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July 08, 2011

Writing on the Chopping Block

In a cost-cutting move, Illinois has eliminated writing from the state's standardized exams for high school juniors. Well, it's just one grade, you say. Not so fast: The state scrapped the writing portion of the standardized exams for elementary and middle schoolers last year. Some educators conte...

June 21, 2011

Do Low NAEP Scores Indicate Savvy Students?

Liam Julian over at Fordham's Flypaper responds to the doom-and-gloom rhetoric surrounding the U.S.' static history NAEP scores and, well, every other education-related news item these days.

May 16, 2011

New Research on Instructional Styles: Take Your Pick

The journal Science is publishing a study finding that, in an introductory college physics course, students placed in an experimental, collaborative-learning class performed significantly better on an end-of-course exam than students who were given a traditional lecture-based class.

May 11, 2011

Why Did Duncan's Letter Backfire?

In case you missed the fireworks last week, Diane Ravitch recaps the negative reaction to Education Secretary Arne Duncan's open letter to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. A memorable way of putting it: It [the letter] should have been about as controversial as the president's annual Tha...

May 06, 2011

In Defense of Testing

Political blogger Matthew Yglesias points to a new report showing that nearly half of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate. In that light, he contends, it's hard to argue against the need for standardized testing in schools: Under those circumstances, I find it difficult to be seized with...

April 18, 2011

Aren't Pep Rallies for Football Teams?

Will Richardson is seriously aggrieved by the curious spectacle of school standardized testing pep rallies: You have to wonder, is this really what we've come to in schools? That we have to remind kids that they are "bigger than the test" and show pictures of kids with captions like "6th Grade: N...

April 07, 2011

Teacher Blogger Takes on Ed. Department

Heads up: Our opinion blogger Anthony Cody, a science educator in Oakland, Calif., has made the NY Times with his dogged questioning of the seeming disconnect between President Obama's recent statements on testing and the U.S. Department of Education's policies. A must read.

March 29, 2011

TEDx Talk: Make Schools Relevant

Will Richardson, the teacher-turned-tech-expert who was featured in our previous Teacher PD Sourcebook, recently gave a presentation for TEDxNYEd, a spinoff of the renowned yearly TED Talk conferences. Richardson says kids today, in the era of smartphones and constant connectivity, learn different...

February 04, 2011

The Case for Memorization

While the concepts of rote learning and drill-and-kill instruction have acquired negative reputations, Justin Snider, a doctoral student at Columbia University, seeks to remind educators that memorization—in the sense of "learning things by heart"—can be highly enriching for students. Memo...

January 21, 2011

Having Trouble Learning? Take a Test

A new study says taking tests helps people learn, even moreso than some studying techniques.

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