You are here

Assessment

Books in the Home Can Predict a Child's Education Level
The presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a childs level of education than does parents income, nationality, or level of education. A 20-year study shows how investing in books can make a big difference.

Training the Next Generation of Science, Math Teachers
Building musical instruments to teach the physics of sound, and using geometry to construct life-size figures, are just two of the inspiring lessons brought to schools by teachers in the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellowship program.

Math Games Can Target Key Instruction Areas
Classroom games these days may seem like an indulgence, but math consultant Dr. Nanci Smith shows teachers how to use games to differentiate instruction and reinforce skills that students need to tackle higher math. Included: Sample games for differentiating math instruction.

Sports Offer Autistic Kids Physical, Social Benefits
Participation in individual sports, such as martial arts and track and field, can have many benefits for children with autism, according to one neurologist. Children gain confidence and better awareness of their bodies, which can lead to improved communication skills.

What Students Really Think of Their Education, Teachers
When 414,000 grade 6-12 students speak, educators should listen. A student survey showed that while many students enjoy school and learning, they want their education to be more relevant to their everyday lives.

Mathnasium Offers Workout for the Mind
Rather than stressing memorization and repetitive exercises, the Mathnasium Method of math instruction focuses on first helping children develop an intuitive idea of how numbers work and learning how to do math mentally.

Enlisting Students to Create a Culture of Academic Integrity
Over at least the past decade, academic cheating has become more widespread and more accepted by many students. One researcher is piloting a project in which students and staff create, implement, and enforce academic integrity policies to help reduce cheating.

Authors Make Case for Longer School Day
The common cry from many teachers these days is they need more time. For two authors, the solution is simple: Give teachers more time. Extending the school day will allow students to master academic subjects and spend time on enrichment programs, they say.

How Teachers Can and Must Reverse the ‘Boy Crisis’
In the book The Trouble With Boys former Newsweek reporter Peg Tyre outlines boys’ struggles in school, describes how education became less friendly to boys, and warns that failing to engage boys in school could seriously impact the nation’s future.

Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Prescient Report Cards
“…It’s hard to write sincerely interested, personally invested, and seriously detailed evaluations of kids who, by this point in the school year, we most sincerely, personally, and seriously want to lock in the supply cabinet until the final bell rings.”

Documentary: U.S. Students No Match for Peers in India, China
China and India may be associated with lower-cost products and labor, but these countries are mass-producing highly-educated, motivated students -- who surpass their U.S. peers at every academic level. The documentary Two Million Minutes warns of a pending economic crisis if U.S. students cant compete globally.

Educators Seek More Flexibility in NCLB
Concerns that the No Child Left Behind Act is forcing schools to narrow their curriculums and stressing sanctions over incentives surfaced at different forums. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said some changes are likely to come.

CES Develops Engaged Students Who Demonstrate Their Learning
The Coalition of Essential Schools believes that helping students master certain essential skills and basic knowledge and requiring them to demonstrate mastery of those skills will help them succeed in life, and it wants to share its philosophy with others.

Lesson Study Can Improve Teaching, Learning
Through lesson study, teachers learn to work together to develop, teach, and refine a lesson. While this can mean breaking old teaching habits, the authors of a guide to lesson study say the result is improved instruction and student learning.

Breaking the Homework Habit
The ideas that homework reinforces classroom lessons, helps children develop good work habits, and improves student achievement have no basis in fact, says Alfie Kohn. Homework should be assigned selectively rather than automatically, he says.

Acting Out Could Be Sign of Stress
Children today live with more uncertainty, stress, and trauma than those of a generation ago, leading many to act out in school. Teachers need to differentiate between kids who are disobedient and those who are anxious, says child trauma expert Barbara E. Oehlberg.

AACTE Defends Teacher Education
Teacher education programs may have their flaws, but schools and states need to build on their strengths rather than start from scratch, according to Dr. Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Top Administrator Focuses on Standards, Achievement Gap
Under the leadership of Dr. Beverly L. Hall, the Atlanta, Georgia, Public Schools have seen achievement rise as the achievement gap shrinks. For these efforts and others, Dr. Hall earned the award for the nations top urban educator.

Reforming the Chaos of Teacher Education
Teachers are graduating from college unprepared to cope in todays classrooms and improve students performance, according to a report by the former president of Teachers College, Columbia University.

