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Ethics of standardized testing

A blogger who had a much worse day than I did writes: Today I finished administering the sixth day of New York State Common Core assessments. I was a facilitator in a process that made my 10 year old students struggle,to the point of frustration, to complete yet another 90 minute test. I sat by as I watched my students attempt to answer questions today that were beyond their abilities.…

Robo Grader

Standardized-test robo-graders flunk

“According to professor of theory of knowledge Leon Trotsky, privacy is the most fundamental report of humankind. Radiation on advocates to an orator transmits gamma rays of parsimony to implode.’’ ANY NATIVE speaker over age 5 knows that the preceding sentences are incoherent babble. But a computer essay grader, like the one Massachusetts may use as part of its new public school tests, thinks it is exceptionally good prose. –Standardized-test…

Google Stops Scanning Student Gmail Accounts for Ads

Google said Wednesday that it stopped scanning student Gmail accounts for advertising purposes after the practice was scrutinized during a recent court case. | Google Apps for Education, a free service used by more than 30 million students, teachers and administrators, offers Gmail email accounts, as well as calendars, cloud storage and document creation.Google Stops Scanning Student Gmail Accounts for Ads – Digits – WSJ.

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Confronting the Myth of the ‘Digital Native’

It’s one thing to be able use a service like Facebook or Instagram, and to use it well; it’s quite another thing to code a web page by hand, tweak a CSS file, or design the navigation for a large website. While I don’t expect my English students to be professional programmers, I do aim to expose them to code, so that they have some sense of what it takes…

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English teaching: Johnson: Talking past each other

When I got to college, I had already learned complex grammar fairly well thanks to 3 years of High School Latin. At the University of Toronto during grad school, I took a history of the English language course, which helped tremendously when I later took a medieval drama course. It was very clear during that language course that a good portion of my classmates were hearing much of the grammar…

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Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework

Greater parental involvement in school (serving on committees, checking the kids’ homework) does not correlate with greater academic achievement. I wonder how these findings would relate to homeschooling. The theory was that more active and invested mothers and fathers could help close the test-score gap between middle-class and poor students. Yet until the new study, nobody had used the available data to test the assumption that close relationships between parents…

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Dear Google: You Should Have Talked to Me First

Teacher Jen Marten responds to Google’s latest educational initiative: Do you know what Accelerated Reader and programs like it are doing to readers these days? I’ve heard of teachers being reprimanded for not leveling all their classroom books. I know of school libraries where children have to show the librarian a card with their reading level on it before they can check out books. I know of kids excited about…

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Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F’

In a points-based grade book, the student at the top, Zoe, might assume she’s doing great, but according to the standards-based grade book, she (and the teacher) can see that Zoe is not proficient in an essential skill she needs to move forward in her writing education. Conversely, Pierce’s points-based grade would be lower than Zoe’s due to that lost homework assignment, but in reality, he is already proficient in…