August 29th, 2013
For our summer employee wellness activity, the team at ACET spent a hot, but fun-filled morning at the Minnesota State Fair taking in the sights, sounds, and foods. We explored the sheep and poultry building and the Department of Natural Resources’ exhibits, including their new indoor fish tanks. We all had a great time, and without any sunburn! Do you attend your local, county, or state fairs? If so, what are your favorite parts?
Stella and Joseph discover the wonder that is Australian Battered Potatoes.
One of many unique types of fowl that we discovered at the Poultry Building.
Dan digs into some delicious roast corn.
The ACET team settles down for lunch at the O’Gara’s building.
July 12th, 2013
In an effort to make our blog even better, ACET staff has been employing and reviewing metric data about who visits and what articles are read. According to those metrics, the following articles have been the most read over the past two weeks:
1. May 21, 2013: State education package to include all-day kindergarten, early childhood scholarships (41 hits)
2. July 3, 2013: What is Collaborative Outcomes Reporting? (40 hits)
3. April 15, 2010: Join ACET, Inc. in the Walk for Animals (34 hits)
4. June 25, 2013: Grant Alerts: Headwaters Foundation for Justice and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation (27 hits)
5. June 14, 2010: Bolder Options video featured in National Medical Report (23 hits)
ACET staff will be discussing these and more findings in depth toward creating a more interesting and useful blog in the future. We will be rolling out opportunities for you to comment in the future as well. For the time being, let us know in the comments if there’s a particular article or series of articles that have been helpful to you.
July 3rd, 2013
ACET will be closed this Thursday, July 4, in observation of Independence Day. The staff at ACET hope your holiday is full of friends, family, and fun!
May 21st, 2013
As a part of budgetary negotiations that wrapped up with the State of Minnesota’s 2013 legislative session Monday evening, a $15.7 billion education bill has been approved and is expected to be signed by Governor Mark Dayton. This education bill includes $134 million for school districts to use for free, full-day kindergarten starting in the fall of 2014. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, districts have the option to provide or not provide full-day kindergarten, but where it is offered, it will be free to parents. It is expected to affect nearly 60,000 students across the state.
Other features of the education bill include $46 million for early childhood scholarships to parents in need, $250 million in state higher education spending to freeze University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) tuition prices for two years, and an elimination of the GRAD test as a requirement for graduation from Minnesota high schools, to be replaced by other assessments. The State of Minnesota will also increase spending on assessment by $6.7 million in the coming 2-year period.
May 2nd, 2013
Dr. Michael C. Rodriguez has worked closely with ACET for more than 12 years, and it is with great pride that we announce and congratulate him on his new textbook, Developing and Validating Test Items, co-written with Dr. Thomas M. Haladyna and published by Routledge. Dr. Rodriguez’s contribution, the product of several years of writing in addition to his other considerable responsibilities, is unique in its attention to the subject of test item construction. Arriving at a critical time when test design is a hot topic in education news, educators and evaluators alike can benefit from the book’s extensive use of good and not-so-good test item examples and, crucially, how both can be made better. The depth and complexity of this text alone makes it a valuable resource in the ACET office library, but it is made even more valuable by being the work of a respected colleague. We at ACET extend our thanks and congratulations to Dr. Rodriguez for his excellent work.
March 28th, 2013
Evaluator Kirsten Rewey snapped this picture in her yard just a few days ago of daffodils beginning to emerge from the earth. It’s a welcome sight after the protracted winter we’ve been experiencing in Minnesota. Yes, spring is coming!
Daffodils sprouting by Kirsten Rewey (2013)
What signs of spring are you seeing where you live? Let us know in the comments.
February 7th, 2013
ACET is excited to announce that evaluator Dan Regnier has been accepted to present at the 2013 ADARA conference to be held May 29 – June 1, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, entitled “Blazing New Trails.” ADARA allows those who work with deaf or hard of hearing individuals to work together to exchange ideas, suggestions, and critiques about important issues in the field. Dan’s presentation will be joining over 50 other sessions for this conference.
