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Lisa C. Hurst

Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education | WIRED - 9 views

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    "AUTHOR: ISSIE LAPOWSKY. ISSIE LAPOWSKY DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05.04.15. 05.04.15 TIME OF PUBLICATION: 7:00 AM. 7:00 AM INSIDE THE SCHOOL SILICON VALLEY THINKS WILL SAVE EDUCATION Click to Open Overlay Gallery Students in the youngest class at the Fort Mason AltSchool help their teacher, Jennifer Aguilar, compile a list of what they know and what they want to know about butterflies. CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK/WIRED SO YOU'RE A parent, thinking about sending your 7-year-old to this rogue startup of a school you heard about from your friend's neighbor's sister. It's prospective parent information day, and you make the trek to San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. You walk up to the second floor of the school, file into a glass-walled conference room overlooking a classroom, and take a seat alongside dozens of other parents who, like you, feel that public schools-with their endless bubble-filled tests, 38-kid classrooms, and antiquated approach to learning-just aren't cutting it. At the same time, you're thinking: this school is kind of weird. On one side of the glass is a cheery little scene, with two teachers leading two different middle school lessons on opposite ends of the room. But on the other side is something altogether unusual: an airy and open office with vaulted ceilings, sunlight streaming onto low-slung couches, and rows of hoodie-wearing employees typing away on their computers while munching on free snacks from the kitchen. And while you can't quite be sure, you think that might be a robot on wheels roaming about. Then there's the guy who's standing at the front of the conference room, the school's founder. Dressed in the San Francisco standard issue t-shirt and jeans, he's unlike any school administrator you've ever met. But the more he talks about how this school uses technology to enhance and individualize education, the more you start to like what he has to say. And so, if you are truly fed up with the school stat
Marianne Hart

The Creativity Crisis - Newsweek - 48 views

  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are scores kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
  • “Creativity can be taught,”
  • it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Students are labeled as "creative" if they display a knack for art or music, and sometimes in writing, however, they are rarely recognized as creative in math or science where a lot of creativity is not only needed, but excellent for learning within those very two disciplines.
    • Bill Genereux
       
      This is precisely why creativity education is important. It is needed everywhere, not just in the arts. Those teaching outside of arts education need to start recognizing the importance of creative thinking as well.
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  • When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”
  • The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.
  • When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions. Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with. Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better
    • Ed Webb
       
      Surely, "more quickly"?
  • Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, the science can help: we know the steps to lead that elusive muse right to our doors.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Likely because it was out of necessity and the hardships of life. Not that we don't have hardships and necessities, but innovation has solved a lot of problems and automation has made skills and tasks easy.
  • What’s common about successful programs is they alternate maximum divergent thinking with bouts of intense convergent thinking, through several stages. Real improvement doesn’t happen in a weekend workshop. But when applied to the everyday process of work or school, brain function improves.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Everyday process of work or school... over time, consistent and non-prescriptive.
  • kids demonstrated the very definition of creativity: alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, they arrived at original and useful ideas. And they’d unwittingly mastered Ohio’s required fifth-grade curriculum—from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing. “You never see our kids saying, ‘I’ll never use this so I don’t need to learn it,’ ” says school administrator Maryann Wolowiec. “Instead, kids ask, ‘Do we have to leave school now?’ ” Two weeks ago, when the school received its results on the state’s achievement test, principal Traci Buckner was moved to tears. The raw scores indicate that, in its first year, the school has already become one of the top three schools in Akron, despite having open enrollment by lottery and 42 percent of its students living in poverty.
  • project-based learning
  • highly creative adults frequently grew up with hardship. Hardship by itself doesn’t lead to creativity, but it does force kids to become more flexible—and flexibility helps with creativity.
  • When creative children have a supportive teacher—someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions, or detours of curiosity—they tend to excel. When they don’t, they tend to underperform and drop out of high school or don’t finish college at high rates. They’re quitting because they’re discouraged and bored, not because they’re dark, depressed, anxious, or neurotic. It’s a myth that creative people have these traits. (Those traits actually shut down creativity; they make people less open to experience and less interested in novelty.) Rather, creative people, for the most part, exhibit active moods and positive affect. They’re not particularly happy—contentment is a kind of complacency creative people rarely have. But they’re engaged, motivated, and open to the world.
  • solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others
  • The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded.
  • When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.
  • The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.
  • The home-game version of this means no longer encouraging kids to spring straight ahead to the right answer
  • The new view is that creativity is part of normal brain function.
  • “As a child, I never had an identity as a ‘creative person,’ ” Schwarzrock recalls. “But now that I know, it helps explain a lot of what I felt and went through.”
  • In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.
  • fact-finding
  • problem-finding
  • Next, idea-finding
  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are scores kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
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    For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong-and how we can fix it.
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."
Randolph Hollingsworth

