Academic scholars, as well as educators, have debated the link between students' enthusiasm for academic work and its connection to learning. If an activity can be made fun, will that help a child pick up new knowledge? David Geary, a professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, explores this topic in a recent, provocative study in the journal Educational Psychologist. Some of you may be familiar with Geary through his work as a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, but he has an extensive background in cognitive developmental psychology. His study, published late last year, examines what ...

From Guest Blogger Stephen Sawchuk Nevada, Illinois, and Louisiana are the latest states to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, according to a release from the partnership this morning. That brings the number to 13. As part of membership, the states agree to retool their standards, tests, and professional development to integrate into core-content classes an emphasis on tech literacy, communication, and entrepreneurship. It's especially interesting that Illinois is on board, with Obama in the White House and EdSec Arne Duncan at 400 Maryland Ave. So far, I haven't been able to get a really good read on where ...

Alyson Klein reports over at Politics K-12 that members of the U.S. House of Representatives are writing a bill that could replace the federal Reading First program under the No Child Left Behind Act. Our colleague Kathleen Kennedy Manzo already blogged about a literacy bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate that would do the same. I'm working on an article about these literacy bills for the next issue of Education Week....

California's governor makes the case for taking his state's math and science textbooks digital.

EdWeek will host a chat with two experts at 1 p.m., on Tuesday on how zoos, museums, TV shows, films, and "informal" approaches to science ed can help students.

A critique of Florida's science test reflects common concerns across states.

The influential National Council of Teachers of Mathematics wants a say in shaping common academic standards.

As you know I'm new to this curriculum beat, and I gather from the comments on the blog entry I just posted today, "The Problem of Tracking in Middle Schools," that I've hit on a hot topic. Prompted by reader Jginberg, I just called Stacey A. Kopnitsky, the assistant principal at Cabin John Middle School, to ask her what happened to the performance of the gifted and talented students at her school after they were mixed in English-language arts classes with the low-performing students. She says that those students scored "advanced," the highest of three levels, on the Maryland state ...

Michelle Obama discusses her visits to DC schools with NBC's Brian Williams.

At a seminar hosted last week by ACT on improving the quality of education for students in middle schools, Nancy M. Doda, a consultant for Teacher to Teacher, expressed a strong dislike of tracking in middle schools. She explained that she'd recently visited a middle school in Long Island where tracking of successful students and unsuccessful students was so evident that it seemed to be a form of "apartheid." She observed students who referred to themselves as being in the "dumb class," she recalled. "What are we doing about that?," she asked members of a panel who were presenting possible ...

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