Hooking Kids on Reading
Despite schools focus on reading, many students still are not reading independently or for pleasure. A program developed by a college professor stresses hooking students on reading by introducing them to challenging subject matter that interests them.

Keeping Art Alive Under NCLB
While nothing in the No Child Left Behind Act says schools must eliminate the arts to concentrate on math and reading, arts instruction is shrinking or vanishing in many schools. Arts advocates say the arts are critical to a complete education.

Why the Achievement Gap Refuses to Close
While more people are talking about the achievement gap among students of different ethnic backgrounds, progress on providing all students with a quality education remains slow, according to the authors of the book Unfinished Business.

NEA Launches NCLB Reform Effort
Many educators have expressed concerns about the requirements and sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the National Education Association has adopted a plan to reform the law, which it wants Congress to hear.

Board Chair Looks to Continue Urban Schools' Gains
Despite underfunding and the challenges of recruiting qualified teachers in key subject areas, urban schools continue to make gains, according to George H. Thompson III, this year's chairman of the Council of the Great City Schools' board of directors.

Help for Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities
More educators are teaching children with learning disabilities, at the same new regulations and strategies for helping these students are coming out. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has new resources to help all teachers.

Adding Up the Benefits of Financial Literacy
With so many Americans saving little and spending a lot, financial literacy is a critical skill. The Foundation of Investor Education offers multiple resources for teaching students about saving and investing, including the popular Stock Market Game.

EMERGENCY! Testing!
Regina Barreca takes on "teaching to the test."

Budgeting in the Accountability Age
Doing more with less has been the challenge for school districts in recent years, but now the demands of the No Child Left Behind Act, coupled with shrinking resources, are making budgeting even harder.

Remembering, Supporting, "The Forgotten Middle"
Many of today's students are what educators call "average," not distinguishing themselves academically, yet not doing poorly enough to warrant attention. One educator says these "forgotten middle" students have been ignored too long.

Fantasy Game Helps Students "Pass" Math
Many youngsters crunch sports statistics, but never think of it as doing math. But a curriculum developed by a former middle school math teacher that combines math with Fantasy Football is scoring big with students.

Online Math, Science Training for Teachers
Increasing the number of qualified math and science teachers in U.S. schools is a concern not just for school systems, but for businesses as well. Now some companies have teamed up with the University of California-Irvine Extension to improve teachers' skills.

Teaching Tips No One Told You
Coping strategies from the "underground."

Teacher of the Year Targets Education Inequities
Jason Kamras, the first National Teacher of the Year from Washington, D.C., wants people to know that urban children want to learn - they just need the resources and support.  

Report: NCLB Revolt Spreading
While it started slowly and quietly, the nationwide revolt against the federal No Child Left Behind continues to grow and intensity, according to a report from NCLBgrassroots.org. The U.S. Department of Education disputes the report's findings. Included: Information about how some states are challenging NCLB.

Secretary of Education Staying the Course on NCLB
Test scores are up and the achievement gap is shrinking under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Staying true to the law is the best way to ensure quality education for all students, she told Education World.

No Stopping NCLB
While educators might be reeling from adjustments they've had to make for NCLB, they better get used to it, said Dr. G. Thomas Houlihan, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). He called NCLB, "The tip of the iceberg."

Using Different Styles to Help Weak Readers
The National Reading Styles Institute (NRSI) trains teachers to help struggling readers by identifying students' learning styles, and then adapting instruction to those styles. The approach works with older as well as younger students, according to NRSI executive director, Dr. Marie Carbo.

Helping Schools Do What's Best for Special Ed Kids
Peter Wright struggled in his first years of school until his learning disabilities were identified and intensive remediation helped him learn to read and write. Now an attorney, Wright is helping parents and educators understand special education law.

Teacher Evaluations as a Reform Tool
Standardizing teacher evaluations in a state can provide consistency and tie evaluations to performance goals, according to a report. Evaluations that define quality and strive to improve student and teacher performance can be strong reform tools.

Music's Key Role in Helping Students Learn
Music's positive impact on learning is becoming well known, and one of the groups trumpeting that message is NAMM, the International Music Products Association. NAMM's Mary Luehrsen talked about the research behind the group's message.

A Call for Scientific Approaches to Reading Instruction
If U.S. children are going to learn to read more quickly and effectively, schools need to use methods that have demonstrated success and monitor what works for different children, according to Dr. G. Reid Lyon, a research psychologist.

