Featured Post

Fix, Don’t Discard MCAS/PARCC

This fall I had one on one conversations with many of our state's leaders and experts on the misplaced opposition to testing in gen...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

xAPI advice from Jim Goodell

From Jim Goodell:

An online activity might track every click, as a separate verb, but for offline activities I'd say the statement might represent a completed activity, something like:
URLs can be used as parts of the statement...
Actor = "https://plus.google.com/108636986437967834022/posts"
[identifier for Charlie, e.g. blog profile page URL, so...]
Object = [URL to "Bird House Activity" ...which could be the blog page in this case, but normally just describe the activity or learning resource, not the personal experience]

...then the "Bird House Activity" page should have human readable info describing the activity and LRMI metadata tags that give info including the alignment to learning objectives, e.g. LRMI has alignmentObject, CEDS has Learning Standard Item Association Type, e.g. "Bird House Activity" "assesses, requires, teaches" "[URL to adding fractions learning standard]"

So the statements are just identifiers, URIs that can be resolved to discover richer meaning. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Report on P20 SLDSs

States are making progress building longitudinal databases that link individual students’ performance in K-12 with their experience in the workplace, but have been slowed a bit by privacy concerns and other obstacles, according to a federal audit.

The Government Accountability Office produced the report for the Senate HELP Committee. Among the findings: More than half the 48 states that received federal database grants now have the ability to track individuals from their early education into the workforce.

States are using the databases for research on numerous topics, including identifying students at risk of academic failure; tracking whether STEM teachers are more likely to leave classrooms for the private sector; and comparing the earnings of high school and college graduates. Some states are producing data-driven reports that analyze how well individual schools prepare students for college or career. At least 39 states have developed a specific research agenda for their databases.

But states reported they were hampered by laws in several states prohibiting the use of Social Security numbers in K-12 data. The lack of the Social Security numbers makes it more difficult to match an individual student’s educational records with his workplace records, which could include wages, unemployment claims and welfare applications. States also reported heated political debates about the databases and the potential impact on privacy.

The federal government has distributed at least $640 million in grants to states to build the longitudinal databases since 2006. Most of that money has come through the Education Department, though some is from the Department of Labor.

Netflix Academy - Great Educational Videos


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Horn on Blended Learning

Education Week
Published Online: December 9, 2014
Blended Learning Is About More Than Technology
By Michael B. Horn & Heather Staker

Battles between different philosophical camps in education are nothing new.

Whether it's knowledge vs. skills, memorization vs. project-based learning, small schools vs. comprehensive ones, the debates in education are often framed as a choice between "either-ors."

From John Dewey to Chester E. Finn Jr., countless education researchers have documented the fallacies in these dichotomies and the dangers of being too beholden to an "-ism," as Dewey wrote.

Many educators sense the folly as well. They know that at different times and in different circumstances, different approaches are best for students.

Despite this understanding, teachers are often handcuffed in their ability to steer their way toward a pragmatic middle ground. With limited blocks of time in a public school day and a set curriculum to work their way through, as well as the need to serve many students, each with unique learning needs, teachers must make trade-offs. More of one thing means less of another.

Blended learning—the mix of online and in-school learning—represents a way to break away from the trade-offs mentality, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen explains in the foreword to our new book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. (Christensen is also the co-founder, with Michael B. Horn, of the Christensen Institute, where both of us work.)

Done right, blended learning breaks through the barriers of the use of time, place, path to understanding, and pace to allow each student to work according to his or her particular needs—whether that be in a group or alone, on practice problems or projects, online or offline. It preserves the benefits of the old and provides new benefits—personalization, access and equity, and cost control.

The question is how educators can capture these benefits. Blended learning is not inherently good or bad. It is a pathway to student-centered learning at scale to allow each child to achieve his or her fullest potential, but it is not a guaranteed success.

More generally, too many schools have crammed computers into their classrooms over the years—spending many billions of dollars, with little to show for it. It is not unusual to see a district adopt educational technology only to see costs rise and student achievement decline.

So, how to proceed? The first rule is simple, even if it is counterintuitive. Do not start with the technology.

Instead, schools should follow a tried-and-true design process to innovate successfully. The first step is to pick a rallying cry by identifying the problem to solve or the goal to achieve. Some problems relate to serving mainstream students in core subjects, while others arise because of gaps at the margins—where schools cannot offer a particular course, for example. Both areas are worthy of innovation. In either case, though, the problem or goal must not be about technology—such as trying to solve a "lack of devices"—and lead to a deployment of technology for technology's sake.

"Blended learning is not inherently good or bad. It is a pathway to student-centered learning at scale."

With the problem or goal identified, it is important to state it in a "SMART" way—specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related—such that an organization will unambiguously know what success is and if it has been realized.

One common mistake is failing to bring the right people to the table to lead the effort. The result is that teachers are either stuck with tasks beyond their reach or too much bureaucratic oversight. Schools must match the right type of team and the right people to the scope of the problem.

The Milpitas, Calif., school district, for example, has created coordinating teams to support teachers innovating within their classrooms, and brought together heavyweight schoolwide design teams to rethink the very structure of some of their schools.

