4,820 schemes shown to be in deficit against 1,237 in surplus.However, over the month, 175 schemes moved from deficit into surplus, the data showed.The PPF said the 3.8% fall in liabilities during April reflected increases in nominal as well as index-linked Gilt yields, pointing out equity markets and Gilt yields were the main drivers of funding levels.Yields on 15-year Gilts rose by 26 basis points in April, while those on the equivalent index-linked paper rose by 3 basis points.Even though the FTSE All-Share index climbed by 2.6% during the month, pension fund assets fell by 0.7% because share-price rises were more than offset by falls in bond prices, the PPF said.The PPF 7800 index shows the estimated funding positions of schemes on a section 179 basis, which represents the premium that would have to be paid to an insurer to take on the payments the PPF would make if the scheme went insolvent. Funding levels at defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in the UK increased last month as yields on government bonds climbed slightly and share-price rises boosted asset levels, according to data from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).The pensions lifeboat reported that its PPF 7800 index, which includes all 6,057 DB schemes covered by the PPF, showed an aggregate deficit of £242.3bn (€335.7bn) at the end of April, down from the £292.6bn seen at the end of the previous month.The funding ratio rose to 84% from 81.4% over the month but was still well shy of the 96.6% funding level seen in April 2014.In that month, the aggregate deficit had been well below the latest reported level, at just £40.8bn, according to the PPF data.last_img read more