A Perfect Storm Hits Public Schools

Steven Sellers Lapham and Jack Hassard Public schools in America are under attack from many directions, and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) seems bent on delivering a lethal one-two-three punch. This decade will likely witness more neighborhood schools shutting down, crowded classrooms, excellent teachers fired, and children fobbed off to “online learning programs.” Let’s recall that Prince […]

Test-Based Reform: What Values are we Adding?

Post 2.  Read Post 1 here. This post  was published on Anthony Cody’s blog, Living in Dialogue. Practicing teachers, clinical professors, and researchers who work in the field know that assessing teachers or students requires much more than simply looking at test scores.  And indeed, researchers who have examined the value-added assessment system which purports […]

Test-Based Reform: Where is the Common Core Leading Us?

Part 1 Posted on Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue blog. In a post last week, I reported that Georgia’s Cobb County School System rejected the superintendent’s proposal to hire 50 Teacher for America teachers for schools located in South Cobb.  Many of the South Cobb schools are underperforming schools.  I suggested that this was a good decision, […]

The Fordham Report on Science Standards Gets a “D”

Even reports published by prestigious institutions can be flawed and deserve a low grade.  In my own view, this is the case for the Fordham Institute’s new report entitled The State of State Science Standards that was published recently. Yet when you do a Google search for “Fordham review science standards” there are hundreds of […]

The Fordham Report on Science Standards Gets a "D"

Even reports published by prestigious institutions can be flawed and deserve a low grade.  In my own view, this is the case for the Fordham Institute’s new report entitled The State of State Science Standards that was published recently. Yet when you do a Google search for “Fordham review science standards” there are hundreds of […]

We Have Low Expectations for American Students in Math & Science!

Who the #@!% would make such a statement? Why would such a statement be made about America’s youth? If you go the Broad Foundation Education page you will find the answer to the first question.  This is the first of four statements about American youth, followed by “stark” statistics.  The Broad Foundation says: We have low expectations […]

We Have Low Expectations for American Students in Math & Science!

Who the #@!% would make such a statement? Why would such a statement be made about America’s youth? If you go the Broad Foundation Education page you will find the answer to the first question.  This is the first of four statements about American youth, followed by “stark” statistics.  The Broad Foundation says: We have low expectations […]

Quality Science Teaching

The No Child Left Behind Act is linked to the data that shows schools in California are teaching less science because teachers are pressured to prepare students for the required math and English high-stakes tests. Valerie Strauss writes that Virginia is moving to require that students would only be required to take tests in math […]

The Education Bellwether Governor

In 1982, John Naisbitt published, Megatrends, a book about trends that were transforming our lives.  In the book he identified five states as “bellweather” states—states that were setting trends for the rest of the nation.  The “bellwether” states he identified in 1982 were California, Florida, Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut. Anthony Cody, on his blog Living in […]

Standards-Based and High-Stakes Science Education: Frivolous, Capricious & Unreasonable?

Science educators, especially during the past 50 years, have been instrumental in developing curriculum and teaching methods that are intelligent, prudent, reflective, and thoughtful.  Underlying science education has been the well-advised and deliberate attempt to encourage inquiry- and problem-based teaching.  Not only has this been on solid ground in the U.S., but in most nations […]

Standards-Based and High-Stakes Science Education: Frivolous, Capricious & Unreasonable?

Science educators, especially during the past 50 years, have been instrumental in developing curriculum and teaching methods that are intelligent, prudent, reflective, and thoughtful.  Underlying science education has been the well-advised and deliberate attempt to encourage inquiry- and problem-based teaching.  Not only has this been on solid ground in the U.S., but in most nations […]

NCLB Waivers: The Details in the Devil's Bargain

This post was also published on Anthony Cody’s blog, Living in Dialog at Education Week, January 15, 2012. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) wants to insure that every teacher in the U.S. is evaluated on the basis on student progress on high-stakes achievement tests.  To achieve this, the DOE will issues waivers on some […]

NCLB Waivers: The Details in the Devil’s Bargain

This post was also published on Anthony Cody’s blog, Living in Dialog at Education Week, January 15, 2012. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) wants to insure that every teacher in the U.S. is evaluated on the basis on student progress on high-stakes achievement tests.  To achieve this, the DOE will issues waivers on some […]

The Movement to Ban High-Stakes Testing

Today, I wrote a comment on the United Opt Out National website which has been organized by prominent educators as a movement to end punitive public school testing.  According to the organizers of United Opt Out National, Members of this site are parents, educators, students and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of […]

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Enhances Student Achievement

In an important article in Education Week, Willis D. Hawley and Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, explain why students’ cultural identities are integral to “measuring” teacher effectiveness. As it stands now, student achievement test scores are being used as the measure of teacher effectiveness in terms of the value added measure (VAM).  VAM is a data driven measurement that […]