With the rallying cry in place and the right team organized, it is time to design. The starting point is to look at school from the viewpoint of students to understand what they are trying to accomplish in their lives and thus what motivates them. When leaders get the design right from their pupils' perspective, such that young people feel that school aligns perfectly with the things that matter to them, students arrive in class eager to learn.

This is not to say that educators should not instill certain core knowledge, skills, and dispositions in students, but that to accomplish these objectives seamlessly, schools should be intrinsically motivating. This means not only understanding what students are trying to accomplish, but also understanding the experiences they need to get those jobs done, and then assembling the right resources and integrating them in the right way to deliver those experiences.

We know that teachers are a crucial part of the student experience. But to gain teachers' buy-in, schools must work for teachers as well, which is why designing the teacher experience is the next step. Teachers have personal jobs to do in their lives, and the magic happens when schools offer experiences that are fulfilling for both students and teachers. Ensuring that teachers have opportunities to achieve, receive recognition, exercise responsibility, and advance and grow in their careers is critical. To provide teachers these motivators, institutions using blended learning are experimenting with extending the reach of great teachers, assigning teachers specialized responsibilities, employing team-teaching, awarding micro-credentials for achievement, and granting teachers increased authority.

The next step is the one where technology and devices finally enter the equation. The objective is to design the virtual and physical setup to align with the desired student and teacher experiences.

Some of the important questions that schools should ask when selecting content and software are: Should we build our own? Should we use one or multiple outside providers? Or should we adopt a facilitated-network solution—a platform that integrates modular content from a variety of sources? Considering devices—what type and how many—to match the software and student and teacher experiences is equally important.

Finally, teams should think through the physical environment in which students learn. Will the traditional egg-crate factory-model school design enable students and teachers to be successful? Or is a more modular environment that enables increased customization desirable? Increasing numbers of blended-learning programs are embracing the latter.

From here, it's time to put the vision into action. That means taking the choices from these different steps and piecing together a coherent instructional model.

After a team finishes designing, its work is still not done. Execution matters.

Schools must create the right culture. Blended learning accelerates a good culture and makes it great, but it will also accelerate a bad culture and make it terrible. Schools should also implement their designs with humility and acknowledge that it is unlikely that they will get the design right on the first try. Taking a discovery-driven approach to help school leaders identify and mitigate risks as they kick off a blended-learning program—and iterate accordingly—will help avoid costly mistakes both for students and a school's limited budget.

Blended learning is no panacea. It's a scalable strategy that can break the trade-offs inherent in the traditional school design to allow teachers to reach students in ways never before possible. But for it to work, school leaders must not start with blended learning or technology for its own sake, but instead undertake a careful design process to unlock its potential.

Michael B. Horn is the co-founder and executive director, education, of the Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank in San Mateo, Calif. Heather Staker is a senior research fellow at the Christensen Institute. They are the co-authors of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools (Jossey-Bass, November 2014).

Vol. 34, Issue 14, Pages 22,28

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NY Immigrant Child Data Protection

The New York State Board of Regents has adopted emergency regulations aimed at ensuring the recent wave of undocumented minors that arrived in the state can enroll in school.

The state has received several complaints of undocumented students facing barriers to school enrollment and has set up training sessions and issued guidance to help correct the issue. The new regulations were passed to give schools clarity on how to comply with federal law, the Board of Regents said in a release. The regulations specify that schools can't ask about the citizenship or immigration status of students or their parents, and it outlines acceptable documents schools can use to determine childrens' ages when enrolling them in school.

"The Board of Regents has enacted these regulations to protect the right of each and every child to a free public education, no matter where they come from or what they look like," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said “We are resolute in the belief that enrollment obstacles cannot hold back the hopes and aspirations of our children.”

New York state isn't alone in its concerns about barriers for undocumented minors enrolling in school: The federal Education Department has also issued multiple rounds of guidance in recent years reminding states of their obligations when enrolling undocumented students.

HI statewide education metrics

HIDOE will include each school’s Index points and composite scores on the school report card. The Index scores will be used to customize the supports and interventions to meet the school’s needs. Index scores will be provided for the following categories in the Strive Hi Performance System:

Achievement: The Achievement indicators measure whether a school is providing students with the math, reading, and science skills for a solid academic foundation. Math, reading, and science proficiency will be measured by the statewide assessments in grades 3 - 8 and 10. New assessments will be aligned to Common Core Standards. SY 2013-14 will be a “bridge” assessment from the Hawaii State Assessment to Common Core Standards. The Smarter Balance assessment will be administered in SY 2014-15.

Growth: The Growth indicators measure whether a school is improving students’ reading and math scores over time in grades 4 – 8 and 10.
RFP D15-041

Readiness: The Readiness indicators measure whether a school is doing its part in ensuring students are ready to move through the K-12 pipeline prepared to graduate for college and careers.
o For elementary schools, the chronic absenteeism rate is defined as the percentage of students absent for 15 or more days a year (excluding medical emergencies).
o For middle schools, the readiness indicators will be 8th grade ACT scores, which include English, reading, math and science.
o For high schools, the Index will use 11th grade ACT scores (including English, reading, math and science) and graduation and college going rates.

