Daily News Roundup, September 18, 2013

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

ABOUT HIGHER ED

GAO LOOKS AT REMEDIAL ED IDEAS
States and community colleges are trying several strategies to improve developmental education, concludes a Government Accountability Office report. The report found that two community colleges have implemented fast track classes that enable students to take two classes in one semester instead of in two semesters. One developmental education program in Washington places students directly into college level classes that also teach developmental education as part of the class.Some community colleges help students prepare for placement tests, so they can qualify for college-level classes. And most colleges work with local high schools to align curricula. However, it’s not clear whether remedial education reforms are boosting student success rates, the report concluded. Some of the college  representatives interviewed for the report are part of Carnegie’s Community College Pathways Networked Improvement Communities in developmental mathematics. The article is in the Hechinger Report.

EMPLOYERS FAVOR GRADUATES WHO CAN COMMUNICATE
Americans adults and employers want colleges to produce graduates who can think critically and creatively, and can communicate orally and in writing, according to the results of a public-opinion survey released by Northeastern University on Tuesday. Respondents were far less interested in having students receive narrow training and industry-specific skills. In fact, nearly two-thirds of adults and three-quarters of employers agreed with the following statement: "Being well-rounded with a range of abilities is more important than having industry expertise because job-specific skills can be learned at work." The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

MINI MOOC MINORS
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will this fall package some of its online courses into more cohesive sequences, just as edX prepares to roll out certificates of completion using identity verification. Seen together, the two announcements may provide a glimpse at what the future holds for the massive open online course provider. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

COLLEGE ADVISING THAT IMPROVES GRADUATION RATES
Concerned about low or late completion rates, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education recently spotlighted college advising practices that will better help students navigate the system and graduate on time. As things stand, less than one-third of four-year college students and only 4% of community college students graduate on time. The practices -- supplementing college advising with structured degree maps, encouraging students to complete 15 credits each semester, intervening when students fail to complete key courses -- are derived from a new study, which will be the focus of a summit for college leaders this week. The information is from Education Commission of the States.

ABOUT K-12

STUDENT PORTFOLIOS USED AS ALTERNATIVE TEACHER EVALUATION MEASURE
Tennessee this year is ramping up an alternative component to its teacher-evaluation system for the arts that tackles a thorny question many states are grappling with: how to evaluate teachers on student growth when standardized-test scores are not available. The answer in this Tennessee enterprise is portfolios of classroom work. And not just the final, polished products, but the before and after, showing student improvement over time. Teachers submit their portfolios electronically to the state, and they are scored by trained peer reviewers, who are fellow arts educators. The article is in Education Week.

CHICAGO TEACHERS SEE VALUE IN NEW EVALUATIONS, BUT ESCHEW TEST SCORES
New teachers in Chicago face higher expectations under a teacher-evaluation system rolled out last school year. And while teachers appear to find feedback generated by the system helpful, they remain deeply wary of its emphasis on student achievement. That's the takeaway from two new data dumps on teacher evaluations in Chicago, both released this morning in the Windy City. The post is from Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog.

LAUSD APPROVES FUNDING TO TRAIN TEACHERS FOR COMMON CORE STANDARDS
After debating nearly two hours and voting down a proposed compromise, the Los Angeles Unified board on Tuesday approved a plan for spending $113 million to implement a new curriculum — the same budget that triggered the resignation of the district’s instructional chief when it was rejected last week. The article is in the L.A. Times.

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