Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goggle and research--"Power Browsing"

Goggle and Researching

In the past, when a high school needed to do some research for a class, they would spend a long time in the school or public library. However, now, the main engine for researching about information for a class or paper, teens would turn to Goggle for some help. There are some good indications as well as some bad ones. With Goggle, there is tons of information right at the user's fingertips. However, with all this information, is the student learning to look at information at a deeper level or are they just touching the surface about the topic? Teens minds are going at a rapid speed, just like the pace that Goggle finds the information. Also, students tend to get used to reading items that Goggle gives them, so teens tend to get bored with traditional reading and research strategies. People who use the internet for research have very specific and identifiable habits. For example, they tend to seek information horizontally--meaning they skim, or bounce from page to page, without reading in depth and rarely return to a previous source.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Academic obstacles in college

Obstacles in college

When freshmen go off to college, they face huge obstacles along the way, particularly in academics.

1) In high school, students tend to study only 2 hours-4 hours a week, if they did this in college, they would most likely fail miserably. While I was in college, I think that I studied 15-20 hours a week. Even good students can struggle in college and I was one of them. I did not fail miserably but there were some terms that I wished that I could lighter schedules.
2) Academic preparation--majority of American high school student lack academic preparation. This is either from the failure of their school district or the student takes easy classes while in high school so that they can have an active social life. While they are in college, they are required to take remedial classes that they should have taken in high school. The remedial classes will slow down the student from graduating if they can survive the 4+ years of college.

Why do girls avoid science??

Girls avoiding science classes

When girls are asked on what subjects they avoid, the typical answer is science and mathematics. However, there is one way of helping girls to become more interest in these two subjects: self-confidence. The self-confidence instilled by parents and teachers is considered to be more important for young girls learning math and science than their initial interest. As their self-confidence grows, so does their interest in science and mathematics. Teachers need to give the girls positive experiences with the two subjects in order for them to feel that they can succeed.

# of AP exams taken have increased in Chicago

Number of AP tests taken

Over the last 5 years, the number of AP tests taken have increased in Chicago by 108% (17,523 AP exams in 2008, up from 8,433 in 2004). This is great for high achieving that would like to earn some college credit before they go off to college. The increase is part of giving all high school students access to taking the AP classes and exams. This could throw the majority of the results to one direction. Not every student is capable of taking AP classes alone the test. In fact, only 1/3 of the students actually earned a 3 or better on their AP tests, which is the required score to earn some college credit. Even if the student does not get the minimum score to earn college credit, they would still see how fast a college course runs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

At what cost to improve reading test scores??

Since NCLB Act was passed in 2001, it appears that the lowest 10% student seem to gain more spects than the top 10% in terms of increasing the state reading test scores for 4th graders. The scores of the lowest-achieving students increased by 16 points on a 280-point scale, compared with a gain of three points for top-achieving students. This is truly a shame because all students need to be helped to succeed on the rigorous state tests. However, most teachers and school districts ignore the high achieving students because they feel that can succeed on their own and pile their resources on helping the lowest achieving students. It is fine to help the lowest achieving students so that they can succeed on the state exams but what about the higher achieving students? They probably feeling cheated on due to that their test scores are not increasing as much as they hope that they would.

Poor high achieving students

Student changing grades

Student changing grades on his transcript

Oh geez....what has this world come to. Yes, it is more stressful to get good grades and go off to a good college after graduation, but this is insane. The student stole some passwords from his teachers so that he could go in into the school district's system to change his grades in his classes. He mainly did this in hope to increase his chances of getting into a good college in the University of California (UC) system. He had software to change his grades where ever he went to. He also had master copies of exams plus answer keys that were given in his classes plus several others. My question is how he got a hold of the passwords, master copies of the exam, and answer keys? I do not tolerate cheating on papers or exams but this is so extreme that it blows my mind. When these two students initially did it, they thought that they were not going to get caught but in reality, they got more than what they bargained for.

