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What matters more than class size and spending in student achievement? Intensive tutoring.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

My AJC colleague Ty Tagami wrote today about a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that examines the possible reasons for improved performance of students in sought-after charter schools. The research uncovered a key factor: The intensive and often mandatory tutoring required in many charter schools. “The authors of the paper — What Can We Learn from Charter School Lotteries? — compared the performance of students who won a spot at a charter school in an annual lottery and those who did not and had to stay in their traditional neighborhood school. The researchers explored several theories behind the higher achievement of some of those who got in — from the ‘no excuses’ policies prevalent in urban charter schools to differences in class size, spending and teacher certification. They concluded that three explanations rose to the top: the amount of teacher feedback, above-average suspension rates and intensive tutoring. Tutoring had the strongest correlation with accelerated performance,” wrote Tagami.”(more)

Here’s Why Being Bilingual Is The Absolute Coolest

The Huffington Post – Minou Clark

“Being bilingual comes with a world of advantages. You automatically sound worldly and cultured, you can openly gossip in public without anyone understanding you, and you sound hella sexy when you speak a foreign language. There’s no denying that your linguistic skills are the crème de la crème, and it doesn’t hurt that they also make you appear très cool.”(more)

Study: Kids’ Math Anxiety Reduced When Learning With Tutors

KQED News Mind/Shift – Patti Neighmond

“Math can be as scary as spiders and snakes, at least in the brain of an 8-year-old child. And that early anxiety about dealing with numbers can put a child at a significant disadvantage, not only in school but in negotiating life and a career. Fortunately, a study of third-graders, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests an intervention that can help. One-on-one tutoring does more than teach kids, the researchers say. It calms the fear circuitry in the brain. “The most exciting aspect of our findings is that cognitive tutoring not only improves performance, but is also anxiety-reducing,” says neuroscientist Vinod Menon, the study’s senior author and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.”(more)

Legislative Fixes for Remediation

Inside Higher Ed – Ashley A. Smith

“Low success rates and high costs are driving more states and institutions to seek new ways to offer developmental or remedial college courses. Minnesota recently became the latest state in which legislators are making an effort to retain and boost completion rates among less academically prepared college students. They’re considering a proposal to give students who test into remediation the option to avoid taking a remedial class or to take a regular, credit-bearing course with tutoring or extra support — an approach known as “corequisite remediation.” “There’s no question there is a movement afoot across the country to implement corequisite remediation and to do it to scale,” said Bruce Vandal, vice president of Complete College America…But Vandal cautioned that his group isn’t recommending the elimination of remediation altogether or throwing students into the deep end to see them fail. “Research tells us it doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition,” he said.”(more)

New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative Seeks Mentors, Teachers of Color

Education Week – Denisa R. Superville

“New York City plans to hire 1,000 male teachers of color, provide tutoring and other literacy support for 10,000 K-2 students, and find mentors for 5,000 young men of color. The initiatives are part of the second phase of the city’s Young Men’s Initiative, which started under former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to address challenges faced by young black and Latino men…The new efforts are aimed at increasing literacy, improving graduation rates, and “ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime.””(more)

Match Corps Goes National

Education Next – Cara Stillings Candal

“Now in its 15th year of operation, Match Charter Public High School is a public-education success story in Boston and beyond. In 2008, when it was still a comparatively young school, Newsweek ranked Match 25th in its list of 1,400 high schools across the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranked it 99th. Finally, in each year between 2008 and 2012, Match High School received the prestigious EPIC Award, granted by the U.S. Department of Education and New Leaders for New Schools, which recognizes urban districts and charter schools “driving the highest achievement gains in students” from year to year.”(more)