Archive for the 'learning' Category

December
20th 2013
If This Education Research Were Real, You Might Buy Me a Cool Christmas Gift

Posted under International & Just For Fun & learning & Research

‘Tis the Christmas holiday season, and maybe (just maybe) my last posting of 2013. Nobody’s in school now, and education policy drifts even further from the brain as visions of sugarplums (or actually, new Lego sets) dance in small children’s heads.

Nonetheless, the season provides a great opportunity to drive home an important point about the research that underlies education policy debates. Jay Greene yesterday dispatched a message to Marc Tucker and Diane Ravitch, urging them to contact Santa Claus. (As a small aside, let me make the point that contacting the big jolly man in the red suit can be a difficult task. I’m still trying to get an explanation why last year I got earmuffs, mittens, and socks rather than a new PlayStation.)

Greene points us to a fabulous Education Next piece by Matthew Chingos with the provocative title, “Big Data Wins the War on Christmas.” It seems the Harvard graduate and Brookings Institution fellow stumbled onto some fascinating research data from the latest PISA international test results. Continue Reading »

1 Comment »

December
13th 2013
Big Testing (Why Not Funding?) Changes Coming Soon to Colorado K-12

Posted under Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & learning & Online Schools & Parents & School Choice & School Finance & State Board of Education & State Legislature

A couple of stories this week in Ed News Colorado serve as a reminder that whether or not there are new laws or reforms to debate, some kind of change will keep coming to the state’s schools. First comes from the State Board of Education’s Wednesday meeting, where we learned that schools and districts will have exactly one year reprieve on their formal accountability ratings after the new testing begins in 2014-15:

As for teachers, their students’ performance on the new tests will factor into their year-end evaluations starting in 2016.

“Some states declared a timeout,” said Elliott Asp, the special assistant to the commissioner and one of the architects behind the state’s plan for testing. “We don’t want to go there.”

We want to ensure greater accountability for learning results. But the shift to a new kind of testing system realistically demands some sort of accommodation. Providing a year’s worth of reprieve from sanctions or other consequences makes sense on the surface. The story drives home the reality of coming changes — a computerized test-taking system with new assessments rolling out in 2014-15. That puts the consequences back to 2015-16. Continue Reading »

No Comments »

December
10th 2013
EAGLE-Net Broadband Delays Test Patient Hopes for Digital Learning Policies

Posted under Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & learning & Online Schools & Research & School Accountability & School Choice & School Finance

The power and potential of blended learning stand out in several ways. It can give students more control over their education — like having a customized playlist — and enable them to advance at their own pace. It can expand the reach of effective teachers and allow them to focus time more efficiently on what they do best. It can foster more innovation to speed up the process of building effective learning systems. And it can do all that without requiring new revenue.

Some of the greatest potential to help students lies in Colorado’s rural areas, and some districts have begun to embrace the possibilities. But in order to make blended learning work, they have to access digital technology in the form of high-speed Internet access. Hence, an eye-catching new story by Andy Vuong in the Denver Post (H/T Complete Colorado): Continue Reading »

1 Comment »

December
3rd 2013
Bad News for U.S. School Performance; How to Fix “Leaning Tower of PISA”?

Posted under Foreign Countries & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & learning & math & reading & Research & Sciences

Today is PISA Day, and I’m not referring to pepperoni pies or unusual Italian landmarks. The 2012 results from the Program for International Student Assessment are in, and it doesn’t look pretty for the good old USA. At least not on the surface.

First, let’s take a quick trip back to September, when I brought your attention to the unsettling book Endangering Prosperity and pointed out that America needs to take a different path to improve unimpressive math test scores. That was when our nation’s 15-year-olds scored a sub-par 487 on the PISA: Continue Reading »

No Comments »

October
28th 2013
Lingering Doubts in Preschool Research Give Greater Pause about Amendment 66

Posted under Early Childhood & learning & Research & School Finance

One of the honest promises put forth by Amendment 66 supporters is that a portion of the funds will go to expanding preschool access for low-income families. The publicly-funded Colorado Preschool Program touts research that shows it’s making a positive difference.

But a new Time column by Kay Hymowitz (H/T Joanne Jacobs) reminds us what the research says about the true limitations of Early Childhood Education: Continue Reading »

1 Comment »

October
15th 2013
There’s Something to Be Said for Flipping Not Just Classrooms, But Whole Schools

Posted under High School & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & learning & Teachers

You may not know what blended learning is. You probably can’t recite all the different categories of blended learning — though you would stand a better chance if you had read Krista Kafer’s paper on The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado.

One particular passage in Kafer’s paper highlights the rise of a particular form of blended learning that certainly seems to owe its origins to Colorado: Continue Reading »

No Comments »

September
20th 2013
Research Shows At Least Some Kinds of Field Trips Really Do Benefit Students

Posted under Arts & Just For Fun & learning & Research & Rural Schools & Sciences

I’ve been delinquent from blogging so much lately, you may think little Eddie just has been on a long field trip. Well, before you get too critical, you might want to consider the great advantages this could have for me. The results of a first-of-its-kind study, outlined by Dr. Jay Greene for Education Next, are worth a closer look:

Today, culturally enriching field trips are in decline. Museums across the country report a steep drop in school tours. For example, the Field Museum in Chicago at one time welcomed more than 300,000 students every year. Recently the number is below 200,000. Between 2002 and 2007, Cincinnati arts organizations saw a 30 percent decrease in student attendance. A survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that more than half of schools eliminated planned field trips in 2010–11.

Continue Reading »

No Comments »

September
16th 2013
The U.S. Needs a Different Path to Improve Our Unimpressive Math Scores

Posted under Grades and Standards & Just For Fun & learning & math & Research

Sometimes it’s good to step back and take a look at the big picture. That’s as true in the discussions about education reform as it is anywhere. A brand-new, 6-minute video does just that, but in a clever and lighthearted manner:

Continue Reading »

1 Comment »

September
12th 2013
Joining Harrison and Dougco, North Carolina Dumps Wasteful Masters Bumps

Posted under learning & Research & School Finance & State Legislature & Suburban Schools & Teachers & Urban Schools

Colorado’s educator pay innovators — namely, Harrison and Douglas County — are further vindicated by commonsense actions from state leaders in North Carolina. Two years ago I brought readers’ attention to the massive blowout that is the research showing masters degrees for teachers don’t help students learn.

Today, as EAG News reports, the Tarheel State has jumped on board with the winning team. After April 2014, an advanced degree for a North Carolina teacher no longer will result in an automatic pay raise. In other words, it’s the end of the “masters bump.” What will happen? Look further north to another state that’s adopted this approach: Continue Reading »

No Comments »

August
13th 2013
Details Will Dictate District Success with Colorado’s New Educator Evaluations

Posted under Denver & Innovation and Reform & learning & School Board & Suburban Schools & Teachers & Urban Schools

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about good old SB 191, Colorado’s 2010 law passed in an attempt to create a more meaningful teacher and principal evaluation system. As the 2013-14 school year gets underway, school districts across the state are meeting the requirement to put the new system into place. What can we expect?

That’s the question to ask, as observers wonder how the new system will affect classroom practices and behaviors, as well as interactions with principals and the role of districts in support. What we do know as of August 1 is who will follow the state’s model evaluation system. Ed News Colorado tells us that 160 of 178 districts have adopted this approach fully, further noting:

Another 10 districts will use a “hybrid” – usually the model system for principals and their own systems for teachers.

Jeffco, the state’s largest district, is among the “hybrid” category. According to Ed News, only seven districts are going their own route completely: Continue Reading »

1 Comment »

« Prev - Next »