Information Age Education Blog

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A Questionable Approach to Improving Education by Failing More Students


One of my favorite quotes is:

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SAT Scores: A Few Numbers Don’t Tell Us Enough. A Person Is More than a Number

Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable. (Richard Buckminster Fuller; American engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist; 1895–1983.)

The College Board SAT scores for 2010 were released today. See In very brief summary, “There’s nothing worth writing home about.” Tables in the report give results on Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing for each of the years 2006–2010. Data is also given on Critical Reading and Mathematics going back to 1972. (Writing became a part of the SAT in 2006).

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Setting Unreasonable Standards in Student Assessment

As you know, it is easy to construct a test that most students will fail. Or, for a test that already exists, it is easy to adjust the passing mark so that many students will fail.

I am on the Distribution List for the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The following is quoted from a 9/13/2010 posting to this list:

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Integrating Computational Thinking into Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Education

I contribute time and energy to the Oregon PrISM (Preparation for Instruction of Science & Math) project. (See Yesterday the leaders in this project spent time discussing possible content for a new proposal to the National Science Foundation that would continue and extend the good work that has been done so far.

As I have done repeatedly with this group, I pointed out that the content of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) areas has changed significantly due to computer modeling and computational thinking. (See Also, students have changed significantly through growing up in a world of cell phones, text messaging, computers, computerized games, multimedia recording and playback devices, and the Web.

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Improving Education: Ideas and Dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested about $3 billion in a variety of projects. Education was one of the areas emphasized. (Gates Foundation, 2009). Quoting from eSchool News:

Supporting the development and adoption of the Common Core standards was one of the Gates Foundation’s many education investments in 2009. All told, the foundation spent $373 million on U.S. education last year and another $19 million on libraries, according to its annual report.

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