Monday, September 22, 2008

Optional SAT: Watch Out Test Prep Industry

A commission led by Harvard's dean of admissions calls for less emphasis on the use of SAT and ACT scores.
“Society likes to think that the SAT measures people’s ability or merit,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said. “But no one in college admissions who visits the range of secondary schools we visit, and goes to the communities we visit — where you see the contrast between opportunities and fancy suburbs and some of the high schools that aren’t so fancy — can come away thinking that standardized tests can be a measure of someone’s true worth or ability.”

Teaching Is a Popular Choice During "Hard Times"

England's Teacher Training Institute approaches nervous bankers, offering a "stable" job.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools is planning to visit London's financial districts in a bid to find people who might re-train as teachers.
The agency (TDA) says the credit crunch has already boosted inquiries about teaching as a career.
Its recruitment website has had a 34% annual increase in traffic.
It also says there has been a 13% increase since last year in the number of people registering an interest in becoming teachers.

Book to Read: Lives on the Boundary

Deborah Meier of Bridging Differences recommends Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary, an alternative to what she phrases as "another way" to educate, in opposition to "boot camp" methods of education. Rather than attempting to change the symptoms of a poor educational system--high drop-out rates, low test scores, etc., she reminds us of the importance of engaging students in the process of education.
Engaging students in pursuit of their own education is possible, and it’s the real “cure”—not just for the crisis of school dropouts, but the larger one of societal dropouts. It requires knowing each other well and having the power to act on that knowledge in respectful ways.
Here's the summary of Lives on the Boundary:
Remedial, illiterate, intellectually deficient—these are the stigmas that define America’s educationally underprepared. Having grown up poor and been labeled this way, nationally acclaimed educator and author Mike Rose takes us into classrooms and communities to reveal what really lies behind the labels and test scores. With rich detail, Rose demonstrates innovative methods to initiate “problem” students into the world of language, literature, and written expression. This book challenges educators, policymakers, and parents to re-examine their assumptions about the capacities of a wide range of students. Already a classic, Lives on the Boundary offers a truly democratic vision, one that should be heeded by anyone concerned with America’s future.