How much will these standardized tests really change public education?
Myth: Common Core tests will be much better than current exams, with many items measuring higher-order skills. Reality: The new tests will largely consist of the same old multiple-choice questions.
Myth: Adoption of Common Core exams will end No Child Left Behind testing overkill. Reality: Under Common Core, there will be many more tests and the same misuses.
Myth: New multi-state assessments will save taxpayers money. Reality: Test costs will increase for most states. Schools will spend even more for computer infrastructure upgrades.
Myth: New assessment consortia will actually design the tests rather than well-known test manufacturers who have made mistakes in the past. Reality: The same profit-driven companies, including Pearson, Educational Testing Service and CTB/McGraw-Hill, are producing the tests.
Myth: Common Core assessments are designed to meet the needs of all students. Reality: Not yet. The new tests could put students with disabilities and English-language learners at risk.
Myth: Common Core “proficiency” is an objective measure of college- and career-readiness. Reality: Proficiency levels on Common Core tests are subjective, like all performance levels.
Myth: States have to implement the Common Core assessments. Reality: No, they don’t.
“As soon as a person is hired, that should say, “I trust you”. We need to give them the freedom to unleash their talents. We need to say say “yes” often, and say “no” rarely.”—Power and Freedom (via gjmueller)
“If I could change one thing about engineering education — well, actually, all education — it would be to center it around solving real problems and making things. In other words, we ought to be creating innovators and inventors at our engineering schools. They need to be able to do something more than solve theoretical problems when they leave us. In other words, they should learn how to be an applied problem solver, which is not the same thing as being a fantastic book-based equation solver. None of us learned how to do anything well by being talked at — it’s boring. We learn best by doing — getting our hands dirty and making our own mistakes.”—Ideas for Improving Science Education in the U.S. - NYTimes.com (via infoneer-pulse)
At Harvey Mudd College in California, about 40 percent of the computer science majors are women. That’s far more than at any other co-ed school. And it’s thanks in large part to the school’s president, Maria Klawe. She has worked hard to keep women interested in computer science and empower them to succeed in the field.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.”—Galileo Galilei
“Test scores are a rough proxy for learning. Tests imperfectly examine selected domains of skills, so that we can infer what students know. 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.”—Principal: ‘I was naïve about Common Core’ (via gjmueller)
Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending non educators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value.
“I’m thinking about the current health care debate, “I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”
The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.
“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”
Since their release in April of 2010, Apple’s iPads have taken the US by storm. iPads have swept through almost every industry, especially education. Apple is pushing for iPad use in education, and several schools across the US have taken up the charge. The proliferation of iPads in the classroom will only keep accelerating. With these powerful mobile devices come a lot of possible benefits for educators and students alike. We all know iPads are exciting and there is a plethora of engaging apps for them out there, but do they actually improve education?
There have been many interesting studies done about iPads in the classroom and the effects on both students and teachers.
We’re now at a point where curators rule the content world, by collectively deciding whether content gets amplified or lost. As a result, quality of content is again starting to win out over quantity, with an assist from smarter search algorithms and the death of content farms. As power continues to shift to the curators, great long-form content continues to increase in value, as it’s shared and consumed by more and more people. Today, one exceptional, widely shared essay is far more valuable than a thousand disparate tweets.
The “better filters” conversation is an important one. But I don’t think it’s just about algorithms. At the end of the day, while the technology can help us aggregate potentially relevant and interesting content and information, if we don’t have the “curation” skills to make sense of it for ourselves, it doesn’t really matter much.
And, while curation may mark the return of the long form essay, just because it’s shared doesn’t mean it will get read. There is still a lot more work and thinking to do about how to cultivate reading and writing habits in ourselves and in our children that reflect the opportunities and challenges of this writing-rich moment.
Like…now that our kids have access to an authentic audience, why don’t we give them all sorts of opportunities to write about the things THEY care about in ways that have a real purpose and meaning in the world. Becoming a great writer starts with developing a passion for writing, something we too often extinguish in schools.
“I think the key to the problem is that frequently technology is placed in schools without much thought as to what problem it is supposed to solve.”—Dr. Richard Smith from the University of Houston Clear Lake (via callahaan)