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Personalized learning: How kids are getting into college by mastering their skills

The Hechinger Report – Brian Stack

“A student-centered personalized-learning model known as competency education has gained traction over the past five years as states have developed policies to promote its adoption in both elementary and secondary schools. Born from the notion that the old system has significant limitations and flaws in both its structure and its execution in the schools of today, competency education uses a student’s ability to transfer knowledge and apply skills to organize learning. Students refine these skills based on goal-setting, ungraded feedback known as the formative assessment. When they are ready, the students demonstrate their understanding by performing thoughtfully developed tasks that determine how much learning has taken place. This evaluation is called the summative assessment.”(more)

Which country really has the cleverest students?

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“Higher education has a strong sense of hierarchy. And high-profile international league tables are a very public form of this pecking order. While these might measure a whole range of factors – from reputation and staff ratios to research output – what they do not compare is the ability of students who have been taught in these universities. But the OECD has now published test results comparing the ability of graduates in different countries. And it shows a very different map of higher education than the ranking tables, which are dominated by US and UK universities, such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge and UCL.”(more)

Raising More Than Test Scores

Education Next – Matthew Davis and Blake Heller

“Strict attention to detail, long school days, and a singular focus on college are the hallmarks of “no excuses” charter schools. Families in cities across the United States have flocked to them as academic game changers, and research shows that many of their students beat the odds on standardized tests. But critics allege that such gains are hollow. The “no excuses” approach, they say, amounts to a paternalistic culture of test preparation that detracts from real learning and comes at a steep cost to social and emotional health. Successfully navigating adult life, including the risks and rigors of college, will take much more.”(more)

The State of American Jobs

Pew Research Center – Staff Writer

“Tectonic changes are reshaping U.S. workplaces as the economy moves deeper into the knowledge-focused age. These changes are affecting the very nature of jobs by rewarding social, communications and analytical skills. They are prodding many workers to think about lifetime commitments to retraining and upgrading their skills. And they may be prompting a society-wide reckoning about where those constantly evolving skills should be learned – and what the role of colleges should be. A new Pew Research Center survey, conducted in association with the Markle Foundation, finds that these new realities are not lost on the American public: The vast majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training may hold the key to their future job success.”(more)

An extraordinary silence regarding U.S. education

News Oklahoma – Gene A. Budig and Alan Heaps

“It is time for a reality check. Americans are losing confidence in higher education, its quality and its availability. According to a recent poll by Public Agenda, 57 percent of the public are uncertain about the necessity of college; 46 percent say a college education is a questionable investment; and 59 percent say colleges care most about the bottom line. Americans also are unhappy with our K-12 schools. According to the 2016 PDK-Gallup poll, 68 percent of the public give our nation’s K-12 public schools a grade of C or lower. The 2016 Ed Next poll tells us that 75 percent of the public grade our K-12 schools C or lower.”(more)

Borsuk: Too many students unprepared for college

USA Today – Alan J. Borsuk

“About a dozen years ago, Willie Jude, a longtime Milwaukee Public Schools administrator who was principal of Custer High School at the time, told me that many Custer grads who went on to higher education (and there weren’t that many) realized quickly they were way behind many other students when it came to academic preparation. That’s because those other kids were learning the B and C parts of the book when you were learning the A part, Jude said he told them. In other words, a lot of freshmen hit college with a high school diploma that says they are more likely to succeed than students with other diplomas. The difference breaks strongly along lines of income and race.”(more)