The Seattle Times – Nick Anderson
“Ten years ago, girls were so scarce in high school computer science classes that the number of female students taking Advanced Placement tests in that subject could be counted on one hand in nine states. In five others, there were none. Latino and African-American students were also in short supply, a problem that has bedeviled educators for years and hindered efforts to diversify the high-tech workforce.” (more)
Ed Source – John Fensterwald and Daniel J. Willis
“As part of the California School Dashboard, the state’s new school accountability system, 1 in 4 school districts will receive assistance from county offices of education and the state to help improve the performance of groups of students who have done particularly poorly on criteria set by the state.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
In the late 1990s Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist working at Harvard University, broke intelligence into eight areas: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Even though many psychologists disagree with Gardner’s views on intelligence, the categories he created provide a good base for the abilities people need in the modern workplace.
It is nearly impossible for someone to succeed if he/she is only intelligent in one area. Artistic products require technical and financial support and the most technical products require beauty and a strong user interface. It is pointless for a scientist to conduct amazing research unless he/she can effectively communicate his/her findings to his/her colleagues; and it makes no sense for a musician to create beautiful songs, unless he/she can execute successful contracts so the songs make him/her money.
In short, all kids need strong visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal abilities. Sadly, few children graduate from high school with strong abilities in all these areas. Perhaps it is because we have tasked our K-12 schools with so many things (teaching, coaching, parenting, counseling, etc.) that it is impossible for them to succeed.
Maybe we should encourage schools to return to their primary mission. Then they can focus all their energies on maximizing visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, and logical-mathematical intelligence.
This limited focus would give schools time to rethink their approach to building intelligence and encourage them to find ways of identifying learning gaps early. They would have time to implement third party curriculum based testing (teachers have not seen the test ahead of time) at least once a quarter. Then teachers could identify deficiencies within a few weeks of when a student has missed a concept and could take corrective action quickly,
Some people worry that returning the focus of K-12 schools to academic areas would impact students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal development. In fact, the opposite might be true. Instead of relying on schools to offer sports, leadership, and other pursuits, schools could contract with community organizations to handle these activities. These organizations have lower overhead, so they could offer these activities at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, the students would have a wider range of options available to them.
Technology has changed the world. Now it is time for us to set aside preconceived ideas and think about how we can change education to prepare children for this new world.
Education Next – David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik
“Recent research demonstrates that the test score gap between relatively advantaged and relatively disadvantaged students is much higher in some school districts than it is in other districts. But measured school quality often varies dramatically within a school district, and therefore it is important to know whether individual schools differ in the relative success of advantaged and disadvantaged students. We make use of detailed, linked birth and school records in Florida to investigate the degree to which this is true.”(more)
Education Dive – Stephen Noonoo
“Greater efforts are now being made by schools to encourage girls into STEM fields while their interest and comprehension is still level with boys. Some researchers believe that the best way to boost girls’ interest is by starting at home, encouraging parents to take up the charge. Other schools have begun special mentorship programs, pairing students with mentors in their community, or joining national programs such as Girls Who Code, an organization that works with thousands of girls across the country to promote computer science education.”(more)
Quartz – Neha Thirani Bagri
“There has been a growing feeling in the UK, a country with some of the most elite schools (paywall) and revered universities in the world, that their students are lagging behind students in other countries. This is particularly true in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, where the country is facing a severe shortage of skilled graduates. In fact, when compared to students from Asia, British students are underperforming in STEM subjects from an early age. According to a recent ranking of how 15-year-olds from different countries (pdf) score in math, mainland China comes in at #5; the UK is at #27. And now, to bring their students up to speed, the British government is planning to use Chinese textbooks in UK schools. Following a deal signed between HarperCollins and the Shanghai Century Publishing Group, textbooks used to teach mathematics in Chinese primary schools will be translated for use in Britain.”(more)