NCTE Says No to High-Stakes Testing

An article on Education Week reported that the National Council of Teachers of English considered proposals about high-stakes testing and the use of standards in public schools.  According to the authors of the report: the decision unfolded at the organization’s annual convention this past weekend in Chicago. As it does every year, the group accepts […]

In High Stakes Testing, Science Trumped by Math & Reading

This is a post I wrote five years ago today, and it sheds some light on the pressure that school districts experience as a result of high-stakes testing.  In particular, I draw attention to Atlanta cheating scandal which appears to have had its origins about five years ago when I first wrote this post.  There […]

In High Stakes Testing, Science Trumped by Math & Reading

This is a post I wrote five years ago today, and it sheds some light on the pressure that school districts experience as a result of high-stakes testing.  In particular, I draw attention to Atlanta cheating scandal which appears to have had its origins about five years ago when I first wrote this post.  There […]

Can Inquiry Continue to be a Primary Goal of Science Teaching?

Can science as inquiry continue to be a primary goal of science teaching in the burgeoning culture of common standards, and high-stakes testing? 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 released its report entitled A Framework for K-12 […]

The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science: A New eBook

The Art of Teaching Science has just published a new eBook entitled The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science. The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science is a new eBook published by the Art of Teaching Science Weblog, and made available free. This eBook is based on blog posts that were written over the past […]

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 […]

Standardized Testing: Modern Bloodletting?

This is a link to  Standardized Testing: Modern Bloodletting at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog. If you have been reading about banning high-stakes testing, and my criticism of the Common Core State Standards, and more recently the Next Generation of Science Standards, then you will find Vicki Davis’ blog post very pertinent and important.  It […]

New eBook on High-Stakes Testing

A new eBook will soon be published by The Art of Teaching Science Blog with the title: Why Should High-Stakes Testing be Banned? Over the past three months, I have written about the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation of Science Standards, and the corporate take-over of public education.  Living in the Atlanta area, […]

New eBook on High-Stakes Testing

A new eBook will soon be published by The Art of Teaching Science Blog with the title: Why Should High-Stakes Testing be Banned? Over the past three months, I have written about the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation of Science Standards, and the corporate take-over of public education.  Living in the Atlanta area, […]

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, […]

With Out Science Inquiry Activities, Science Test Scores Are Better

In an article in the The Palm Beach News, science teachers discovered that when they threw out the recommended science inquiry and hands on activities, their students improved their scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). I am not writing this as a protest against these science teachers.  They know their students better than […]

With Out Science Inquiry Activities, Science Test Scores Are Better

In an article in the The Palm Beach News, science teachers discovered that when they threw out the recommended science inquiry and hands on activities, their students improved their scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). I am not writing this as a protest against these science teachers.  They know their students better than […]

When It Comes to Science Education Reform, Are We Stuck in the Muck?

Education reform in general, and science education specifically is based on a standards-based reform (SBR) model that has its roots in outcome-based education (OBE).  The intent of OBE  in science education was largely student-centered, in that education was focused on measurable student performances, that are called outcomes.  In fact, many of the progressive models that […]

Achieving a New Generation of Science Standards Published!

The latest in a series of science teaching eBooks was published today and is available from The Art of Teaching Science blog. You can download a free copy of Achieving a New Generation of Science Standards here.

New eBook: Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards

This week, The Art of Teaching Science will publish its third eBook on science education topics based on blog posts at this site.  The new eBook is entitled Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards.  The eBook will be published tomorrow, and will be free to all who visit this blog. The following text […]

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 […]

Misconceptions about International Math & Science Test Scores

Why is it that the perception of science education in the U.S. (and other countries as well) is driven by rankings of students on international test score comparisons?  The perception is that U.S. students are not competitive in the global market place because of their position in the rankings of the scores obtained on tests […]

Misconceptions about International Math & Science Test Scores

Why is it that the perception of science education in the U.S. (and other countries as well) is driven by rankings of students on international test score comparisons?  The perception is that U.S. students are not competitive in the global market place because of their position in the rankings of the scores obtained on tests […]

Some Reasons why the national standards movement is not good for learning

For several years, I have written about the National Standards Movement, and in general, have been critical of the movement, and suggested that in a liberal democracy such as our, common standards seems to the antithesis of our beliefs in the education of citizens. Sometime ago, I wrote this about standards: Standards represent the dogmatism […]

3 Assessment Methods, but Dominated by One

As teachers, we typically use three general approaches to assess student progress.  These include: diagnostic assessment—assessing prior knowledge, attitudes, and abilities, formative assessments–everyday methods that we use to help students improve their learning and understanding of science, as well as a way for teachers to inform and improve their teaching abilities, and summative assessment—the assessment […]

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, […]