National Center for Education Statistics, The Nation's Report Card: Writing 2011 - 2 views

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    Asa Spencer of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute writes in the Education Gadfly Weekly: "Traditionalists cringe, tech buffs rejoice: This latest NAEP writing assessment for grades eight and twelve marks the first computer-based appraisal (by the "nation's report card") of student proficiency in this subject. It evaluates students' writing skills (what NAEP calls both academic and workplace writing) based on three criteria: idea development, organization, and language facility and conventions. Results were predictably bad: Just twenty-four percent of eighth graders and 27 percent of twelfth graders scored proficient or above. Boys performed particularly poorly; half as many eighth-grade males reached proficiency as their female counterparts. The use of computers adds a level of complexity to these analyses: The software allows those being tested to use a thesaurus (which 29 percent of eighth graders exploited), text-to-speech software (71 percent of eighth graders used), spell check (three-quarters of twelfth graders), and kindred functions. It is unclear whether use of these crutches affected a student's "language facility" scores, though it sure seems likely. While this new mechanism for assessing kids' writing prowess makes it impossible to track trend data, one can make (disheartening) comparisons across subjects. About a third of eighth graders hit the NAEP proficiency benchmark in the latest science, math, and reading assessments, compared to a quarter for writing. So where to go from here? The report also notes that twelfth-grade students who write four to five pages a week score ten points higher than those who write just one page a week. Encouraging students to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is a start."
Benjamin Light

The Costs of Overemphasizing Achievement - 83 views

  • First, students tend to lose interest in whatever they’re learning. As motivation to get good grades goes up, motivation to explore ideas tends to go down. Second, students try to avoid challenging tasks whenever possible. More difficult assignments, after all, would be seen as an impediment to getting a top grade. Finally, the quality of students’ thinking is less impressive. One study after another shows that creativity and even long-term recall of facts are adversely affected by the use of traditional grades.
    • Deb White Groebner
       
      SO true!
    • Terie Engelbrecht
       
      Very true; especially the "avoiding challenging tasks" part.
  • Unhappily, assessment is sometimes driven by entirely different objectives--for example, to motivate students (with grades used as carrots and sticks to coerce them into working harder) or to sort students (the point being not to help everyone learn but to figure out who is better than whom)
  • Standardized tests often have the additional disadvantages of being (a) produced and scored far away from the classroom, (b) multiple choice in design (so students can’t generate answers or explain their thinking), (c) timed (so speed matters more than thoughtfulness) and (d) administered on a one-shot, high-anxiety basis.
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  • The test designers will probably toss out an item that most students manage to answer correctly.
  • the evidence suggests that five disturbing consequences are likely to accompany an obsession with standards and achievement:
  • 1. Students come to regard learning as a chore.
  • intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation tend to be inversely related: The more people are rewarded for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.
  • 2. Students try to avoid challenging tasks.
  • they’re just being rational. They have adapted to an environment where results, not intellectual exploration, are what count. When school systems use traditional grading systems--or, worse, when they add honor rolls and other incentives to enhance the significance of grades--they are unwittingly discouraging students from stretching themselves to see what they’re capable of doing.
  • 3. Students tend to think less deeply.
  • 4. Students may fall apart when they fail.
  • 5. Students value ability more than effort
    • Deb White Groebner
       
