October 2006 Archives

A few posts ago, Set Them Free, I basically said that students who are happier are more likely to work hard in school. Well, now it's time to punch a hole in my happy thoughts. At least when it comes to math. Last month, a new report by the Brookings Institution concluded that the so-called "happiness factor" in math may be inversely related to performance in that subject. The report found that in countries where students express high levels of math confidence and enjoyment (i.e. they are happing when doing math, unlike most of us), they tend to score ...


The Pew Partnership for Civic Change recently announced the launch of a new campaign to reduce high school dropout rates that I thought was worth noting here. Titled "Learning to Finish," the campaign is starting this fall in Jacksonville, Fla., and Shreveport, La., with plans to expand to 23 other communities by 2008. The campaign is primarily focused on the transition from middle school to high school, a time when many students fall behind and never catch up. The effort will bring community members, educators, and researchers together online to share successful strategies and the latest information on what works ...


A survey released today by the Josephson Institute of Ethics found that 60 percent of the 36,122 high school students surveyed admitted cheating on a testing once during the past year, 35 percent said they had cheated two or more times, and a third said they had used the Internet to plagiarize a school writing assignment. The Josephson Institute has released figures on cheating every year since 1992. And, unfortunately, the cynic in me becomes less and less surprised by the seemingly high percentages of high school students who cheat. That might be, in part, because I examined this ...


"We are deeply concerned that current trends in early education, fueled by political pressure, are leading to an emphasis on unproven methods of academic instruction and unreliable standardized testing that can undermine learning and damage young children's healthy development." That is the opening line of a Call to Action on the Education of Young Children, which the Alliance for Childhood is promoting in the wake of a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting that too little time for free play is leading to increased stress for children and missed opportunities for them to learn how to take ...


"You never can tell how kids are going to see something or how they are going to react to anything that might happen. Their ways are not our ways, and when we get a glimpse into what and how they are thinking, it can be downright disorienting." That quote comes from the author of Today's Homework, one of the blogs this blog follows for insights into student motivation. The author goes on to tell a funny story about having to escort a teenage boy to his math class every day because he was always looking for ways to get out ...


Our recent chat on edweek.org, "Student Academic Pressure: Too Much or Too Little?," prompted hundreds of questions and comments that showcased how differently educators, researchers, policymakers, and parents view this issue. Many think today's students are overburdened with academic work both in school and at home, while many others believe today's students are not held to high standards and have a questionable work ethic. Whatever their opinion on that question, one theme that resonated within this chat is that the type and quality of teaching and curriculum in U.S. schools needs to be improved. "It's not whether students ...


If schools employ multi-age classrooms, have students play a bigger role in choosing what they study, and get rid of traditional grading and testing (Montessori education approaches), are they likely to see an increase in students' motivation to learn--and, in turn, higher achievement? A new study published in the journal Science suggests such approaches are likely to have a positive impact on achievement. Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia and Nicole Else-Quest of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studied two groups of 5- and 12-year-old students in Milwaukee, Wis., who attended Montessori schools. The resesarchers found that Montessori-educated 5-year-olds ...


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