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U.S. Students Are Not Lagging Behind International Peers

U.S. Students Are Not Lagging Behind International Peers | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Socioeconomic inequality among U.S. students skews international comparisons of test scores, finds a new report released today by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Economic Policy Institute. When differences in countries’ social class compositions are adequately taken into account, the performance of U.S. students in relation to students in other countries improves markedly." | via Get Schooled

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Five Best Practices for Redefining the Teacher's Role

Five Best Practices for Redefining the Teacher's Role | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Deep learning is messy and complicated. My most fulfilling teaching days are filled with overlapping student voices, surprise, and opportunity. As I circulate around the room, I speak with young people who are grappling with challenges, generating and then revising ideas, and finding their way through the multiple stages of project creation. Depending on the day, my students may be sprawled out on the floor in groups, sitting individually and staring down their work on a screen, in quiet spaces editing video or audio, or out in the world interviewing, filming, or researching. Project-based learning transforms the roles of students and teachers in ways that benefit all. This de-centering of the classroom and of knowledge helps students develop a sense of agency as learners and as people." | by Joshua Block

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Standardized Tests Don't Reveal How Smart You Are

Standardized Tests Don't Reveal How Smart You Are | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Tests are harder, students’ scores are rising, and yet it doesn’t really mean we’re evolving into a more intelligent society. A new study published in the journal Intelligence, reveals compounding evidence that students are becoming better at standardized test taking, but not necessarily becoming any smarter. Researchers from King's College London studied 64 years of test scores from 48 countries and found a rise in IQ, but it isn’t what it seems. The average intelligence rose 20 IQ points since 1950, which would lead us to believe that means the students of today are smarter than their grandparents once were. It isn’t that we’re necessarily smarter than grandma and grandpa were in the early 1900s, according to Flynn, but more that we are being challenged in a different way. Problem solving and reasoning abilities have improved, but the brain’s general functionality is no more superior than our ancestors. However, this highlights a significant problem in test taking, where the tests are getting harder and students are getting better at taking them — but it doesn’t mean they’re any smarter." | by Samantha Olson 

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7 Things Every Kid Should Master

7 Things Every Kid Should Master | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"In the past few years, parents, teachers, and policy makers have furiously debated whether standardized tests should be used to promote or hold back children, fire teachers, and withhold funds from schools. The debate has focused for the most part on whether the tests are being used in unfair ways. But almost no one has publicly questioned a fundamental assumption — that the tests measure something meaningful or predict something significant beyond themselves. I have reviewed more than 300 studies of K–12 academic tests. What I have discovered is startling. Most tests used to evaluate students, teachers, and school districts predict almost nothing except the likelihood of achieving similar scores on subsequent tests. I have found virtually no research demonstrating a relationship between those tests and measures of thinking or life outcomes. Why not test the things we value, and test them in a way that provides us with an accurate picture of what children really do, not what they can do under the most constrained circumstances after the most constrained test preparation? Nor should this be very difficult. After all, in the past 50 years economists and psychologists have found ways to measure things as subtle and dynamic as the mechanisms that explain when and why we give in to impulse, the forces that govern our moral choices, and the thought processes that underlie unconscious stereotyping." | by Susan Engel

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Professor Debunks Standardized Testing & Pearson Strikes Back

Professor Debunks Standardized Testing & Pearson Strikes Back | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Rebellions sometimes begin slowly, and Walter Stroup had to wait almost seven hours to start his. The setting was a legislative hearing at the Texas Capitol in the summer of 2012 at which the growing opposition to high-stakes standardized testing in Texas public schools was about to come to a head. Stroup, a University of Texas professor, was there to testify, but there was a long line of witnesses ahead of him. For hours he waited patiently, listening to everyone else struggle to explain why 15 years of standardized testing hadn’t improved schools. Stroup believed he had the answer. Stroup sat down at the witness table and offered the scientific basis behind the widely held suspicion that what the tests measured was not what students have learned but how well students take tests. Stroup argued that the tests were working exactly as designed, but that the politicians who mandated that schools use them didn’t understand this. In effect, Stroup had caught the government using a bathroom scale to measure a student’s height. The scale wasn’t broken or badly made. The scale was working exactly as designed. It was just the wrong tool for the job. The tests, Stroup said, simply couldn’t measure how much students learned in school. Stroup testified that for $468 million the Legislature had bought a pile of stress and wasted time from Pearson Education,the biggest player in the standardized-testing industry. Stroup had picked a fight with a special interest in front of politicians. The winner wouldn’t be determined by reason and science but by politics and power. Pearson’s real counterattack took place largely out of public view, where the company attempted to discredit Stroup’s research. Instead of a public debate, Pearson used its money and influence to engage in the time-honored academic tradition of trashing its rival’s work and career behind his back." | by Jason Stanford

