November 2011 Archives

Twilight of Science?

NOTE: This is a guest post by Steve Fleischman, deputy executive officer at Education Northwest, a nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Ore., that conducts research, evaluation, technical assistance, training, and strategic communications activities to promote evidence-informed education policy and practice. Our family vacation this past summer included a visit to the Hoh Rain Forest on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. If you haven't been, go. But, expect to pass through the Twilight zone. More precisely, you will likely drive through the town of Forks, where the Twilight series takes place. Before you go be sure to consult the Forks Chamber of Commerce website ...


Voices for Evidence in Education

This blog hosts occasional guests who share a deep commitment to advancing education innovation with evidence. Here are a few recent contributions that you may have missed: Education Innovation: What It Is and Why We Need More of It By Jim Shelton Education not only needs new ideas and inventions that shatter the performance expectations of today's status quo; to make a meaningful impact, these new solutions must also "scale," that is grow large enough to serve millions of students and teachers or large portions of specific under-served populations. True educational innovations are those products, processes, strategies, and approaches that ...


Building a Better System of Special Education

Once upon a time, there was a train company that was experiencing a lot of accidents. The company commissioned an investigation which revealed that when accidents happened, damage was usually sustained to the last car in the train. As a result, the company sent out a memo to all station masters: Before each train left the station, the last car was to be removed. The point of this old story, of course, is that the problem was not the last cars, it was the whole train system that allowed the accidents. In education, children with serious difficulties are the "last ...


No More Excuses: We Can Get All Children Reading

Everyone reading this blog knows how important it is that every child become a confident, skilled, and motivated reader. The latest NAEP results, released this month, remind us that there are far too many children who do not read well, that disadvantaged and minority children are overrepresented among poor readers, and that the inequalities in academic outcomes by race and class--our most serious social as well as educational problem--begins with reading inequalities in the early grades. Everyone knows that children who don't read well will incur huge expenses over time in remediation, special education, repeated grades, and ultimately delinquency, dropout, ...


What We Can and Cannot Learn From International Comparisons

In education reform circles, people often express deep concerns about the mediocre performance of American students on international assessments such as PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS. There is good reason to be concerned that U.S. students score behind peer nations such as Finland, Netherlands, and Canada, and the international comparisons do provide a useful benchmark to tell us how our students are doing overall. However, while we can learn from the practices of other countries with high scores, we also need to maintain perspective. First, there is great variation within our own country; representative samples of students in Massachusetts and ...


Stop the Pendulum, I Want to Get Off

The best argument for emphasizing evidence in educational policy and practice is what happens when evidence plays no role: Practice and policy swing like a pendulum from one enthusiasm to the opposite, and then back again, but no progress is made. This is typical in fashion, where hemlines rise and fall and ties get wider or narrower just because people get tired of the previously prevailing hemline or tie width, or whatever. Similar swings are common in any field where taste, rather than evidence, is what drives change: Art, architecture, cooking, and so on. There are also fads and fashions ...


Weekend Reading: November 3, 2011

From time to time, I will use this space to share research I am reading. Listing it here should not be interpreted as an endorsement, but as worthwhile reading. I hope you find this to be a useful resource and I welcome your own analysis or insights Starting out right: pre-k and kindergarten (Center for Public Education) Students who attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten are more likely to have higher reading skills by the third grade than students who attend full-day kindergarten alone. Student Victimization Survey (NCES) According to the latest national statistics, nearly 4 percent of 12 -18-year-old students ...


NAEP Scores Flat, Sun Rises Again

Yesterday's release of the NAEP scores revealed that, as a nation, we have made little progress in the past 20 years in helping our 4th graders read on grade level. Now, writing about flat NAEP scores is like writing about the sun rising. There is nothing new or exciting about this news. We can predict the cycles of the sun, plan for it, react to it, but we cannot impact whether the sun will rise every day. We can impact reading outcomes for 4th graders, as a nation, we have so far failed to do so. Recent research from Don ...


Advertisement

Recent Comments

Archives

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags