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...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nudges Help Poorer Children

There are enormous inequalities in education in the United States. A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. These gaps open early, with poor children kindergarten less prepared than their classmates.

How can we close the gaps thes? Contentious, ambitious Reforms of the education system crowd the headlines: the Common Core, the elimination of teacher tenure, charter schools. The debate is heated and sometimes impolite (a recent book about education is called "The Teacher Wars").

Yet as thes Debates rage, Researchers have been quietly finding small, effective ways to improve education. They have identified behavioral "nudges" that prod Students and their families to take small steps that can make big differences in learning. These measures are cheap, so that schools could use them Nonprofits Immediately.

Let's start with college. At every step of the way, low-income Students are more likely to stumble on the path to higher education. Even the summer after high school is a perilous time, with 20 percent of those who plan to attend college not actually enrolling - a phenomenon known as "summer melt." Bureaucratic barriers, like the labyrinthine process of applying for financial aid, explains some of the drop-off.

While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young Professors Students designed and tested a program to help them stick to the college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman, now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized text messages that Reminded high student, about the their college deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live Counselors.

The result? Students who received the texts were more likely to enroll in college: 70 percent, compared with 63 percent of those who did not get access them. Seven percentage points is a big increas in this field, similar to the that cost Gains Produced by Scholarships Thousands of dollars. Yet this program cost only $ 7 per student.

The same Researchers also tested a texting program to keep students from dropping out of college. The problem is importante because the graduation rate of low-income college students is dismally low; two-thirds leave without a degree. Community college students received their texts reminding them to complete the re-enrollment forms, Particularly aid applications. Among freshmen who received the texts, is 68 percent went on to complete their sophomore year, compared with 54 percent of those who got no nudges. This, too, is a big impact - especially for a program that cost only $ 5 per student.

We know because they were Evaluated These programs worked, like all the innovations cited in this column, using a randomized, controlled trial. Randomized trials, once rare in education research, are Increasingly common. The What Works Clearinghouse, which reviews and rates the quality of education research, lists 242 randomized trials.

Continue reading the main storycontinu reading the main storycontinu reading the main story
Students were randomly assigned to receive or not receive texts I thee. Because the two groups were randomly defined, they were basically indistinguishable at the start of the study. They diverged as the texts altered the behavior of those who got them compared with those who did not.

Text messaging will not help everyone get through college, and cheap Interventions will not solve every problem. But they solve some problems for some students The, freeing up time and financial Resources for those who need other kinds of help.

Some Students need personal counseling to help them balance the Demands of school, family and work. Unfortunately, Counselors are stretched thin, often carrying caseloads of Thousands of students.

Continue reading the main story

edintheappl 23 hours ago
Social media rules! Commonly I love them college students are sources of news, reporter Teitt Virtually all are, none responder newspapers. Teachers ...
siwankov 23 hours ago
I am happy. I grew up poor. In elementary and middle school, my peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch consısted of a, and a chocolate milk ...
ttrumbo 23 hours ago
The biggest problem with the education of children in poverty is poverty. That is where they live and breathe and try to survive, many times ...
Two Researchers at Stanford University, Eric P. Bettinger and Rachel Baker Analyzed an innovative program in which a professional academic counseling at-risk students The coach calls to talk about time management and study skills. The coach might help a student plan how much time to spend on each class in the days approaching finals, for example. The results are impressive, with coached Students more likely to stay in college and graduate. This program is more expensive than texting - $ 500 per student, per semester - but the effects persist for years after the coaching has ended.

Can nudges help younger children? Susanna Loeb and Benjamin N. York, both also at Stanford, developed a literacy program for preschool children in San Francisco. They sent texts describing simple Activities that parents develop literacy skills, such as pointing out the words that rhyme or start with the same sound. The parents spent more time with them receiving the texts are on thes Aciviies and their children's children were more likely to know the alphabet and the sounds of letters. It cost just a few dollars per family.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Toronto are also working on Methods to develop literacy. Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer families and Philip Oreopoulos you with tips about how to read texts with their preschoolers. The result was that the substantially parents spent more time reading with their children.

