In brief

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A quick mention of some other news:
  • Another study finds that most elementary teachers candidates aren't learning scientifically-based methods of reading instruction. The last in a series mandated by the now-scrapped Reading First program sampled over 2,200 pre-service teachers from 99 institutions, asking participants to rate their own exposure to the components of effective early reading instruction, then testing them on their knowledge of those components. The average score was 57 percent, and most reported a moderate or weak focus on the fundamentals in their programs.
  • The much talked about results out of Tennessee this month reveal which teacher preparation programs are producing effective teachers in that state and which are not. The report card finally puts to some good use the state's pioneering development of value-added data. Confirming that ed schools need to get far more selective and fast, it was Teach For America teachers who out-performed other new teachers in reading, social studies and science, even out-performing veteran teachers in reading. In math, teachers out of highly selective Vanderbilt came out on top.
  • Teachers who shut their doors and find themselves whispering their lectures for fear of being accused of educational malpractice can rest a bit easier. A new studycontrasts teacher estimates of the percentage of time per week spent lecturing versus "problem-solving" (both guided and individual practice) in surveys completed during the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS). Under a variety of models, a 10 percent shift in class time from problem solving to lectures results in an increase, albeit tiny, in student achievement on the TIMMS (<.01 of a standard deviation). Nothing to write home about, but certainly not the educational malpractice teachers are told they'll inflict by resorting to a--gasp!--lecture.

  • Last week's release of the PISA reading, mathematics, and science test results showing the U.S. to be decidedly average in reading and science and below average in mathematics prompted President Obama's call for a "Sputnik moment." Below is the daily schedule of the Seongju High School in Gumi, South Korea which had top marks on the PISA in reading and mathematics and placed third in science among all OECD countries.

Schedule courtesy of Michael Chandler's blog,