Putting the Arts in the (Everyday) Picture
While for the most part the arts have been on the fringes of education, when they become a larger part of the curriculum, they can engage students in numerous ways, and particularly can benefit students in low-income, low-performing schools.

Getting the Most Out of Homework
When teachers know how homework fits in with their lessons and students understand the purpose of assignments, homework is more productive and helpful for everyone. A consultant talks about how to make homework more meaningful.

Not Your Mother's Grammar Lesson
If you find diagramming sentences an ordeal to learn and teach, you are not alone. English teacher Les Parsons in his book Grammarama offers new strategies for teaching grammar that are more engaging for everyone.

Teachers Significantly Impact Girls' Science Views
More than parents or peers, teachers are a major factor in developing girls' interest in science, according to high school science teacher Dr. Michael Papadimitriou. Girls who liked a high school science teacher had positive views about the course and science.

Bringing Out the Best in Kids
Author and teacher Dr. Thomas Armstrong helps teachers apply multiple intelligences in their teaching, so they can tap into students' traditional and non-traditional talents and styles of learning.

Reaching Out to Illiterate Teens
After third grade, reading is less of a subject and more of a tool, as students begin reading for content. But many students enter middle and high school without basic reading skills, dooming their academic careers.

What We Learned from Reader Polls
All teachers support tenure. Educators would never agree to a dress code. And, despite the ups and downs, teachers rarely regret their career choice. It's obvious, right? Well, maybe not. Read what Education World learned from its first 17 Weekly Surveys.

Learning With Laptops: An Urban School Shows Gains
Not everyone thinks of Internet research as a third-grade skill. But it is at East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut. Third and fourth graders are assigned laptops, and not only have test scores increased, but student motivation as well.

Different Strokes for Little Folks: Carol Ann Tomlinson on "Differentiated Instruction"
Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson understands the challenge of providing appropriate learning experiences for all students. Once a classroom teacher who had to simultaneously meet the needs of kids struggling to read at grade level and those who were ready for Harvard, she turned to differentiated instruction.

Seeking Help in the Accountability Era
Long known for its role in preparing students to take college entrance exams, Kaplan, Inc. now is spending more time helping school districts with curriculum and professional development. Kaplan's Seppy Basili talks about the company's role in those areas.

NCLB Rebellion Growing
Growing resistance to the No Child Left Behind Act has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Department of Education. But while some state officials push for implementation changes, advocates say adhering to NCLB is critical to closing the achievement gap.

Focus, Higher Standards Can Bring Urban School Gains
As chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, Carlos A. Garcia says part of his job is telling people what urban educators are doing right. Recent academic gains in some cities are reason for optimism.

A "Nuts and Bolts" Approach to Classroom Successes
A former teacher, Dr. Jane Bluestein turned her pages of tips for teachers about classroom management and organization into a book and then a business. She works with educators seeking new ways to improve their teaching and interactions.

"Let It Slip!" Admit and Exit Slips in the Classroom
Want to know what your students really learned today, and what might require extra reinforcement? Use exit slips! When students respond in writing to what they learn and share it, teachers can target the gaps and keep them on the right track.

Author Does His Homework on Hot Topic
Everyone knows that doing homework is a must for a good education, right? Not necessarily, according to author John Buell. Revamping how much and what type of homework is assigned can create more opportunities for learning.

Gifted Education as a Whole School Model
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, advocates for lessons that challenge all levels of learners, including gifted students.

Saying 'No' to Title I: Why Three Districts Did It
Nobody turns down federal grants -- or do they? Call it Yankee independence, but three Connecticut superintendents, new this year to the Title I list, decided the costs and mandates associated with accepting the money outweighed the benefits.

Teachers Start Report Card Revolution
Some teachers have taken it upon themselves to rework their report cards. Two teachers talk with Education World about the systems they developed and the benefits to students and parents of their improved grade-reporting systems. Tips included.

What Will Your School's Next Report Card Look Like?
Report cards are yet another area of education affected by the standards movement. With more things to teach, assess, and track, teachers need more precise ways of assessing students than A to F.

No Child Left Behind Picks Up Steam
Under Secretary of Education Dr. Eugene W. Hickok responds to questions about new regulations related to the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those regulations deal with such issues as accountability, adequate yearly progress, teacher quality, school choice, and more.

