Many of you have pointed out that it's tough to find the RSS and email subscription buttons, so here are direct links:1) To subscribe to the RSS feed in a reader, click here.2) To receive blog posts via email each night, click here. And thanks to the readers who let me know that the Bloglines feed has been on the fritz. The easiest way to solve this problem is to unsubscribe and resubscribe....

Can asking women to simply bubble in their gender before a test hurt their performance on math tests? Conversely, does mentioning that a math test is gender-neutral boost women’s achievement? More than a decade of research on “stereotype threat” suggests that the answer to these questions is yes.When stereotypes – for example, the “math is hard for girls” Barbie myth – are not activated or are actively nullified before math tests, women’s performance improves. Given the ongoing concern about women’s under-representation in the upper echelons of math and science fields, researchers have turned to these social-psychological mechanisms for ...

Let's be honest. skoolboy is - and this is my highest compliment - a total rockstar. His posts last week were remarkable for their range, their humor, and the quality of the discussions they set off.Thanks, skoolboy. And fingers crossed that I can convince you to post more often....

Happy Independence Day! Today is an opportunity to reflect on the ideals and principles that founded this great country, and to renew our commitment to uphold and support them when we see signs of erosion and compromise. What does it mean to be a citizen in the modern world? In the coming year, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) will be conducting the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), a study of eighth-graders’ knowledge about and attitudes towards civics and citizenship in 39 countries. Conspicuously missing from the list is the U.S.A. It’s...

We’ve spent a lot of time here lately talking about tests and test scores. You can’t ignore ‘em – they’re a ubiquitous part of the educational landscape in the U.S., and their salience has only increased in the NCLB era. To the extent that they are able to tell us about students’ mastery of core academic skills, they can be a useful tool to guide education policy and practice. But some of the importance of testing comes from the way we use tests for sorting, selecting and certifying individuals, and not from the intrinsic qualities that the ...

While you’re waiting for Dan Koretz’ book on testing to arrive – I think eduwonkette and I should get some kind of consideration for shilling for this book so often here – here’s a brief skoolboy’s-eye view on testing. Actual psychometricians are welcome to correct what I have to say. Tests are typically designed to compare the performance of students (whether as individuals, or as members of a group) either to an external standard for performance or to one another. Tests that compare students to an external standard are called criterion-referenced tests; those that compare students to one another ...

This year’s statewide fourth-grade math exam administered in New York State -- the one with the remarkably high gains -- contained the following item: “Janice bought a notebook for $3.75 and a pencil for $0.47. She gave the cashier $5.00. How much money did Janice receive in change?” The item might have looked a little familiar to fourth-grade teachers. In 2007, a similar item appeared: “Tony bought art supplies that cost $19.31. He gave $20.00 to the cashier. How much money did Tony receive in change?” And in 2006, an item read: “Mr. Marvin ...

Graduations are sacred events in American society. They mark an important transition, and graduates and their loved ones are justifiably proud of their accomplishments. For this reason, it’s a very tricky thing to comment on news stories connected to graduations. One doesn’t want to appear to be denigrating the achievements of the graduating students, many who have overcome substantial odds to obtain a diploma. Over the past week, Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, has been making the rounds at the graduation ceremonies of some of the small high schools in NYC. Regular readers ...

I once asked a colleague if he’d read a particular book. “Read it?” he replied incredulously. “I haven’t even taught it!” A former college English professor, he came by the joke honestly. The first time I taught a course that I had never taken myself, I acknowledged the absurdity, at least to myself. I stayed about a week ahead of my students. Out-of-field teaching? Not exactly. I was teaching a course that was in my field, but outside of my immediate area of expertise. The teaching assignment was justified on the grounds that, as a Ph.D.-holder, ...

I’ll try to stay reasonably serious this week, but some things are just too ridiculous to pass up. On Friday, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) announced that it had selected the NYC Leadership Academy to provide principal training and development services. The press release proclaimed that the Leadership Academy was “chosen from among multiple bidders in a competitive procurement process.” The DOE is negotiating a five-year contract for a total of $50 million, beginning Tuesday, July 1. Long-time followers of New York City public schooling are aware that the NYC Leadership Academy was created by the ...


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