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A recent NY Times article describes one way in which the data-driven education reform initiatives have failed miserably. Two of these data-driven education reform programs are the No Child Left Behind Act by former president George Bush, and the Race to the Top program by our current president Barack Obama. One way to see why they have failed is to look at the results of the New York English Regents exam, and how these exams were graded. One part of this two day, three hour exam, contains two short response questions, which is scored from 0 to 2 points. The problem here is that some of these student responses that are riddled with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and nonsensical questions are getting a score of 1. While in reality these responses show that students don't have a good grasp of basic writing concepts, and probably deserve a lower grade. This type of grading could potentially have great negative ramifications. The one that immediately comes to mind is that students will go o college believing that their writing is up to par, and when they find out that it's not, they'll need to take additional classes which will add to their tuition. Instead of focusing on changing the way we grade these tests, or change the requirements needed to pass this test, school administrators should focus on better preparing our students to communicate through writing.
Yesterday Bloomberg published an article by the Physicist Stephen Hsu calling for more transparency in the college admissions process. Hsu takes the opportunity provided by a recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Education into anti-Asian discrimination in undergraduate admissions by Harvard and Princeton to argue that we won't be able to get a good sense of whether or not discrimination is occurring, particularly as most colleges use “holistic admissions,” without a general commitment to transparency by the higher education community.
The Research Works Act Elsevier boycott, covered here by Joanna and on Shelfless by Julia, has continued to grow steadily and now lists 3,073 nam...
The New York Times had two articles on colleges falsifying their data to achieve a higher college ranking. Both articles are mostly about Claremont McKenna, an elite liberal arts college in California. Claremont McKenna is usually one of the highest ranking liberal arts colleges although when we consider their manipulation of data such as SAT scores, which is discussed further in this article, one might begin to question their "elite" status. Claremont McKenna was just the highest ranking college to admit to misreporting, there are other colleges that did the same. Baylor University had some interesting ways of cheating the ranking system including delaying the test scores of low-scoring students until January to exclude them from the averages. Baylor also offered to pay admitted students to retake the SAT, so they can hopefully increase their score. These are some pretty creative ways to climb the college rankings, this article discusses how many other schools are fudging the numbers as well. The aforementioned incidents seems to be running rampant, is there a way to just get rid of this ranking system? The college rankings list is looking more like a contest where the winner is the college on who can manipulate their data the best.
Today President Obama gave a speech at the University of Michigan, expanding on his plans for college affordability briefly discussed in the State of the Union address he just gave. Attacking the trend of ballooning student debt, the President offered several proposals to reign in costs and increase quality.
The Association of Research Libraries today released a new best practices guide to fair use in academic libraries. Their aim is to establish community consensus and an understanding of the practices in use in the modern academic library to assist librarians in conforming to expectations and establish precedent for legal issues that may arise. The document addresses issues that have developed with recent technology, such as online “exhibits” of held materials under copyright. This sort of hosting, while not technically ...
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When it comes to the growing trend of questioning the importance of college, the Uncollege concept springs to mind. People are starting to question whether or not college is worth the massive debt that students have to pay back after graduation, and if they do. Well according to this Forbes article, college is worth it, only if you pick the right major. Below is a chart of majors, their unemployment rates, and earnings of recent graduates. It's easy to see from the chart which majors produce more unemployed recent graduates, and it looks like majors that are more focused on training for a particular occupation or industry, (Healthcare, Education, etc) have fewer unemployed graduates, while the opposite is true with majors with less focus (Humanities, Liberal Arts, etc.). When it comes to computer and math majors, employers are more likely to hire those who can write and invent new applications, rather than those who use software to manipulate and mine data. It seems that the notion of going to college to explore your career options is becoming extinct. Instead college freshmen should be deciding earlier on in their college career which occupation they would like to work in and declare the major that focuses on that, to avoid potential unemployment or going deeper into debt.
Online tutoring may not sound like a new idea. However, with the development of technologies and their increasing use in the education sector, the idea of "sharing a screen, if not a classroom" is becoming more and more popular in classrooms. Tested to be a real help for students from low-performing classrooms, those online tutoring softwares are very likely to be ideal alternatives of face-to-face tutoring, which is highly restricted to distance an...
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The Washington Post reports this week on a growing rejection of the “high self-esteem” paradigm in education. Rather than simply praise students for any and all achievement, teachers (at least in Montgomery County) are beginning to take a more nuanced approach to positive reinforcement. The article quotes Michelle Rhee, the former DC schools chancellor already famous for her tough approach, as saying ““We've become so obsessed with making kids feel good about themselves that we've lost sight of building the skills they need to actually be good at things”.
Kate covered this earlier in the week, but Apple has finally revealed their plans for the educational market and it's pretty much as Kate predicted. Harry McCracken and Doug Aamoth of Time liveblogged the event, which began at 10 this morning. Apple will be making a foray into textbook creation and hosting and leveraging the iPad's cool factor to create educational materials that speak to kids and teens. iBooks 2 will be more interactive and includ...