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Sara Thompson

Testing the Teachers - NYTimes.com - 79 views

    • Sara Thompson
       
      assessment, yes; testing, no. There are plenty of other forms of providing data, such as portfolios. 
  • There has to be a better way to get data so schools themselves can figure out how they’re doing in comparison with their peers.
    • Sara Thompson
       
      Does he actually think No Child Left Behind WORKS???
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  • If you go to the Web page of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and click on “assessment,” you will find a dazzling array of experiments that institutions are running to figure out how to measure learning.
  • Some schools like Bowling Green and Portland State are doing portfolio assessments — which measure the quality of student papers and improvement over time. Some, like Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, use capstone assessment, creating a culminating project in which the students display their skills in a way that can be compared and measured.
  • The challenge is not getting educators to embrace the idea of assessment. It’s mobilizing them to actually enact it in a way that’s real and transparent to outsiders.
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    There's an atmosphere of grand fragility hanging over America's colleges. The grandeur comes from the surging application rates, the international renown, the fancy new dining and athletic facilities. The fragility comes from the fact that colleges are charging more money, but it's not clear how much actual benefit they are providing.
Chai Reddy

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com - 17 views

  • Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.
  • “I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the lead author, Jeffrey Karpicke, an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. “I think that we’re tapping into something fundamental about how the mind works when we talk about retrieval.”
tab_ras

Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say - NYTimes.com - 64 views

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    Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.
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    The problem is that it is "testing research" that uses testing to measure learning. This is always a proxy for learning and notoriously unreliable. I'm hoping to see the report when it is actually published. Right now it is pre-publication.
Chai Reddy

Teaching for America - NYTimes.com - 24 views

  • 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 to 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit.
  • Tony Wagner, the Harvard-based education expert and author of “The Global Achievement Gap,” explains it this way. There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate.
  • Wagner thinks we should create a West Point for teachers: “We need a new National Education Academy, modeled after our military academies, to raise the status of the profession and to support the R.& D. that is essential for reinventing teaching, learning and assessment in the 21st century.”
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  • All good ideas, but if we want better teachers we also need better parents — parents who turn off the TV and video games, make sure homework is completed, encourage reading and elevate learning as the most important life skill.
Peter Beens

Raising the Ritalin Generation - NYTimes.com - 2 views

  • teachers fill out short behavior questionnaires, called Conners rating scales, which assess things like “squirminess” on a scale of one to five. In many cases, I discovered, diagnoses hinge on the teachers’ responses.
  • the formidable list of possible side effects included difficulty sleeping, dizziness, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache, numbness, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, fever, hives, seizures, agitation, motor or verbal tics and depression. It can slow a child’s growth or weight gain. Most disturbing, it can cause sudden death, especially in children with heart defects or serious heart problems.
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    "I REMEMBER the moment my son's teacher told us, "Just a little medication could really turn things around for Will." We stared at her as if she were speaking Greek. "Are you talking about Ritalin?" my husband asked."...
Roland Gesthuizen

In Brooklyn, Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip - NYTimes.com - 2 views

  • If city officials were trying to demoralize and humiliate the workforce, they’ve done a terrific job. News organizations get an assist for publishing the scores,
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    A teacher's rating depends on how much progress her students make on state tests in a year's time, and is known as the value-added score. Ms. Allanbrook, the principal, has another name for what's going on. She calls the scores the "invalid value-addeds."
Joshua Williams

'No Child' Law Is Not Closing a Racial Gap - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • “We’re lifting the basic skills of young kids,” said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, “but this policy is not lifting 21st-century skills for the new economy.”
    • Joshua Williams
       
      Money Quote. Now then... How do we assess 21st Century Skills?
tom campbell

Magazine Preview - The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand - NYTimes.com - 18 views

    • tom campbell
       
      assessment and observation together is the right combo but not very easy to translate in popular opinion, nor easy to implement successfully.
Javier E

Chapel Hill Campus Takes On Grade Inflation - NYTimes.com - 38 views

  • Dartmouth transcripts include median grades, along with the number of courses in which the student exceeded, equaled or came in lower than those medians. Columbia transcripts show the percentage of students in the course who earned an A.
  • “What I like about this approach is that it allows faculty who have a certain philosophy of grading to stick with it, as long as they’re O.K. with having it be shown. If somebody gets an A in a class with a lot of A’s and that’s put out there, that’s good. If the chemists are willing to tell everybody that they grade harshly, that’s good too.”
Javier E