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The High Cost of Neuromyths in Education

The High Cost of Neuromyths in Education | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Valid neuroscience research is an increasingly useful resource for guiding interventions in education. But not all "neurocontent" is created equal. With the overall rise in accessible education content has come a rise in the niche of neurological educational content -- content developed for educators based on how the brain works. One of the more common snags here is the advent of "neuromyths," or content purportedly based on neuroscience that, while sounding plausible, is incorrect. Neuromyths result from unsupported claims about interventions or products supposedly "proven by neuroscience research." These claims (usually with interventions for sale) are based on research that is either not scientifically valid or not supportive of the specific intervention being promoted." | by Judy Willis 

 
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Public Schools Outperform Private Schools Nationally

Public Schools Outperform Private Schools Nationally | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"University of Illinois professor Christopher Lubienski challenged the prevailing notions about the successes of private education. As he describes in his book The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, an analysis of two large-scale databases reveals that private schools don't stand up to their public counterparts when controlling for additional background factors, like socioeconomic status and parental education levels, that could skew the data. 'Public schools were actually outperforming demographically similar private schools," Lubienski said. "When we look at similar students in the different types of schools, in mathematics anyways, kids in public schools are, on average, performing at a level higher than students at charter or private schools.'" | by Rahel Gebreyes

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Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—in books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movieInterstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked. In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze." | by Joel Achenbach

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Rethink Homelessness

Rethink Homelessness | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Rethink Homelessness, an initiative of the Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness, recently asked a few homeless people to write down a fact about themselves that other people wouldn’t know just by walking past them. Their answers may surprise you." | via Clear Mind

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How Poverty Impacts Education

How Poverty Impacts Education | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"If you are in a community with high levels of poverty, you are likely in a community that lacks the tax base to provide decent public education, even were the students not already disadvantaged in their basic living situations. Those of us who teach do all we can to ameliorate the difficulties with which children arrive in our classrooms. But what happens outside school has a profound effect on what we can do in school. We know these children will score lower on the kinds of tests we are using to beat up on public education, but those of us who teach also know that does not mean they cannot learn. Yet it is often precisely these children, who need the enrichment of music and art and poetry and drama and access to the things taken for granted by kids of middle class settings and up, who lose the most when we cut out those "frills" in order to raise scores on tests that really do not indicate a higher level of learning." | via Alternet.org

 
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Scientists And The Public View The World Very Differently

Scientists And The Public View The World Very Differently | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New Pew Research Center surveys of citizens and a representative sample of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show powerful crosscurrents that both recognize the achievements of scientists and expose stark fissures between scientists and citizens on a range of science, engineering and technology issues." | by Cary Funk and Lee Rainie

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Students Do Better When Public Schools Get More Money

Students Do Better When Public Schools Get More Money | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Recent research, however, has found that when schools have more money, they are able to give their students a better education. A new study on those who went to school during the school-finance cases a few decades ago found that those who attended districts that were affected by the rulings were more likely to stay in school through high school and college and are making more money today. The authors, Kirabo Jackson and Claudia Persico of Northwestern University and Rucker Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, released a revised draft of their as-yet-unpublished paper this week. The benefits were most obvious for students from poor families. They found that a 10 percent increase in the money available for each low-income student resulted in a 9.5 percent increase in students' earnings as adults. A public investment in schools, they wrote, returned 8.9 percent annually for a typical pupil who started kindergarten in 1980. The findings are evidence that public schooling can be a way for children who grow up in poverty to overcome their circumstances, Johnson argued." | by Max Ehrenfreund

 
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, January 29, 10:37 PM

I don't agree with this premise necessarily. It might be true, but my experience was that most School managers were so inept in spending the money they were given that is hard to know for sure.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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Why Teens Are Impulsive and Prone To Addiction

Why Teens Are Impulsive and Prone To Addiction | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Teens can't control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why? Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly. 'Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' ' Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. Jensen, who's a neuroscientist and was a single mother of two boys who are now in their 20s, wrote The Teenage Brain to explore the science of how the brain grows — and why teenagers can be especially impulsive, moody and not very good at responsible decision-making. "We have a natural insulation ... called myelin," she says. "It's a fat, and it takes time. Cells have to build myelin, and they grow it around the outside of these tracks, and that takes years." This insulation process starts in the back of the brain and heads toward the front. Brains aren't fully mature until people are in their early 20s, possibly late 20s and maybe even beyond, Jensen says. "The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain," Jensen says. "And what's in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior." | by Terry Gross

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Ten Obvious Truths About Education That Are Ignored

