May 2007 Archives

I frequently go back and read the transcripts from the chats we run on edweek.org. The questions alone highlight how desperately educators are seeking answers to their problems. The answers from our featured guests try to point people in the right direction toward solving those problems. One recent chat transcript that is particularly worth noting is "Helping African-American Boys." We had very high volume of questions for that chat and our guests did a good job of answering them. There were quite a number of motivation-related questions and answers. So check it out....


Texas high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class would no longer be guaranteed a spot at a flagship state university under legislation the Texas House tentatively approved capping those admissions, according to the Associated Press. As it is, Texas students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class are guaranteed admission to the state university of their choice. If this measure eventually goes into effect, it will be interesting to see what impact it has on the state's high achievers. Will they push themselves even harder because there is no ...


A Motivation Matters reader alerted me to a thoughtful interview that KMOX Radio in St. Louis recently did with Claire Wyneken of the Wyman Center, which is working to help reduce the dropout rate in the St. Louis area through outreach and a focus on helping teenagers develop better long-term relationships with adults. Ms. Wyneken had just attended a summit in Washington to talk about the problem of high school dropouts. Educators, researchers, and teenagers attended the summit, and she was particularly struck by some of the comments from teenagers, according to the KMOX interview. "'If people had pushed me ...


An article in USA Today, "Passion fuels seniors' ability to achieve," raises interesting questions about what motivates some of the nation's top-performing high schoolers. For example, Megan Blewett, who won a $50,000 scholarship in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition last month for her research on multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease, said she was driven by the importance of her findings, while Veronica Shi, a pianist who won the Phoenix Symphony Guild Young Musicians Competition in 2005 despite a broken and bloody fingernail, said she was motivated by the beauty and challenges of creating music. "I think the process ...


Thanks to the Pen Weekly NewsBlast for tagging a story about a recent study showing that academic success is largely dependent on whether children believe in their ability to improve their intelligence. This is the so-called "growth mindset," which I wrote about in this blog a few months back. The fixed mindset, on the other hand, views intelligence as something we are born with and can't do much to change. If you are interested in this kind of research, I would suggest you read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. See a review of this book ...


If you like to dig into data about high school graduation rates, check out a new mapping tool on edweek.org that allows you to examine graduation rates for every district in the United States. You can see how well your district stacks up against neighboring districts, your state and other states, and the nation. If you find some interesting stories in the numbers that might be related to student motivation report back here so we can share it with our readers. The numbers could spark a good discussion....


A program in Wisconsin that begins this week is worth watching to see if it has its intended impact on student motivation. The program, The Wisconsin Covenant, promises high school students a spot in college or technical schools as well as financial aid if they maintain a B average, take college preparatory classes, stay out of trouble, and do community service work, according to an Associated Press article. The cost of the program will depend on how many of the state's 75,000 8th graders sign up and meet the requirements, according to AP. If the program succeeds, we'll have ...


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