Achievement Gap: The Achievement Gap indicators measure the achievement gap between student subgroups and how well a school is narrowing gaps over time.
o The current year indicator will measure the current year gap, while the multi-year indicator will measure how the school has narrowed the gap over time.
o The Achievement Gap indicators will compare reading and math proficiency between two subgroups: “High-Needs” students and “Non-High Needs” students. The High-Needs category includes students in any one of the federally defined subgroups: disability, language or family income.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Does FERPA apply to MOOCs?

Does FERPA apply to MOOCs?
Two weeks ago at a symposium on student privacy, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Kathleen Styles, the DOE’s Chief Privacy Officer, said, “‘Data in the higher-education context for MOOCs is seldom Ferpa-protected,’” because MOOCs are rarely funded with Title IV dollars from the federal government. At least one high-profile university and one high-profile commercial MOOC platform appear to disagree with each other on the question: while edX (non-profit) states that it “‘is subject to and will comply with all Ferpa requirements governing the use and redisclosure of personally identifiable information,’” Coursera (for-profit) follows the “‘principles’” of FERPA but “doesn’t think it applies to MOOCs.”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blended Learning Resources

Christensen Institute


By Meredith Liu
To illuminate the possibilities for next-generation assessments in K–12 schools, our latest case study profiles the Cisco Networking Academy, which creates comprehensive online training curriculum to teach networking skills. Since 1997, the Cisco Networking Academy has served more than five million high school and college students and now delivers approximately one million online assessments per month in a variety of formats. Its advanced and highly integrated assessment system offers lessons for K–12 technology and assessment.

By Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker
In an article published this week in Education Week, Michael and Heather discuss how blended learning is a scalable strategy that can break the trade-offs inherent in the traditional school design to allow teachers to reach students in ways never before possible. But for it to work, school leaders must not start with blended learning or technology for its own sake, but instead undertake a careful design process to unlock its potential.


December 11, 2014
By Michael B. Horn
Clashes over testing in K–12 schools have grown in intensity in recent years. In some quarters, parents decry the over-testing of their children, for example, whereas others point out the need for testing for accountability over the use of public funds. Fewer talk about how important assessment is for learning—for students and teachers—because our education… Read More

December 10, 2014
By Julia Freeland
This week marks National Computer Science Education Week. Not only are K–12 schools, parents, and leaders around the country engaged in activities like the Hour of Code, but the week is also a chance for advocacy groups like code.org to highlight the beleaguered state of computer science education in America. For example, currently only around… Read More

December 8, 2014
By Michelle R. Weise, PhD
This blog was first published on CompetencyWorks. The running joke about higher education is that change doesn’t come eventually, but glacially. Much of academic inertia stems from the complicated business model of delivering higher education, not to mention the orchestration of multiple stakeholders on campuses: the administration, faculty members, trustees, senate committees, unions, and other… Read More


The BLU is back
The newly expanded Blended Learning Universe—or BLU—is now live! The BLU is a comprehensive online hub packed with blended-learning resources. Whether you’re looking for a primer on the basics or want to dive deep into the supporting research, the BLU has you covered. The site provides helpful tools for practitioners, policymakers, parents, and innovators working to improve education through personalized, student-centered learning. Check it out: www.blendedlearning.org

Co-authored by Michael Horn and Heather Staker, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools serves as a design guide for K12 stakeholders looking to effectively embrace the rise of blended learning. This book is a must-have resource for educators, parents, and innovators navigating the future of learning.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Google Products in the Works for Kids & Tweens

New Google Products in the Works for Kids & Tweens
According to USA Today’s profile of Pavni Diwanji, Google’s Vice President of engineering, “beginning next year [Google] plans to create specific versions of its most popular products for those 12 and younger.” Probable “candidates are those that are already popular with a broad age group, such as search, YouTube and Chrome.” Diwanji said she “‘expect[s] this [effort] to be controversial,’” but since “‘kids already have the technology in schools and at home...the better approach is to simply see to it that the tech is used in a better way.’" USA Today’s profile of Diwanji touched on potential controversies surrounding the program, such as the fact that “traditionally kids younger than 13 have been off limits” as target markets to tech companies. Diwanji said “she understands those concerns, but [added] that as a parent she ‘is a big believer in coaching moments for kids, rather than just blocking what they can do.’" Developing products for the under 13 crowd must be done in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which “set[s] forth [heightened] privacy standards and obligations for online service providers that either target children or knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13.” According to CNN Money, “A Google spokesperson declined to comment further, but confirmed that the USA Today report was accurate.”

Monday, December 8, 2014


The analysis and visualization platform for learning organizations. You can easily connect multiple data sources and get the analyses you need, right away.



Finally, you can see all your learning data from a variety of sources in a single dashboard. No manual data aggregation.


We provide a quick snapshot of the volume and timing of learning activities across the entire organization.

Score Distributions

For assessments and simulations with scores, Wax provides you with a nice distribution for attained results.

Geo Analysis

Applications sending data to Wax with embedded GeoJSON can be visualized in our Geo Maps feature.

Question Analysis

Analyze the quality of questions and determine if they are conducive to the success of an assessment.

Influencer Analysis

There are subject matter experts in your organization. Discover, reward and leverage them quickly with Wax.


