Why Achievement Test Scores are Poor Indicators of Student Learning and Teacher Effectiveness

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has established a single variable as the way to reward and punish schools, teachers, students and their parents.  The fact that I have used the terms “rewards” and punishments” is evidence enough that the ED is stuck in 19th century psychology. In 2001, the Congress approved the No Child […]

Terrill L. Nickerson: The Paradox of the Common Core

 Terrill Nickerson commented on the previous post on this blog, 6 Reasons Why the Common Core is Not Progressive Ideology.  I thought his comments were important to share as a separate post.  Terrill Nickerson has written an interesting article on how he approaches the Common Core and high-stakes testing in his context of teaching, which […]

6 Reasons Why the Common Core is NOT Progressive Ideology

A growing criticism of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards is that its a way for progressives to inject their philosophies and ideology onto children and youth in American schools. One reader of this blog made this comment about my post in which I discuss why Bill Gates defends the common core. Common Core […]

NAEP Math Scores Insignificantly Affected by the Common Standards

The Common Core State Standards (Common Standards) have been implemented for about four years. According to the developers (the folks over at Achieve) and it’s billionaire financiers, such as Bill Gates, the Common Standards are benchmarked against high performing international standards, and should result in higher achievement scores for American students. According to Achieve, the […]

The Common Core: A Dream Come True for the Publishing & Media Industries

> Imagine what it would be like if every school district in the U.S. used the same core (standards) curriculum, and that every few years, new textbooks and media products needed to purchased. If the Common Standards are fully adopted across the nation, then it will be a booming business for media and publishing companies. […]

Infinity & Beyond: Unbounded Learning and Human Potential

  Figure 1. Unbound Learning Learning is limited by the test-based and standards-based accountability system that holds the reins on the curriculum of American schools. One of the consequences of this system of accountability is the limitations it has imposed on the real curriculum that emerges in the classroom.  Learning is limited, and restricted to […]

Infinity & Beyond: Unbounded Learning and Human Potential

  Figure 1. Unbound Learning Learning is limited by the test-based and standards-based accountability system that holds the reins on the curriculum of American schools. One of the consequences of this system of accountability is the limitations it has imposed on the real curriculum that emerges in the classroom.  Learning is limited, and restricted to […]

In Teaching, Should We Try to be Objective?

In teaching, should we try to be objective? If you are a teacher, or if you have taught school, you most likely dealt with  this question at one time or another.  As you will see, it’s not as easy to answer as we might think. It’s Not Settled Today, there are groups who are calling for […]

Why Standards-Based Teaching is a Hopeless Way to Educate Youth

Why is Standards-Based Teaching a Hopeless Way to Educate Youth?  That is the question to be explored in this post.  At the end of this post is a YouTube video of a high school student’s speech in which he provides research evidence that the Common Core State Standands (CCSS) is a contrivance of educational testing executives […]

The Conundrum of Adolescence, and the Middle School Science Curriculum

Sixth Article in the Series on The Artistry of Teaching Does neoliberal education reform consider the nature of adolescence and the advances in our understanding of how humans learn?  Is it necessary for every American human adolescent to learn the same content, in the same order, and at the same time?  Why should every student […]

Low Levels & Bottom-Feeders: Education Through the Eyes of Educationnext

A colleague in Massachusetts alerted me to an article in Educationnext, an opinion and research site sponsored by the Hoover Institution and The Thomas Fordham Institute.  The article, written by the editor-in-chief of Educationnext, Paul E. Peterson, and Peter Kaplan, an undergraduate, describes the view from these two men at Harvard and what they think […]

Low Levels & Bottom-Feeders: Education Through the Eyes of Educationnext

A colleague in Massachusetts alerted me to an article in Educationnext, an opinion and research site sponsored by the Hoover Institution and The Thomas Fordham Institute.  The article, written by the editor-in-chief of Educationnext, Paul E. Peterson, and Peter Kaplan, an undergraduate, describes the view from these two men at Harvard and what they think […]

Teach Like Vladimir Vernadsky: Education as a Holistic & Dynamic System

I started going to the Soviet Union when it was the USSR in 1981, and for the next 20 years collaborated  with teachers and researchers, particularly Julie Weisberg, Phil Gang and Jennie Springer in the US, Sergey Tolstikov, Galina Manke, and Anatoly Zaklebny in Russia in a mutually designed and developed program, the Global Thinking […]

Teach Like Vladimir Vernadsky: Education as a Holistic & Dynamic System

I started going to the Soviet Union when it was the USSR in 1981, and for the next 20 years collaborated  with teachers and researchers, particularly Julie Weisberg, Phil Gang and Jennie Springer in the US, Sergey Tolstikov, Galina Manke, and Anatoly Zaklebny in Russia in a mutually designed and developed program, the Global Thinking […]