Welcome to Idyllia: A Hypothetical Community Deals With School Test Scores
The release of test scores for schools in the hypothetical state of Idyllia has piqued the interest of almost everyone -- from school superintendents to realtors. The high level of interest has raised some interesting issues: How should school staff communicate news -- both good and bad -- about their scores? How should schools respond to the concerns of parents and the reaction of the media? Those were some of the questions debated during a panel discussion at the April Education Writers Association conference.

Report Links Arts Instruction to Academic Achievement
Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Social and Academic Development, a report released May 16, is a collection of studies illustrating how skills learned through instruction in the arts affect children's academic and personal development.

Vermont Governor Considers Rejecting Federal Funds
As requirements for the federal education law start to kick in, Vermont governor Howard Dean is asking whether the cost of compliance is greater than the $53.7 million in federal money affected by the No Child Left Behind Act that the state receives. That includes about $21.4 million in Title I funds. If it is, Vermont may be better off rejecting the money and retaining its own assessment procedures, Dean told Education World.

Races Meet Separately to Address Achievement Gap
Faced with a persistent achievement gap on tests and in overall performance between students who are white or Asian American and students who are Hispanic or African American, California middle school principal Philip Moore is dealing with parent groups separately to find a school-wide solution. Meeting with parents of different races separately, Moore says, yielded more candid, focused discussions.

Reality Check: No Sign of Testing Backlash
For the fifth consecutive year, Public Agenda has conducted its Reality Check survey about the education-reform movement. Rather than finding indignation growing over standardized testing, parents, teachers, and students report that testing has an important role and is not causing students as much stress as initially feared.

Wire Side Chat: NEA Urges End to High-Stakes Testings
According to National Education Association executive director John I. Wilson, "Testing is important, but it is not the end-all for how we educate students. Testing should be a tool for instruction. What's happening now is that testing is driving instruction and, unfortunately, the testing is very limited. Often it's nothing more than filling in bubble sheets on a multiple-choice test. Life is not a multiple choice and, quite frankly, testing is becoming an instructional straitjacket."

Voice of Experience: Standards and High-Stakes Tests: Apples and Oranges
Educator Ted Nellen has a go at high-stakes tests. Too often, high-stakes tests are used as the primary assessment tool for students, even for teachers and schools, Nellen says. He goes on to make a case for Webfolios as a much better tool for assessing students and schools than tests could ever be!

And Behold! 12 Commandments for Teachers!
Columnist Linda Starr dreams of a short list of guiding principles that can help teachers keep their jobs -- and the overwhelming avalanche of state and national standards -- in perspective.

Education World Goes One-on-One With the Secretary of Ed
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige recently met with Education World news editor Ellen R. Delisio. He reflected on his first six months in office and discussed goals for his administration.

U.S. Secretary of Education Riley Reflects on Term
After eight years in office, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley told Education World that he is pleased education has became a priority during his tenure, but, he notes, there still is work to be done in the areas of assessment, testing, and early childhood education. The secretary comments on the incoming secretary, Rod Paige, and on vouchers, air quality in schools, and more!

All Kids Make Progress in Kindergarten
After tracking 22,000 kindergartners for a full year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports mixed findings. Although most children who start school without basic school-readiness skills catch up by the end of the school year, their more-advantaged classmates continue to move further ahead to master more-complex skills.

RAND Report Questions Texas Test Gains
A nonprofit research and analysis institution investigated whether the dramatic gains in math and reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) represented actual academic progress. An issue paper calls into question the academic gains students made. Education officials in Texas responded, calling the paper "shoddy research." Whatever the case, the paper created a media feeding frenzy that focused not only on the presidential candidates' education platforms but also on the dangers of high-stakes testing.

School Systems and Teachers Unions Mull Over Performance Pay
The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers recently adopted a new salary structure that ties pay to classroom performance. A teachers union in Colorado continues to refine its three-year-old performance-pay system. Included: Tips for changing your school district's pay system.

Testing Teachers Makes Teachers Testy!
All but a few states require prospective teachers to take licensing exams. Those exams -- as well as the sometimes-dismal scores -- are stirring up trouble in some states, though. Do the tests help raise the quality of classroom teachers, or is there little correlation between test results and teacher competence? This week, Education World writer Glori Chaika explores the politically polarized issue of teacher testing.

