Summary of “The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes'”

Some schools use lengthy surveys like the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, which claims to test for qualities like “Truthseeking” and “Analyticity.” The Global Perspective Inventory, administered and sold by Iowa State University, asks students to rate their agreement with statements like “I do not feel threatened emotionally when presented with multiple perspectives” and scores them on metrics like the “Intrapersonal affect scale.”
So universities assemble committees of faculty members, arm them with rubrics and assign them piles of student essays culled from across the school.
Even its proponents have struggled to produce much evidence – beyond occasional anecdotes – that it improves student learning.
Pat Hutchings, a senior scholar at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, told me: “Good assessment begins with real, genuine questions that educators have about their students, and right now for many educators those are questions about equity. We’re doing pretty well with 18- to 22-year-olds from upper-middle-class families, but what about – well, fill in the blank.”
Learning outcomes assessment has become one way to answer the question, “If you get unprepared students in your class and they don’t do well, how does that get explained?” Mr. Eubanks at Furman University told me.
Mr. Gilbert became an outspoken assessment skeptic after years of watching the process fail to capture what happens in his classes – and seeing it miss the real reasons students struggle.
“Maybe all your students have full-time jobs, but that’s something you can’t fix, even though that’s really the core problem,” he said.
We end up using the language of the capitalist marketplace and speak to our students as customers rather than fellow thinkers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who’s Missing From America’s Colleges? Rural High School Graduates”

Variations of this mindset, among many other reasons, have given rise to a reality that has gotten lost in the impassioned debate over who gets to go to college, which often focuses on racial and ethnic minorities and students from low-income families: The high school graduates who head off to campus in the lowest proportions in America are the ones from rural places.
Overall, 59 percent of rural high school grads – white and nonwhite, at every income level – go to college the subsequent fall.
Rural students live in places where it once was possible to make a decent living from farming, mining and timber-harvesting, said Charles Fluharty, president and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Iowa.
A resulting sense of hopelessness in places where jobs became sparse, Fluharty says, meant that rural students lost interest in their high schools’ field trips to technical colleges or public universities, or in those visits from recruiters.
A third of rural whites, and 40 percent of rural white men, are resigned to believing that their children will grow up with a lower standard of living than they did, a survey by the Pew Research Center found.
The Tennessee-based National Rural Education Association notes that, in addition to other problems, rural areas contend with drug and mental-health issues, poverty and a lack of high-speed access to the Internet, for instance.
“Coming from a rural community, everybody knows who you are,” says Gordon, who quarterbacked his high school football team, played baseball and ran track and field.
Gordon knows that most of his high school classmates and teammates “Are going to stay in rural Iowa and not really get out to see much of the world.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Here’s What It’s Like At The Headquarters Of The Teens Working To Stop Mass Shootings”

On Wednesday night CNN will air a special town hall meeting with students and lawmakers.
David Hogg, the 17-year-old student journalist who had interviewed his classmates while they hid from the shooter, went on television the next day, pleading with the country for action.
Some of the students hold leadership positions at their school, so they’re used to planning committees and meetings.
Although the room was big, the students worked closely together on a rug, making decisions communally.
At one point that day, a student had a panic attack, while another later cried on the floor.
In these moments, the group repeated a mantra, reminding one another that they were doing this for the students – their classmates – who died on Valentine’s Day.
As others answered phone calls, Jaclyn Corin, the 17-year-old in charge of logistics for the Tallahassee event on Wednesday, worked on a press release about the event – although she referred to it as “An essay.” The teens are planning to meet with Florida’s attorney general, House speaker, and Senate president.
One student mentioned she was supposed to be home at a certain time, while another negotiated with his folks, who seemed to be telling him to get more rest.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Let’s Cancel Everyone’s Student Debt, for the Economy’s Sake”

