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Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts

The Right Word, not The Most Interesting

Oscar Wilde is my hero. Ever since I learned his last words. This quote is so bloated with meaning I could have gone to hero-worship on it alone.

People only hear, what they understand.

That's a maxim that should be taped to the desk right beside the keyboard, and never covered. People do not ask what a word means. Even though they could right-click the mouse and ask Google to define the word for them, they don't. What they do, is ignore the whole sentence and make something up. This is true. Read "Predictably Irrational". The whole sentence -- just gone..Your pitch is useless from there on.

SAT Scores Up - For Some, WAY Up

The College Board released the annual test results of its three programs—AP, SAT, and PSAT/NMSQT -- all in one report this year. Stacking them together gave interesting comparisons, but the news is fantastic.

An unprecedented number of students, including a large increase in minority and low-income students, participated and succeeded. Of the 1.67 million students who took the SAT, nearly half were minorities and nearly a fourth were low-income students. And the number of high school students who succeeded on at least one AP exam (earning at least a 3 out of 5) doubled in the past year.

The report did reveal a few areas that need attention very soon. First, too many students are missing out on opportunities. Thirty-nine percent of the 684,577 students who showed AP potential (indicated by high PSAT/NMSQT scores) didn’t enroll for a single AP class. Likewise, for SAT takers, 9 percent were close to achieving the college and career readiness benchmark and might have succeeded with less than a year of additional instruction.

I'll take those kind of problems every year, thank you very much. With the reports of the last twelve years, I'm very sure that no one was expecting to see the report show 39% of qualifying students, for one reason or another, didn't take advantage  of the AP courses. There are other College Readiness courses however. AP doesn't have a monopoly by any means (Despite what you may have heard from various groups like the Tea Party). So it would be interesting to see how many of those students made it into other programs.

For twelve years, nothing exciting has come from these reports. Comparatively, it is like these kids were being educated in another country. Since Common Core State Standards were implemented this last year (and for some the year before as well), I don't think it is much of a reach to suggest CCSS had something to do with this drastic change. And let’s note that this testing class is the first to have experienced the full run of No Child Left Behind, since kindergarten, which was supposed to have engineered gains in college readiness. Not so much. But let's do a little digging, just to see if this theory has any merit at all.

First we'll look at the states that didn't go to the Common Core State Standards. That would be (for last year) Texas, Wyoming and Virginia.

Overall, nationwide, 42.6% of SAT takers in the class of 2014 met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. This number has remained virtually unchanged over time. Among all U.S. public school test-takers, 39.1% met the benchmark. Some SAT takers are not in public schools, but in other programs.

Texas

In Texas, 33.9% of test-takers (60,732 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 31.9% met the benchmark (52,313 students).

The exam, showed that the average score on the math section of the SAT dropped four points from last year to 495. That was the lowest figure since 1992, when Texas students recorded an average score of 493. A perfect score is 800.
In reading, the Class of 2014 in Texas scored an average 476. That was down slightly from last year but still two points better than their worst showing in the past two decades. That occurred in 2012.

In writing, Texas students registered an average 461 for the third year in a row.

State education officials have attributed the declining SAT scores in Texas to an increase in the number of minority students taking the exam. Minorities generally perform worse than white students on standardized achievement tests like the SAT and ACT, the nation’s two leading college entrance exams.

However, California students outperformed Texans by big margins this year — 15 points in math and 22 points in reading. Demographics of the student populations in the two states are similar: California is 52.7 percent Hispanic and 25.5 percent white, while Texas is 51.3 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white.

Wyoming 

In Wyoming, 81.4% of test-takers (140 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 85.4% met the benchmark (111 students). Only 3.3% of the students took the test.

I'm not sure that Wyoming helps us with our theory. While 81.4% is amazing, it also opens up a number of question, like, what happen to all of the other students?

Virginia

In Virginia, 46.6% of test-takers (27,893 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 44.9% met the benchmark (23,603 students).

In 2012, which was a record year for Virginia, 43% made the benchmark.

Thus, Virginia continues to rise -- and with this continued show of growth, I understand why they would be hesitant to take on an "untested in the real world" change like CCSS.

Now let's look at California, Arizona and Washington state.

California

In California, 42.3% of test-takers (100,231 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 40.0% met the benchmark (82,004 students).

41.9% in the class of 2013. We talked a bit about California's success and challenges above so let's move on to Arizona

Arizona

In Arizona, 48.5% of test-takers (10,973 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 47.2% met the benchmark (9,309 students).

2013 results show 37.1%. Note that they were very worried about changing over to CCSS would affect this year's results -- in a negative way. This is an amazing jump.

Washington

In Washington, 46.2% of test-takers (19,060 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 44.4% met the benchmark (16,148 students).