Useful Analysis

You need more than an activity stream of learning data to improve employee effectiveness. Wax is the only Learning Record Store to provide you with useful analysis and visualizations to help better understand all your learning data.


Wax LRS provides you with the highest level of Experience API conformance coupled with best-in-class scalability. We ensure that you don't have to worry about hosting & scaling so you can focus on doing what you do best.

Pay For Usage

You only pay for what you use so you don't waste your money. There is no need to pay for plans you may never use or large up-front costs. Start small and scale up as needed. Check out our pricing page for more details.

Ready to get started? Signup Now

Saturday, December 6, 2014

How Game Theory Helped Improve New York City’s High School Application Process

To middle-school students and their parents, the high-school admissions process is a grueling and universally loathed rite of passage. But as awful as it can be, it used to be much worse. In the late 1990s, for instance, tens of thousands of children were shunted off to schools that had nothing going for them, it seemed, beyond empty desks. The process was so byzantine it appeared nothing short of a Nobel Prize-worthy algorithm could fix it.
Which is essentially what happened.
Alvin E. Roth at Stanford University in 2012. Credit Norbert Von Der Groeben/Reuters
About a decade ago, three economists — Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Duke), Parag Pathak (M.I.T.) and Alvin E. Roth (Stanford), all experts in game theory and market design — were invited to attack the sorting problem together. Their solution was a model of mathematical efficiency and elegance, and it helped earn Professor Roth a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 2012.
Before the redesign, the application process was a mess. Or, as an economist might say, it was an example of a congested market. Each student submitted a wish list of five schools. Some of them would be matched with one of their choices, and thousands — usually the higher-performing ones — would be matched with more than one school, giving them the luxury of choosing. Nearly half of the city’s eighth graders — many of them lower-performing students from poor families — got no match at all. That some received surplus offers while others got none illustrated the market’s fundamental inefficiency.
Thousands of unlucky teenagers wound up waiting through the summer to get placed, only to be sent to schools they had not listed at all. And those schools, Professor Pathak discovered in a recent analysis, were “worse in all dimensions” — including student achievement, graduation rate and college admissions — than the schools the students had asked to attend.
Even more bizarre, the system encouraged safe, rather than ambitious, choices. Some sought-after schools accepted only the applicants who had made them their first choice. So students who aimed high and listed several such schools but were rejected by the first could blow their chances all the way down the list.
To address this flaw, the Education Department’s high school directory advised students to “determine what your competition is for a seat in this program"— a vexing task for even the best-informed among them.
“It was an allocation problem,” explained Neil Dorosin, the director of high-school admissions at the time of the redesign. The city had a scarce resource — in this case, good schools — and had to work out an equitable way to distribute it. “But unlike a scarce resource like Rolling Stones tickets, where whoever’s willing to pay the most gets the tickets, here we can’t use price,” Mr. Dorosin said.
Professors Roth, Abdulkadiroglu and Pathak modeled their solution to this conundrum on a famous puzzle in economics: the stable marriage problem. In the early 1960s, the economists David Gale and Lloyd Shapley proved that it was theoretically possible to pair an unlimited number of men and women in stable marriages according to their preferences.
In game theory, “stable” means that every player’s preferences are optimized; in this case, no man and no woman matched with another partner would both prefer to be with each other. Professors Gale and Shapley called the mechanism for arranging these fortuitous matches a “deferred acceptance algorithm.”
Parag Pathak of M.I.T. Credit Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times
Here is how it works: Each suitor proposes to his first-choice mate; each woman has her own list of favorites. (The economists worked from the now-quaint premise that men only married women, and did the proposing.) She rejects all proposals except her favorite — but does not give him a firm answer. Each suitor rejected by his most beloved then proposes to his second choice, and each woman being wooed in this round again rejects all but her favorite.
The courting continues until everyone is betrothed. But because each woman has waited to give her final answer (the “deferred acceptance”), she has the opportunity to accept a proposal later from a suitor whom she prefers to someone she had tentatively considered earlier. The later match is preferable for her, and therefore more stable.
The deferred acceptance algorithm, Professor Pathak said, is “one of the great ideas in economics.” It quickly became the basis for a standard lesson in graduate-level economics courses.
Of course, there seldom is much need for mass betrothals. It was Professor Roth who developed the first practical application for this idea. In 1995 he configured a deferred acceptance algorithm to connect graduating medical students with hospital residencies. Professor Shapley shared the Nobel for economics with Professor Roth for his pioneering work on the subject. When officials at the city’s Education Department learned about the residency formula, they realized that something similar might tame the chaotic school-choice system in New York.
Atila Abdulkadiroglu of Duke University Credit Les Todd/Duke University
Playing matchmaker to doctors or students is a little more complex than pairing off couples to be married, since hospitals and schools are, in effect, polygamous — they accept many proposals. But the principle is the same: Students list their favorite schools, in order of preference (they can now list up to 12). The algorithm allows students to “propose” to their favorite school, which accepts or rejects the proposal. In the case of rejection, the algorithm looks to make a match with a student’s second-choice school, and so on. Like the brides and grooms of Professors Gale and Shapley, students and schools connect only tentatively until the very end of the process.
In 2004, the first year that students were sorted in this way, the number who went unmatched plummeted, from 31,000 in 2003 to about 3,000 — still a lot of disappointed teenagers. That year, and every year since, the algorithm has assigned roughly half of all students to their first–choice schools; another third or so have been assigned to their second or third choices. (The city’s nine specialized high schools have their own separate admissions process.)
While those represent pretty good odds, parent chat groups roil with dark speculation about some mercurial trick through which a child may be deprived of her dream school. Parents worry that their children could “waste” the crucial first-place spot if they choose wrong. And they fret that a popular school will fill up with children who ranked it first, before the algorithm has a chance to consider their own, equally qualified, child.
Professor Abdulkadiroglu said he had fielded calls from anguished parents seeking advice on how their children could snare the best match. His advice: “Rank them in true preference order.”
The allocation problem has not disappeared. Good schools remain a scarce resource, especially in poor neighborhoods, and low-income and low-performing children are still more likely to end up in underfunded schools. Sean Corcoran, associate professor of educational economics at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, has studied the choices made by low-achieving students, who are disproportionately poor. He found that the algorithm matches low- and high-achieving applicants with their first-choice schools at roughly the same rate. But Professor Corcoran said, “Lower-achieving kids are applying to lower-achieving schools and ranking them as their top choices.”
It seems that most students prefer to go to school close to home, and if nearby schools are underperforming, students will choose them nevertheless. Researching other options is labor intensive, and poor and immigrant children in particular may not get the help they need to do it.
But that is a political problem, and so far, there is no algorithm that can fix it.

