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Class Struggle: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

Another blue ribbon report suitable for shredding

I propose a contest. The winner will get, appropriately enough, a blue ribbon. (I think I have a few crumbled ones in the Christmas wrapping box stuffed under the guest bed of the spare bedroom where I sit at this moment in my third month of working at home.) To receive this wonderful prize, all you have to do is identify a blue ribbon commission--any temporary assemblage of smart people asked to produce a solution to a great national issue--that brought changes that actually solved the problem.

By Jay Mathews  | November 19, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  10 design principals, Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice,, blue ribbon panel reports are a national scourge, why not have a Blue Ribbon Scary Experiment in Doing Things Differently  
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Hiding exams from students

The parent at McLean High School was frustrated. Two years ago he had to go to the principal to force a teacher to let his daughter keep a copy of a graded test so she could get a better sense of her errors. Last month, it happened again with his son.

By Jay Mathews  | November 17, 2010; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  McLean High School, parents complain students don't have enough time to analyze mistakes, practice growing in Fairfax and other districts, some teachers don't let students take some exams home, teachers creating homegrown standardized tests and want to use them more than once, tutors handicapped  
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Buster Posey and the value-added teacher debate

A new report on the controversy over rating teachers by how much their students' scores improve asks, sort of, this odd question: Should the San Francisco Giants keep rookie of the year Buster Posey on their team next year?

By Jay Mathews  | November 17, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Buster Posey, batting averages have similar flaws, value-added criticized for mediocre reliability as a measure of teacher effectiveness year to year, value-added teacher assessment  
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Veterans, struggling students need more college support

There is no better gauge to what is happening on U.S. college campuses than the National Survey of Student Engagement. It is full of surprises. (My recent favorite: having a helicopter parent is GOOD for your academic experience, NSSE discovered.) This year, based on forms filled out of 362,000 students on 564 campuses, the survey finds that the kinds of students I thought would be getting the most help---military veterans and new students in trouble---are often getting the least.

By Jay Mathews  | November 16, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  James S. Cole, National Survey of Student Engagement, colleges with the most active advisor programs often have the best graduation rates, new students in trouble the most likely to think they don't need support, veterans say they are getting less support  
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Top district lets average kids lag behind

The High School Assessment and Advanced Placement results put out so proudly by the Montgomery County school system suggest that it is among the best districts in the country, but that country has seen no significant increase in math or reading achievement for 17-year-olds in 30 years. Dan Stephens, who teaches math at Northwood High School, thinks he knows why. It is a reason I have never heard before from his renowned district.

By Jay Mathews  | November 14, 2010; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Dan Stephens, Dana Tofig, Montgomery County schools, county says this won't work, countywide final exams, he suggests making them retake the course if final test grade is less than 50 percent, teachers says study flunk county final but still pass the course, what will?  
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