      This is the reinforcement of a "fixed mindset" (vs. (growth mindset) as described by Carol Dweck.
  • They seem to be fine as long as they are succeeding, but as soon as they hit a bump they may regard themselves as failures and act as though they’re helpless to do anything about it.
  • When the point isn’t to figure things out but to prove how good you are, it’s often hard to cope with being less than good.
  • It may be the systemic demand for high achievement that led him to become debilitated when he failed, even if the failure is only relative.
  • But even when better forms of assessment are used, perceptive observers realize that a student’s score is less important than why she thinks she got that score.
  • just smart
  • luck:
  • tried hard
  • task difficulty
  • It bodes well for the future
  • the punch line: When students are led to focus on how well they are performing in school, they tend to explain their performance not by how hard they tried but by how smart they are.
  • In their study of academically advanced students, for example, the more that teachers emphasized getting good grades, avoiding mistakes and keeping up with everyone else, the more the students tended to attribute poor performance to factors they thought were outside their control, such as a lack of ability.
  • When students are made to think constantly about how well they are doing, they are apt to explain the outcome in terms of who they are rather than how hard they tried.
  • And if children are encouraged to think of themselves as "smart" when they succeed, doing poorly on a subsequent task will bring down their achievement even though it doesn’t have that effect on other kids.
  • The upshot of all this is that beliefs about intelligence and about the causes of one’s own success and failure matter a lot. They often make more of a difference than how confident students are or what they’re truly capable of doing or how they did on last week’s exam. If, like the cheerleaders for tougher standards, we look only at the bottom line, only at the test scores and grades, we’ll end up overlooking the ways that students make sense of those results.
  • the problem with tests is not limited to their content.
  • if too big a deal is made about how students did, thus leading them (and their teachers) to think less about learning and more about test outcomes.
  • As Martin Maehr and Carol Midgley at the University of Michigan have concluded, "An overemphasis on assessment can actually undermine the pursuit of excellence."
  • Only now and then does it make sense for the teacher to help them attend to how successful they’ve been and how they can improve. On those occasions, the assessment can and should be done without the use of traditional grades and standardized tests. But most of the time, students should be immersed in learning.
  • the findings of the Colorado experiment make perfect sense: The more teachers are thinking about test results and "raising the bar," the less well the students actually perform--to say nothing of how their enthusiasm for learning is apt to wane.
  • The underlying problem concerns a fundamental distinction that has been at the center of some work in educational psychology for a couple of decades now. It is the difference between focusing on how well you’re doing something and focusing on what you’re doing.
  • The two orientations aren’t mutually exclusive, of course, but in practice they feel different and lead to different behaviors.
  • But when we get carried away with results, we wind up, paradoxically, with results that are less than ideal.
  • Unfortunately, common sense is in short supply today because assessment has come to dominate the whole educational process. Worse, the purposes and design of the most common forms of assessment--both within classrooms and across schools--often lead to disastrous consequences.
  • grades, which by their very nature undermine learning. The proper occasion for outrage is not that too many students are getting A’s, but that too many students have been led to believe that getting A’s is the point of going to school.
  • research indicates that the use of traditional letter or number grades is reliably associated with three consequences.
  • Iowa and Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills,
    • Benjamin Light
       
      I wonder how the MAP test is set?
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    The message of Daniel Pinks book "Drive" applies here. Paying someone more, i.e. good grades, does not make them better thinkers, problems solvers, or general more motivated in what they are doing. thanks for sharing.
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    Excellent summary!
Steve Ransom

NCTE Position Statement on Machine Scoring - 9 views

  • Conclusions that computers can score as well as humans are the result of humans being trained to score like the computers (for example, being told not to make judgments on the accuracy of information). 
  • Computer scoring systems can be "gamed" because they are poor at working with human language, further weakening the validity of their assessments and separating students not on the basis of writing ability but on whether they know and can use machine-tricking strategies.
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    Important and well written
Randolph Hollingsworth

U.S. History 2010 - NAEP report card for grades 4, 8, 12 - 0 views

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    Nationally representative samples of more than 7,000 4th graders, 11,000 8th graders, 12,000 12th graders participated in the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in U.S. History. Summary: Lowest performing 4th graders make greatest gain from 1994 + scores incr since 2006 for male as well as for Black and Hispanic 8th graders Avg scores for 8th & 12 graders increase from 1994 Less than 1/4 of students perform at or above Proficient level in 2010
Roland Gesthuizen

The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries - NYTimes.com - 59 views

  • The first step is to make the teaching profession more attractive to college graduates. This will take some doing
  • So how do teachers cope? Sixty-two percent work outside the classroom to make ends meet.
  • We’ve been working with public school teachers for 10 years; every spring, we see many of the best teachers leave the profession. They’re mowed down by the long hours, low pay, the lack of support and respect.
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  • eople talk about accountability, measurements, tenure, test scores and pay for performance. These questions are worthy of debate, but are secondary to recruiting and training teachers and treating them fairly.
  • most of all, they trust their teachers. They are rightly seen as the solution, not the problem, and when improvement is needed, the school receives support and development, not punishment.
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    "And yet in education we do just that. When we don't like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don't like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources."
Kate Pok

