This week in education news, a preview of what the science standards look like in the classroom; California students go online in record numbers to take standardized tests aligned with the Common Core; computational thinking brings extensive learning benefits; virtual reality offers real rewards in education; President Trump’s school choice plan could stall; Idaho lawmaker praises new proposed standards; and DeVos releases statement supporting President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
Sometimes showing is easier than telling. That’s certainly the case in trying to capture the Next Generation Science Standards—the K-12 learning benchmarks that 18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted and are now using in classrooms. Unlike some previous science standards that focused on the facts, these standards emphasize action. They ask students to construct models, interpret data, design structures, and make arguments. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
Over the past several weeks, California students in record numbers have been taking once controversial standardized tests aligned with the Common Core. This is the third year that students in the grades 3-8, as well as 11th-graders, have taken the full battery of tests based on new Common Core standards in math and English language arts. The tests can take up to six hours to complete for students in grades 3-5, six-and-a-half hours for students in grades 6-8 and seven-and-a-half hours for 11th-graders. However, there is no time limit on the tests which are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. The system also includes new pilot tests administered to students in grades 5, 8 and one year of high school based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Click here to read the article featured in EdSource.
A large gap between the number of computer science graduates and available jobs has led an increasing number of districts to boost instruction in computational thinking. The concept refers to the thought process of expressing a solution to a problem with a series of sequenced steps. It’s a critical part of computer programming and it can assist learning in all disciplines. Click here to read the article featured in District Administration.
As teachers, teacher educators, and school leaders, we often discuss the implications of policies and working conditions on our ability to teach effectively. What we don’t say is that our common ways of describing teaching and learning—often metaphorical—pose hidden obstacles. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
The architecture, construction, engineering and health science industries already use virtual reality, and educators throughout the country are beginning to consider ways to introduce virtual, augmented and mixed reality to prepare students for college and the workforce. “It’s important to teach students early how to interact and engage with this technology because it’s going to be part of their professional lives,” says Mark Cheben, global marketing director of EON Reality. Click here to read the article featured in District Administration.
Plans to expand school choice from President Donald Trump may be generating a lot of attention—but they should be taken with a dose of political reality, and not obscure other key issues. That was one of the main messages from a panel of K-12 advocates discussing the changing politics of education at the annual conference of the Education Writers Association here on Wednesday. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
One Republican member of the House Education Committee said he is impressed with proposed academic science standards that a committee of teachers released last month. But a Boise Democrat, who pushed for an open dialogue on science and climate change, said the decision to remove references to global warming from the standards amounted to partisan politics and science denial. Click here to read the article featured in Idaho Ed News.
The Association of American Universities, which works, in part, to improve math, science, engineering and technology education for undergraduates, released a report on “Essential Questions and Data Sources for Continuous Improvement of Undergraduate STEM Teaching and Learning.” It includes questions to aid faculty discussions on STEM education at the course, department, division and campus level on pedagogy, scaffolding and cultural change. Click here to read the article featured in Inside Higher Ed.
President Trump on Thursday announced his decision to pull out of the landmark Paris climate agreement — the one that virtually all countries in the world signed onto except Syria and Nicaragua — and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was part of the cheering section. Click here to read the article featured in The Washington Post.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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