June 2007 Archives

I've seen a ton of articles this graduation season about schools choosing to do away with class rank. For example, from today: "Schools playing down valedictorian honors." The whole thing's become too competitive, school leaders and parents say. But for many high schoolers, being at the top—or at least near the top—is a strong motivation to get good grades and take accelerated courses (if their school gives them extra weight when calculating rank). It'll be interesting to see how this plays out....

Twenty years ago, George Weiss and his then-wife, Diane, offered an entire class of 6th graders an opportunity that would make many students green with envy. Finish high school, the Weisses said, and we'll pay for your college education. Some kids took full advantage of the offer. For example, Jarmaine Ollivierre, a former special ed student, has earned a slew of degrees and now works as an engineer for NASA. Despite the standouts, though, only 20 out of the 112 students ended up getting a bachelor's degree. That's less than 18 percent. Just goes to show you that not even ...

Fascinating discussion going on between Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier on their Bridging Differences blog. They are talking about what might entice today's students to work harder and have a greater passion for learning. Check it out here....

For Benton Central High School junior Courtney Lavelle, the key to success was simply showing up. Her school, in Oxford, Ind., has a plan to get kids motivated...at least to come to school, according to a story in the Journal & Courier newspaper. Each student with perfect attendance for the year wins a key that could unlock the door of a new car. Earlier this month, 27 students tried their keys and Ms. Lavelle was the lucky winner of a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu. According to Brad Harper, Benton Central's attendance officer, the school had a 97 percent attendance rate this ...

The typical expectation of many people is that when more students are taking tougher courses the academic rigor of those courses is likely to decline to meet the lower standards of the masses. But recent results from the Condition of Education, the U.S. Department of Education's latest annual compendium of education statistics, show otherwise. The number of test takers has risen dramatically over the past eight years, especially among black and Hispanic students. Yet the increase in participation has led to only slight declines in AP-test scores. In other words, having greater numbers of students taking harder classes pays ...


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