CEDS Learning Log


Learner Action Type Updated Element

The type of action taken by the learner.
Option Set
The person gave a correct answer or solution.answered
The person inquired about something, or sought an answer to a question or problemasked
The person made an effort or attempt.attempted
The person was present.attended
The person made or wrote a comment.commented
The person finished or ended the specified activity or object.completed
The person moved out of or departed from interaction with the specified activity or object.exited
The person participated in or underwent.experienced
The person was unsuccessful with the specified activity or object.failed
The person transferred the specified information object into a data store.imported
The person assigned initial value to the specified activity or object.initialized
The person acted with or towards the object of the statement.interacted
The person gave impetus to the object of the statement.launched
The person became completely proficient or skilled in a competency.mastered
The person achieved a successful result from an evaluation or a selection process.passed
The person selected the object as an alternative over another.preferred
The person moved forward.progressed
The person enrolled in or was recorded as a candidate for.registered
The person show a response or a reaction to.responded
The person returned to a previous location or condition within an activity.resumed
The person recorded the result, assigned a grade or rank to an evaluation of the specified object or activity.scored
The person made the specified object available for use by others.shared
The person made the specified object or activity come to an end or stop.suspended
The person brought the object or activity to a final end.terminated
The person declared the object or activity invalid.voided
Related Entities and Categories
Assessments -> Learner Action
K12 -> Assessments -> Learner Action
K12 -> K12 Student -> Learner Action New Association
CEDS Element ID
Element Technical Name

<xs:simpleType name="LearnerActionType">
    <xs:documentation>Usage: Learner Action Type</xs:documentation>
  <xs:restriction base="xs:token">
    <xs:enumeration value="answered"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="asked"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="attempted"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="attended"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="commented"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="completed"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="exited"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="experienced"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="failed"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="imported"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="initialized"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="interacted"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="launched"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="mastered"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="passed"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="preferred"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="progressed"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="registered"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="responded"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="resumed"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="scored"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="shared"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="suspended"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="terminated"/>
    <xs:enumeration value="voided"/></xs:restriction>
Changed option set.
https://ceds.ed.gov/CEDSElementDetails.aspx?TermId=7935   (Email this link)
Common Education Data Standards 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Substantially more teachers are high performers

Substantially more teachers in New York state are coming to the profession with top academic qualifications, according to a new study published in the journal Educational Researcher.
The authors found that the number of new teachers with SAT scores in the top third of all test takers jumped by 13 percentage points from 1999 through 2010. In 2010, a full 42 percent of newly hired teachers came from that elite group.
The study attributed the surge to tougher teacher training and licensure policies implemented in New York starting in 1999. The researchers postulate that the more rigorous standards raised the stature of teaching as a profession and drew higher-performing students to the field.
“These findings signal a resurgence of interest in teaching in public schools as a respected and worthy career,” said Luke Miller, a research professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.

Other states have adopted elements of New York state’s reforms to licensure and training. The Education Department has proposed regulations aimed at boosting the quality of teacher training programs nationwide.