Ten Obvious Truths About Education That Are Ignored | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"The field of education bubbles over with controversies. It’s not unusual for intelligent people of good will to disagree passionately about what should happen in schools. But there are certain precepts that aren’t debatable, that just about anyone would have to acknowledge are true. While many such statements are banal, some are worth noticing because in our school practices and policies we tend to ignore the implications that follow from them. It’s both intellectually interesting and practically important to explore such contradictions: If we all agree that a given principle is true, then why in the world do our schools still function as if it weren’t?" | by Alfie Kohn

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Five Reasons Standardized Testing Isn’t Likely To Let Up

Five Reasons Standardized Testing Isn’t Likely To Let Up | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"For well over a dozen years high-stakes standardized testing has become a hallmark of modern school reform, so much so that an anti-testing rebellion has erupted around the country among parents, students and educators. Even some of testing’s strongest proponents now say it is time to scale back on the number of assessments students must take. Here’s the question: Will it really happen? Will standardized testing be significantly reduced? Here’s an argument that it  won’t happen. Between kindergarten and Grade 12, students in the United States take on average 113 standardized tests. There is a national movement among parents to protect their kids from this onslaught of tests, and teachers generally can’t stand teaching to the tests — or administering them. Which makes you wonder, why is the testing culture so entrenched in our schools and spearheaded by school reform leaders? Follow the money." | by Anya Kamenetz 

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The Numbers Are In: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids

The Numbers Are In: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation.

Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class. However, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam's new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,argues that the United States is losing its status as a land of opportunity for all. Here's the central idea: In the American Dream, upward mobility is available to all, limited only by ability and effort, not class. But Putnam assembles data to show that an "opportunity gap" has emerged here, making an upward climb much tougher in the 21st century, compared with the mid-20th century." | by Marilyn Geewax

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When Robots Steal Our Jobs

When Robots Steal Our Jobs | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Technology has been replacing manufacturing jobs for years. Is the same about to happen to white-collar work? Will new faster, smarter computers start destroying more jobs than they create? Technologists and economists are now arguing that we are approaching a turning point, where professional jobs are becoming automated, leaving less and less work for humans to do. David Baker investigates the evidence and asks what this means for society, the individual and equality." | via BBC Radio


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Where Have All The Teachers Gone?

Where Have All The Teachers Gone? | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Several big states have seen alarming drops in enrollment at teacher training programs. The numbers are grim among some of the nation's largest producers of new teachers: In California, enrollment is down 53 percent over the past five years. It's down sharply in New York and Texas as well. In North Carolina, enrollment is down nearly 20 percent in three years. "The erosion is steady. That's a steady downward line on a graph. And there's no sign that it's being turned around," says Bill McDiarmid, the dean of the University of North Carolina School of Education. Why have the numbers fallen so far, so fast? McDiarmid points to the strengthening U.S. economy and the erosion of teaching's image as a stable career. There's a growing sense, he says, that K-12 teachers simply have less control over their professional lives in an increasingly bitter, politicized environment." |  by Eric Westervelt

 

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Why Our Kids Don't Love School Anymore

Why Our Kids Don't Love School Anymore | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"All weekend long, one after another, public school parents and students tromped down the basement stairs in the home of an MCAS member. She and her fellow parent activists had assembled a diverse collection of urban and suburbanites, so that I could record their testimony. They wanted to talk about the changes that they were witnessing in their schools and in their children, changes which they believed emanated directly from corporate education reforms, and in particular, the upcoming PARCC Standardized Tests. (PARCC, an acronym for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a multi-state consortium that has engaged the testing and publishing behemoth Pearson to create the Common Core-aligned computer-based standardized tests.) Parents and students talked about the dramatic changes in curriculum and a flood of test prep in classes and homework. Some spoke about the massive expenditures for technology and testing materials, as hands-on instructional time declined. Parents of children with special education needs and individualized education plans (IEPs), found the implications of these changes particularly troubling. Many were concerned that the test-obsessed curriculum would undermine their community's focus on equity and desegregation. Most devastating, parent after parent described an insidious slide in the engagement of their children with school. They were all deeply frustrated and fed up with being ignored by policy makers and the media." | by Michael Elliot

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Rich School, Poor School

Rich School, Poor School | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"The class divide is widened by gaps in counseling kids for college. Comparing a suburban private school with an inner-city one, of course, provides an extreme example of the disparities in college counseling based on socioeconomic status. But it symbolizes a gulf so critical that the Education Commission of the States reports that it's hampering the ability of the United States to keep up with international economic rivals, at least as measured by the proportion of the population going to college. The average public high school counselor in the United States has a caseload of 471 students, reports the American School Counselor Association — nearly double the 250 recommended by the group and almost five times the number that counselors in private schools work with. And what few counselors there are in the schools with the poorest kids may be "torn away because of testing requirements or because of disciplinary issues," said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunities in Education. "College admissions issues are not the highest on the priority list." | by Erin Einhorn