What if we could have achieved those objectives, at roughly the same price, by forgoing tax cuts – and wiping out every penny of student debt in the United States, instead?
In America today, 44 million people collectively carry $1.4 trillion in student debt.
Many of these workers are struggling to keep their heads above water; 11 percent of aggregate student loan debt is now more than 90 days past due, or delinquent.
According to the Levy Institute paper, authored by economists Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum, canceling all student debt would increase GDP by between $86 billion and $108 billion per year, over the next decade.
In the case of student debt forgiveness, concerns about unfairness are largely informed by status quo bias.
One implication of this, as the policy analyst Matt Bruenig has demonstrated, is that student debt is significantly increasing the racial wealth gap among younger Americans.
More broadly, the explosion of student debt in America was orchestrated by deliberate government policies, which were justified on premises that have proven to be false.
Student debtors were, in many, many cases, persuaded to make poor financial decisions by their own government – which, as the owner of their debts, now stands to profit from those mistakes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Free Tech Tools & Websites Every Teacher Should Know About”

As a new teacher, I felt comfortable with PowerPoint and Word, yet I rarely explored any other tech tools.
There are free tools that are easy to use-even for the tech novice.
All you need to do is copy the webpage URL of the text you want to adjust and paste it into the yellow box at the top of the site, then click “Rewordify text.” Rewordify will simplify the text to the reading level you selected in the settings.
Finally, if you click on the “Print/Learning Activities” page, Rewordify will create vocabulary lists with definitions from the text, generate vocabulary quizzes for the text, and create close activities for the text.
Like Rewordify, all you need to do is copy the text you want summarized and paste it into the box on the page, set the number of sentences you want, then hit the summarize button.
I learned about this great tool via Eric Curts’ amazing blog, which every teacher should bookmark! Viewpure: I use videos every day in my classroom.
Google Earth is adding new Voyager tools all the time and they are an incredible resource for any Social Studies teacher.
Students can add text to describe that location’s significance as well as photos and videos.

The orginal article.

Summary of “More College Students Seem to Be Majoring in Perfectionism”

Perfectionism is a personality trait or characteristic that is innate in many people.
For other parents, it’s often difficult to know when perfectionism in their kids is cause for concern: After all, the high standards they set for themselves probably got them into college.
The researchers looked at more than 41,000 students’ responses on the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, which not only measures degrees of perfectionism but also distinguishes among its three aspects: self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed.
While self-prescribed perfectionism is associated with greater productivity, conscientiousness and career success, many parents are concerned when they see signs that it is affecting their child’s mood and behavior.
Hannah Miller, a Columbia graduate student, is candid about her perfectionism.
Ms. Miller said that when she’s stressed and anxious she turns to her close friends for comfort and support, and also to her mother, whose perfectionism, like her own, is mostly self-prescribed.
If you are a parent concerned about perfectionist tendencies in your child, the questions posed by the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, used in the study, may be informative.
If they seem really anxious for more than a week, suggest they seek counseling, or contact the school to ask whether the department of student life might sponsor a program about perfectionism.

The orginal article.

Summary of “No College Kid Needs a Water Park to Study”

Even though the best interests of students and taxpayers revolve around college access, affordability and graduation outcomes, too often presidents and boards are more focused on the rankings, reputation and popularity of the institution itself.
In my career as the president of two state universities and a consultant to nearly 50 higher-education institutions, I’ve observed dozens of college presidents skillfully co-opt their governing boards into approving costly projects that make schools look more attractive.
College presidents sweeten requests for new buildings and research centers, as well as additional student affairs programming, with cleverly branded words like “Promise” and “Excellence.” What board would want to withhold promise and excellence from its beloved student body?
College presidents also tranquilize trustees into agreement with impossibly large volumes of reading material.
Most come away impressed by their president’s expertise and vision and assured that – thanks to their efforts – the university is on the right track.
The unfortunate truth is that while most college presidents care deeply about their institution’s success, an important part of their job is to shake free more resources.
Training on big-picture issues and higher-education trends, such as the financial trade-off between instruction and research, the costs of intercollegiate athletics, and the expansion of amenities, would help trustees develop courage to ask college presidents probing questions that look beyond institutional narratives and cherry-picked rhetoric.
I don’t mean to imply that trustees should devote themselves to ritual opposition to presidents, who usually possess an unmatched understanding of the institutions they lead.But presidents are not infallible.

