Winter 2014

Everything Common Core

Common Core ePackets


Fill the Gaps in your Standards-Based Curriculum!

What are they? Common Core ePackets are reproducible worksheets that are aligned to a specific Common Core State Standard. Each ePacket is composed of 5-10 different worksheets from multiple resources in our library, which gives you variety in the types of questions and activities provided. Follow the link to view sample pages!

How do I purchase? Common Core ePackets are available via instant download from our website. Just download the ePacket you want and print all the pages you need for your class!

How are they delivered? ePackets are delivered instantly to you as Adobe PDF files. ePacket file sizes are typically small, so they can be stored on your desktop or on a CD for an infinite period of time.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to download our Common Core ePackets!

Common Core ePackets from LEP

U.S. Test Scores Stagnate: Will Common Core Bridge the Gap?

It’s been all over the news: recently released 2012 educational test results from PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) show that the U.S. education system is in vast need of improvement. PISA is a triennial survey that assesses how well 15-year-old students have obtained the necessary knowledge and skills they need to become successful members of society. Although the U.S. spends more on education per student than most other countries, PISA ranked U.S. students at a surprising 26 in Mathematics, which is slightly below average, 17 in Reading (an average score), and 21 in science (another average score). American scores have remained relatively the same for the last ten years, while students from countries around the world continue to push ahead—leaving the U.S. in their wake. So, what can U.S. schools do to keep up?

PISA points to the Common Core State Standards as a step that could close the gaps between American students and their foreign counterparts. PISA’s country note on the U.S. states, “The analysis suggests that a successful implementation of the Common Core Standards would yield significant performance gains also in PISA.” The Common Core Standards include more reinforcement with modeling, and they also force students to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. In these two areas, U.S. students are often at their weakest, so increasing attention to these skills could help U.S. students in the long run.

Follow the link below to read the entire report!

PARCC & Smarter Balanced: A Brief History

In order to test on the Common Core State Standards by 2015, all states that have chosen to adopt the standards have enlisted PARCC (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to design and implement the assessments. Both assessments test on the Common Core State Standards and aim to show students’ level of preparedness for both college and careers. Below you’ll find a brief history of each consortium.

PARCC is a consortium of 18 states (at the time of this writing), including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The PARCC assessments will be ready for field testing during the 2014-15 school year.

All PARCC assessments will cover English and Math in Grades 3-11 and will be computer-based, although paper versions will also be offered initially. Students will be required to take a Performance-Based Assessment and an End-of-Year Assessment. The scores of both tests will be combined to provide each student with a summative score. English assessments will involve analyzing literature and writing narratives. Math assessments will involve solving real-world problems, constructing mathematical arguments, and mastering key grade-level concepts. A separate speaking and listening tool can be offered year-round, although currently it is not part of a student's summative score.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is composed of 25 states (at the time of this writing): Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania (advisory state), South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The Smarter Balanced assessments will also be ready for field testing in the 2014-2015 school year.

All tests will be computer-based, but the consortium will offer pencil-and-paper versions for the initial first three years of testing. End-of-Year tests will be given to students in Grades 3-8 and 11 covering English Language and Mathematics. The assessments are designed to be adaptive, meaning the difficulty-level of a question is based on students' responses to previous questions. Math assessments will focus on grade-level problem solving, modeling and data analysis, and communicating reasoning. English Language assessments center on reading, writing, research, and speaking and listening skills.

Lexile Measures & The Common Core: Matching Books to their Readers

What’s a Lexile Measure, you ask? A Lexile Measure quantifies the degree of difficulty of a reading passage and identifies the strength of a reader. Texts and readers each have their own Lexile Measure. The goal of Lexile Measures is simple. If a teacher knows how “hard” a text is, as well as how well a student can read, he or she can easily determine to what extent a student will comprehend a specific text.

A measure can range anywhere from 200L or below for beginning readers to 1600L for advanced readers. A reader can obtain his or her Lexile Measure from a reading test or program. Texts receive their Lexile Measure after being analyzed and scored by MetaMetrics, the company behind Lexile Measures. Ultimately, the idea is to match a reader and a text. If a reader with a 600L reads a 600L text, he or she will understand approximately 75% of the information. 75% is considered the targeted area, where the reader is engaged, and not bored.

Although the goal of a K-12 education is primarily to prepare students for college and career, studies have shown there is “a significant gap between students' reading abilities and the text demands of their postsecondary pursuits” (Using Lexile Measures to Assess College and Career Readiness). While K-12 textbooks have become increasingly simple over the past 50 years, reading levels required for college textbooks have remained consistent. More and more, students are entering college under-prepared and unable to understand the information in their college texts.

Thus, MetaMetrics has become an “Endorsing Partner” of the Common Core State Standards. Many of the ideas behind the Lexile Measures can be seen in the Common Core’s Appendix A for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Working together, the Lexile Measures and Common Core can help prepare students for their future endeavors.

NGSS Update

After being finalized in April 2013, the future of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) relies on the states. The NGSS will serve as the counterpart to the Common Core's ELA & Math standards, although it will retain its own unique name. Many states were heavily involved in the creation of these new science standards, along with the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. States will decide if they wish to adopt the standards; if they do, science classrooms across the country will undergo immense changes. Similarly, states could also choose to create their own science assessments based on the NGSS, which could help make American students more competitive in the long run.

Lorenz Educational Press

Every product created at Lorenz Educational Press is based on our commitment to support teachers providing a positive educational experience for students. We strive to produce products that embrace our mission to define learning areas vital to developing well-rounded students and empowering our future leaders.