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Teach for America’s Truth Problem

Teach for America’s Truth Problem | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Communities don't want underprepared teachers who aren't committed to the community. It's time to look at facts. “Is TFA good for education? I used to think it was,” she writes. What changed her mind was research finding “the impact of TFA teachers is unclear.” When you look at the evidence, it’s not at all certain that staffing a school with TFA-prepared teachers – who receive a mere five weeks of training – is any more beneficial to the students than hiring teachers who have been prepared in a traditional higher education certification program. Meanwhile, TFA corps members can cost more to fund, most of them tend to move on after two years, and the cost of their positions is often offset by releasing experienced teachers who would, in the long run, provide the community a more stable teacher workforce." | by Jeff Bryant

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The Activity Gap

The Activity Gap | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"In a national study recently featured in Voices in Urban Education, a publication out of Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform. The objective of the study was to examine trends in extracurricular participation among kids in the U.S. from the 1970s until today through long-term data and conversations with 120 young adults across the country. What the researchers found is, as they note in the article, "alarming." Income-based differences in extracurricular participation are on the rise, and these differences greatly affect later outcomes. This disparity exacerbates the already-growing income achievement gap that has kept poor children behind in school and later in life. While upper- and middle-class students have become more active in school clubs and sports teams over the past four decades, their working-class peers "have become increasingly disengaged and disconnected," particularly since their participation rates started plummeting in the '90s, the study found." | by Alia Wong

 

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‘The Federal Incentives In Education Are Wrong’

‘The Federal Incentives In Education Are Wrong’ | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Here is testimony given by a public school teacher at Wednesday’s hearing on the rewriting of No Child Left Behind by the Senate education committee, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and a former U.S. secretary of education. The teacher is Stephen Lazar, a National Board Certified teacher who helped start Harvest Collegiate High School, a public school in New York City where he teaches social studies and English, and is dean of Academic Progress. He is also developing model U.S. history curriculum units for the New York Social Studies Toolkit Project. He previously taught at the Academy for Young Writers in Brooklyn and the Bronx Lab School, where he served as department chair, instructional coach, and UFT chapter leader. He began teaching at Hayfield High School in Fairfax County, Va. Lazar’s writing on education policy and practice has been widely published." | via Valerie Strauss

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Is 'Grit' Racist?

Is 'Grit' Racist? | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"'Grit' has in recent years captivated the imagination of educators and policymakers, leading many to embrace the idea that schools should seek to cultivate in their students a set of personality traits demonstrated by researchers to be closely tied to academic and personal success. Increasingly, though, critics are offering a different take, arguing that grit is a racist construct and has harmed low-income students by crowding out a focus on providing children with the supports they deserve and the more-flexible educational approach enjoyed by many of their more affluent counterparts. "We keep [hearing] this narrative that the only way children in poverty are going to succeed is by working harder than their peers who are middle class," said Pamela Moran, the superintendent of the 13,000-student Albemarle County public schools, in Virginia. "We have to think about our own cultural biases, why grit appeals to us, and why we want to focus on it in our schools," she said.  Moran, who has been recognized for her work building a district culture focused on digital learning, and Ira Socol, the Albemarle district's assistant director for educational technology and innovation, led a discussion at EduCon titled "Grit, Galton, Eugenics, Racism, Calvinism."  In addition to their critique, Moran and Socol argued that technology can be a valuable tool for cultivating a more appropriate type of resiliency in students, by providing them the resources, options, and "slack" they might otherwise lack." | by Benjamin Herold

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Examining Minecraft's Appeal

Examining Minecraft's Appeal | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"The point of Minecraft seems simple: build practically anything you can imagine. Some kids recreate famous pieces of architecture, others express their creativity through grand designs. Since 2009, Minecraft has sold over 20 million copies. And if that seems like a typical blockbuster, don’t be fooled — it isn’t. Graphics are boxy and blurry, and sounds are primitive at best. So why do kids obsess over it? Minecraft is an open-ended “sandbox” that doesn’t come with instructions, so the gameplay is confusing — but that’s what makes it irresistible. Kids are forced to explore — first in the game, then out of it. To figure out what to do next, they’ll need to read sites such as Minecraft Wiki, where they learn to build an intricate maze of mine shafts or design their dream house. Slowly, they begin to see what’s possible, and develop skills of observation and perseverance." | by Margaret Rock

  

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8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness | Spaces Between | Scoop.it

"Certain widely-shared myths and lies about education are destructive for all of us as educators, and destructive for our educational institutions. This is the subject of 50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education, a new book by David Berliner and Gene Glass, two of the country’s most highly respected educational researchers. Although the book deserves to be read in its entirety, I want to focus on eight of the myths that I think are relevant to most teachers, administrators, and parents." | by Mark Phillips

 
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