The Reading First Impact Study interim report released by IES last month upset a lot of the program's fans, who've seen progress in their own schools/districts or on a statewide basis. It caused a bit of hand-wringing, and then a round of number crunching. Local and state representatives went to their databases and began printing off page after page of test results from Reading First schools, where they say there's been dramatic improvements. Some of those analyses, including this, were then tapped by bloggers, RF-friendly columnists, and national organizations to argue that the Impact Study—which found that the ...


A major restructuring of the SAT expanded the test to four hours, in part because of the new writing section, which was intended to paint a truer picture of students' readiness for college work. A new study released by the College Board today has found that the revised SAT is a little more effective at predicting how well students will do in their college courses than the previous version, and that the writing-section results are the best predictor of later college performance. But the best alternative to a crystal ball—no test-prep needed to figure this one out—is a combination...


A year ago, Will Fitzhugh was wondering if the next issue of The Concord Review, the renowned journal he founded in 1988 to recognize high school students' outstanding history research papers, would be the last. On a tattered shoestring budget, Fitzhugh has just published the Summer 2008 edition, and with some support from schools and other fans in the private sector, he has hopes for four more issues over the next year. But the former high school history teacher is proceeding mostly on a wing and a prayer, and a driving passion for promoting rigorous academic work for teenagers. Last ...


A new Web site takes a stab at spelling out the essential grade-by-grade math standards that students need from kindergarten through high school. Not only that, the site provides model course sequences, model classroom activities, and even sample test questions for math-oriented educators who want to put those standards into practice. It's the product of a partnership between Achieve, a Washington organization that advocates higher academic standards, and the Charles A. Dana Center, an education research hub at the University of Texas at Austin. The new site builds on math benchmarks Achieve created for the American Diploma Project, aimed at ...


It was a week for discussing education around the globe. In Slovenia, President Bush and leaders of the European Union signed a declaration June 10 at the U.S.-E.U. summit that promises support for improving education in developing countries, through a “holistic approach” that addresses “the global shortfall of effective teachers through support for teacher training, recruitment, retention, and capacity development.” In Lima, Peru, Sec. Margaret Spellings attended the 4th Education Ministerial Meeting at APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), where leaders from 21 countries agreed on similar goals. The delegates also suggested that learning should go beyond knowledge acquisition ...


A couple years ago, I took a trip to Canton, Ohio, home to the illustrious Pro Football Hall of Fame, and home to a group of schools that were using classroom technology in an attempt to boost student performance in math. Teachers in several Canton schools had set up a system called TI-Navigator, in combination with graphing calculators, both designed by Texas Instruments. The system worked like this: A math teacher would give a problem to students, who would type answers (such as plotting points on a graph) into their calculators. Their calculators were connected by cords to "hubs," which ...


Ed Sec Margaret Spellings writes this week in the Salt Lake Tribune and the N.J. Herald News in defense of Reading First, a bit late perhaps for some advocates and observers who were waiting for her to make such a case a month ago when scathing headlines followed IES's release of the interim impact study. Some of those headlines may have unfairly or inaccurately described the results, including these: "Failing to Read," "Billion Dollar Boondoggle," "U.S. Reading Program a Failure, study says." The study's bottom line is that the $1 billion-a-year funding stream has not led to improved ...


Florida’s new state science standards break new ground by including their first-ever reference to a major scientific topic. And no, in this case I’m not talking about evolution, which got all the attention when the standards were approved back in February. The 96-page document, in addition to having references to the previously absent e-word, also spells out that Florida’s students should understand the basic science behind climate change. High school students should “discuss the large-scale environmental impacts resulting from human activity, including waste spills, oil spills, runoff, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, and surface and groundwater pollution,” it ...


We've launched this blog with the hope of cultivating a wide-ranging forum for discussing school curriculum. By "curriculum," we generally mean the meat-and-bones of academic lessons -- what gets taught, in what order, at what grades. This obviously covers a lot of ground--policies, programs and materials, trends, standards and assessments, research, controversies, and best practices. Over the past few years, the two of us have reported on a bevy of curriculum topics, including how the federal Reading First program has been implemented, the recommendations of the National Math Panel, and the status of social studies, foreign language, the arts, and ...


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