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April 11, 2011
Please welcome our guest blogger Mark Fries! Mark is the Senior Interactive Marketing Manager at NWEA.
The interactive conference at South by Southwest (SxSW) is always a good time. I work in interactive marketing and as I remarked to a co-worker, every time I go I feel like I’ve found my tribe. One of the themes that presented itself time and time again was data. We are collecting more of it than ever and using it to create what we hope are meaningful experiences for our users, customers and prospects. The question is not should you be collecting data but rather what data is the most meaningful and how should it be used to influence experience. In sessions such as How to Personalize Without Being Creepy, Privacy vs. Relevancy: Who Smells the Tension? and Tech vs. Creative? Quality Requires Both, industry experts, practitioners and thought-leaders debated the pros and cons of data usage in marketing communications. As I participated, I was struck over and over again by how the personalization movement diminishes one of the facets of the internet I most enjoy – serendipity.
March 15, 2011
Check out our updated "Our Mission" page, where you will find two videos that highlight many of NWEA's staff members and their thoughts about why the Kingsbury Center was established and the key role that Gage Kingsbury has played in the development of a strong research-oriented organization. Click here to see the videos!
March 8, 2011
This morning the New York Times published an opinion piece called Coming Together to Give Schools a Boost which describes a Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky initiative called Strive that has shown great success in its mission: “bringing people together to improve results for every child, every step of the way, from cradle to career, in Cincinnati, Newport and Covington.”
February 28, 2011
The Kingsbury Center is now accepting applications for a Senior Research Associate. We're looking for someone with excellent data, writing, and presentation skills who is excited about our mission, Partnering to Help All Kids Learn. If you or someone you know is interested in this position, please submit your application ASAP - Click Here to Apply
January 26, 2011
The journal Science published an article this week— Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping—that has everyone arguing whether testing helps kids learn or not. The NYT article is a good place to get familiar with the study and understand some of the issues, and the letters to the editor about their article shows some of the passionate feelings the public has for and against educational testing.
January 20, 2011
I just finished Amy Chua’s brave book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Chua, a Yale Law Professor, characterizes herself as a Chinese mother, relentless in her pursuit of perfection from her own children, and unafraid of shaming them when they fail to meet her standards. "Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them," Chua writes. "If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough. That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it."
January 18, 2011
As nice as it might be to have consistent proficiency standards across states, what’s shocking is that many states don’t even have consistent proficiency expectations across grades. Remember, we’re not talking about academic content, which naturally varies across grades, but the relative difficulty of achieving proficiency (i.e., a “passing score”). The figure below illustrates the problem, showing the difficulty of the reading and math proficiency standards in California for grades three through eight.
January 6, 2011
Despite all the talk about Common Core and establishing consistent content standards across states, we don’t hear much about establishing consistent proficiency standards. While content standards (including common core) establish what will be taught in schools, a state’s proficiency standards are the criteria used to evaluate student mastery (and consequently, school or teacher performance). Put another way, common core standards establish content, while proficiency standards establish the grading scale.
December 29, 2010
Two more reports out this month look at the growing achievement gaps between girls and boys. According to the recently released report on the international assessment PISA, boys across all countries scored an average of 39 points lower in reading than girls, a difference they equate to one full grade level. (More interesting than their findings about the gap itself, are their explanations for it.) The other study, from the Center for Economic Progress, found differences of 10 percentage points or more in proficiency rates in reading between boys and girls in some states.
December 21, 2010
The Center for Education Policy in D.C. has just come out with a new report on the achievement gap over time. They look at the percentage of students in each subgroup who pass their state’s proficiency benchmark over the course of several years. It’s a very interesting study, but it misses a point that the Kingsbury Center has made in several publications: as it is currently measured for NCLB, the achievement gap is an artificial construct relating to the difficulty of the state standard.