Daily News Roundup, December 21, 2012

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

Editor’s Note: News You Can Use is taking a winter break. We will be back at it the first week of 2013. We wish all of our readers a warm and wonderful holiday!

ABOUT K-12

OFF-TRACK, MUCH HARDER TO GET BACK ON
A new study from ACT focuses on the extent to which students who are academically far-off-track for college can catch up within four years. Researchers examined multiple cohorts of eighth-grade students whose EXPLORE (a test administered by ACT) scores were more than one standard deviation below benchmark scores associated with being on-track. Ten percent or fewer students who were far-off-track in the eighth grade attained ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by 12th grade. A separate analysis using state test scores for students in grade four and their EXPLORE scores in grade eight obtained similar results. For both fourth and eighth grade cohorts, the overall percentage of students catching up was lower in high-poverty schools. Even at more successful high-poverty high schools, fewer than 20 percent of far-off-track eighth graders attained College Readiness Benchmarks by 12th grade. These results indicate policymakers must emphasize prevention over remediation. Prevention strategies should be conceived more broadly -- for example, giving every student access to a content- and vocabulary-rich curriculum in the early years, or implementing programs and strategies that improve student attendance and academic behaviors. Efforts to close academic preparation gaps should begin as early as possible, be more intensive, and take as long as necessary. Based on the study's results, policymakers should not assume that rapid catching up is possible if only educators try harder. This information is from the PEN NewsBlast.

ABOUT HIGHER ED

WHY DO ACADEMICALLY PROMISING STUDENTS NOT CHOOSE COLLEGE?
Students with the academic potential make very different choices about higher education based on the high school they attend, according to a set of analyses. One analysis found that 18% of these students enrolled in less-selective four-year colleges, two-year institutions, or no higher education at all. Moreover, students who chose less-selective colleges were less likely to earn a diploma. The article is in Education Week.

PROMISE AND PITFALLS OF ONLINE EDUCATION
NEW YORK CITY – It seemed almost too easy. Catharine Stimpson (a former Carnegie board member) and Ann Kirschner start from such fundamentally different perspective in their views about technology-enabled education that staging a symposium at which the two of them talk about their experiences taking online courses (or writing about such an event) seemed like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course Kirschner would be a booster, and Stimpson a naysayer. What enlightenment could possibly emerge? The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

PLACEMENT TESTS STILL RULE
Research released earlier this year found that commonly used placement tests fail to adequately determine whether incoming college students need remedial coursework. Yet most colleges rely exclusively on tests like the ACCUPLACER or COMPASS, according to a new study from the National Assessment Governing Board. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

 

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