Court Rules Pupils' Grading Classmates' Work Violates Federal Law
As schools settle into routines for the new school year, a court ruling is throwing a kink into the age-old tradition of pupils' grading their classmates' work. A federal court ruled this summer that the practice violates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Schools that continue to allow the practice risk losing federal funds. Might this new law also impact the way teachers display student work in the classroom? Included: Alternatives to the practice of students' grading other students' work.

Will STAR 2000 Kill Bilingual Education?
Opponents of bilingual education say recently released test results prove that students learn best when they learn in English. Proponents of bilingual education say test results are non-conclusive and bilingual education still provides the best chance for long-term academic success. Who is right? You be the judge! Included: The results of the latest California testing!

Cautions Issued About High-Stakes Tests
With the growing use of high-stakes tests, the American Educational Research Association is recommending that school district leaders and policy makers take a close look at the organization's guidelines before linking school reform to test scores. The guidelines are AERA's effort to prevent such tests from harming students. Included: A summary of the guidelines for using high-stakes tests.

Do Schools Give 'Equal Grades for Equal Work'?
When is a B really an A? When you live in a school district with high academic standards and tough grading policies, according to some Connecticut parents who want their kids to get more A's. Those parents blame the school district's high standards for their students' low grades! Included: An Education World poll of school administrators across the country.

Students Flunk U.S. History Test: Congress Calls on Teachers to 'Redouble Efforts'
A report released last month revealed that 65 percent of college seniors surveyed failed to pass a high-school level American history test. Would your students pass the test that so many college students failed? Would you? Included: A printable version of the Elite College History Survey.

NEA Delegates Reject Performance Pay
Participants in the National Education Association's (NEA) 79th Representative Assembly in Chicago, Illinois, rejected performance pay this week. Delegates to the six-day convention also focused on high-stakes testing and gun control and recognized individuals for their outstanding contributions to education.

What Do Tests Test?
A Commentary by Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner, the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs professor in cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the "father" of multiple intelligences theory, weighs in on the issue of high-stakes testing in this commentary. "We must proceed cautiously before we place students' minds and hearts at risk with tests of dubious quality whose meaning can be over-interpreted and whose consequences can be devastating," writes Gardner.

How Important Should One Test Be?
Education World continues its series on high-stakes testing today. What do the experts, national teacher organizations, and presidential candidates have to say about these tests?

Some Teachers, Students, Parents Say No to Tests!
Today, Education World's "Are High-Stakes Tests the Answer?" series continues as we examine the backlash against high-stakes testing. Across the nation, a growing number of parents, teachers, students, and organizations are questioning the tests' merits.

Are High-Stakes Tests Punishing Some Students?
Can high-stakes tests cure what ails education? Today, Education World explores the issue of high-stakes testing. We examine whether the tests hurt some students, especially English-learning, low-income, and learning-disabled students.

Should Standardized Tests Determine Who Is Held Back?
High-stakes testing in Louisiana will affect about one-third of the fourth- and eighth-grade students. Those students flunked math and reading tests in March and may be kept back this year unless they attend summer school and pass a second test in July. Included: Howard Gardner weighs in on the use of standardized testing as a tool for promotion or retention.

Student Report Cards: Do They Earn an A -- or a "Needs Improvement?"
On its surface, the question of report card reform in the elementary grades is a simple one: What format will provide the best information about a student's progress? But for educators the answers are seldom easy. And for parents, anxious to see their children succeed in an increasingly competitive society, the correct answers are crucial.

Assessment Reform: Are We Making Progress?
Education World offers a brief summary of findings from a recently released study of assessment reform. Is assessment reform working? How are teachers handling new approaches to assessment? Are students and curriculum benefiting from new assessment methods approaches?

Setting Standards in Our Schools: What Can We Expect?
President Bill Clinton has called for national education standards and voluntary achievement testing. Read about the past, present, and future search for effective educational standards.

National Testing: Prepare for a Battle
President Clinton's plan for national testing is under attack from both sides. Clinton and Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley are defending their plan.

Close-Up: Voluntary National Tests
A close-up examination of the reasoning behind the plan to introduce voluntary national tests of reading and mathematics in America's schools in March 1999.

Sign up for our FREE Newsletters!

Thank you for subscribing to the Educationworld.com newsletter!