Defunding the Common Core: Back to the Future

Charles Grassley, the Republican Senator from Iowa, has begun the process of removing funding from the Federal Budget that would be used by districts to carry out the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards have raised the ire of not only Republicans and right leaning groups such as the Heartland Institute, but […]

The Power of School Music Programs

Guest Post By Melissa Walker, Executive Director of JazzHouseKids,  and Peter Smagorinsky, Distinguished Research Professor of English Education at the University of Georgia.  This article appeared on Maureen Downey’s Get Schooled Blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Public schools, in general, have become incriminated in the public mind for having failed society. They must be re-envisioned, restructured, reassessed, and […]

The Cooperative-Communal Classroom–>Insights from Nature

Cooperative-communal classrooms are aligned with fundamental ideas that have been formulated from nature.  Cooperation, empathy, mutual aid, and the interdisciplinary nature of the biosphere are fundamental concepts that are implicit in cooperative-communal classrooms. Each has its origin in nature. The rationale for establishing cooperative-communal classrooms can be linked to the theory of evolution by Charles […]

The Cooperative-Communal Classroom–>Insights from Nature

Cooperative-communal classrooms are aligned with fundamental ideas that have been formulated from nature.  Cooperation, empathy, mutual aid, and the interdisciplinary nature of the biosphere are fundamental concepts that are implicit in cooperative-communal classrooms. Each has its origin in nature. The rationale for establishing cooperative-communal classrooms can be linked to the theory of evolution by Charles […]

Students to Spend More Time in School: Is this a Sentence?

The Associated Press reported that five states will add at least 300 hours of time to the school year in program that will involve about 40 schools.  Is a longer day in school a good thing?  Will it be more of the same, that is teaching to the test, or will we see students set […]

¿Is it Not Possible to Charter Teachers for a Change?

¿Is it not possible that if teachers were chartered to design curriculum and assessment methods geared to their own students they might provide an education that is closer to the lived experiences of their student?  ¿Is is possible that by enabling teachers to carry out their work as professionals the way most of them are […]

Evolution as Design

The world is flat; astronauts did not go to the moon; and the Earth is 10,000 years old. A recent poll reported that very few people in the US accept the theory of evolution as a valid explanation for the creation of life on Earth. According to the National Center for Science Education, in a […]

Should All Students Be Held to a Single Set of K-12 Education Standards?

Should all U.S. students meet a single set of K-12 education standards?  In a democracy should all students be held to the same standards? This was the question that Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute  and  Jay Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas  […]

NCTQ Study of Assessment in Teacher Preparation Courses Flunks

In May, 2012, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) issued a report entitled: What Teacher Education Programs Teach About K – 12 Assessment.   Anthony Cody mentioned this study in a recent post entitled Payola Policy: NCTQ Prepares its Hit on Schools of Education. The title intrigued me, so I went over to the NCTQ website, and read […]

Fernbank Science Center Might Be Shut Down!

Fernbank Science Center, a decades old institution owned and operated by the DeKalb County public schools is in danger of being closed due to a budget shortfall of $73 million.  The annual cost of operating Fernbank is about $4.7 million, and it is on the list of  cuts that the DeKalb school board is considering. […]

Guest Post by Ingvar Stål: Education in Finland, Part 1

This post is based on my correspondence with Dr. Ingvar Stål, Senior lecturer in physics, chemistry, and science at the Botby Junior High School. Dr. Stål and I began corresponding three years ago and I wrote about his work in designing inquiry-based and optional science courses at Botby Junior High. Dr. Stål has designed a […]

How Standards are like Brick Walls in the face of Teaching and Learning

Note:  This is the fourth article in a series on the consequences of the authoritarian standards & high-stakes testing. Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, suggested that brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance […]

Peddling Panic: Biased Survey Promotes National Science Standards

Achieve, Inc. stands to make a lot of money for its work creating new science standards. It might not surprise us, therefore, that a survey they commissioned favors the adoption of these standards. But we need to look at these results with skepticism. Does US competitiveness depend on our rankings on test scores? And will new […]

The Radical Idea of Helping Students Construct Their Own Ideas

Helping students construct their own ideas is considered by some educators a subversive idea that runs counter to the present impetus of the Race to the Top and NCLB Waivers. These Federal programs, especially NCLB, have created a narrowing of the curriculum, a data-driven, test-based school culture, and the despicable use of student tests as […]

High-Stakes Testing = Negative Effects on Student Achievement

In earlier posts, I have advocated banning high-stakes testing as a means of making significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course—end-of-year-tests, being promoted, and graduating from high school).  I suggested this because the research evidence does not support continuing the practice in American schools. The research reported here sheds light […]

If We Ban High Stakes Testing, How Can We Assess Learning in Science?

