September 21 - September 28, 2014

A short but potent list this week.  Interested in character?  Don't miss the piece on Duckworth's new site about teaching character.    Revamping teacher evaluation?  Three good articles here, including the feature described below.  And much more.

On innovation: the New Yorker article on Bard College and Leon Botstein (Bard's president of almost forty years) paints a picture of what it means to be bold and innovative in education today.  While the article also highlights Bard's financially precarious position, it seems important not to assume that these two factors are related, but reflect the leader's character.  Rather, schools in more financial stable or conservative positions should take this as inspiration for being visionary.

Also, in the midst of the recent surge of articles on teacher evaluation, the NPR piece by Anya Kamenetz references a review of dozens of other studies.  Very helpfully, the study it describes closes with a list of conclusions and recommendations.  This is available in the linked study and is recommended for any school looking at its evaluation practices.  See also the two articles on teacher evaluations in the PD section.

Lastly, if you're a school leader looking to foster innovation, don't miss the piece on how to shape your innovation budget.



          Teacher Evaluations: A Review
          NPR, 9/26/14 [Study]
          "Here we examine student course evaluations from a statistical perspective.  We 
          argue that averages of rating scores should not even be calculated, much less 
          compared across instructors, courses, or departments.  Instead, frequency tables 
          should be used to summarize scores.  It is crucial to report survey response rates, 
          not merely the number of respondents.  Finally, we recommend complementary 
          sources of evidence that can be combined with student teaching evaluations to 
          provide more meaningful and reliable formative and summative assessments of 

          Bard College Is Innovating In Ways We Should All Pay Attention To
          New Yorker, 9/29/14
          "Freshmen arrive on campus three weeks before the fall semester starts, not to 
          river-raft or play getting-to-know-you games, but to study philosophy, literature, 
          and religious texts for five hours a day.  In January, they are required to stay on 
          campus and work in science labs... Bard... saw a thirty-per-cent increase in 
          applications this year."

          What Character Is, and How To Teach It.  Duckworth Aggregates It All.
          Character Lab, 9/1/14
          "Character is a person's disposition to think, feel, and act in ways that help oneself 
          and others... Research tells us that we can develop and practice these skills 
          [curiosity, gratitude, grit, optimism, self-control, social intelligence, zest], just like 
          we can with traditional subjects."

          High Schools Are Offering Credit for MOOCs.  Is Yours?
          EdWeek, 9/23/14
          "Last school year, 13 juniors and seniors in the 6000-student Andover, Mass., 
          school system enrolled in edX courses and received extracurricular credit--but no 
          grades--upon completion of a pass-fail class.  The district's goal was to provide its 
          students with a more rigorous and extensive list of course offerings... All but two 
          students at Andover high completed and passed their EdX courses, an 
          accomplishment... attributed in part to the school's guidance counselors' making 
          sure students were prepared for the higher-level coursework before they enrolled."


          40 Years Later, The Marshmallow Test Designer Writes A Book
          Atlantic, 9/24/14


          Does Being Bilingual Help With Math?
          Pacific Standard, 9/24/14


          Digital Proficiency Tied to Income Level
          New York Times, 9/23/14


          How To Make Room for Innovation In Your Budget
          Harvard Business Review, 9/24/14


          Project-Based Science Class Shows Improved Results
          KQED, 9/26/14


          New York Times Gathers Voices On Student Feedback in Evaluations
          New York Times, 9/17/12

          Rethinking Teacher Evaluation, Particularly Student Feedback
          Slate, 4/24/14


          Slow Reading: Reduces Stress, Replenishes Energy
          Wall Street Journal, 9/16/14

          Lawyer Makes Editing Program That Might Just Help Teach Writing
          WordRake, 3/1/14

          Are We Innovating Ourselves Out of Reading and Writing?
          Fast Company, 9/17/14


          Let Students Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences
          KQED, 9/23/14

          What Do Americans Think About Public Education? (It's Not All Bad)
          Phi Delta Kappan, 10/1/14

          Who In the World Is Thriving, and Why?  (Hint: Education Matters)
          Gallup, 9/23/14

          Want Future Job Security?  Major in Drones.
          Business Insider, 9/22/14