Friday, November 21, 2014

EdTech Procurement

Ed tech executives aren’t pleased with laws and practices governing school technology purchases. And district administrators aren’t too happy with the ed tech industry. That’s according to a recent study from Digital Promise and the Education Industry Association. The groups surveyed CEOs, educators and administrators across the country. The findings were bleak. Many district leaders said they had trouble assessing their schools’ needs, much less figuring out which products would meet them — or how to evaluate those products. And only 6 percent of vendors reported being satisfied with the procurement process. The report offers several suggestions. Among them: Districts could build incentives into their contracts that would give vendors extra payments if they could show their products were getting results. For more: http://bit.ly/1ux37jb

Several recommendations emerged from the results of these surveys:
  • Better guidelines for conducting needs assessments and including end users in the process
  • Faster methods of evaluating products and better ways of sharing results
  • Simplified Request for Proposal (RFP) processes to ensure a level playing field and high-quality results
  • Pilot approaches that increase rigor and drive purchasing decisions without over-burdening teachers
  • Incentives for providers to get results and show evidence, such as performance-based contracting and prizes
  • Websites with trusted information about ed-tech tools and district procurement policies and better ways to match providers and products with educators
  • More research about funding strategies for acquiring ed-tech products

Thursday, November 20, 2014

higher ed study


Quick Takes
• While aggregate results generally reveal that underrepresented
and underprepared students rate the quality of their interactions
with others on campus lower relative to their peers, these groups
evidenced no relative disadvantage at an appreciable subset
of institutions.
• Average levels of students’ experiences with faculty—effective
teaching practices and student-faculty interaction—varied notably
from one institution to the next, even when examined within
selectivity strata.
• When examined at the institutional level, engineering was highest in
collaborative learning overall and showed relatively little variability
among institutions—suggesting that collaborative learning is a widely
adopted pedagogy in engineering education. Considerably greater
variability among institutions in collaborative learning resulted for
business and social service professions, suggesting less influence
of disciplinary norms.
• The number of meetings with an academic advisor was positively
linked with perceptions of a supportive campus environment.
This finding was remarkably consistent across racial/ethnic
groups, indicating that all student groups benefit from the
advising relationship.
• One in three first-year students rarely met with an advisor. The
proportion who rarely sought advice was higher among commuting,
nontraditional-aged, and part-time students—suggesting the need
for special outreach efforts for such students.
• Information literacy instruction varied by institutional type, and these
differences corresponded with students’ information-use behaviors.
• While it was common for institutions to use social media to help
students connect with student groups, organizations, and other
students, institutions less often used social media to provide
students information about educational or career opportunities,
financial aid, or to help students connect with faculty.
• About two in five first-year students and a third of seniors said
social media substantially distracted them from coursework.
• First-year students who earned higher grades than they had
expected were more engaged in learning strategies, reported
greater faculty use of effective teaching practices, and studied more
compared to students who performed below their expectations.
• The more time faculty spent trying to improve their teaching, the
less time they spent lecturing in their courses and the more time
they spent engaging students in discussion, small-group activities,
student presentations or performances, and experiential activities.
• Faculty who spent more time working to improve their teaching
interacted more with students and attached greater value to a
supportive campus environment. They also had significantly higher
learning expectations for their students and more often used
effective teaching practices.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jeb Bush on Education

Other than one cheap shot highlighted below (which is pretty muted), Jeb stays on the pre-Obama theme of standards-based accountability.

EN: You have been a steadfast supporter of the common core, even when others have become increasingly critical. Why? What do you say to critics?

JB: I support high academic standards. Period.

High academic standards are a basic element of reform. Yet, across the country, state standards have been abysmally low for too long, evidenced by the fact that 75 percent of high school graduates are not fully prepared for college or a good paying job. A recent study by the American Institutes for Research compared state standards with international assessments and found the difference between states with the highest and lowest standards was the equivalent of three to four grade levels.

Low standards are a tactic that takes pressure off teachers unions by accepting mediocrity and failure for kids. Our children can achieve great things when we set high expectations for them.
The Common Core State Standards are more rigorous standards than the great majority of states had in place previously. As Checker Finn once noted, they respect basic skills, mathematical computation, the conventions of the English language, good literature and America’s founding documents.

States are free to modify the Common Core State Standards or adopt their own individual standards, because academic standards are the prerogative of the states.

The opposition to the common core has been mostly fueled by President Obama and his administration attempting to take credit for and co-opt a state-led initiative.

To be clear, higher academic standards are necessary, and the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms. If state leaders don’t like common core, they should embrace the challenge of raising their standards even higher. I’ll be the first person in line to support them.

Most importantly, the best, highest standards in the world won’t matter if we don’t accurately measure whether students are truly learning, and hold schools accountable for the results.

http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_nov14_bushinterview_thumb.jpgJeb Bush Speaks Out

Talking education policy with Florida’s former governor

By Education Next 11/12/2014
1 Comment | Print | NO PDF | Share
Fifteen years ago, Florida governor Jeb Bush signed into law an ambitious education reform package. The A+ Plan for Education package made Florida the first state to assign to schools grades A through F based on student performance, with bonuses for improving schools and choice for students at low-performing ones. Both a new approach to reading instruction and a major virtual learning initiative were also undertaken during Bush’s two terms as governor.
Florida’s students had been performing near the bottom on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) when Bush took office, but by 2007 they had made remarkable gains in both reading and math; this was particularly true of Hispanic students.
After leaving office, Bush created the Foundation for Excellence in Education to promote the kinds of reforms that he had backed in Florida, started an organization for reform-minded state education leaders called Chiefs for Change, and launched, with former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, the initiative Digital Learning Now to promote the smart use of technology.
Earlier this month, Governor Bush talked with the editors of Education Next about the legacy of the Florida reforms, his support for the Common Core State Standards, and his vision for education in the United States.

