Valid, Reliable, and Unfair

As schools across the country anxiously await the results of their new Common Core–aligned assessments, there’s one thing I wish all policy makers understood: The reading comprehension tests are valid, reliable, and unfair. Standards-based assessments mean very different things in reading and math. The math standards include mathematics content—they clearly specify what math knowledge and…

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Math and Science Increase Wages–Even Without College

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of reports showing huge disparities in the courses offered by high schools, with especially serious problems in access to advanced math, chemistry, and physics. I think such inequities are an embarrassment to the very idea of America. But I’ve met people who disagree. They see alternative courses…

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The (Knowledge) Rich Get Richer

If I could accomplish just one thing in my career, it would be to have all leaders take equalizing opportunity to learn seriously. If knowledge equality were a top priority, much would change from early childhood through college. One thing that would no longer be tolerated is denying access to essential courses. According to a…

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“Knowledge Capital” Determines Economic Growth

With the recession still fresh in our minds and questions about whether college is worth the cost, some may be wondering just how much schooling matters. If they go searching for answers, they may even find confusing claims like this: “at the global level, no relationship has been found between a more educated population and…

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Seeking Confirmation

Of all the problems with school reform, one of the biggest seems to be the tendency to seek bits of evidence that confirm preconceived notions. Silver bullets, tunnel vision, blind faith—call it whatever you want—somehow, those of us interested in school improvement have to stop searching for THE change. There is no one change that…

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DC: Embarking on a Knowledge Revolution

Over the past few years, an increasing number of DC schools have been revamping their curricula to teach dramatically more knowledge. Frustrated by low reading scores and nudged by the Common Core standards’ explicit call for building knowledge across subjects, they’re now convinced that broad knowledge—not hour after hour of practicing comprehension strategies—is the key…

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Districts Could Do More for the Most Vulnerable Students

In my last post I highlighted two districts that are equalizing opportunity to learn and increasing teacher collaboration through districtwide curriculum and assessments. Across schools, the same knowledge and skills are being taught, and the same expectations are being met. Imagine what it would be like to have to transfer schools mid-year in one of…

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Collaborating on Curriculum and Assessment: Two Districts Lead the Way

“Educators and policymakers must avoid the trap of limiting their discussions to questions which the existing data can readily answer, a practice reminiscent of the old joke about looking for lost car keys under the streetlight because that is where the searcher can see, not where the keys were lost.” Chrys Dougherty, a principal research…

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Does Class Trump Ability?

“A 13-year study that tracked students of different socioeconomic status found that ‘class trumps ability’ most times when it comes to college graduation, including when comparing top-achieving poor teenagers with top-achieving affluent teenagers.” That’s the summary by Chalkbeat New York (which is an excellent source of info on NYC schools). It links to a New…

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Knowledge For Literacy

By Marilyn Jager Adams Marilyn Jager Adams, a visiting scholar in the Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences Department of Brown University, is internationally regarded for her research and applied work in cognition and education, including the seminal text Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. This post, which originally appeared on the Shanker Blog, is adapted from Literacy Ladders,…

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