High school rigor is often a facade, writes Natalie Wexler on Forbes. It’s a “Potemkin village.” High school graduates in the class of 2019 took more “advanced” and “honors” classes and earned higher grades, but didn’t do any better on tests, notes a recently released federal study. Grade inflation and course-title inflation combine to create the illusion of competence. Some school districts, seeing a lack of minority representation in honors classes, have tried to solve the
Students can do everything asked of them in school, yet fail to meet grade-level standards, charges TNTP’s new Opportunity Myth report. Assignments are too easy. High expectations aren’t magic, writes Wexler. When students lack background knowledge, vocabulary and academic skills, teachers need to know how to “scaffold instruction” to help them “access grade-level work.” About five years ago, I volunteered to help students at a high-poverty high school who were enrolled in an
“To heal our political and economic rifts” and “improve American education,” we should require all students to take debate, argues Robert E. Litan, a Brookings fellow. He’d also like to “incorporate debate into humanities and possibly some science classes as well.” Some 12,000 Broward County (Florida) students take speech and debate classes. Competitive debating isn’t about shouting at each other, writes Litan. School debaters learn to “research; think critically and do it on
Limiting kids’ recreational screen time to less than two hours a day boosts their brainpower, concludes a new study, reports Hamza Shaban in the Washington Post. Children ages eight to 11 performed better on tests of thinking, language and memory if they spent less than two hours on devices, were physically active for at least an hour and got nine to 11 hours of sleep. Only 5 percent of children met the sleep, play and screen-time recommendations, notes Shaban. “Sixty-three p
In their fourth year of college, many students can’t gather, analyze and evaluate information, concludes a Wall Street Journal report. At a majority of colleges surveyed, “at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table.” The College Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+, asks first-year and graduating students to demonstrate critical thinking skills, reports Newsweek. The Journal found
Stephen L. Carter was a math-science nerd at Ithaca High, when his 10th-grade English teacher, Judith Dickey, taught him to read — read the hard stuff. I read voraciously, but my choices were filling my head with junk. My mind was agile but not disciplined; quick but not reflective; I was much better at snappy answers than thoughtful ones.
. . . she offered me a deal. She would read any three books I gave her if I would read any three books she gave me. Then we would get toge
Nearly 500 people — all college graduates — applied for a communications job at Marc Tucker’s organization. Candidates were asked to write a one-page summary of a report published last year. “Only one could produce a satisfactory summary,” writes Tucker. The kids can’t write, he concludes. . . . we do not build our curriculum around the assumption that we will be asking students to read demanding books—not just parts of books, but whole books—and then asking them to write, at