Education Next: In retrospect, what do you think were the most important elements in the A+ Plan for Education package? If you were to identify the centerpiece, what would it be?
Jeb Bush: Our reforms are not individual elements, each with its own separate impact. They are pieces of a whole, complementing each other to produce the desired result—a better education for our kids.
We use a straightforward and transparent A─F grading system to give parents simple and accurate information about the effectiveness of their schools. We set challenging but realistic standards for students and then ensure they meet them with tests that accurately reflect what they should know. Schools that make progress are rewarded and those that do not have to answer for it and make improvements. Most importantly, we inject competition into the system through school choice. That increases pressure on everybody to improve.
A key component of our strategy is continually raising the bar for what we expect of students. What it took for a school to earn an “A” grade 15 years ago is not sufficient to earn an “A” now.
Some in the education community complain that every time they achieve the results expected of them, we raise expectations and school grades drop as a result. That was our goal. We have learned that students and teachers rise to the new challenge and the school grades go back up because everyone rises to the challenge. This formula is how you drive success in any endeavor.

EN: How would you assess the overall impact that the A+ plan has had on education in Florida?

JB: Florida schools are performing better than ever. Graduation rates are at an all-time high despite more rigorous graduation requirements. Last year, Florida students posted the best results ever on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in both reading and math.
We have become one of the nation’s leaders in the number of high school graduates taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and passing AP exams. We had two school districts—Miami-Dade and Orange—win the Broad Prize in the last three years.
Florida is one of the only states in the nation that is truly closing the achievement gap. We have a majority-minority student population, a large group of English-language learners, and almost 60 percent participation in the free or reduced-price lunch program.
The progress we are making defies stereotypes of student progress and achievement for every demographic. What we did was take away the mindset that a child’s achievement is correlated with a child’s circumstances. That was a mindset that sanctioned failure.
In the 1990s, NAEP results revealed almost half our 4th graders read below a basic level. For our low-income kids, the number was more than 60 percent. In the 2013 NAEP results, Florida’s low-income 4th graders were tops in the nation for reading achievement. We’re very proud of this.
Any state can make the same progress. It’s just a matter of establishing the right policies and sticking to them.

EN: What were the most important lessons learned from the implementation of the A+ plan?
JB: I will narrow that question down to what is the most important lesson. And that lesson is that reform is not an endeavor you undertake defensively. You have to be bold. America has an education system in need of disruptive change, and yet too often we approach reform with the notion of accommodating what we know has not worked. We compromise with adults at the expense of kids.
When we implemented the A+ Plan for Education, we witnessed all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about pushing too much change on the system all at once. Everyone has reasons why you can’t do something. The secret to education reform is not letting adult angst about ending the status quo interfere with what must be done to advance student achievement.

EN: Are you happy with the way school choice has developed in Florida? 
JB: Florida has more school-choice options than any state in the nation.
Our McKay Scholarship Program now serves more than 26,000 students with learning disabilities. Our Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program sends almost 70,000 low-income students to private schools their parents could not otherwise afford. And we have about 230,000 students in charter schools.
I’m pleased with the progress, but we have far to go. To fully transform education, we’ll need to reach a point when no parent has to drop a child off at a school that doesn’t meet that child’s needs because there are no other options. The parents in that situation usually are our most disadvantaged and that denial of equal opportunity should not be acceptable to anybody.

EN: What’s next for Florida?

JB: As you’ve heard me say before, success is never final and reform is never finished. We have to constantly evaluate what we have done, what the results are and what we need to do to improve them.
We didn’t stop with the passage of the A+ plan in 1999 and we cannot stop today. If you stop forward momentum, you go backward. Thankfully, Florida’s next generation of leaders continues to move the ball forward on education reform. This year, for example, the state legislature passed a great bill setting up education savings accounts for the parents of students with disabilities, enabling families to customize education and therapy plans for their children.
I’d love for Florida to be the first state in the nation where every parent has a choice in truly customizing his or her child’s education at the teacher, school or district level. I’d love for Florida to be the first state in the country to truly embrace competency-based education, where students advanced when they master the material, and where schools draw down funding when they are successful with students.

EN: Some studies have shown charter schools in Florida are no better than the district-operated schools. What would you do to strengthen the quality of the charter school sector?
JB: We hold our charter schools accountable with the same grading system we use for traditional public schools. Those that earn consecutive failing grades are shut down, and high-performing charters are freer to expand.
As a result, we are seeing better results. The latest NAEP scores reflect higher learning gains for students in Florida charter schools compared to their peers in traditional schools. Students from charter schools post higher scores on state tests. The achievement gap is smaller in our charter schools. A report that came out earlier this year from researchers at Mathematica, Vanderbilt and Georgia State found that Florida students who attended charter schools were more likely to graduate, attend college and earn higher salaries.
Holding schools accountable, by sanctioning failure and rewarding success, improves results. That formula applies to charters as well.

