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The Answer Sheet: June 6, 2010 - June 12, 2010

Stop timing the ACT and SAT

It's way past time for the College Board and the ACT Inc. to stop timing their exams. Kids should be able to take as much time -- or as little -- on the test as they want.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 12, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  College Admissions, SAT and ACT, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  act, college admissions tests, college board and extended time, extended time on act, extended time on sat, fairtest and sat, how long is the act?, how long is the sat?, how to get extended time, howard gardner and sat, sat, sat and act, time limits on act, time limits on sat, timing the sat, which test is longer  
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New controversy at Rhode Island school

One of the two newly named principals at the Rhode Island school were all the teachers were fired and then rehired had on his resumé a serious exaggeration of student achievement in math at his former school.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 12, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  central falls high school, central falls school, obama and central falls, rhode island school, teachers fired, teachers rehired at rhode island school  
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Florida education chief ‘outraged’ at Pearson

Florida’s Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith has blasted NCS Pearson for a big delay in the reporting of the results of the 2010 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, saying that he is “outraged” and calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”

By Valerie Strauss  | June 11, 2010; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Standardized Tests  | Tags:  delay in test scores, fcat, florida comprehensive assessment test, pearson and florida  
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The subjects college students most heavily research on-line

What subjects are the most heavily researched on line by college students. Here's a list.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 11, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Research  | Tags:  on-line libraries, online research, questia, research on the web, research topics  
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Reformers: Stop doing these 4 things

An expert on classroom instruction explains the four things school leaders have to stop doing immediately to improve teaching and student achievement.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 10, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Learning  | Tags:  block scheduling, great instruction, improving classroom instructions, john o'connor, mistakes in education reform, school reformers  
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Do we need preschool graduation ceremonies?

Spend a little time watching videos of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at graduation ceremonies, or, to save time, just take my word for it, but it's time to call a halt to these events.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 10, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Early Childhood  | Tags:  caps and gowns for kids, graduation caps for children, graduation ceremonies, kindergarten graduation, pre-k graduation ceremonies, preschool graduation  
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What Americans used to read

With summer upon us, book lists abound, and that's a good thing.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 10, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Reading  | Tags:  best 20th century books, best books of 1900s, best selling books, best selling books of the 20th century, bestselling books, reading lists  
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Do colleges superscore ACT and SAT equally?

With tens of thousands of rising high school seniors getting ready to take the ACT on Saturday, it’s a good time to review the issue of superscoring college admissions tests. How does it work?

By Valerie Strauss  | June 9, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  College Admissions, SAT and ACT  | Tags:  college admissions, college admissions tests, college application process, sat and act, superscoring, superscoring act, superscoring sat  
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MCPS selling its reputation to Pearson

Some may call Project North Star a pretty smart deal. I would use less flattering words to describe the deal into which Montgomery County Public Schools just entered with the world’s largest for-profit educational publishing company to nationally “brand” a newly created K-5 curriculum.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 9, 2010; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools  | Tags:  mcps, mcps curriculum, montgomery county public schools, pearson and montgomery county schools, pearson education, pearson education and curriculum, project north star  
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Arne Duncan's 'learning story'

The following is a story that Education Secretary Arne Duncan told about his most powerful learning experience. It is one in a regular series of “learning stories” that I am starting to publish and that are focused on effective teaching and learning.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 8, 2010; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Learning  | Tags:  arne duncan, effective teaching, learning stories, powerful learning  
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Teachers council blasts Arizona policy on accents

The National Council of Teachers of English has finally issued a condemnation of a policy in Arizona in which teachers who speak English with a heavy accent or exhibit poor grammar are being removed from classes for students still learning English.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 8, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  arizona, arizona audits teachers with accents, arizona teachers, ell learners in arizona, english language learners in arizona, national council of teachers of english, teachers, teachers with accents  
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Your kid’s friends matter more than you think, study says

Kids who have more friends in school than out-of-school tend to have higher grades, a new study concludes.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 8, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Research, Student Life  | Tags:  adolescent friendships, adolescents and friends, friends made in school, friends made out of school, sciencedaily.com, study on friends, study on friendships  
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Study: N.Y. teacher performance pay program flops

On the heels of a study about an ineffective program in Chicago linking student test scores to teacher pay, here's another one, with the same results, from a New York program. Do you see a pattern?

By Valerie Strauss  | June 8, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  No Child Left Behind, Performance pay, Teachers  | Tags:  d.c. teachers contract, merit pay, michelle rhee, nclb, performance pay, teachers, teachers performance pay, test scores and pay  
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Standardized testing follies in Florida

A major testing company is having myriad problems scoring the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests, just one more reason that standardized tests should not be used for high-stakes decisions.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Standardized Tests  | Tags:  FCAT problems, florida comprehensive assessment tests, pearson and FCAT, pearson and testing, problems scoring FCAT, standardized testing, standardized tests and florida, the miami herald and testing  
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Will new standards mean better-educated kids? -- Willingham

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham looks at the final version of the Common Core standards for math and English Language Arts and analyzes their likely impact on learning over the next decade. Will students be better educated? From a quick read the standards look pretty good, but most would agree that high-quality standards are necessary but not sufficient for positive impact.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Guest Bloggers, Learning, Learning, National Standards, National Standards  | Tags:  Common Core standards, Daniel Willingham, content standards, national standards  
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Student sex mag at unlikely school: U of Chicago

This item might not be worth reporting if it involved another school. But a student-run sex magazine at the University of Chicago, which has long had the unfair reputation of a school where fun goes to die, rates a mention.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Life  | Tags:  chicago sex magazine, college life, sex magazine, sex on campus, university of chicago, vita excolatur, vita magazine  
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Stressed out student sets school on fire

A stressed out Bangkok high school student whose parents refused to let him leave his prestigious board school set the school's library on fire, causing $4 million in damage.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags:  boy sets school on fire, school fire  
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Principal: Why Helen Thomas was dropped as school speaker

Here's the letter that the principal of Walt Whitman High School in Maryland sent to his community explaining why journalist Helen Thomas was being dropped as graduation speaker.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools  | Tags:  helen thomas, helen thomas and graduation speaker, helen thomas and whitman, helen thomas dropped as graduation speaker, walt whitman high, whitman high graduation  
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A school that did the right thing

A principal writes about the gamble his Ohio public school took by taking in an 18-year-student who could have hurt the school's accountability record.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 6, 2010; 3:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  George Wood, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  george wood, school accountability  
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