Friday Round-Up 4/27


2012 is flying by, can you believe it’s the last weekend of April already?

9 Ways to Assess without Standardized Tests
It’s that time of year again in the USA when states begin administering their end of the year standardized tests. These tests typically arrive with criticisms attached, and with all of the weight put on the outcome of these assessments (student achievement, teacher assessment, school funding) many wonder if multiple choice, one-size-fits-all testing is really the best way to measure student achievement. If you are looking for alternatives, Lisa Neilsen gives us 9 different ways we could assess student achievement, with no bubble filling required.

MIT launches student-produced educational video initiative
In a new program recently launched by MIT called MIT+K12, MIT students released over 50 original short videos on topics in Science and Engineering, geared towards K-12 students to spark their interest in STEM topics and to demonstrate how fun learning can be. In a 2010 survey on American Teenagers, a shocking 5% of participants claimed they viewed engineers as significant contributors to society (what?!). After watching the videos, 73% of students claimed that they now felt that “science and engineering could be cool.”  You can watch these videos now on the MIT+K12 YouTube channel. These could be an awesome resource for Science, Math and Engineering classes!

‘Free-Range Learners’: Study Opens Window Into How Students Hunt for Educational Content Online
This week at the 9th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference & Workshop in Milwaukee, Glenda Morgan presented the findings from the beginning of her multiyear study on undergraduate study habits. Morgan, an elearning strategist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discovered that many college students hunt for digital texts and videos outside of the coursework assigned by their professor. Morgan was surprised by this trend, that she describes as “Free-range learning”. Many students mentioned they preferred to view materials from well known sources and other universities with large online content banks, like Standford and MIT.

Are College Entrants Overdiagnosed as Underprepared?
In a recent blog post, Judith Scott-Clayton, an assistant professor at the Teachers College, Columbia University, stated that college Placement Exams are directing too many students to remedial college courses. Although from 1996-2004 the rate of students placed in remedial classes remained rather consistant, she found it odd that the number of students placed in these courses after maintaining a 3.5-4.0 GPA in high school nearly doubled, and some students were even placed in these remedial classes after passing a corresponding college level courses in high school. Although remedial classes were initially created to help students, Scott-Clayton feels these classes could do more harm than good to students; students that take remedial courses are more likely to drop out of college then their peers that begin in college level courses.