High stakes testing should not be used to make significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course, being promoted, graduating) and should be banned.  In this post we explore formative assessment methods, and show how teachers to make decisions and judgments about student achievement should use a combination of formative and […]

If We Ban High Stakes Testing, How Can We Assess Learning in Science?

High stakes testing should not be used to make significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course, being promoted, graduating) and should be banned.  In this post we explore formative assessment methods, and show how teachers to make decisions and judgments about student achievement should use a combination of formative and […]

The Consequence of Banning High-Stakes Testing in (Science)

American education in general, and science education specifically have been radically and negatively impacted by high-stakes testing. High-stakes testing, as set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), is the idea that the pressure of such tests will increase student achievement.  But one of the major studies cited here finds that the pressure […]

Why Science Educators Need to Oppose High-Stakes Testing

There are many reasons that we can site to oppose the use of high-stakes testing in American schools.  Yesterday, I reported on a case in Florida in which several middle school teachers decided not to do hands-on, inquiry-based activities with their students.  These science teachers decided that a more direct instruction approach was called for, […]

Why Science Educators Need to Oppose High-Stakes Testing

There are many reasons that we can site to oppose the use of high-stakes testing in American schools.  Yesterday, I reported on a case in Florida in which several middle school teachers decided not to do hands-on, inquiry-based activities with their students.  These science teachers decided that a more direct instruction approach was called for, […]

Why in a liberal democracy are we centralizing education reform?

Why is the United States moving toward a centralized reform of education in a society that is based on democratic principles, and at a time when other countries are moving in the opposite direction? In his book, Catching Up or Leading the Way, Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, the University […]

The Race To Write The Next Generation of Science Standards

There is another “race to the top” in education, but this time it’s the race to develop a new generation of science standards. Twenty states will collaborate with Achieve, a standards writing organization that uses donated funds from large corporations and foundations to carry out its tasks. There is a lot of excitement, especially for […]

The Race To Write The Next Generation of Science Standards

There is another “race to the top” in education, but this time it’s the race to develop a new generation of science standards. Twenty states will collaborate with Achieve, a standards writing organization that uses donated funds from large corporations and foundations to carry out its tasks. There is a lot of excitement, especially for […]

First Art of Science Teaching eBook Published

The first in a series of science education eBooks was published today.  The title is Why Do We Teach Science?  You can access the eBook at the link on the top menu, or follow this link. Why do we teach science? is the first of a series of science education eBooks that will be published, and made available […]

9 Questions About Science Teaching I was Asked by a High School Student

An email from a high school student resulted in my taking a final examination about science education.  A student from a high school in Long Island wrote and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for a book the student was writing about education. Here are the questions and my answers.  The questions […]

In a Liberal Democracy, Can Inquiry Science Teaching Flourish with Common Standards?

Can science as inquiry continue to be a primary goal of science teaching in the burgeoning culture of creating common standards, and common high-stakes assessments? This is a question that I raised about a year and half ago. I am returning to the question now since the National Research Council just released its report entitled […]

5 Attributes of the Framework for K-12 Science Education

According to the committee that drafted and wrote the final edition of the Framework for K-12 Science Education, American science education needs a complete overhaul, currently lacks vision, and does not prepare students for a scientifically and technologically-based society. Helen Quinn, Chair of the National Research Council’s Conceptual Framework for K – 12 Science Education […]

5 Criticisms of the Framework for K-12 Science Education

The standards devote insufficient attention to the need for an interdisciplinary curriculum, and represent a contracted view of the “common core” that disregards the role of schools in preparing students for citizenship.  William G. Wraga, Professor, University of Georgia as quoted in Education Week You probably know that the National Research Council has published A […]

National Academy of Science Releases new Framework for K-12 Science Education

What do you want to see in a new framework for K-12 science education? According to the report published today at The National Academies Press, the Framework for K-12 Science Education outlines a broad set of expectations for students in science and engineering in grades K-12. These expectations will inform the development of new standards for […]

Wake Up Next Tueday July 19 to a New Framework for K-12 Science Education

When you wake up next Tuesday, July 19th you’ll only have to wait until 1 P.M. Eastern Time for the announcement from the National Academy Sciences the publication of A New Framework for K-12 Science Education.  You’ll be able to access the framework here after the announcement. You are invited to go to the meeting […]

More than 90% of Students Learned in Spite of the CRCT Erasure Scandal?