Corporate Reform Movement Cause of Atlanta Cheating Scandal

As stated in the Governor’s  Investigative Report a “culture of fear” took over the Atlanta School System, and led to a conspiracy of silence which enabled the bubble sheet erasure scandle to happen. But in the last two posts I have opened the door to examine causes that go beyond the Atlanta School District.  The […]

Grassroots Movement in New York City May Relate to Current Testing Scandal in Atlanta

The Grassroots Education Movement, a group of citizens in New York City, are organizing a campaign against the high stakes use of standardized testing in their schools. Their first meeting will be on July 18th at the CUNY Graduate Center. According the organizers of the Grassroots Education Movement, many citizens feel that their school have […]

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 […]

PISA Test Results Through the Lens of Poverty

PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, released results last month, and you would have thought the sky was falling if you listened to our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.  PISA is an international assessment that is administered to 15 year-old students in participating countries. The PISA assessment has been administered in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. […]

The Fallacy of Focusing on Teachers as a Means to Reform Schooling

Some educators and corporate leaders would have us believe that the single most important factor influencing student achievement is the student’s teacher. They have launched a campaign to use student learning data to rid the schools of ineffective teachers.  There is no research evidence to support the claim that the teacher is the single most significant factor influencing […]

Bill Gates has all the Anwers: Just Ask Him

There are two articles that you might want to read either before or after you read this post. The first article was in the New York Times and is entitled: Teacher Ratings get a New Look, Pushed by a Rich Watcher.  The other article is actually a blog post and is entitled Bill Gates Listens […]

Why are more students relying on tutors in mathematics and science?

Last week I was asked to contribute to the Room for Debate discussion site on The Opinion Pages of the New York Times.  On a nearly daily basis, Room for Debate posses a questions, and solicits contributions from four or five individuals.  The Room for Debate topics that I contributed to was entitled “Why are […]

How Does Student Motivation Factor into Assessing Student Achievement and Teacher Performance

For several days, I have been writing about the movement to standardize the curriculum, indeed, to develop a single set of standards for the entire nation—15,000 school districts. So far, Achieve.org has written the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and Reading, and by next year will have completed the New Generation of Science Standards. This […]

Some Questions About the NSTA Position on the New Generation of Science Standards

In the most recent issue of NSTA Reports (National Science Teachers Association), Francis Eberle, NSTA Executive Director wrote an opinion piece entitled First Steps Toward New Science Standards. Although not an official position of the NSTA membership, the article does outline the general attitude of the organization toward the recent effort to develop a Conceptual […]

Race to the Top Winners

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced the Round Two winners in the competition for $4.5 billion in the Race to the Top Fund. If you recall, Delaware and Tennessee were the only states to receive funding in Phase I of the competition. Now, 9 states and the District of Columbia schools were selected as […]

Art of Teaching Science Website Survey

Dear Readers, The link that follows will take you a survey that I have designed to solicit your feedback on the Art of Teaching Science Blog. The Art of Teaching Science Blog was started in 2005, and has had over a million visitors. It would be valuable for us to know what you think about […]

DEM, LEM, and TEM: The New Language of Accountability & Standards

Okay. Here is a multiple choice question for you to consider: DEM, LEM, and TEM are: a. Nicknames for the latest X-Box game superheroes b. Abbreviations for newly discovered planets outside the solar system c. Names of three new political parties in the State of Georgia d. Acroynms for Georgia’s system wide approach to effectiveness […]

DEM, LEM, and TEM: The New Language of Accountability & Standards

Okay. Here is a multiple choice question for you to consider: DEM, LEM, and TEM are: a. Nicknames for the latest X-Box game superheroes b. Abbreviations for newly discovered planets outside the solar system c. Names of three new political parties in the State of Georgia d. Acroynms for Georgia’s system wide approach to effectiveness […]

Race to the Top Finalists: A Map View

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 15 states and the District of Columbia were chosen as finalists in the first phase of The Race to the Top Fund ($4 billion). Forty states and D.C. applied for funding in this first competition which required a single proposal from each state (Please follow this link […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Generation of Science Standards: Part of the Common Standards Movement?

The National Research Council has received funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to develop a framework for a new generation of science standards (K-12) based on the idea of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary core ideas. A committee of experts has already met (January 28-29) to begin the process of developing the conceptual framework. The […]

The Danger in Using a Test Score as a Measure of Student Achievement

It doesn’t matter whether you are high school student or teacher in Madrid,  Manila, Marietta, Manchester, Moscow, Mumbai, or Montevideo, the chances are that you will study or teach the same concepts in the high school science curriculum.  The science concepts that I have shown using  “Wordle” (Wordle a neat program for generating ‘word clouds’ […]

Using Achievement Scores to Support Myths and Build Fear

There was an interesting discussion in Yong Zhao’s book, Catching Up, or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization about how John F. Kennedy used the launching of Sputnik to suggest that a “Missile Gap” existed between the United States and Soviet Union, that the United States was behind. It turns out […]

Race to the Top—Application Due, January 19!