EN: Florida Virtual School has had a major impact on digital learning nationwide. What do you think are the next steps that need to be taken, both within Florida and around the country? 
JB: When carefully implemented, it’s impossible to overestimate the potential that technology has to transform education.
I’m very excited about the possibility of course-access policies—when a state allows students the option to take courses in different learning environments from diverse, accountable providers. I envision families picking from a menu of great courses, creating individual education plans for their children. Options could include an AP Calculus course from Florida Virtual School or an online music course from Julliard. Any child in any zip code could access the best courses in the nation.
The main challenge facing the country is how to redesign education around what technology allows us to do. This is not about tools as much as it is about creating new models of learning. We can personalize learning for every child in a way never before possible with blended learning. We can eliminate seat time and award credit based on mastery. We can better support teachers with new tools and resources that connect them with their peers and with experts from around the country. But these won’t work by forcing innovation to fit into old models. We need to redesign schools and classrooms to harness these opportunities.

EN: Some people think the class-size reduction in Florida explains the gains in student performance in the state. How important was this reform? 
JB: Harvard Kennedy School researchers analyzed the impact of the class-size amendment in 2010 and found it did not improve student achievement.
So please do not confuse Florida’s class-size amendment with reform. Reform is about creating a more efficient, more effective education system that meets the needs of children. The class-size amendment has been a hugely expensive diversion from that goal. For example, we are breaking up kindergarten classes with 19 or 20 kids to reach some artificial threshold that has no bearing on student achievement. We have spent billions of dollars on more buildings and for more teachers with no evidence this policy produced better results.
I’ll also point out that our academic gains began well before the class-size amendment kicked in. It’s too bad we can’t use the money we are wasting on meeting arbitrary numbers and divert it to where it will do more good, such as rewarding our best teachers with the pay they deserve. Great teachers are critical to the success of children and incentivizing them to stay on the job, or to teach in our most-challenging schools, is a reform that actually will produce results. 

EN: What lessons can be learned from Florida’s universal preschool policy?
JB: Florida’s universal preschool policy is actually the largest voucher program in the nation, with about 80 percent of eligible kids participating. We give every parent of a four-year-old a voucher and they pick the public, private or faith-based provider of their choice.
We emphasize early literacy in the program, and we measure the effectiveness of the providers when the students reach kindergarten. Those providers that do not adequately prepare a high percentage of their children for kindergarten are put on probation and are expelled from the program if they do not improve.
States that are considering investing in pre-K should learn the four lessons that we did:
1) Give parents choice in preschool, both public and private.
2) Ensure a focus on early literacy.
3) Measure and report on the effectiveness of the programs.
4) Focus on outcomes, not inputs.
With these steps, states can create programs that will show results.

EN: You have been a steadfast supporter of the common core, even when others have become increasingly critical. Why? What do you say to critics?
JB: I support high academic standards. Period.
High academic standards are a basic element of reform. Yet, across the country, state standards have been abysmally low for too long, evidenced by the fact that 75 percent of high school graduates are not fully prepared for college or a good paying job. A recent study by the American Institutes for Research compared state standards with international assessments and found the difference between states with the highest and lowest standards was the equivalent of three to four grade levels.
Low standards are a tactic that takes pressure off teachers unions by accepting mediocrity and failure for kids. Our children can achieve great things when we set high expectations for them.
The Common Core State Standards are more rigorous standards than the great majority of states had in place previously. As Checker Finn once noted, they respect basic skills, mathematical computation, the conventions of the English language, good literature and America’s founding documents.
States are free to modify the Common Core State Standards or adopt their own individual standards, because academic standards are the prerogative of the states.
The opposition to the common core has been mostly fueled by President Obama and his administration attempting to take credit for and co-opt a state-led initiative.
To be clear, higher academic standards are necessary, and the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms. If state leaders don’t like common core, they should embrace the challenge of raising their standards even higher. I’ll be the first person in line to support them.
Most importantly, the best, highest standards in the world won’t matter if we don’t accurately measure whether students are truly learning, and hold schools accountable for the results.

EN: What do you think are the biggest challenges to improving education?
JB: This year we hit a critical tipping point in our schools nationwide. We now have a majority-minority student population, which means closing our nation’s achievement gap is more important than ever.
NAEP results indicate that African American and Hispanic students are reading two grade levels behind their white peers. That gap is reflective of a socioeconomic divide when it comes to education and it is intolerable on a number of levels: Morally. Socially. Economically.
Even our higher-performing students are falling behind their international peers in math and science. So, we need to up the game for all our kids.
We have the most diverse population of children in our nation’s history. Our challenge is to create a path to success for every one of them. We must provide them an education that equips them to achieve the American Dream. They deserve nothing less, and our history of exceptionalism as a nation demands it.

EN: What do you see as the big picture for what education should look like in America?
JB: We need to end the government monopoly in education by transferring power from bureaucracies and unions to families. The era of defining public education as allegiance to centralized school districts must end.
Public education must be viewed from the lens of providing each child with the learning environment that best meets his or her needs. If we can send a low-income child to a parochial school, knowing that his odds of attending college will increase as a result, then that should be our mission.
I envision presenting parents with a marketplace of school choices—public, private, parochial, charter, virtual, blended, and home education. They then can choose the model that best equips their children for success.
To accommodate that, we need high expectations for all children, married with accountability and transparency in results so parents can make informed decisions.

This is a system where every high-school graduate is prepared for the next step in life so that our nation is prepared for the 21st century.