In Which We Discover Stanines - 33 views

  • when we think of scoring a rubric, we intuitively think that each of the possible scores as being equally likely.  This is a subtle systemic bias that happens because each column in the rubric’s grid is the same width.  So what?  Well, we’ve just seen that it makes just as much sense for intervals to vary in size as it does for them all to be the same size.  In other words: you cannot interpret a rubric element’s scores unless you know what kind of distribution has been assumed by the author of the rubric!
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    a poorly organized site with some VERY useful information about rubrics
Kate Pok

Converting Rubric Scores to Percentages and Grades - 110 views

  • There are a lot of posts on the internet about how to convert rubric scores to a percentage or to a letter grade. Most of them are wrong. The short answer for how to do this is: use your professional judgement when you make up the grading table that goes with the rubric.
Jason Schmidt

School Would Be Great If It Weren't for the Damn Kids - 95 views

  • It simply doesn’t make sense to try to “purge ‘ineffective’ teachers and principals.”  His listener, almost giddy with gratitude now, prepares to chime in, as Samuelson, without pausing, delivers the punch line:  That’s right, it’s time to stop blaming teachers and start . . . blaming students!
  • His focus is not on students’ achievements (the intellectual accomplishments of individual kids) but only on “student achievement” (the aggregate results of standardized tests)
  • As I’ve noted elsewhere, we have reason to worry when schooling is discussed primarily in the context of “global competitiveness” rather than in terms of what children need or what contributes to a democratic culture
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  • Upon hearing someone castigate students for being insufficiently motivated, a noneconomist might be inclined to ask two questions.  The first is:  “Motivated to do what, exactly”?  Anything they’re told, no matter how unengaging, inappropriate, or, well, demotivating? 
  • Whenever I see students made to cram facts into their short-term memories for a test, practice a series of decontextualized skills on yet another worksheet, listen passively to a lecture, or inch their way through the insipid prose of a corporate-produced textbook, I find myself thinking of a comment made by Frederick Herzberg, a critic of traditional workplace management:  “Idleness, indifference, and irresponsibility,” he said, “are healthy responses to absurd work.”
  • The more you reward people for doing something, or for doing it well, the less interest they typically come to have in whatever they had to do to get the reward. 
  • People who blame students for not being “motivated” tend to think educational success mean little more than higher scores on bad tests and they’re apt to see education itself as a means to scores sure our corporations will beat their corporations.  The sort of schooling that results is the type almost guaranteed to . . . kill students’ motivation.
  • one thing that’s happened is a concatenation of rewards and punishments, including grades, which teach students that learning is just a means to an end.
  • Another thing that’s happened is teaching that’s meant primarily to raise test scores.
  • inner-city kids get the worst of the sort of schooling that’s not about exploring and discovering and questioning but only about working hard (often at rote tasks) and being nice (read: obedient).
  • “Motivation is weak because more students…don't like school, don't work hard and don't do well.”  But why don’t they like school (which is the key to understanding why, assuming his premise is correct, they don’t succeed)?  What has happened to their desire to figure out how things work, the hunger to make sense of things, with which all children start out? 
  • if you want to see (intrinsically) motivated kids, you need to visit classrooms or schools that take a nontraditional approach to education, places where students are more likely to be absorbed and frequently delighted, where what they’re doing is not merely “rigorous” (a word often applied to very difficult busywork) but meaningful.
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    Alfie Kohn's commentary on an article written by Robert J. Samuelson. Samuelson argues in his article that the problem with education reform is not the usual suspects like ineffective teachers, but kids who are lazy and unmotivated. Interesting read with thoughtful information about student motivation.
Steve Ransom

Principal: 'I was naïve about Common Core' - 4 views

  • The promise of the Common Core is dying and teaching and learning are being distorted.  The well that should sustain the Core has been poisoned.
  • Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated—I personally think it is a bit over the top.  What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.
  • Real learning occurs in the mind of the learner when she makes connections with prior learning, makes meaning, and retains that knowledge in order to create additional meaning from new information.  In short, with tests we see traces of learning, not learning itself.
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  • Teachers are engaged in practices like these because they are pressured and afraid, not because they think the assessments are educationally sound. Their principals are pressured and nervous about their own scores and the school’s scores. Guaranteed, every child in the class feels that pressure and trepidation as well.
  • I am troubled that a company that has a multi-million dollar contract to create tests for the state should also be able to profit from producing test prep materials. I am even more deeply troubled that this wonderful little girl, whom I have known since she was born, is being subject to this distortion of what her primary education should be.
  • The Common Core places an extraordinary emphasis on vocabulary development
  • Parents can expect that the other three will be neglected as teachers frantically try to prepare students for the difficult and high-stakes tests.
  • They see data, not children. 
  • Data should be used as a strategy for improvement, not for accountability
  • A fool with a tool is still a fool.  A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.
Christian Howd