I am republishing a post that I made in October in which I discussed the U.S. Department of Education program, The Race to the Top Fund.  Each state can choose to submit ONE application, and that application is due in Washington on January 19, 2010.  You can go to the previous link and read the […]

Progressive Science Education

I have been reading and have referenced on this weblog the October 2009 special issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) on the topic/theme “Scientific Literacy and Contexts in PISA Science.”  The articles in the special issue provide a broad view of international testing as conceived in PISA, as well as the […]

Should PISA Type Assessments be used to evaluate Teacher Performance?

There is a clear mandate to build “data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices.” This is one of the “reform areas” in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund. A second area of reform is the adoption of internationally benchmarked standards and […]

The Race to the Top: Climbing Mt. PISA

In the last post, I referenced a recent special issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching which was devoted to an exploration of scientific literacy and context in PISA Science.  PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) is one of two (the other is TIMSS) major international assessments of science that has captured […]

PISA: Can this test measure the outcomes of progressive science education

Long title, sorry.  But, Volume 46, Issue 8 (October 2009) of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching was devoted to Scientific Literacy and Context in PISA Science.  The entire issue was devoted to this theme.  In one of the articles in this volume (Scientific Literacy, PISA, and Socioscientific Discourse: Assessment for Progressive Aims of […]

The Race to the Top: Hold on, there!

For some reason I have become obsessed with reading about The Race to the Top, and how the present U.S. Department of Education will use these funds to reform education.  As with large scale efforts such as this one, achievement testing has become a central aspect of any program, projects, or effort suggested at the […]

Will “Common Tests” Answer the Question: What knowledge is of most worth?

There was an article in the recent issue of Education Week entitled Experts to Weigh in on Common Tests.  They will have their chance to speak to U.S. Department of Education in Atlanta, Boston and Denver. A bit of background.  Forty-eight of the 50 states have agreed to work together to develop “common academic standards”  […]

Will "Common Tests" Answer the Question: What knowledge is of most worth?

There was an article in the recent issue of Education Week entitled Experts to Weigh in on Common Tests.  They will have their chance to speak to U.S. Department of Education in Atlanta, Boston and Denver. A bit of background.  Forty-eight of the 50 states have agreed to work together to develop “common academic standards”  […]

Students Lag in Science So Says the National Center for Education Statistics

There was story on cnn.com today that caught my attention entitled U.S. students behind in math, science, analysis says.  The analysis was written by the National Center of Educational Statistics and was a summary analysis of several international assessments including the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the Program for International Student […]

Some Say "Unscientific America;" Pew Report Says Americans Like Science

This week the Pew Research Center reported results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The report is entitled Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago: Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media.   You can read […]

Some Say “Unscientific America;” Pew Report Says Americans Like Science

This week the Pew Research Center reported results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The report is entitled Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago: Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media.   You can read […]

The Graduation/Dropout-Rate: A follow up

I’ve been away on a trip to England for the past two weeks; this is the first post since the trip. On my way out of the Atlanta airport, I scanned the headlines of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and read the cover story headline: Student rolls don’t add up: Data shows thousands unaccounted for.  The […]

The Grade, End-of-Course Test Gap

There were two opinion pieces in the editorial section of Sunday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper to shed light on an issue that surfaced as the result of a report released by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The report (Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Releases Grading Alignment Study) was designed to find out what relationship […]

Freedom to Change & Transform the Practice of Science Teaching

Carl Rogers wrote a book many years ago entitled Freedom to Learn.  One of the most significant chapters in his book was “My way of facilitating a class.”  I read this chapter many times, and it had a profound influence on the way that I facilitated my classes at Georgia State University.  As a result […]

Freedom to Change & Transform the Practice of Science Teaching

Carl Rogers wrote a book many years ago entitled Freedom to Learn.  One of the most significant chapters in his book was “My way of facilitating a class.”  I read this chapter many times, and it had a profound influence on the way that I facilitated my classes at Georgia State University.  As a result […]

Should Student (Science) Test Scores be used to evaluate teachers?

I ask this as a question, rather than making it a declarative statement.  But I was prompted to write about this topic based on a lead article in yesterday’s USA Today entitled Teachers take test scores to the bank as bonuses. The author described some examples of school districts offering bonuses to teachers if their students’ […]

Panel Calls into Question the use of SATs and ACTs for Admission

I am driving to Texas, where I will be for a couple of weeks. Tonight I read an article in the New York Times entitled College Panel Call for Less Focus on SATs. In an earlier post, I suggested that high school high-stakes examinations be eliminated.  Today’s article only reaffirmed my conviction that high school […]