2013 shows only 39% made it.


NOTE in the report: However, about one in four Washington students in the SAT class of 2014 did not take a core curriculum. The same is true of test-takers overall.

We are missing a great deal. The scores I'm using are as general as you can get. The jumps from last year are affected by many variables, one of which is that the year before for many states was in the record low area, and teachers went to work with greater effort. Parent participation, funding, more parents home from war -- all of these things affect a child, and affect test scores.

No matter what the reasons however, last year, the kids did it right. Hoping for a good year for 2015.


I Just Wrote about this, didn't I?

Ok, so I don' t want to jinx this. I really didn't  expect this to happen so soon. El Paso, Texas (of all places) has taken the step to become an e-Book learning environment, and also bringing in OpenSource Education, partnering up with cK-12cK-12 posted on their page: 
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our partnership with El Paso ISD, Texas to help them transition from printed to digital e-books across the district!
No I haven't forgotten this
Twenty-First Century Learning is a commitment to prepare the EPISD student body for the future by using the best in technology and techniques. As technology becomes a fabric of our daily lives,  it is imperative to be in our classrooms to be used effectively and efficiently. EPISD is the first large school district in Texas to take the bold and innovative step into the world of teacher-generated electronic books.
We collaborated with EPISD to understand the district teachers’ needs and how technology can help us meet those challenges. So, starting in October of this year, the district is doing away with paper textbooks and replacing with digital textbooks called FlexBooks. These are standards-aligned fully customized digital flexbooks built using the CK-12 platform, especially for EPISD.
The change will start with select high school science classes, with more school subjects to follow. EPISD has already created flexbooks for biologychemistry and physics.
epicoll1
El Paso TX is Doing It Right!
The process started when a committee of teachers gathered over the summer to put together the first FlexBook. They collaborated on the CK-12 platform, built science flexbooks to serve their needs. This is just the start however. Eventually, every teacher will personalize the digital text to fit with his/her lesson plans, making each book tailor-made. All free, all online.
“We are talking about user-generated content. A panel of our science teachers handpicked the information in the electronic test to custom fit the curriculum. It is a huge step, the days of outdated information are over,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
FlexBooks are free. The information gathered in the electronic books is of no cost to the district. Twenty-First Century Learning is more than an academic initiative. It is a shift in the way the El Paso Independent School District teaches students and delivers knowledge. This collaboration allows teachers to meet students’ needs by customizing the curriculum for them in the digital flexbook they create.
Teachers should have a choice in designing their own curriculum to meet students at their own learning pace and in the modality choice of their learning. Partnering with EPISD on science books to start, and gradually to more subjects, we feel we can give teachers the flexibility they need and want from a content creation perspective” says Neeru Khosla, Exec Director of CK-12. <  end announcement 

Which is Great! Now... just a couple of questions-- though I know the answers. TEKS is still alive and well in Texas. There are things the Texas School Board wants to take out of the learning, like Climate Change -- because they worship Koch more than they worship Jesus. I mean, seriously, even the Pope is up on Climate Change. That is about as Right wing as you can get, yes? 
With the flexbook formats however, they will be able to change, and add what they wish. They will also be able to keep up with Common Core if they wish, easy to do even if you aren't using it as a curriculum guide. Typically cK-12 has focused on Algebra IGeometryProbability and StatisticsBiologyChemistry, and Physics. But really that's only because no one is writing ELS, History or Social Studies -- so Texas will be adding those and it is a real shame that they won't be good to anyone else. Actually, that's not true. We can use the content, and edit Moses back out of the Constitution. 


While I'm surprised it was El Paso, I'm very excited it has happened. Texas has long been looked to for what direction school text books are going to go, and other states tend to go in that direction (California as well, they are larger buyers). The impact, however, of having El Paso be the one to jump in, has the potential to be much greater than if, say, Los Angeles or Fresno made the move first. 
Here's hoping that all of the tech works for the kids. This is an exciting moment. Koodos to cK-12. 

It's in my Other Brain

Psychologist Betsy Sparrow’s research reveals that we forget things we are confident we can find on the Internet. We are more likely to remember things we think are not available online. And we are better able to remember where to find something on the Internet than we are at remembering the information itself. This is believed to be the first research of its kind into the impact of search engines on human memory organization.

Sparrow’s paper in Science is titled, “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.” With colleagues Jenny Liu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Daniel M. Wegner of Harvard University, Sparrow explains that the Internet has become a primary form of what psychologists call transactive memory—recollections that are external to us but that we know when and how to access.

“Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things,” said Sparrow. “Our brains rely on the Internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker. We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found.” Read More ... 

GTP and ME and Chess

You: Give me an annotation of the following game, noting and highlighting tactics, positioning, shifts in momentum and their causes, as we...