Researchers are also testing the effect of giving parents more information about their children's Efforts are in school. A school in Los Angeles, in collaboration with Peter Bergman of Columbia University, personalized text messages sent to parents of middle and high school students. The texts told their parents when the children did not hand in homework assignments, listing page numbers and specific problems for students to complete. The parents and students The Responded: Completed homework grades and test scores went up 25 percent and rose. Other forms of communication between the school and parents who improved, too, with parents are twice as likely to reach out to their children's teachers.

These light nudges can not solve every problem by a long shot. But at a low cost, they can help many students.

Why are not schools, districts and states rushing to set up the measures thes? Maybe because the programs have no natural constituency. They are not Labor- or capital-intensive, so they do not create lots of jobs that are lucrative contracts. They do not create a big, expensive initiative that a politician can point to in a stump speech. They just do their job, effectively and Cheaply.

Susan is a professor of economics Dynars that, education and public policy at the University of Michigan. She has advised the Obama administration on the findings of each student-aid policy research. Follow on Twitter atdynars of each.

The upshot Provides news, analysis and graphics about politics, policy and everyday life. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Monday, January 12, 2015

xAPI Learning Log

This week we started "road schooling" Max and Charlie and I began recording the results in an xAPI learning log:

1/10/2015Maxlearnedabout cultural universals and worked with the family to complete the tab in this workbook.2Cultural Universals
1/10/2015Charlielearnedabout cultural universals and worked with the family to complete the tab in this workbook and focused with his dad on the timeline of American and Japanese history. He noted that he was not yet comfortable enough with US history, so we agreed to do a timeline for both. He now has a much better framework of major milestones.3Cultural Universals, US History, Japan History
1/11/2015Maxtestedon 8th grade math using TenMarks2
1/11/2015Charlietestedon 4th grade math using TenMarks1.5
1/12/2015Maxprac-testedGeometry using TenMarks. He was frustrated with his low score due to the platform.1.5
1/12/2015Charlieprac-tested5th grade math using IXL. He felt good about his progress.1H.1 Division facts to 12 - Mastered
H.2 Division facts to 12: word problems - Mastered
H.3 Divide multi-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers - Proficient
1/12/2015Charliewrotea blog about the book he read, Blue Fingers.1
1/12/2015Maxexpiencedindependence, navigating through Kyoto by himself to play MTG with Japanese adults.2

Learning Logs - xAPI

A learning log is a close cousin of a learning blog.

xAPI is a new specification for learning technology that enables data to be collected about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline). This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies. Different systems are able to securely communicate by capturing and sharing this stream of activities using xAPIs simple vocabulary.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Susan Davis on Learning Blogs


Raising Student Bloggers: An Open Letter to Parents


For the past few months, your student, if he or she is in an İngilizce class like mine , has plunged head first into the world of blogging. They've Offered up observations about the world, described them the passions, and discovered new ideas and information shared with others through self-directed research. This is what writing looks like in the 21st century. 
Your student has learned how to find a focus and a voice, to shape into meaningful thoughts Statements made up of carefully chosen words, well-crafted sentences, Paragraphs organized, insightful images, practical links, tags and helpful. Your student has to write to invite commentary and interaction from others and to document the evolution of them are thinking. He or she has learned how to extend the conversations raised by the blogging peers through Questioning and thoughtful commentary. Your student has developed essential skills in modern-day communication.
And we've just begun. Now it's time for you to become more involved in your student's growth as a learner who actively shares her best feeling it (and evolving) self with the world.

Talk about Blogs and Blogging

What is your understanding of blogs and blogging? Show your student what it means to be an active participant in the blogosphere by reading blogs together, talking about what goes into them, considering them the challenges, and learning more about the way blogs permeate and affect our culture.
If you already read the blogs on subjects that interest you and your student, share them. Explain why you read them and what you learn; describe how you achieve balance by looking at multiple Viewpoints. Show how you interact with the blog, how you question what is said, how you spin off into new ideas of your own. Explore the ways a blogger makes choices to get an idea across it to make a particular impact on a reader.
Discuss your comfort level with the privacy and professionalism (or lack of it) Adopted by the blogs you follow, and show how you might handle similar in circumstances. Have a conversation about what it means to be kind and respectful in an online space, why it matters that we should be good digital Citizens online ( Cyberwis to , Started by parents of digital-age Students, is a great source of information). Remind your student, when Necessary, to follow basic Practices for online safety (not revealing last names or sharing personal data such as phone numbers, addresses, or when you might be away from home).
If you are not yet a reader of blogs, ask your student about blogging and spend some time seeking out blogs that are related to the Activities you enjoy sharing together. Learn from the breadth of writing online how much a blog can do.