How to Make American Teens Smarter - The Daily Beast - 51 views

  • "People don't really understand the nature of reading. They feel that reading is a skill, that it's transferable, so once you're a good reader, you can read anything that's put in front of you," says Daniel Willingham, a University of Virginia cognitive psychologist who focuses on K-12 education. "But that's only true for decoding—what you learn until grade three or four. After that, when you see good readers versus poor readers, what you're looking at is mostly differences in the knowledge that kids bring to the reading. It's easy to read something when you already know something about the topic. And if you don't know about the topic, it's utterly opaque to you."
  • That's why children should read newspapers and magazines, texts about nature and technology, and biographies—genres that increase real-world knowledge. This is especially important for poor children, who may not be exposed to as much "background" information at home: the random vocabulary, facts, and associations that make it easier to do well on tests like the NAEP and SAT, and to succeed in the workplace.
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    Americans may be reading more words today than ever before, but the content is less challenging. Dana Goldstein on kids' dismal reading scores-and a movement to get them to put down Twilight and pick up nonfiction.
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    You're absolutely right! Our students need to be provided opportunities to read a variety of text!
Dallas McPheeters

World's Simplest Online Safety Policy by Lisa Nielsen - 88 views

  • Students can access websites that do not contain or that filter mature content. They can use their real names, pictures, and work (as long it doesn’t have a grade/score from a school) with the notification and/or permission of the student and their parent or guardian
  •  Anyone can begin making a difference and contributing real work at any age.
  • what puts kids at risk are things like: having a lot of conflict with your parents being depressed and socially isolated being hyper communicating with a lot of people who you don't know being willing to talk about sex with people that you don't know having a pattern of multiple risky activities going to sex sites and chat rooms, meeting lots of people there, and behaving like an Internet daredevil.
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  • Rules for tools don’t make sense. Rules for behaviors do.
  • It applies only to minors in places that apply for erate funds
  • The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) applies to the online collection of personal information by persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction from children under 13 years of age.
  • She uses Facebook with her First grade students
  • While children under 13 can legally give out personal information with their parents' permission
  • he Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records
  • Schools may disclose, without consent, information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
  • applies to all schools that receive fund
  • addresses children’s education records
  • as long as it is not a grade or score
  • permission is not necessary
  •  
    what puts kids at risk are things like: having a lot of conflict with your parents being depressed and socially isolated being hyper communicating with a lot of people who you don't know being willing to talk about sex with people that you don't know having a pattern of multiple risky activities going to sex sites and chat rooms, meeting lots of people there, and behaving like an Internet daredevil.
Mark Gleeson

Learning In Burlington: Why School? Will Richardson Leads Us Towards Answers To This Critical Question - 0 views

  •  
    Will presents straightforward questions that we can present to parents and other stakeholders to help us make this much needed shift.  We need to help parents and community members engage in a narrative that will help them see clearly that the test scores that our country's education reform movement are focused upon "tell us little if anything about our children's chances for future success."
chad even

Where in the World? A Google Earth Puzzle - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic - 133 views

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    Looking at the world through via Google Earth offers striking images of the diversity of our planet and the impact that humans have had on it. Today's entry is a puzzle -- part 2 in a series (part 1 here), this time offering multiple choices. We're challenging you to figure out where in the world each of the images below is taken. North is not always up in these pictures, and, apart from a bit of contrast, they are unaltered images provided by Google and its mapping partners. So I invite you to have a look at the images below, make your guesses, and see your score at the end. Good luck!
Randolph Hollingsworth

Maps of Citations Uncover New Fields of Scholarship - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 33 views