Allowing High school students to graduate early??

I have mixed feelings that allowing high school students to graduate early. I agree that some students are highly capable to doing college coursework early. Also, after a student is 16 years old, they tend to feel that high school is simply a prison and they want to get out. However, even if highly capable students are ready to move on to college at an early age, but are they ready in a social sense?

Also, in determining if the student is ready to graduate high school early, they are given an International evaluation test. Is this done on top of the state's exit exams? I have a feeling that would be correct, which is a shame because it put more stress on the student. However, there needs to be another way of evaluating a student other than simply just giving them high-stakes multiple choice exams.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

From Sichuan to Oregon: Schools at Risk

From Sichuan to Oregon: Schools at Risk

A 2007 survey reveal the vulnerability of schools and emergency-services buildings in Oregon that provides a chilling hint of the dangers. The bottom line? More than a thousand schools in Oregon are ready to fall in a quake that could be 32 times more powerful than the one that shattered eastern Sichuan province. The retrofitting and replacement of vulnerable schools and other critical infrastructure will take decades, she added. Her rough best-case deadline for fixing buildings needed in emergencies in Oregon is 2022; for schools, 2032.

4 AP Classes cut

Back in April, the College Board decided to cut 4 AP classes off of their list. 3 of them, I can understand because they are not highly valuable anymore, which are talian, Latin literature, French literature. The fourth class that was cut bugs me, which is Computer Science AB class.

Apparently this is one of the least popular AP classes that are offered by College Board. Italian, introduced three years ago, has attracted 1,642 students and 305 teachers nationwide, one-fifth the number who expressed interest before it was created, AP officials said. Courses in French and Latin literature serve 2,068 and 3,771 students, respectively. The most popular AP subjects, including U.S. history and English literature, reach hundreds of thousands of students each year.

The elimination of courses comes on the heels of the College Board's first quality-control audit of the AP program, which asked teachers nationwide to prove that they were teaching a class worthy of the AP label. As a result, the organization has direct e-mail contact with every AP teacher. Other AP courses have been eliminated in past years -- music listening and literature was cut in 1991. But never have multiple classes been deleted at the same time.

Apparently, there are no plans to cut any other AP class within the next 5 years.

AP Language, Computer Courses Cut article

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tougher programs for gifted students

Tougher programs for gifted students

Right now, the identification for gifted students is that they score at least 130 on an IQ test and perform at least one grade level above their peers in one or more subjects. The proposed change would classify students as gifted if they meet the IQ threshold or meet multiple other criteria. Advocates said the change is needed because IQ tests don't always flag gifted students, particularly those from disadvantaged homes, children with disabilities and deep-thinkers who don't do well on timed tests. However, there are school districts believe that if the student does not meet the magic number, they cannot get into the school's district gifted program no matter what the recommendations say. This is truly a shame because each student is an individual that has his/her own strengths and weaknesses.

Anti-bully act passes in Florida's Senate

Anti-bully act in Florida's Senate

Last year, this act was blocked in Florida's state Senate, which is a shame. The reasoning behind blocking the act in the first place was that the government felt that things would taken care of themselves without legislation. However, that is not the case...I feel that states and local governments need to get tougher about bullying issues that are occurring in the schools on a daily basis. To prove that this is a serious issue, the bill was named after a teenager that was bullied on a daily much that he committed suicide in 2005.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

doing away from Science curriculum over a state test

This is insane for both the teacher and students. Several high schools in Florida did away with science curriculum for 7 weeks in order to prepare for the state science test. The principals felt that the scores on the state science test was lacked luster so they felt that the students need to review the content. It would be extremely tough and boring to review 4 to 8 years of science material within a 7 week period. The students already have a low motivation about the state test so they will probably not have much of a motivation to go their science class if that is all that they would be doing in class...reviewing for the test. There must be some other way of preparing for the test than to drill and drill for 7 weeks in science class.