Ed News: If Students Aren’t Trying On International Tests, Can We Still Compare Countries’ Results

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 This week in education news, new study finds that students are blowing off international exams; San Francisco Unified School District begins rolling out new science standards and lessons across all elementary schools; districts and schools around the country are struggling to fill empty teaching positions with qualified staff; Carnegie Science Center debuts first-ever classroom for preschoolers; and female, black and Latino students took Advanced Placement computer science courses in record numbers, and rural student participation surged this year; and professional learning needs to be available to all administrators and educators interested in implementing makerspace classes that break the traditional teaching mold.

If Students Aren’t Trying On International Tests, Can We Still Compare Countries’ Results

Many students seem to be blowing off a major international exam, leading some researchers to argue that the results paint a distorted picture of where countries stand in education rankings. Worldwide, a high percentage of students either skip questions, spend insufficient time answering them, or quit the Program for International Student Assessment test early. As a result, a handful of countries fall lower in overall PISA rankings than they might if their students applied themselves, according to the provocative new study. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Science Refreshed In Elementary Schools This Year

In today’s world of information overload, it can be difficult to determine fact from fiction. That’s why we’re teaching critical thinking skills and scientific literacy–to prepare students to think like scientists and engineers, from kindergarten on. This year, we’re rolling out new science standards — and the lessons that helps students learn those standards — across all of our elementary schools. Read the article featured in the San Francisco Examiner.

Schools Again Start Year With Teacher Shortages

Loan forgiveness and service scholarships, teacher residency programs and strong induction programs are a few of the ways states are trying to solve their teacher shortage problems, according to a report released today by the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Learning Policy Institute (LPI). Read the article featured in Education DIVE.

Opening A Computer Science Charter: Advice From A Pioneering Educator

Computer science remains a topic of increasing interest in K-12, with states introducing new standards on computer science and the College Board touting the popularity of its new Advanced Placement course on computer science principles—even as districts struggle with the realities of the “computer science for all” call to action. But what does it take to begin a school with a computer science focus? Education Week chatted with Mashea Ashton, the founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy, a newly opened charter school in the District of Columbia, who shared what she’s learned from others who have begun schools with a computer science curriculum. Read the article featured in Education Week.

A Study Finds Promise In Project-Based Learning For Young Low-Income Children

When a classroom of second graders in Waterford, Mich., studied civics in the fall of 2016, they began by exploring a nearby park in Pontiac. Arriving with their notebooks, the seven-year-olds jotted down safety problems. Back in the classroom, they discussed their ideas for improvement. They created multicolored posters to explain what different departments of local government do, from sanitation to human resources. The kids drafted proposals to clean up messy areas and put soft woodchips under the swings. The 20-lesson unit culminated in a presentation before a Pontiac City Council member named Randy Carter, who listened to the kids make their case at a podium with a microphone and PowerPoint slides. Carter promised to act upon their proposals immediately. It was an effective demonstration of project-based learning, a trend whose roots date back to John Dewey’s educational philosophies and has been spreading through schools across the country over the past five years. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

A New Way To Engage Kids? Science Museum Opens Classroom For Preschoolers

The 20 preschool children who came to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last week weren’t simply on a field trip. Instead, they were there to participate in a new early childhood class at the science museum. Read the article featured in Science.

STEAM Spreads To Subjects From Spanish To Business

Forgetting the notion that STEAM projects need pricey tools or tech know-how helps incorporate those skills across the curriculum. Read the article featured in Education DIVE.

Female, Minority Students Took AP Computer Science In Record Numbers

Female, black and Latino students took Advanced Placement computer science courses in record numbers, and rural student participation surged this year, as the College Board attracted more students to an introductory course designed to expand who has access to sought-after tech skills. Read the article featured in USA Today.

Makerspace Educators Need Professional Development, Too

During my tenure as technology director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School in Miami, the idea of makerspaces — collaborative workspaces that are growing more and more popular across the country — intrigued me, from both a pedagogical and a technological perspective. I decided to base my doctoral thesis on them: “Tinkering in K–12: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study of Makerspaces in Schools as an Application of Constructivist Learning.” What I found during my research was that more professional development on makerspaces is desperately needed. In fact, an astounding 40 percent of makerspace teachers reported that they had received no PD on makerspaces at all. That’s 40 percent too many. PD needs to be available to all administrators and educators interested in implementing these classes that break the traditional teaching mold. Read the article featured in EdTech Magazine.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) team strives to keep NSTA members, teachers, science education leaders, and the general public informed about NSTA programs, products, and services and key science education issues and legislation. In the association’s role as the national voice for science education, its CLPA team actively promotes NSTA’s positions on science education issues and communicates key NSTA messages to essential audiences.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.


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