More US students met proficiency standards in science on the Program for International Student Assessment between 2003 and 2012, according to an analysis by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Data show a 6 percentage-point decrease among low-performing students in science but reveal no gains in math and reading.
The Washington, D.C., school system has announced plans to overhaul its teacher evaluations and training programs. Rather than holding sporadic workshops, teachers will meet weekly with those who teach the same subject and work closely with a coach. Teachers' evaluations also will be conducted by principals, rather than independent evaluators.
Students crave feedback, asserts Elyse Scott, a retired English teacher. In this article, she writes about the pros and cons of rubrics and offers 11 ways -- including the use of sticky notes -- teachers can foster better one-on-one communication and build trust with students.
A small Texas school district is the first in the state to adopt a four-day school week, making Friday attendance optional to allow tutoring for students who need it most. Four-day weeks are an option in states, including Idaho, Arizona and Colorado, mostly to save money. Studies show there are some academic benefits.
Fourth-graders at a Wisconsin school are developing their literacy skills as part of a butterfly-garden project. After researching butterflies and their habitat, students wrote essays seeking -- and receiving -- school officials' support for the garden. "It requires different pieces such as problem/solution, persuasive, informational reports and friendly letters," teacher Heidi Graff said.
Data show students of color, English-language learners and low-income students are underrepresented in gifted education. Debbie Roby, supervisor of gifted education at Lewisville Independent School District in Flower Mound, Texas, says gifted-education programs should reflect the student communities they serve and calls for more training for educators.
Elective courses enable students to learn new skills or discover talents, writes Laurie Futterman, a Florida educator. In this article, Futterman explains how elective classes help students socially and behaviorally, and can even prepare them for college.
Teaching students how to analyze their own learning data empowers them as learners and helps them to set and achieve goals, educator Kimberly Long writes. She recommends building students' understanding of data by starting small and using such things as games, charts or graphs to help students understand the information.
Education levels, along with healthier lifestyles, have been linked to a lower risk of dementia, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that new dementia cases declined steadily in each decade, beginning in the late 1970s, particularly in people with at least a high-school education. "Whether education is beneficial in itself or whether education is a marker for other things like poverty and unhealthy lifestyle, we didn't parse that out," neurologist Sudha Seshadri said.
Some Department of Defense Education Activity schools -- those serving military families -- are beginning implementation of the DoDEA's College and Career-Ready Standards, which mirror Common Core State Standards. Carolyn Landel, managing director of the Charles A. Dana Center at University of Texas at Austin, which provides teacher training for the new standards, says the approach will help provide a consistent academic experience for students.
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