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    ...by a a team led by two biologists, Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West, and a physicist, Martin Rosvall,- "The work builds off the thinking behind the Eigenfactor score, a method of assessing journals' relative influence that Mr. Bergstrom and Mr. West unveiled in 2007. The Eigenfactor algorithm takes into account the source of citations. A citation in a high-profile journal like Nature, for instance, counts for more than a citation from a journal only a handful of people ever see or cite. That's a more nuanced way to evaluate a journal's standing than the widely used impact factor, which tracks how many citations a journal gets but does not weight the sources."
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    Wow researchers can engage with the human side of research thru viewing connected networks, they can find the patterns in data sets and discover new fields as they converge amongst many possibilities... You can see overview where your research fits in etc too.
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    This is fascinating. I'm trying to figure out if this is something that could become useful to undergraduates learning about research. It seems like it has potential to reveal connections, trends, and patterns for students just starting in a discipline. It certainly makes disciplines seem less rigid and confined (which I think is a good thing).
Steve Ransom

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 5 views

  • Richard Rothstein
  • In truth, this conventional view relies upon imaginary facts.
  • Let me repeat: black elementary school students today have better math skills than white students did only twenty years ago.
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  • As a result, we’ve wasted 15 years avoiding incremental improvement, and instead trying to upend a reasonably successful school system.
  • But the reason it hasn’t narrowed is that your profession has done too good a job — you’ve improved white children’s performance as well, so the score gap persists, but at a higher level for all.
  • Policymakers, pundits, and politicians ignore these gains; they conclude that you, educators, have been incompetent because the test score gap hasn’t much narrowed.
  • If you believe public education deserves greater support, as I do, you will have to boast about your accomplishments, because voters are more likely to aid a successful institution than a collapsing one.
  • Because education has become so politicized, with policy made by those with preconceptions of failure and little understanding of the educational process, you are entering a field that has become obsessed with evaluating only results that are easy to measure, rather than those that are most important. But as Albert Einstein once said, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
  • equally important educational goals — citizenship, character, appreciation of the arts and music, physical fitness and health, and knowledge of history, the sciences, and literature.
  • If you have high expectations, your students can succeed regardless of parents’ economic circumstances. That is nonsense.
  • health insurance; children are less likely to get routine and preventive care that middle class children take for granted
  • If they can’t see because they don’t get glasses to correct vision difficulties, high expectations can’t teach them to read.
  • In short, underemployment of parents is not only an economic crisis — it is an educational crisis. You cannot ignore it and be good educators.
  • To be good educators, you must step up your activity not only in the classroom, but as citizens. You must speak up in the public arena, challenging those policymakers who will accuse you only of making excuses when you speak the truth that children who are hungry, mobile, and stressed, cannot learn as easily as those who are comfortable.
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    An important read for anyone who truly wants to understand what's really important in education and the false reform strategies of our current (and past) administration.
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.
Maureen Greenbaum

Sugata Mitra - the professor with his head in the cloud | Education | The Guardian - 16 views

  • “A generation of children has grown up with continuous connectivity to the internet. A few years ago, nobody had a piece of plastic to which they could ask questions and have it answer back. The Greeks spoke of the oracle of Delphi. We’ve created it. People don’t talk to a machine. They talk to a huge collective of people, a kind of hive. Our generation [Mitra is 64] doesn’t see that. We just see a lot of interlinked web pages
  • “Within five years, you will not be able to tell if somebody is consulting the internet or not. The internet will be inside our heads anywhere and at any time. What then will be the value of knowing things? We shall have acquired a new sense. Knowing will have become collective.”
  • if you imagine me and my phone as a single entity, yes. Very soon, asking somebody to read without their phone will be like telling them to read without their glasses.”
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  • Twenty children are asked a “big question” such as “Why do we learn history?”, “Is the universe infinite?”, “Should children ever go to prison?” or “How do bees make honey?” They are then left to find the answers using five computers. The ratio of four children to one computer is deliberate: Mitra insists that the children must collaborate. “There should be chaos, noise, discussion and running about,” he says.
  • . Year 4 children (aged eight to nine) were given questions from GCSE physics and biology papers. After using their Sole computers for 45 minutes, their average test scores on three sets of questions were 25%, 26% and 13%. Three months later – the school having taught nothing on these subjects in the interim – they were tested again, individually and without warning. The scores rose to 57%, 80% and 16% respectively, suggesting the children continued researching the questions in their own time.
  • he says the main benefit of his methods is that children’s self-confidence increases so that they challenge adult perceptions.
  • the propositions that children can benefit from collaborative learning and that banning internet use from exams will get trickier, to the point where it may prove futile. It’s worth remembering that new technologies nearly always deliver less than we expect at first and far more than we expect later on, often in unexpected ways.
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