The International Literacy Association (ILA) recently issued its “What’s Hot and What’s Important” report. The report highlights what hot topics the country is talking about—and just as telling, what is important to the educational community. Here are some reflections on the report.
The number one hot topic in the country is assessment/standards. Given the polarization of politics, this is not surprising. The world of assessment is in flux now, with the educational community waiting to see what will happen. Will there be more pushback from the Common Core State Standards? And if so, how will it affect assessments aligned directly to the Common Core? Will states receive more direct funding and create their own assessments? Will assessment companies have to revise their current tests? And, most important, when will the world of assessment settle down?
We think the pushback from the Common Core will continue. This may be an opportunity for assessment developers if some states write their own standards, because they will want revised assessments aligned to those standards. One thing is clear: assessment and standards will remain in flux for most of the year, as the political battles continue.
Interestingly, it was not assessment but early literacy that was deemed the most important topic in the country. Given that the powers that be have a stake and interest in early literacy, how will it play out? Will the debate on full-day kindergarten continue? Will more funds be allocated for early literacy? The future may hold more opportunities in this arena for funding, product development, and market focus.
While digital literacy remains a hot topic, it is not considered among the most important. Does this mean schools are feeling confident in their digital offerings? Or is the focus on creating a solid infrastructure to move further into the digital world more critical? Publishers continue to develop both print and digital products. More schools are using digital tools and newer teachers are digital natives. How will this impact schools, product development, and educational funding?
English Language Learners (ELLs) is an important topic. How will politics affect ELL programs and their funding? Will changes in immigration laws affect schools and English Language Learners?
Education appears to be in flux, with many possible changes waiting to play out. What do you predict will happen in 2017? Let us know. We’d love to hear what you are thinking.