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