Are you surprised? You probably know that Atlanta Schools are in the middle of a test cheating scandal in which student bubble answer sheets were changed by erasing wrong answers to right answers.  Did the students learn, in spite of some teachers’ and administrators’ behavior.  They did because the the teaching practices that were initiated, […]

Why Were Test Answer Sheets Altered? The Atlanta Case, Report #2

I’ve read the complete report on the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) CRCT testing scandal. It’s hard to believe that there was such widespread activity in which student answers on the state’s CRCT bubble sheets were changed. Why? That is the central question of this post. I’ll say upfront, that I don’t know, and the report […]

Science 2.0 Resources

There were some interesting resources identified in this Summer’s edition of The Science Teacher. In a column entitled Science 2.0, the authors bring our attention to The Synapse, a network connecting hundreds of biology teachers worldwide. Developed by Sean Nash just a couple of years ago, the author named the network after the synapse, the […]

Science 2.0 Resources

There were some interesting resources identified in this Summer’s edition of The Science Teacher. In a column entitled Science 2.0, the authors bring our attention to The Synapse, a network connecting hundreds of biology teachers worldwide. Developed by Sean Nash just a couple of years ago, the author named the network after the synapse, the […]

A Bit of Technology History: The Mac

Snagfilms is a great resource for video, documentaries, and films. Here is one that long-time mac users might enjoy. I started using a Mac in 1985, and last month a new i-Mac with a very big screen arrived on my desk. The difference in screen size between my first Mac and the new one that […]

A Bit of Technology History: The Mac

Snagfilms is a great resource for video, documentaries, and films. Here is one that long-time mac users might enjoy. I started using a Mac in 1985, and last month a new i-Mac with a very big screen arrived on my desk. The difference in screen size between my first Mac and the new one that […]

Science As Inquiry Website

This week, the 2nd Edition of Science As Inquiry will be published by Good Year Books. Science as Inquiry is based on the idea that learning is deepened if viewed as a communal experience, and that students are involved in making decisions about not only how they learn, but what they learn. Center stage in […]

Spongelab: A New Resource for Science Teachers

I received a message from Jeremy Friedberg, founder of Spongelab Interactive. It’s a powerful website, and is identified as a Global Science Community. You will find Games & Interactives, Animations, Graphics, and a section For Teachers. The site is “a game itself” and its puts you in charge of what you do on the site. […]

Science as Inquiry

For the past two months I have been involved in a revision of Science As Inquiry, a book I published with Goodyear Publishing in 2000. The book revision will be finished at the end of April, and the new edition will be published in the Fall of 2011. I’ve developed a website for the 2nd […]

Why do we teach science?: The Cultural Argument

In four of the last five posts, I’ve explored the question, Why do we teach science? from four points of view. Using a template by R. Stephen Turner, I’ve presented the arguments for teaching science from economic, democratic, and skills points of view. In this post, I want to use the cultural argument as the […]

Why do we teach science?–the economic argument

In yesterday’s blog post, I raised the question: Why do we teach science anyway?  Do we teach science to help students become curious and to wonder about the world around them?  Do we teach science because various committees and professional societies think that studying science has something special to teach students about the world, and […]

Why do we teach science?

There is a new generation of science standards on the way. The Conceptual Framework for New Science Standards has been developed by a committee selected by the National Research Council, with funding from the Carnegie Foundation. The Framework will guide the development of new standards, which will be written by Achieve, a non-profit organization established […]

Voluntary, nationwide education standards in science. Voluntary?

“Standards as a flag to lead us forth contrasts for me with standards as a way of standardizing our minds” Deborah Meier Voluntary, nationwide education standards in science! Voluntary? I don’t think so. But that is the language being used to describe the National Research Council’s effort, with financial support from the Carnegie Foundation, to […]

STEM Education: Is it Botany or Science Education?

There was an article published today in the New York Times entitled STEM Education has little to do with flowers written by Natalie Angier.  She started her article this way: If you want to talk about bolstering science and math education in this country, I’ll gladly break out my virtual pompoms and go rah. Who […]

Why does the framework for a “new generation” of science standards need to be revised?

Last month in a blog post, I raised questions about the new framework for a new generation of science standards, funded by the Carnegie Corporation, and developed by the National Research Council. In particular I looked at the scant criticism that exists in the literature of the current science standards (NSES). In that post I […]

Why does the framework for a "new generation" of science standards need to be revised?

Last month in a blog post, I raised questions about the new framework for a new generation of science standards, funded by the Carnegie Corporation, and developed by the National Research Council. In particular I looked at the scant criticism that exists in the literature of the current science standards (NSES). In that post I […]

Global Warming: It’s Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

Global Warming: It's Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

In a Liberal Democracy, Can Science Education Flourish With Common Standards?

