Monthly Archives: May 2016

Why are our students paying college prices to learn high school material?

Quick, what’s the value of x in 3x/2 + 5 = 20? Don’t know? If you’re rusty since it’s been a while since your last high school algebra class, we’ll forgive you for now. But if you’re a soon-to-be high school graduate celebrating your recent college decision, then we have some cautionary news for you and your parents: You may… Read more →

PARCC’s ‘College-Ready’ Score Reflects Rigor of College Work, Study Finds

Education Week, 5-17-2016

A first-of-its-kind study has found that students who score at the “college-ready” level on the PARCC exam are well-positioned to earn good grades in college. The findings provide early evidence that the assessment does what it was designed to do: measure college readiness.

The Massachusetts Department of Education commissioned Mathematica Policy Research to do the study last year, as it was considering whether to use PARCC in 2017 or keep using its longtime test, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS. Massachusetts decided to create a hybrid of the two tests. A summary of the study, which compares PARCC and MCAS, was published Tuesday in a peer-reviewed journal, Education Next.

Researchers at Mathematica wanted to know how closely a “college-ready” score on PARCC and a “proficient” score on MCAS correlate with a good grade-point-average in freshman-year college study, and with the need to take remedial courses. They had freshmen in Massachusetts state colleges and universities take the PARCC and the MCAS in the spring of 2015 and examined how those scores, from 847 students, correlated with their grades and remediation patterns at the time.

Suburban schools are not ready for big-city challenges

Suburban schools have slipped under the radar when it comes to the biggest philanthropic investments and most controversial reforms to roil the education space—school closures, charter growth, teacher evaluations and state interventions. But suburban schools need to wake up from their long complacent slumber. As a new report points out, these schools are ill equipped to deal with the mounting challenges they… Read more →

Retired North Dakota prof asks: Where does need for college remedial work begin?

Grand Forks Herald, commentary, 05/16/2016

Around one-fourth of the students appearing on campuses aren’t ready for college-level work and must enroll in no-credit remedial courses, resulting in a number of consequences.

Remedial courses waste student resources because the students have to pay tuition for courses that do not count toward graduation.

When confronted with remedial coursework, students are discouraged from pursuing careers requiring a college education and are the most likely to drop out of college completely.

Remedial courses divert college faculty from teaching the courses for which they were hired.

The sad truth is that many students who need remedial courses are not aware of their deficiencies until faced with college entrance exams or other measurements used in the junior and senior years of high school.

Parent bullies: The dark side of parental involvement in schools

A recent discussion in an online forum of mothers laid bare a dirty little secret many school parents deal with but few schools like to address head on: Parent-to-parent unkindness. Let’s just call it what it really is—bullying. This isn’t just a suburban mom issue, either. Even the urban moms on the forum said it’s rampant enough. It usually centers… Read more →

CA Board of Education is missing mark on college readiness

San Diego Union Tribune, editorial, 5-11-2016

The California State Board of Education grudgingly adopted measures to gauge student progress — forced to do so to ensure California receives federal education aid.

Under the proposal before the State Board of Education, beginning in fall 2017, schools will be evaluated on high school graduation rates; student results in English and math Common Core tests; gains made by English-language learners; and student suspension rates. Test scores in third-grade reading and eighth-grade math would be given additional emphasis.

Eight education reform groups consider this inadequate at best. They wrote a joint letter to the board last week depicting the standards as putting far too much emphasis on high school graduation and having no emphasis on college and career readiness, contrary to a 2012 state law.

But the board is unlikely to heed the reformers. Too bad. The California education status quo may not be impressive — but it is resilient.

What to do when students believe: ‘I don’t belong here’

When students feel they don’t belong, it has “devastating effects on student motivation,” said Stanford psychologist Geoffrey Cohen in a talk at Yale recently. First-generation college students, women in math and science fields and African-Americans and Latinos on mostly white/Asian campuses may feel an “apartness” that makes it harder to engage in class and keep trying. Transitions — from elementary… Read more →

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