Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Student achievement in math and reading

U.S. Students Rank 32 in Math Proficiency, 31 in Reading, Study Says
The US's graduating high school class of 2011 had a 32 percent proficiency rate in math and a 31 percent proficiency rate in reading, leaving many to question whether schools are adequately preparing students for the 21st century global economy, says a new report.
U.S. students fall behind 31 countries in math proficiency and behind 16 countries in reading proficiency.
Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance. (2011). Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

High School Students not proficient in technology

Technology has become so integrated with our daily lives that most simply take it for granted. However, a new report says that many high school students may not be as proficient with technology as they should, which could leave them unprepared for their future.
The Epoch Times, Education Development Center (EDC) 2011

NCES geography test scores

The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test, released results midmorning Tuesday for the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress in geography. It found that 4th graders scored on average 213 out of a possible 500, an “all-time high” since the test started in 1994, but the rising scores have not translated to more students moving from “basic” to “proficient” performance on the test, and the percentage of students achieving at the “advanced” level has gone down in every grade.

National Center for Education Statistics 2010 Report

Report Seeking Synchronicity Virtual Reference

A new membership report titled, Seeking Synchronicity distills more than five years of virtual reference (VR) research into a readable summary that features memorable quotes that vividly illustrate very specific and actionable suggestions. Taken from a multi-phase research project that included focus group interviews, surveys, transcript analysis, and phone interviews, with VR librarians, users, and non-users, these findings are meant to help practitioners develop and sustain VR services and systems. The report asserts that the "R" in "VR" needs to emphasize virtual "Relationships" as well as "Reference".

OCLC Research, in partnership with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 2011

Project-based Learning Focuses on Internet

The plan is different in each district, but common elements are a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and project-based learning - instruction that introduces projects at the start as a vehicle for instruction, as opposed to a culminating exercise at the end of a lesson. In a project-based learning situation, everything students learn is connected to a group project about a real-world problem or question. They work with classmates, researching online. Teachers stay out of it until they're needed. It's designed to be more engaging and relevant. It's a concept participants say will get students and the communities excited about their local schools. It also aspires to take advantage of technology to bring the best possible instruction to schools that often struggle to hire qualified teachers. If they succeed, the schools will be held up as models for rural schools throughout South Dakota.

Josh Verges, Argus Leader, 2011


Report Cracking the Competency Code

The report sets a policy framework for advancing performance-based learning and builds on recommendations made during the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit convened by iNACOL and CCSSO earlier this year. The report recommends that states begin to transform policies from "rigid compliance" to "enabling policies," by offering seat-time waivers or "credit flex" policies that allow for the flexibility to offer competency-based learning in K-12. The policy development is multi-stage -- building towards a "comprehensive policy redesign" that would require school districts to offer competency-based credits; provide proper training and information systems; establish quality-control; support individual growth models for accountability; and align higher education with K-12 competency-based efforts.
Patrick and Sturgis, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 2011

Online Schools turn to Hybrid Instruction

In just one decade, virtual learning has exploded, with two massive statewide full-time virtual schools in Florida and North Carolina, and more on the way. As online learning is taking off, new research is finding that it may not be the most effective way to teach children, and virtual companies have begun to see that a purely virtual approach has its limits. A key report put out by the U.S. Department of Education in September 2010 demonstrated that a blend of face-to-face instruction and online learning produced the greatest academic gains. Now, not only are traditional schools looking for more online options, but virtual schools in turn are adding bits of brick and mortar to their offerings. Once purely virtual schools—sometimes referred to as 'clicks'—are adding bricks in a variety of ways, Horn says. Some have added check-in centers where students can come by once a week to meet with peers and teachers. Others are moving to a type of hybrid model, with some online instruction with virtual teachers coupled with mentors and in-person teachers who rotate through a building, pulling students out for small group instruction, remediation, or acceleration.
BRIGID SCHULTE, Harvard Education Letter, 2011