Reinforce Learning

Ask how it feels to block. Talk about a blog's inherent transparency - what does this mean exactly? Authentically Talk about the impact of writing for a real audience who may talk back. How was this different from other kinds of writing your student may do? Discuss your student's response to taking ownership of their own learning is through blogging.
Help your student reflect on what he or she does and how they learn through blogging. How do they make meaning and take without risk, and go beyond a mere recitation of content? What results from the sharing their passions and interests with others? How do they grow in a personal as well as academic sense? What does your child think about possibly connecting with experts who can further feel that every learning? How does a blog will allow your student to document their growth over time she thinking?
Now that your student has begun to think of him or herself as a practicing writer, how is he or she is improving as a writer? It's importante here to ask for reflections rather than step in and offer your own critique. What does he think he's doing better? What does she recognize that she needs to work on in order to make all blogs stand out and have the impact on a reader she wants to have? How do they want to experiment in the writing them?

Become a Fan

Every writer needs readers, so now it's time for you to become your blogger's first fan. Read your student-blogger's posts and interact in person as well as online. In addition, share them with other trusted blogs, nurturing adults. Greg Nadeau offers insights about how parents can support them are children's learning in the sense 2013 tedxbeaconstreet Talk, "Blogs and Badges: The Future of Learning." I like feeling idea of ​​Midwest Sugata Mitra's "Granny Cloud" concept by suggesting that parents select four other adults importante in each student-blogger's life to become loyal readers and responders.
As you become comfortable with sharing your child's work as a parent, you can promote the child's blog through social media. Is seeking a broad, authentic audience can enhance the student's learning even further.
Adult readers should offer essential positive reinforcement for hard work, original ideas, perseverance. It's importante to realize, however, that the child is the one who must put forth the effort, make mistakes, and reap the benefits of learning from experience. Adult readers can also encourage experimentation and engage the student-blogger in conversations about the topic at hand by asking sincere questions that the blogger nudge towards deeper thinking.

Imagine the Bigger Picture

By interacting honestly, responsibly, and supportively with student-bloggers, trusted adults can help student-bloggers grow as writers and thinkers, as communicators who have something of value to add to today's world. Interacting on a global scale will be a large part of their Lives. Helping them understand how to engage productively and creatively with the readers beyond the boundaries of their daily experience is a huge gift for today's students.
By conversing with student bloggers, in person and online, adult readers can learn along with them as they celebrate successes and improve upon mistakes, as they take chances with what they do not know and demonstrat on how their are learning happens. What better way to stay in touch with them as they grow up? And once they've come this far, we can than open up their blogs to the world!
In the long run, an authentic, worldwide audience for blogging can also help students The see them will work as something worthy of sharing with others - and raise the bar for their online presence overall. Ultimately, those same Students can use their blogs as seeds for a digital Portfolios that will give them room to curate and display the evidence of them is learning throughout their Lives. What a powerful way for students The guiding learners into the online experts and they will become!
For more on student blogging, check out:
Susan Lucille Davis

Susan Lucille Davis

Susan Lucille Davis Teaches 7th- and 8th-grade İngilizce at the 'Iolani School in Honolulu, HI. Follow Susan on Twitter atsuludavis.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ways to Improve Assessments

The Council of Chief State School Officers 
and the country's largest school districts have spoken out in favor of reducing the number of standardized tests students take. The national teachers unions and other traditionally Democratic groups are on board with the idea too.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he is concerned about testing too, but he has written he "strongly believes" in annual tests as an educational tool.
Missing from this debate, however, is a sense of what could replace annual tests. What would the nation do to monitor learning and ensure equity and accountability if states didn't have to test every child every year?