The Decline of Final Exams - NYTimes.com - 52 views

  • Keith O’Brien surveys a national decline in final exams, reflected at Harvard, where fewer than a quarter of the undergraduate courses scheduled the tests in the spring term last year.
  • There’s nothing magical about finals, Bangert-Drowns added. They can be arbitrary and abstract — an inauthentic gauge of what someone knows.
  • many still find value in the final exam. It might be stressful, even terrifying, but it has the singular power to force students to go back over material, think critically about what they have read, review hard-to-grasp-topics once more, and even talk about the subject matter with classmates and instructors — all of which enhance learning.
Casey Finnerty

The Poor Quality of an Undergraduate Education - NYTimes.com - 40 views

  • large numbers of the students were making their way through college with minimal exposure to rigorous coursework, only a modest investment of effort and little or no meaningful improvement in skills like writing and reasoning.
  • Simply put: academic investments are a lower priority.
  • When 18-year-olds are emboldened to see themselves in this manner, many look for ways to attain an educational credential effortlessly and comfortably. And they are catered to accordingly. The customer is always right.
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  • Too many institutions, for instance, rely primarily on student course evaluations to assess teaching. This creates perverse incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades
  • Most of all, we hope that during this commencement season, our faculty colleagues will pause to consider the state of undergraduate learning and our collective responsibility to increase academic rigor on our campuses.
Michael Hylton

Quality Homework - A Smart Idea - NYTimes.com - 70 views

  • The studying that middle school and high school students do after the dismissal bell rings is either an unreasonable burden or a crucial activity that needs beefing up. Which is it? Do American students have too much homework or too little? Neither, I’d say. We ought to be asking a different question altogether. What should matter to parents and educators is this: How effectively do children’s after-school assignments advance learning?
  • The quantity of students’ homework is a lot less important than its quality. And evidence suggests that as of now, homework isn’t making the grade. Although surveys show that the amount of time our children spend on homework has risen over the last three decades, American students are mired in the middle of international academic rankings: 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math, according to results from the Program for International Student Assessment released last December.
  • “Spaced repetition” is one example of the kind of evidence-based techniques that researchers have found have a positive impact on learning. Here’s how it works: instead of concentrating the study of information in single blocks, as many homework assignments currently do — reading about, say, the Civil War one evening and Reconstruction the next — learners encounter the same material in briefer sessions spread over a longer period of time. With this approach, students are re-exposed to information about the Civil War and Reconstruction throughout the semester.
Glenda Baker

U.S. Plans Major Changes in How Students Are Tested - NYTimes.com - 1 views

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    Predictions for big changes starting by 2012 for standardized testing - only a year away!
Roland Gesthuizen

City Teacher Data Reports Are Released - SchoolBook - 36 views

  • The rankings stem from a desire by policy makers to find an objective way to distinguish between effective and ineffective teachers, untainted by the subjective judgment of individual evaluators, like school principals.
  • Critics also say there are aspects of a child’s life — or distractions on test day — that the numbers cannot capture: supportive parents, a talented principal, the help of a tutor, allergies or a relentlessly barking dog outside the classroom.
  • there are schools where students are taught by multiple teachers, making it difficult to figure out the weight of their individual contributions
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  • The union has warned that the result will be sweeping, with good teachers steering clear of grades that have standardized tests, parents’ attempts to switch their children to other classrooms, low morale among teachers and worse.
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    After a long legal battle and amid much anguish by teachers and other educators, the New York City Education Department released individual performance rankings of 18,000 public school teachers on Friday, while admonishing the news media not to use the scores to label or pillory teachers.
Andrew Spinali

Teachers - Will We Ever Learn? - NYTimes.com - 4 views

  •  
    Interesting read on teacher education reform. I'm not sure if I agree with everything, but the author makes some great points and had some strong suggestions to aid reform.
Phillip Long

Stagnant Future, Stagnant Tests: Pointed Response to NY Times "Grading the Digital School" | HASTAC - 72 views

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