On occasion, you hear about systematic cheating, academic fraud, or gamesmanship in U.S. classrooms. Sometimes it gets blamed on the pressure school administrators face to boost students' test scores, or simply on an educator's or coach's desire to single out a student for special treatment. But if you want a look at educational impropriety on an entirely different scale, check out this story in today's Washington Post, which touches on the apparently endemic corruption in Russia's schools. The article focuses on the scope and impact of bribery in Russia today—and on President Dmitri Medvedev's vow to stamp it out....


Any way you slice it, California's decision to require that students take Algebra 1, and be tested in it, in 8th grade is a major undertaking for the state. Supporters of the action, including the state's board of education and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, believe the state needs to be setting more demanding standards in math. They've also argued that without the requirement, the state is essentially promoting a two-tier system, in which some students are challenged with algebra in 8th grade and others take more generic math courses. Opposing the requirement was California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, who ...


Yesterday, I wrote about a new study that purports to show a link between high-stakes tests in reading and math and gains in student achievement in science. The study examines test results in Florida, and it gets at a crucial question in education these days: Is science being pushed out of the curriculum to make way for reading and math? The authors suggest the answer is no. In the spirit of bringing some outside scrutiny to that work, I called David N. Figlio, a professor of economics at the University of Florida who has studied the effects of testing and ...


I missed this entry at Edbizbuzz while I was on vacation, but it's worth backtracking for a good discussion on plagiarism by guest blogger Dorothy Mikuska. Mikuska, a veteran English teacher who developed a software program for helping students organize and manage their work for school research papers, describes four reasons students plagiarize: "disengaged learning; poor reading skills; lack of organizational and metacognitive skills; and careless documentation." In the computer age, she adds, students "no longer take notes, but merely copy/paste from online sources without reflecting, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating their information. Research has become as mechanical as the ...


Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, science education advocates have worried that the law's emphasis on reading and math has resulted in their favorite subject getting pushed out of the curriculum—presumably, with students learning less about it. A study released today, however, argues that is not necessarily happening. At least not in Florida. The research, published by the Manhattan Institute, examines the impact of high-stakes testing in reading and math in Florida on students' performance in science. At the time of the study, science was a "low stakes" subject there, meaning poor test scores did ...


I would be the first to jump on any plan to impose three-day weekends for Ed Week reporters! I would gladly promise to check my e-mail at least once on Mondays and read all my favorite blogs and news sites if that would help the editors approve a four-day work week. But I don't think most of the 700 students in the Maccray, Minn., district will be thinking about school each Monday, now that the state has approved the district's cost-saving alternative schedule. The measure shortens the school week by a day, but lengthens the school day Tuesdays through Fridays. ...


Teachers, parents, and researchers will probably be interested in a new book that focuses on why so many students seem to dislike math and what can be done about it. At the very least, I give it points for its catchy title. What's Math Got to Do With It? Helping Children Learn to Love Their Favorite Subject—and Why It's Important for America, is the work of Jo Boaler, a professor of math education at the University of Sussex, in England. Boaler has spent years studying middle and high school students and the impact of different teaching methods. I interviewed...


With the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market—and the crisis it has created for the economy—there have been calls for schools to take on yet another task: financial literacy. Many are, apparently, if you consider that more 20,000 high school students in 20 states took the Financial Literacy Certification Test this year, according to WISE, or Working in Support of Education, a nonprofit that promotes financial and business education. About three-fourths of the students who've taken the test since it was introduced in 2003 have passed, a statistic that may help improve the bottom line: "A national...


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has quietly signed into law Senate Bill 733, which allows local education agencies to use supplemental classroom materials that will help students "analyze, critique, and review" scientific theories, including evolution. The governor's action was described in a list of 75 bills that he announced he had approved on June 26, with a one-sentence statement that makes no mention of evolution. The measure, which was sponsored by state Sen. Ben Nevers, a Democrat, and drew overwhelming support from Louisiana's legislature, specifically states that it is not meant to promote any religious doctrine or belief. But several scientific ...


Teachers College, Columbia University, is launching an effort to improve instruction in math- and science-related subjects in its backyard, with the help of a corporate gift. The GE Foundation has given Teachers College $5 million to boost teacher training and classroom work that is tied to relevant academic standards at 10 schools in Harlem. Teachers College will work with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, also at Columbia, and the Morningside Area Alliance, a neighborhood organization. Corporations and their philanthropic branches have taken a major interest in "STEM" topics in recent years, supporting teachers' academies, the hiring ...


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