More On Testing

The Test
The Test
Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing, but You Don't Have to Be
Hardcover, 272 pagespurchase
Here are four possible answers. They're not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, they could all happen at the same time, as different states and districts make different decisions.
1) Sampling. A simple approach. The same tests, just fewer of 'em. Accountability could be achieved at the district level by administering traditional standardized tests to a statistically representative sampling of students, rather than to every student every year.
That's how the "Nation's Report Card" works. Formally known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, it's one of the longest-running and most trusted tests in the U.S. education arsenal, even though it's not attached to high stakes. It's given to a different sample of students each year, ingrades 4, 8 and 12. The widely respected international testPISA is given to a sample of students too.
2) Stealth assessment. Similar math and reading data, but collected differently.
The major textbook publishers, plus companies like Dreambox, Scholastic and the nonprofit Khan Academy, all sell software for students to practice math and English. These programs register every single answer a student gives.
The companies that develop this software argue that it presents the opportunity to eliminate the time, cost and anxiety of "stop and test" in favor of passively collecting data on students' knowledge over a semester, year or entire school career. Valerie Shute, a professor at Florida State University and former principal research scientist at ETS, coined the term "stealth assessment" to describe this approach.
Stealth assessment doesn't just show which skills a student has mastered at a given moment. The pattern of answers potentially offers insights into how quickly students learn, how diligent they are and other big-picture factors.
"Invisible, integrated assessment, to me, is the future," Kimberly O'Malley, the senior vice president of school research at Pearson Education, told me. "We can monitor students' learning day to day in a digital scenario. Ultimately, if we're successful, the need for, and the activity of, stopping and testing will go away in many cases."
Applying this approach on a national scale using scientific methods has never been done, in part because the products are still new. It would probably require a large outlay in terms of software, professional training and computer equipment — and would result in a corresponding windfall for companies like Pearson.
3) Multiple measures. Incorporate more, and different, kinds of data on student progress and school performance into accountability measures.
Statewide longitudinal data systems now track students in most states from pre-K all the way through high school (and in some states, college). That means accountability measures and interventions don't have to depend on the outcome of just one test. They could take a big-data approach, combining information from a number of different sources — graduation rates, discipline outcomes, demographic information, teacher-created assessments and, eventually, workforce outcomes. This information, in turn, could be used to gauge the performance of students, schools and teachers over time.
As part of a multiple-measures approach, some districts are also collecting different kinds of information about students.
3a) Social and emotional skills surveys. Research shows that at least half of long-term chances of success are determined by nonacademic qualities like grit, perseverance and curiosity. As states expand access to pre-K, they are including social and emotional measures in their definitions of "high quality" preschool. As one component of a multiple-measures system, all schools could be held accountable for cultivating this half of the picture.
The Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland survey both students and teachers on social and emotional factors and use the results to guide internal decision-making. The district uses the Gallup student poll, a 20-question survey that seeks to measure levels of hope, engagement and well-being.
"Engagement" is basically a measure of how excited students are to be in the building. Last year, 875,000 students took the Gallup poll nationwide, in grades 5-12. According to one study, student hope scores on this poll do a better job of predicting college persistence and GPA than do high school GPA, SATs or ACT scores.
3b) Game-based assessments.
Video-game-like assessments, such as those created by GlassLab and the AAA lab at Stanford, are designed to get at higher-order thinking skills. These games are designed to test things like systems thinking or the ability to take feedback — measures that traditional tests don't get at. Of course, they are still in their infancy.
3c) Performance or portfolio-based assessments.
Schools around the country are incorporating direct demonstrations of student learning into their assessment programs. These include projects, individual and group presentations, reports and papers and portfolios of work collected over time. The New York Performance Standards Consortium consists of 28 schools, grades 6-12, throughout New York State that rely on these teacher-created assessments to the exclusion of standardized tests. These public schools tend to show higher graduation rates and better college-retention rates, while serving a population similar to that of other urban schools.
4) Inspections.
Scotland is a place where you can see many of the approaches above in action. Unlike the rest of the U.K., it has no specifically government-mandated school tests. Schools do administer a sampling survey of math and literacy, and there is a series of high-school-exit/college-entrance exams that are high stakes for students. But national education policy emphasizes a wide range of approaches to assessment, including presentations, performances and reports. These are designed to measure higher-order skills like creativity, students' well-being and technological literacy as well as traditional academics. Schools and teachers have a lot of control over the methods of evaluation.
At the school level, Scotland maintains accountability through a system of government inspections that has been in place in the U.K. since 1833. Inspectors observe lessons, look at student work and interview both students and staff members.
This piece is adapted in part from The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing, But You Don't Have To Be (PublicAffairs, 2015).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Road Schooling resources