Report urges revamping student testing | EdSource

The report, by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the National Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky, recommends alternatives to annual standardized tests. It says there should be far more emphasis on ongoing assessments of students as part of regular classroom instruction.Schools should focus more on “formative assessments,” the curriculum-based problems and quizzes that teachers give to students throughout the school year for feedback on how students are doing, in addition to locally developed alternatives to assessments, the report argues. The latter could include science experiments, literary essays, classroom projects and, by the senior year of high school, internship experiences and portfolios that students can present to employers and colleges.

via Report urges revamping student testing | EdSource.

Dewey, Testing Companies, and the Origin of the Common Core

Originally posted on Cloaking Inequity:

The purported benefit of the Common Core State Standards over previous sets of standards is the development of critical thinking skills across all subjects, seen as a key lever for increasing American students’ international competitiveness and ameliorating the country’s lethargic economy and persistently high unemployment rates. This perception is clear in statements made by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and in articles about the standards (Duncan, 2013; Garland, 2013). Billed as “reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers” (NGA and CCSSO, 2010a). Will a set of standards actually prepare students for life and career?

John Dewey’s vision of reform was a bottom-up approach that focused on the needs of the child and the expertise of the teacher. He warned against a system that relied on a lack of connection between the people in charge of planning for education and the…

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Education Policy Can Help Us Move Beyond the Skills Gap – EdCentral

Our higher education system has become our largest provider of job training programs and what that means for students and institutions. I also explain why our current policies for delivering higher education do not work well for matching education and jobs, and explore five policy gaps that are driving the poor results for students and employers. These policy gaps make it too easy for institutions to provide very low-quality career education programs while also making it too difficult for institutions to build the partnerships and programs that will facilitate student transitions to jobs and careers.

via Education Policy Can Help Us Move Beyond the Skills Gap – EdCentral.

Lockhart’s Lament Math Education Is Wrong – Business Insider

The problem is that this abstract memorization and formal-method-based “music” education closely resembles the “math” education that most students receive. Formulas and algorithms are delivered with no context or motivation, with students made to simply memorize and apply them.Part of why many students end up disliking math, or convincing themselves that they are bad at math, comes from this emphasis on formulas and notation and methods at the expense of actually deep understanding of the naturally fascinating things mathematicians explore. It’s understandable that many students and adults get frustrated at memorizing context-free strings of symbols and methods to manipulate them.This goes against what math is really about. The essence of mathematics is recognizing interesting patterns in interesting abstractions of reality and finding properties of those patterns and abstractions. This is inherently a much more creative field than the dry symbol manipulation taught conventionally.

via Lockhart’s Lament Math Education Is Wrong – Business Insider.

Tackling the Digital Divide: Low-Income Students Weigh In | MindShift

The article For Low Income Kids, Access to Devices Could Be the Equalizer raised the possibility that mobile technology in classrooms could help narrow the digital divide between the nation’s low-income and more affluent students. The article, which included suggestions for educators about how to access devices and what do with them, struck a chord with readers. Many were outraged that some students are missing out on valuable learning resources because of their families’ socio-economic status, while others worried that bringing mobile devices into the classroom – any classroom – invites chaos.

via Tackling the Digital Divide: Low-Income Students Weigh In | MindShift.

The Cheap Gimmicks Of EdTech

This was an Ignite style session where I expressed my own personal frustration with educational technology at scale and attempted to then offer some redeeming alternatives actively being pursued by others. Below are a few of the slides and roughly what I tried to get across.

via The Cheap Gimmicks Of EdTech.

Response: Seven Strategies For Working With Student Teachers – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher

This week’s question is:What are your suggestions for teachers who are supervising a student teacher, as well as for student teachers themselves?In Part One of this series, we heard from Emily Geltz and Linda Rief, who co-authored their contribution Emily was Linda’s student teacher two years ago; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jessica Bennett and Jane Fung. Part Two’s responses come from Michael Opitz and Michael Ford; PJ Caposey; Patty O’Grady; and Sally Zepeda.Today’s final post in the series features what I think is a particularly interesting combination — a quest response from Ted Appel, the principal of the inner-city school where I teach, who describes the innovative requirements he insisted upon if a university was interested in placing student teachers with us; followed by a commentary from Pia Lindquist Wong, director of a university teaching credentials program who found that her ideas dovetailed with those of Ted’s – the two then developed a partnership.In addition, I include many comments from readers.I also had a interesting conversation with Emily Geltz and Linda Rief on my ten-minute BAM! Radio Show that should be live in a few days. BAM! seems to have resolved their technical problems, but are still a bit behind.  They did, however, just post my show about book recommendations for teachers, and you can listen to it, and previous shows, here.

via Response: Seven Strategies For Working With Student Teachers – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher.