Over the past two years, there has been a movement to develop a set of common standards in mathematics and reading, and the Carnegie Corporation announced that they would be collaborating with the National Research Council to develop a conceptual framework for a “new generation” of science standards.   Will these developments advance students understanding of […]

Science Teaching at Botby Högstadieskolas: An Experiment in Teaching Science as an Optional Course

Would it be viable to offer science as an optional subject? What would happen to enrollment in science if it were an optional course? Would students sign up for such a course? How could the course be structured to interest students in wanting to take the course? In this post, I am going to feature […]

New Generation of Science Standards: Look to an Earlier Report

In the previous post I talked about the announcement from the National Research Council (NRC) that they will spearhead an effort to develop a new generation of science standards.  One of the major influences on the new effort by the NRC will be a report it published in 2006, entitled Taking Science to School: Learning and […]

The Race to the Top: A Humanistic Perspective

There was a very interesting article in the current issue of the journal Science Education by Peter Fensham of Queensland University, Australia entitled The Link Between Policy and Practice in Science Education.  In the article, Fensham argues that the science education research community “has a rather spectacular record of naivete about educational policy and politics, […]

You’ll Never Use This Again, or What Knowledge is of most Worth?

There was a very interesting editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled You’ll never us this math again.  It was written by Ken Sprague Sr., a high school math teacher.  Mr. Sprague, in his own words says: I’m not advocating an end to math, only an end to math for math’s sake.  I am advocating for […]

You'll Never Use This Again, or What Knowledge is of most Worth?

There was a very interesting editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled You’ll never us this math again.  It was written by Ken Sprague Sr., a high school math teacher.  Mr. Sprague, in his own words says: I’m not advocating an end to math, only an end to math for math’s sake.  I am advocating for […]

Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution May Be Out of Texas Science Standards

UPDATE: The Texas Board of Education approved the science standards BUT teachers will be required to have students “scrutinize” all sides of the theories. Read more here for more details. We are in the Round Top Texas area for two weeks participating in a very large collection of antiques shows held twice a year in […]

Florida Legislators: “Teach Critical Thinking in Science, but Just the Facts, Man in History”

Can you insist on critical thinking in one content area, and then demand that another be taught only as a factual pursuit? Well, that’s what some legislators in the Florida Senate believe. A bill was introduced on February 27, 2009 into the Florida Senate relating to educational instruction. It is a comprehensive bill that will […]

Florida Legislators: "Teach Critical Thinking in Science, but Just the Facts, Man in History"

Can you insist on critical thinking in one content area, and then demand that another be taught only as a factual pursuit? Well, that’s what some legislators in the Florida Senate believe. A bill was introduced on February 27, 2009 into the Florida Senate relating to educational instruction. It is a comprehensive bill that will […]

Social Studies Resources: An Important Website for Science Educators

The purpose of this post is to introduced to you to an important new website that I think is very relevant to science educators.  It is the Social Studies Resources Website. I became aware of the Social Studies Resources website today when I received a newsletter from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC […]

Paradigm Shift: Catching Up with Creative Teachers

I have been writing about change recently, and how change is needed in the science curriculum, and the pedagogy that we use to help students learn science.  Indeed, I’ve suggested we suspend high-risk testing until we can show that this type of assessment model tells us what students know, and how well teachers are teaching. […]

Union of Concerned Students

A bit of play on words, but today I received an email (which was sent to hundreds of people) from Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  In the letter, Knobloch, who sees the election of Obama as a historical moment for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and its supporters, outlined key issues […]

Toward a More Open Science Curriculum

There was a very interesting article in the New York Times entitled High Schools to Cultivate Interest.  The article focused in on a school district that is experimenting with “redefining traditional notions of a college-preparatory education and allowing students to pursue specialized interests that once were relegated to after-school clubs and weekend hobbies.”  As one […]

Science Curriculum—A Global Perspective

In this post I want to announce a new website entitled: Science Curriculum—A Global Perspective. In the last two posts I alluded to science teaching from a global perspective.  In the first of these two posts, entitled Infusing Global Thinking into science teaching, I discussed some examples of how educators have developed programs that infuse […]

Infusing Global ‘Thinking’ into Science Teaching

Some 15 years ago I met Boris Berenfeld, a scientist and researcher working at TERC (he is now a principal researcher at the Concord Consortium) on the Global Lab project, which was developed during the time I was working with colleagues in the US and Russia on the Global Thinking Project (GTP).   Berenfeld was a […]