Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don’t Give A Shit? asks The Onion.
High school grades matter — not just for college success but also for adult earnings — concludes a University of Miami study published in the Eastern Economic Journal. A person’s grade-point average in high school predicts the odds of starting and finishing college and graduate school, the study found. It also predicts earnings 10 years after high school.
A one-point increase in GPA predicts a 12 percent jump in earnings for men, 14 percent for women, reports the Washington Post. It also doubles the likelihood of completing college, the study found.
African-Americans were more likely to go to college and graduate school than whites with similar GPAs and background characteristics, said Michael T. French, professor of health economics, who led the research team. It’s possible “African-Americans with relatively high GPAs are more motivated and determined,” he speculated.
However higher high school grades didn’t lead to higher earnings for black adults, the Post reported. Limited opportunities for minorities or a choice to go into lower-paying fields could explain that, French said.
Too few engineering majors?
A former colleague thinks the Washington Post‘s graph is too neat to be real. Here’s the University of Miami researchers’ graph, which seems to have the same data arranged horizontally.
Dhara Patel will graduate from a rural Florida high school with a 10.03 GPA, due to weighted grades for AP and community college courses. (I’ve never heard of a weighted “A” being worth more than 5 points.) She’s already earned an associate degree. Patel is active in student government and high school clubs and volunteers at a local hospital, reports TakePart. And, yes, she’s the valedictorian.
To prepare “difficult” students for the real world, make it “really hard to fail,” argues Dr. Allen Mendler, an education consultant, on Edutopia’s blog.
An effective practice is to “appreciate and focus on the student’s strengths rather than emphasizing and punishing shortcomings such as lateness, lack of productivity, and disruptive behavior,” Mendler writes.
But critics say that’s preparing students to be fired.
Grading for progress rather than achieving a “group-based standard” also doesn’t work in the real world, critics say.
School isn’t like the workplace, Mendler argues. Students have to go to school and take courses in subjects they may not like or be any good at. In the real world, workers can specialize.
“Make it really hard for students to fail school,” he writes. “Not impossible, just really hard!”
Do what you can to impart important life skills such as a solid work ethic, promptness, patience, and getting along with others. Have rules and, as much as possible, “logical” consequences for unacceptable behavior. (For example: “Work needs to be completed. You can do it in class with others, at home, or during recess.”)
. . . I am far more likely to motivate an uninterested student with poor attendance to show up, and therefore make it more likely that she will pass my class and graduate, by telling how much we missed her during her absence rather than by giving her a zero on missed assignments.
School success doesn’t always predict success in life, he concludes. Of course, school failure usually does predict future failure.
Magnet schools are making a comeback as urban school districts compete with charter schools, reports the New York Times.
The number of children in Miami-Dade County attending magnet programs — which admit students from anywhere in the district and focus on themes like art, law or technology — has grown by 35 percent in the past four years. These children now account for about one in six students in the district.
. . . Magnets have “become kind of a go-to alternative as a way to incorporate some of the popular elements of choice while keeping the choice constrained more explicitly within the traditional district,” said Jeffrey R. Henig, a professor of political science and education at Columbia University. “It’s a recognition on the part of districts that at least some of the enthusiasm and popularity of charters is a resistance to the notion of a one-size-fits-all school.”
Magnets are district schools with unionized teachers. But, like charters, they pose a threat to neighborhood public schools. Motivated students are more likely to choose an alternative.
Unlike charters, magnet schools can set admissions requirements, reports the Times.
At Coral Reef Senior High School, a prestigious magnet that includes programs in the arts, engineering and an International Baccalaureate track, less than half of the 3,229 students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, and close to a fifth are white, compared with just 7.7 percent of the district. African-American students, who represent close to a quarter of the district, are only 13.5 percent of the student body at Coral Reef.
Magnet schools were created as a desegregation tool — with mixed success.
Charter high school students go farther in school and earn more as adults, concludes a Mathematica study. Researchers followed Florida and Chicago charter eighth graders for 11 years, comparing those who attended a charter high school and classmates who went to a traditional high school.