Response: Letting Student Teachers ‘Sink or Swim’ Is ‘Not Permissible’ – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher

This week’s question is:What are your suggestions for teachers who are supervising a student teacher, as well as for student teachers themselves?In Part One of this series, we heard from Emily Geltz and Linda Rief, who co-authored their contribution Emily was Linda’s student teacher two years ago; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jessica Bennett and Jane Fung. Today’s guest responses come from Michael Opitz and Michael Ford; PJ Caposey; Patty O’Grady; and Sally Zepeda.I also had a interesting conversation with Emily and Linda on my ten-minute BAM! Radio Show that should be live sometime this week.Response From Michael Opitz and Michael FordMichael Opitz is professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and Michael Ford is chair of the Department of Literacy and Language at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Friends and colleagues for more than two decades, they began working together as a result of their common reading education interests and extensive work in the field. Opitz and Ford co-authored Engaging Minds in the Classrooms: The Surprising Power of Joy ASCD, 2014:

via Response: Letting Student Teachers ‘Sink or Swim’ Is ‘Not Permissible’ – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher.

Response: Student Teachers Should ‘Be Colleagues’ – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher

This week’s question is:What are your suggestions for teachers who are supervising a student teacher, as well as for student teachers themselves?It’s that time of the year when many student teachers are being placed with their supervising teachers including me!.  We’ll hear some good advice from guests and readers in this three-part series I’ll also throw-in my two cents in Part Three.Today’s guest responses come from Emily Geltz and Linda Rief, who co-authored their contribution Emily was Linda’s student teacher two years ago; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jessica Bennett and Jane Fung.I also had a interesting conversation with Emily and Linda on my ten-minute BAM! Radio Show.  BAM! has had some technical issues, but should have that show and my previous one on book recommendations for teachers online within a few days.  In the meantime, you can listen to interviews with previous guests.Response From Emily Geltz with Linda RiefEmily Geltz an 8th grade Language Arts teacher, who just finished her first year of teaching at Laconia Middle School in NH interned with Linda Rief a Language Arts teacher for the last 30 years at Oyster River Middle School in Durham, NH during the 2012-13 school year, as part of a 5th year Masters Program through the University of New Hampshire.

via Response: Student Teachers Should ‘Be Colleagues’ – Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo – Education Week Teacher.

Video Games, Henry Ford, And The Problems Of Modern Education

The piecemeal work of the assembly line model intentionally separates the labor from its context. It mechanizes the practical and the concrete. It understands that humans are more efficient when we ignore the conceptual and theoretical foundation of our own actions. It is good for business, but it robs humans of their dignity; they no longer participate in their own world. Like horses wearing blinders, or Uber drivers chasing the next fare, content without context allows us to see only the objective immediately ahead.The most devastating impact of this industrial epistêmê has happened in our schools. It has infected our schools public, private, and charter with the viral high-stakes testing and comparative grading that contextualizes knowledge as piecemeal facts that make us more “solution oriented.”That’s supposed to be a good thing, being “solution-oriented.” Our employers tell us all the time, “come to me with solutions, not problems!” But they’re wrong. They’re asking us to be piecemeal thinkers. On the contrary, problems and questions are precisely what drive human creativity. When Henry Ford said, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses,’” he was telling us that the skill was in identifying the problem, not the solution. A faster horse was an appropriate solution to their familiar problem. The issue was that they hadn’t identified new questions yet; they had only a piecemeal approach to an established paradigm–they couldn’t see the larger context.Ford presumably believed “the masses” weren’t capable of contextualized thinking; and he built a manufacturing system that kept individuals in their place: isolated, divided, solution-oriented. His thinking soon permeated our schools, designed to train piecemeal industrial employees. So much so that our current way of thinking about education, with its regurgitation, examination, and multiple choice questions, still only reinforces a non-creative, solution-only, piecemeal mentality.

via Video Games, Henry Ford, And The Problems Of Modern Education.

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