Top Curriculum Themes of 2010
A handful of issues drew most of your interest here on Curriculum Matters in 2010. Taking a cue from the music world's Top 40 format, we'll start from the bottom of the list and work our way to the top. (We're looking only at the very top slice of most-widely-read blog items here, so topics in the middle and bottom of the pack aren't included.)
Some of what's in this list—and what's not—could be colored by factors other than pure reader interest, such as how intensely a blog item is promoted on our home page or in our e-newsletter, or how widely it is picked up by other newsletters. With that in mind, here is what drew the most eyeballs on Curriculum Matters this year:
• How we how we stack up against other countries. Fueled, perhaps, by all the talk about how the United States is losing its academic edge to other countries, and how common standards and assessments could be one part of the answer to that, readers lapped up stuff about international comparisons, such as this post about the U.S. performance on PISA.
• The groups of states that are designing assessments for the new common standards. People paid close attention to news about who was competing for $350-million-plus in federal Race to the Top money, who won, and what they're planning to do with the money.
• Literacy. Anything about students' reading and writing skills drew lots of attention. Scads of you clicked through to find out why students don't write research papers in high school (which will be quite gratifying to Will Fitzhugh, who's been waging this battle from a scenic town in Massachusetts for decades). You also wanted to learn more about a study on how writing can improve reading, and whether reading comprehension is a skill that can be taught.
• Formative assessment. You guys went crazy for stuff about ways to gauge what students are learning as they're learning it. Tons of you read our story about a study that sought to define what formative assessment is—and what it isn't. And you paid close attention to the lively dialogue among readers in the comments section of the story, and to an interesting exchange here on Curriculum Matters between a retired teacher and the author of that study (here and here).
• Wars over curriculum content. Maybe you just love tales of a nice meaty conflict, but you certainly paid attention to posts about the biology battle in Louisiana, the social studies tussle in Texas, and the hoo-hah over U.S. history lessons in North Carolina.
• And, in the most-popular spot, STEM issues. You gave lots of love to anything that had to do with bolstering students skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Blog entries about computer education getting short shrift, for instance, were of great interest, as was this entry about Race to the Top winners' plans for STEM education. You also paid close attention to our post about an advisory panel that will be guiding President Barack Obama on STEM issues.
Please make it your New Year's resolution to keep reading and commenting here on Curriculum Matters.