Charter students don’t earn higher test scores, on average, unless they attend “no excuses” charters, previous research has found. However, they’re significantly more likely than similar students to complete high school and enroll in college.
. . . students attending Chicago and Florida charter high schools were 7 to 15 percentage points more likely to graduate and 8 to 10 percentage points more likely to enroll in college than comparison groups of students who attended charter middle schools but matriculated to traditional public high schools.
The former charter high students earned more at age 25 than the control group, Mathematica found. That suggests charter high schools “are endowing students with skills, knowledge, work habits, motivation, and values that are important for long-term success but are not fully captured by test scores.”
Teachers and mentors at a New York City school helped a Dominican immigrant prepare for college, said President Obama in the State of the Union speech.
Estiven Rodriguez, a collegebound senior at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning High School (WHEELS), tells Chalkbeat New York (formerly Gotham Schools) how his parents gave up a comfortable life in the Dominican Republic so their sons could have a better future.
On the first day of sixth grade, he understood nothing.
I had two choices. I was either going to complain about it or it was…the way out: learning English, putting in 120 percent and just focusing on that.
So I decided that if my family is working so hard just to be here, like, why can’t I do this? This should be easy for me. If I have to watch TV in English, if I have to go to my aunt’s house, who’s a teacher, for help, I’m going to go. If I have to stay after school until four — or some teachers even met with me an hour before school started — I was just going to do whatever it took to succeed.
Estiven’s parents gave him the motivation. WHEELS “teachers who are committed to help you at any cost,” says Estiven. “I remember someone stayed with me until 7pm just to help me.” He’s going to Dickinson on a full scholarship.
How do you motivate kids to learn geometry? A North Korean video tells kids they can use it to kill Americans, writes Marc Ambinder on The Compass.
After a rabbit-chasing intro, Sopal runs into a classmate and tells him he doesn’t need to listen in class. The homework is easy because the degrees are printed on his compass.
Back in his room, Sopal begins to do the homework. But he’s confused. The question asks him to draw a 30 degree angle and a 90 degree angle. He tries, but he pencils in between the two and draws a helmet with the letters “US” on them. Frustrated, Sopal turns his compass into a gun, and pantomimes several shots at the U.S. helmet he has just drawn.
Then he dreams.
His homework paper turns into a bird that turns into a scene of attack. U.S. battleships approach. The boy has to muster his friends to help fight off the Americans.
Yes, pencils turns into rockets. Desks transform into tanks. Martial songs fill the background.
And yes, the boy must save the day at the end by actually using the protractor as its intended, because he needs to align the rocket properly in order to hit the invading U.S. ships.
Much of my high school math classes were devoted to calculating the height of a flagpole by its shadow. My father said this would prepare me to calculate gun elevations so I wouldn’t flunk out of artillery OCS. “It’s bad enough being an officer,” he said. “You don’t want to be an enlisted man.”
So I see where North Korea is going with this.
In many other countries, the 2012 OECD report notes, “marked gender differences in mathematics performance—in favour of boys—are observed.”
Three years ago, American boys outperformed girls in math on PISA; their science scores were similar.
However, the STEM gender gap hasn’t vanished, reports Erik Robelen.
Take the AP program. In all 10 STEM subjects currently taught and tested, including chemistry, physics, calculus, and computer science, the average scores of females lagged behind males, according to data for the class of 2011.
U.S. girls aren’t as confident as their male classmates, the 2012 PISA report found.
[E]ven when girls perform as well as boys in mathematics, they tend to report less perseverance, less openness to problem-solving, less intrinsic and instrumental motivation to learn mathematics, less self-belief in their ability to learn mathematics and more anxiety about mathematics than boys, on average; they are also more likely than boys to attribute failure in mathematics to themselves rather than to external factors.
Young women are losing ground in computer science, according to Change the Equation: Women earned 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing in 2012, down from 27 percent about a decade earlier. Of those earning a master’s degree in computer science, only 28 percent were female in 2012, compared with 33 percent in 2001.