On Thursday, May 30, Dan will be a part of a presentation entitled “What do we know and how do we know it…Improving service delivery for individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.” This presentation will explore national surveys on the demographics of interpreter practitioners, demand for interpreting services by setting, and Deaf consumers’ needs and interpreter work choices. In addition, using these national surveys as examples, this presentation will explore the principles of quality surveys (item design, response option design, and formatting strategies) and the importance of survey field testing.
We are very proud of Dan’s acceptance to the 2013 ADARA conference! If you will be attending the ADARA conference this year, we invite you to attend Dan’s session.
January 31st, 2013
You may not be aware that February is National Parent Leadership Month across the United States. Parent Leadership occurs when parents (including foster parents, grandparents, kinship care providers, and anyone who serves in a parental role) take active responsibility for the betterment of their families and communities. This leadership might manifest itself in service on a board of directors, as a PTA member, when speaking to school administrators or government, or when active on a community task force. Parent Leaders can be volunteers, role models, and mentors, too. Parent Leadership Month was established in 2004 to raise awareness of and recognize the crucial roles parents play in their communities, their families, and their children.
In Minnesota, the organization Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota will be observing National Parent Leadership Month with an event at the Minnesota State Capitol on February 27th, 2013. This event is intended to celebrate and to honor the efforts of parents and professionals who strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. Last year, more than 30 parents were honored at this event.
ACET is grateful for all of the parents that we interact with throughout the evaluation process and wish to support them in their efforts to strengthen schools, improve their health, and nurture their families. You can read more about Parent Leadership at The Parent Leadership Network.
January 11th, 2013
Last week, ACET staff members devoted an afternoon in service to Bridging, a local nonprofit that provides families in transition with furniture, kitchen supplies, linens, and other essential home goods. We were given a tour by the executive director and informed of the many ways in which Bridging partners with the community and regional groups to provide families with a variety of new, used, and refurbished housewares. ACET was put to work moving various furniture items around the warehouse and then prepared a space in an upper section of the warehouse to be filled with blankets in advance of Bridging’s recent Bring A Blanket drive.
We are grateful to Bridging for the opportunity to be useful to them and to help people outside of the office in a different way.
Left: Executive Director Sara Sternberger explains Bridging’s work to Dan and Stella. Right: Joseph secures the perimeter.
November 30th, 2012
State departments of education are looking for ways to ensure that new teachers are well-prepared for the rigors of managing a classroom and assisting students to achieve local, state, and national educational goals. Minnesota’s latest strategy will be the use of a new assessment of student teachers (students that are not yet certified, but are gaining classroom experience for certification), the edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment). Beginning in 2013, the results of the edTPA, in conjunction with other data, will be used to determine if Minnesota’s institutes of higher education – the teacher preparation programs – have prepared graduates to succeed in their own classrooms, and if the program has approval from the state to continue.
The edTPA resembles a portfolio. Student teachers submit past lesson plans, examples of student work and the student teachers’ responses, and videotape(s) of the student teacher leading a lesson in a classroom. The goal of the edTPA is to provide the teacher preparation programs with information about how well their graduates have been prepared for the classroom. For example, in recent administrations of the theory-based test, Minnesota’s student teachers scored well in preparing lesson plans, but appeared to lack skills at giving students feedback. Minnesota’s institutes of higher education have already begun to use that information to improve their programs and better prepare student teachers.
Advocates for the edTPA feel that the assessment gives greater insight into how student teachers’ skills will be used in the classroom. In turn, the test will provide teacher preparation programs with invaluable data about how well the program is preparing graduates.
However, critics of the edTPA have several concerns about widespread use of the assessment. For instance, many teacher preparation programs already require that student teachers videotape themselves, view the videotape, and reflect on what they have observed. Adding the edTPA will require that students to go through the process twice in a short time frame. Critics are also concerned that programs administering the edTPA have not shared data. Little is known about the connection between a student teacher’s performance on the edTPA and student gains in the classroom.
What are your thoughts on the edTPA and teacher preparedness?