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February 15, 2012
Not a week goes by it seems without tech companies (both old and new) competing for air time hawking the next big thing. With the exception of maybe a company such as Apple, most of the products or solutions end up being just another cog in the increasingly crowded (and fragmented) gadget-centric economy.
January 23, 2012
Earlier this month, NWEA released a new study providing estimates of the RIT scale scores on MAP reading, math, and language usage tests that correspond to the college readiness benchmarks on the ACT, PLAN and EXPLORE tests. ACT is one of the two major exams taken by high school students in preparation for applying to college, and its college readiness benchmarks are the ACT scale scores that predict at least a 50% chance of getting a B or better, and a 75% chance of getting a C or better in a freshman level course in the same subject. The EXPLORE and the PLAN are additional tests offered by ACT, Inc. that can be taken in eighth and tenth grades, respectively. According to research done by ACT, students who meet the college readiness benchmarks on EXPLORE and PLAN are on track to meet the corresponding benchmarks on the ACT by the time they finish high school.
January 18, 2012
The Gates Foundation recently published their latest reports from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project. One of their claims in the study is that a combination of structured classroom observation, student surveys, and student achievement gains provide the best estimates of teacher effectiveness.
January 12, 2012
NWEA’s college readiness benchmark linking study is now available! With this study, NWEA’s partners can use students’ MAP scores to predict their college readiness, as measured by their performance on ACT’s series of assessments - EXPLORE (grades 8 and 9), PLAN (grade 10), and the ACT (grade 11 and 12). ACT’s college readiness benchmarks are the minimum scores required on the ACT tests for high school students to have approximately a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or better, or a 50 percent chance of earning a grade of B or better, in courses commonly taken by first-year college students.
January 3, 2012
We know that in the US, educational attainment is the largest predictor of earning power. And now more than ever,a college education is necessary to secure a good job. This trend, coupled with the national imperative to raise standards to compete globally, has propelled an abundance of educational reform efforts, ranging from common core standards to foundational initiatives. For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested almost $4 billion to increase the levels of college-readiness in K-12 education. Additionally, these efforts are often framed as issues of equity, arguing greater college preparation expands opportunities for low-income and minority students.
December 20, 2011
I had a chance today to read a new study by the esteemed folks at the Center for Education Policy (CEP), the tenth installment of CEP’s annual report on high school exit exams.
Exit exams are essentially any assessment a student must pass in order to receive his or her high school diploma. Exit exams measure the degree to which a student has mastered the state’s content standards; consequently, these exams are general in content. One criticism of the exit exam design, as compared to end-of-course (EOC) assessments, is that students are likely to be tested on content they may have learned years ago. So …what did the CEP report this year? Here are the findings I found most compelling:
December 13, 2011
I recently came across an opinion piece in the Washington Post in which the author wrote about a prominent school board member in Florida who took the 10th grade portion of the FCAT –Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test—and, perhaps surprisingly, failed miserably (and openly admitted doing so). The author used this story to highlight the shift in education to use the results of assessments such as this (which an educated adult struggled with) in more and more high-stakes decisions about students and teachers, and brought up the current shift in the evaluation of teachers and principals in the state of New York as an example.
December 7, 2011
John Cronin weighs in on how the Common Core standards will impact schools - see what he and others have to say in this Learning Matters online conversation.