SAT Subject Tests invite shallow learning

Every state requires high school students to take a US History survey course. For the makers of the SAT Subject Test, every event, every President, every person of note is of equal importance and equally likely to show up on the examination. If I were a college admissions director I would want an assessment that sought to tease out a young person’s sense of what it means to be an engaged citizen, not how many facts they know about President James Garfield.

Connected Test-Taking: Is It Cheating?

Students sit in the test-taking room, with full access to computers and wireless connections. As they work on national exams, they can be seen accessing the internet from time to time. Are the results from this testing going to be corrupted because these test-takers are not isolated from global information resources? Cheating — or high-tech cheating, as it is called today — what is that exactly? And is it really a problem? Do our old-school definitions of cheating need rethinking?

Civility, Social Justice, Empathy & Social Networking in the 21st Century Classroom

My teaching mission is simple yet absolutely necessary to helping my students prepare for their futures. I began this school year with a list of questions that could help me envision, plan, reflect and maintain focus on where my students and I needed to be when the last bell rings in late May. Out of my personal questioning and reflection came what would be the essential question for my 11th grade social studies students during our time together: “What does it mean to be a citizen nationally, globally and digitally?”

What Do We Need Our Teachers to Be?

What can we do, as administrators, to promote teacher learning on a daily basis? How can we structure our organizations to allow for collaboration and communication among peers, embed opportunities for both face-to-face and online learning, help our teachers stay informed and familiar with current research and practices (in content, pedagogy, and technology), model for them that we ourselves are growing professionally, and help the organization as a whole realize that complacency must be eradicated?

Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2011

I’m a little reluctant to follow the popular annual tradition of announcing a “Top 10” — mostly because I’ve read every one of the 100+ articles we’ve posted since our March launch. Whatever the click counts, I know how much great content we have to share, written by a remarkable cross-section of creative and visionary educators. Still, a colleague assures me that Top 10 lists are a good way for folks to sample the product and become regular readers. Reason enough. And I’m sure you won’t mind if I add a few extra!