Friday, May 09, 2014

Educational Readings - the trouble with high stake testing - PISA crumbling/ back to creativity

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This weeks homework!

What if the high stakes tests were wrong? (A thought experiment)

This thought experiment is about the USA, but it doesnt take much extra thinking to adapt it to New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere.

I discovered that by using the achievement gapand standardized test scores for black and brown children, businessmen and politicians were able to usher in a set of market-based reforms that had the underlying mission of destroying public education while maximizing the profits of a selective group.”’

Why Education Reform is Probably Not The Best Way to Fight Poverty

The contention that education is the solution to poverty is being used in many countries, although the evidential basis for this claim is slight, and, as shown by this article, is disputable as well.

The standard line among education reformers today is that the best route to improving educational outcomes is through improvements in teacher quality, but you apparently have to improve a teachers quality by a full standard deviation to get a student even a 1% income boost at age 28.

Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers:Liberal arts and the humanities aren't just for the elite.

We dont intellectually embrace a society where the privileged few get to enjoy the advantages of leisure and wealth while the masses toil on their behalf. Yet thats what a sell-out of the liberal arts entails.

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be Paper

Not strictly educational but then again, consider the implications for schooling.

Paper books were supposed to be dead by now. For years, information theorists, marketers, and early adopters have told us their demise was imminent. Ikea even redesigned a bookshelf to hold something other than books. Yet in a world of screen ubiquity, many people still prefer to do their serious reading on paper.

Tales of the UndeadLearning Theories: The Learning Pyramid

Since the 1960s, experts have been trying to convince people that the learning pyramid is bogus. But for every article written exposing its weaknesses, there seem to be dozens of instances where it is invoked as truth in presentations, websites, and trade publications. We hope that having read this post, you will join the forces of pyramid slaying and base your instructional choices on valid research, not educational myths.

You Cant Bounce Off the Walls If There Are No Walls: Outdoor Schools Make Kids Happierand Smarter (thanks to Ken Woolford)

Real basics!
The obvious is being rediscovered.

Isnt this what we want for our children? This immersion in the natural world, this feeling-at-one-ness, these eyes sparkling with fire. Were learning that grit and stick-to-it-ive-ness are some of the core character traits that determine success in school and in life. Teachers and parents of children in nature preschools and forest kindergartens are finding that mastering puddles is just as important as learning letters in preparing children to find their way through the smartboard jungle.

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms With Emotional Learning (another link from Ken Woolford.)

Rediscovering the obvious, part 2

A growing number of educators and social entrepreneurs across the country are discovering that the secret to learning empathy, emotional literacy, self-awareness, cooperation, effective communication, and many of the other skills classified as social and emotional learning,lies in experience, not in workbooks and rote classroom exercises.

OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide - academics

Crumbling Tower of PISA!!
The mountain of evidence grows ever larger.

In this letter to Dr Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, academics from around the world express deep concern about the impact of Pisa tests and call for a halt to the next round of testing.

On the Edge of Chaos: Where Creativity Flourishes

Creativity definitely wont flourish in a standards based classroom, thats for sure.

For educators who have embraced the notion of the tightly controlled classroom, its a worst-case scenario. But Bilder has a reason for this theory. He tested it by asking children what aspects of a learning environment make them feel most creative. One of the things
they found most valuable in their arts classes was the freedom not to have to seek right and wrong answers,Bilder said. It was that freedom to explore that led them to be increasingly engaged and allowed them to forge connections that allowed them to be more creative.”’

What's Really Wrong With Round Robin Reading?

Im somewhat amazed that this question is being asked.

Key here is the fact that each student is responsible for reading only a very brief portion of the textas little as a few sentences and, at a maximum, a few paragraphs. As a result, they have minimal opportunity to improve either their fluency or their word recognition. This difficulty is further compounded given the fact that other students often jump in when the reader encounters a difficult or unknown word; as a result, the reader never has the chance to figure it out for him or herself.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Were About to Tell You the Secret to Creativity, and You May NOT Want to Sit Down

Bruces comment: Like this. Something we seem to have forgotten in this high tech obsessed world. Rediscovering the real world.

A new Stanford study has revealed that people are 60 percent more creative when walking than when sitting, regardless of whether their environment is indoors or outdoors.

The Goal of Education Is Becoming

Bruce comments: Mark Prensky talks sense. Aligns well with the intent of 2007 New Zealand Curriculumstudents becoming good peopleable to seek, use and create.

Rather than putting so much effort into creating and implementing the common-core standards, we would do far better to design "accomplishment-based education" whereby our kids have the means to become the kinds of people we want them to be. When they leave school, with a strong resume to their credit, they should be creative and effective thinkers, communicators, and doers. Anyone who thinks we've arrived at that goal is fooling himself.


The corporate takeover of society and education.

From Bruces oldies but goodies file - a discussion about the corporatisation of New Zealand education. Overseas readers can play Spot the Coincidences.

The corporate model is pushed on schools by policy makers imposing a policy framework model on schools policy makers who have little or no experience of the reality of the classroom and deliberately the voiceof educationalists are ignored.

Discovery Time - Developing key competencies through activity based, child directed learning.

The Discovery Time programme was developed in an attempt to create a balance

between the skill and knowledge demands of the curriculum and the activity-based, student-directed focus that many teachers believed were essential for 21st century learning.

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