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November 4, 2013
For decades, education researchers have found that children from lower-income and less-educated parents typically enter kindergarten with limited language skills compared to their more privileged peers. Results from Stanford University psychologist Dr. Anne Fernald’s latest study suggest these socioeconomic status (SES) differences emerge even earlier than previously understood.
October 25, 2013
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to present to several groups of educators in the Wenatchee and Renton (Washington) areas. I was asked to speak on the topic of teacher evaluation, so I spent my time talking about the need for caution in the teacher evaluation process, especially when student test results are used for this purpose.
October 18, 2013
As I have mentioned previously, I have had the privilege of different work experiences that included a stint outside of education, which I spent in the Quality Improvement world of measuring, discussing and leading quality improvement efforts. One lesson I learned very quickly was that systemic Quality Improvement was never accomplished by a simple change of standards or people but rather by a systemic improvement process with feedback.
October 16, 2013
As everyone in education is aware, there is a major policy push to use objective evidence in the teacher evaluation process. The motivation seems to stem from frustration with poor test scores and the perceived inability to fire teachers. Many people believe that improving teachers is integral to improving student achievement. I’m not convinced.
October 1, 2013
Last week, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida will withdraw from PARCC, one of the two cross-state assessment consortia currently in development to measure student achievement relative to the common core state standards. As backlash against the Common Core continues to mount from all sides of the political spectrum, it’s interesting to read about the objections posed by different groups.
September 25, 2013
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a college readiness system designed to increase school/district-wide learning and performance and promote a college-going culture. AVID now reaches 700,000 students in more than 4,9000 schools. Here in Portland Public Schools, the program is used to inspire average students to choose a college-preparatory path.
September 4, 2013
This past month Education Week highlighted an interesting survey on parents’ attitudes about education from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. I was excited to read this report with its generalizations as I conducted parental attitude research for over 12 years before coming to NWEA. The report had some interesting findings regarding the parental view of quality, value of testing and their understanding of the new Common Core standards.
August 22, 2013
Before developing effective strategies one must first know what the problems are. Often, however, the problems that receive attention are only vaguely defined. This poses a challenge, since it’s much harder to fix something when we aren’t sure how or whether it is broken.
August 14, 2013
In NWEA’s norms, about what percentage of students who take MAP assessments typically meet their school year growth goals?
This is a tough question to answer, since it’s not something that we specifically report or rank within our current school norms. Each student’s growth goal is simply the mean (or average) normative growth, which considers a student’s enrolled grade, initial achievement level, and the number of weeks of instruction received.
August 5, 2013
Claudia Kolker’s latest book, The Immigrant Advantage: What Immigrants Can Teach the Rest of America about Health, Happiness, and Hope, examines various Mexican, Korean, Jamaican, Vietnamese, South Asian, and African immigrant communities around the country. From alternative banking practices (Vietnamese hui) to customs around extended childbirth care (Mexican cuarantena), Kolker walks her readers through numerous examples of how customs and institutions from their home countries can enrich the American culture while providing educational, public health, and sociological research to support her conclusions.