Renascence School Education News - private school

Friday, April 24, 2015

Common Core Tests Require Digital, Computer Literacy Skills

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“As computer skills become increasing necessity in the workforce, there has been a call for greater digital and computer literacy in schools and the inclusion of such skills in both curriculum and testing. Exams linked to the Common Core standards will replace the paper-and-pencil multiple choice tests given in 29 states this year. Students who take the new exams must be able to switch between screens, open drop-down menus and be able to move words and numbers. Many educators argue that although children have grown up in a computer-savvy world, hands-on instruction is still needed as the exams require different skills of test-takers than they would learn using a smartphone, reports Lisa Leff for The Columbian.”(more)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2016 SAT: The Latest Research and Analysis

The Huffington Post – Alex Mallory

“Though some uncertainty over the exact form and content of the 2016 SAT remains, the College Board surreptitiously released a full-length practice “2016 PSAT” several weeks ago, thus making the 2016 SAT picture much clearer. The following lists, broken down by section and based on granular analysis of this practice test and previously released College Board sample questions, aim to distill the major differences between the current and 2016 versions of the SAT.”(more)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Inner-City Schools Find Music Programs Could Be Key To Happier, Harder-Working Students

The Huffington Post – Alena Hall

“When Larry Carthan was 9 years old, he discovered drumming as a creative outlet for his energy and frustrations. Decades later, after a 29-year career on Wall Street, he decided to return to his passion full-time and share music’s life-changing abilities with underserved kids in New York City…Carthan, who teaches children in all five boroughs, both exposes at-risk middle school students to the many benefits of creating music and serves as a healthy role model for them as they develop visions for their own successful futures. The music, as well as the resulting attitude shift, has brought dramatic change to the school…According to the directors of the SASI program, M.S. 421’s attendance rates jumped from 85 percent to 95 percent after the introduction of Carthan’s drum line program, and standardized testing scores increased as well.”(more)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Understanding Test Anxiety and What We Can Do to Help Children

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Jackson

“A staggering 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making it the most frequent academic impairment in our schools today Another 18% are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety. These students actually draw a “blank” or “freeze-up” during tests. Students with high anxiety perform around 12 percentile points below their low anxiety peers; regardless of how much effort and time they put into studying. Adults can mistakenly jump to the conclusion that the student didn’t really study, didn’t study efficiently (crammed), or that they were having a bad day. Kids often blame themselves, telling themselves that they just need to try harder or study longer. When students have test anxiety, they can study their heads off and it won’t help–too much studying can actually hinder their performance…The solution lies in their taking control of the test, not letting the test control them.”(more)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Online Testing Problems Continue in Florida

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A number of technical issues have caused districts across the state of Florida to temporarily pause the online portion of new standardized tests the state began using this week. Students in grades 8-10 began to report problems being able to log into the writing portion of the exam, causing education officials from 36 out of the 67 districts to cancel testing for the day. Testing has not started again since then, and it is unclear when it will resume. A number of problems were reported, including not being to log on at all and being booted off halfway through the test. “It’s a nightmare,” said Broward School Board member Nora Rupert, adding the transition to the new tests “should have been slowed down.” The new tests, the Florida Standards Assessment, are meant to replace the math, reading and writing portions of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and will be taken almost completely online.”(more)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Girls Edging Out Boys in STEM Course-Taking, but not Test Performance

Education Week – Sarah D. Sparks

“The gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics may be starting to turn, according to new 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The data is coming at a time when states and districts are in a big push to get more students—and particularly girls—into STEM careers, via everything from mentorships and clubs to STEM-only schools. By 12th grade, girls in 2009 were more likely than boys to have earned credit in advanced math and science, including Algebra II, chemistry, biology, and health sciences, though boys are significantly more likely to earn credit in computer science and engineering. Why then, does the data also show that girls continued to underperform in small but persistent ways across several STEM-related parts of the National Assessment of Educational Progress?”(more)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Financial Literacy and U.S. Teens: Global Study Reveals Path for Improvement

The Huffington Post – Jason Alderman

“One of the first global financial literacy tests administered to 15-year-olds identified a critical element among top performers: Students persevered and showed openness toward problem solving, and schools had the freedom to customize lessons…U.S. students earned an average score of 492 out of a possible 700, which ranks those teens between eighth and twelfth place among all 18 participating countries and economies, according to the PISA study…More than one in six U.S. students — 17.8 percent, compared with 15.3 percent across OECD countries — do not reach the “baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy”…the test seemed to show that the success of top-scoring countries/economies stems from a nationwide, mandatory personal finance curriculum…Despite midrange results for U.S. high school students in PISA’s first-ever global financial literacy test, best practices from other nations can provide a strong path for U.S. students to learn and master these skills.”(more)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evals

The Washington Post – Lyndsey Layton

“Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law Monday, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading. Duncan spoke at Seaton Elementary, a high-poverty school in the District’s Shaw neighborhood. He was supposed to visit a classroom, but school was delayed by freezing rain and none of the mostly Latino and African American students were present.”(more)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Most Alabama Students Fall Short on Common-Core Test

Education Week – Catherine Gewertz

“The drumbeat has been getting louder as PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests get closer: Many students are expected to fall short of proficiency marks on those new, presumably tougher exams. But those kinds of sobering results are showing up on other common-core tests, as well. The ACT’s Aspire, designed to reflect the common core, has produced its first round of statewide results. In nearly every grade and both subjects, more than half of Alabama’s students fall below the cut points that connote being on track for success in college…”(more)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seeds of learning: School uses garden to teach valuable lessons – Elizabeth Roberts

“A growing national movement incorporating gardening into the curriculum — and curriculum into the garden — is something of a passion for Principal Connor Sloan…Using the garden as a living classroom can do everything from broadening a student’s ability to connect the cycles and systems of nature to the sources of food to the nutritional connections between water and soil…It really helps infuse the process of inquiry, of asking questions, digging deeper…Studies have found that integrating gardening into the school day can boost test scores and student behavior.”(more)