The orginal article.

Summary of “As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting”

The Trump administration is more closely scrutinizing visa applications, indefinitely banning travel from some countries and making it harder for foreign students to remain in the United States after graduation.
“As you lose those students, then the tuition revenue is negatively impacted as well,” said Michael Godard, the interim provost at the University of Central Missouri, where 944 international students were enrolled in the fall, a decline of more than 1,500 from the previous year.
International students pay double the $6,445 tuition of Missouri residents, and the lost revenue amounts to $14 million, according to Roger Best, the chief operating officer for the school, in Warrensburg, Mo. Dr. Best said that the university has been forced to cut instructors in computer programs, where many of the foreign students were enrolled, as well as defer maintenance and shave money from other departments, such as the campus newspaper.
An increasingly diverse population in that age group means that more of the students come from low-income families in which no one has ever gone to college, also presenting recruitment challenges for universities, according to Doug Shapiro, the organization’s executive research director.
Officials at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., reported an overall enrollment decline of more than 900 students, including 159 fewer international students.
For years, American colleges had been staking their futures on continued growth in foreign students, and after the recession a decade ago, those students were a lifeline for colleges that had poured money into new buildings and amenities.
The president, Matthew Wilson, said that students from India were reporting increased scrutiny of their visa applications, one of the reasons for a drop of about 200 international students.
Akron is one of several public universities in Ohio reporting drops in enrollment, including of international students.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A.I. and Big Data Could Power a New War on Poverty”

Second, we can bring what is known as differentiated education – based on the idea that students master skills in different ways and at different speeds – to every student in the country.
A 2013 study by the National Institutes of Health found that nearly 40 percent of medical students held a strong preference for one mode of learning: Some were listeners; others were visual learners; still others learned best by doing.
Even within the context of a standardized curriculum, A.I. “Tutors” can home in on and correct for each student’s weaknesses, adapt coursework to his or her learning style and keep the student engaged.
Today’s dominant type of A.I., also known as machine learning, permits computer programs to become more accurate – to learn, if you will – as they absorb data and correlate it with known examples from other data sets.
Big data sets can now be harnessed to better predict which programs help certain people at a given time and to quickly assess whether programs are having the desired effect.
As for the poisonous effect of ideology on the debate over public assistance: Big data promises something closer to an unbiased, ideology-free evaluation of the effectiveness of these social programs.
Before the commission expired in September 2017, it used government data to evaluate the effectiveness of government policy and made recommendations based on its findings.
This provides one more indication of the promise of A.I. and big data in the service of positive, purposeful public good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Middle-Class Takeover of Bilingual Schools”

School leaders took full advantage of the flexibility allowed to charters to launch what’s known as a “Dual-immersion” program: Children learn in both English and Spanish and, ideally, become fully bilingual in the process.
Portland Public Schools in Oregon has doubled the size of its dual-immersion programs to more than 5,000 students in the past eight years, with those classrooms instructing in a combination of English and Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, or Japanese.
While the old bilingual-education programs served English-learning children separately, in some other wing of their schools, dual-immersion programs bring English-learning students into schools’ mainstream classrooms and convert their home languages into assets for the entire school community.
The cities’ school districts are using dual-immersion programs to encourage these new residents to send their children to schools in their own zip codes and to provide equitable educational opportunities for all kids.
Demand from privileged, English-dominant families can push ELs and their families out of multilingual schools and convert two-way dual-immersion programs into one-way programs that exclusively serve English-speaking children.
One of the city’s oldest immersion programs, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, has seen its surrounding neighborhood become so English-dominant that the school is running short on native Spanish-speaking students.
In states where these programs are well established, like Texas and New York, districts are exploring ways of converting bilingual classrooms into dual-immersion programs.
The large majority of Utah’s new dual-immersion schools are one-way programs, for instance.

The orginal article.