Originally created in Japan, the practice known as "lesson study" grew more popular in the United States in the 1990s. Basically, it's a research and instructional-improvement method in which a teacher conducts a class under the observation of other educators and interested observers. The idea with these lab-type environments is that teachers discuss the teaching methods on display and how to refine them to improve student learning, engagement, and behavior. When we wrote about lesson study techniques in 2004 (I linked to it in the above paragraph), teachers in 29 states were experimenting with that practice, according to the story. ...


There's a lot of debate these days about how to define "technology literacy," but in a couple years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress will take the unusual step of testing students in those skills. This week, the panel that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress heard an early report on how it is attempting to forge a working definition, in preparation for judging students' tech literacy in 2012. The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP, must first develop a framework, or basic blueprint for that test. The board has put together steering and planning ...


The test referred to as "the nation's report card," is perhaps best known for producing results that allow for state-by-state comparisons of student achievement, as well as national trends across grades and subject areas. But now the board that oversees that exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is considering an intriguing option: adding a special report that would provide much more detailed information on the five biggest states in the country. That option appeals to some members of the National Asessment Governing Board, which is meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. They say that a "mega report" would ...


Kent Fischer has one of the most provocative local education blogs, one he's written as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News for about four years now. He focuses mostly on issues related to Dallas ISD, but writes about broader trends and concerns for K-12 schools as well. One of Kent's items has been making the rounds among education reporters this week, with a link to this video that questions the notion of "learning styles." The focus on the idea that children all have different optimal ways learning has been revelatory for many educators. But the learning-styles model also has ...


I attended an interesting event in Washington yesterday: a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP. The gathering brought together a lot of people from the nation's capitol and outside the Beltway who have been instrumental in shaping the exam known as "the nation's report card" and making it what it is today. Those attendees spent an afternoon looking forward, and looking back. The conference was divided into a series of panel discussions. The last one of the day brought together four people who have played insiders' roles in shaping ...


An issue brief by the NGA Center for Best Practices cites examples of a number of states that have developed K-12 literacy plans. It's not enough to have a literacy plan only for students in grades K-3, such as the ones many states created to participate in Reading First, the flagship reading program under the No Child Left Behind Act, according to the National Governors Association. The 15-page brief says that "reading on grade level by 3rd grade is not sufficient for preparing students for success in high school and beyond." Alabama sponsored summer training sessions to expand a statewide ...


My colleague David Hoff, over at NCLB: Act II, is on top of this....


When teacher Mike Fletcher leads students through a geometry lesson, he brings a special kind of authority to the subject. He helped write their textbook. Fletcher, a teacher from Mobile, Ala., applied and was accepted to the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project to help draft that text, titled "Geometry" and published by McGraw-Hill, which he now uses, according to this story from the Mobile Press-Register. The story provides a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes role that talented K-12 teachers sometimes play in drafting texts in math, science, and other subjects. Fletcher spent several weeks over the summer of 2006 working ...


Barack Obama is not the only national leader talking about the importance of education during a period of deep recession. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is seeking to revamp his nation's approach to math and science instruction, pitching that proposal as a matter of long-term economic health, according to this BBC story. Brown says he wants to double the number of British secondary students taking "triple" science—biology, chemistry, and physics. Currently, just 8.5 percent of British students take the triple science option, the story says. Brown's plan is to double that figure by 2014, which the story says...


Here's another good story on the gray area surrounding "mercy" rules—policies aimed at curbing vicious blowouts that are fairly common in high school sports. This article, from the AP, is set in Nebraska, where lopsided scores in girls' basketball —92-18, 72-13, 92-11 and the like—apparently occur pretty regularly. The story does a good job of adding some nuance to the discussion of mercy rules that emerged a few weeks ago in the wake of a Dallas girls team's 100-0 demolition of a rival. In some games, even when the white flag goes up, and coaches take out their...


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