The State of the American High School in 2024 — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Over the past 120 days, we’ve conducted tours of over 50 high schools in more than 1,000 classrooms across various cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Northern Colorado, Kansas City, Twin Cities, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. These schools were purposefully selected for their dedication to real world learning, positioning them at the forefront of innovative education. These visits showed schools leading the way into new pathways, active learning methods, and work-based learning initiatives. From our observations at these leading schools, we’ve identified 8 key insights about the state of American high schools.


We are on the brink of a significant transformation in how education qualifications are perceived and valued, thanks to a strategic move by ETS to make Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) a subsidiary. This pivotal development marks a shift from traditional metrics of educational success—courses and grades—to a more nuanced representation of student abilities through skills transcripts.

The partnership between ETS and MTC is not just a merger of organizations, but a fusion of visions that aim to recalibrate educational assessment. The collaboration is set to advance “Skills for the Future,” focusing on authentic, dynamic assessment methods that provide clear, actionable insights into student capabilities. This shift away from the century-old Carnegie Unit model, which measures educational attainment by time rather than skill mastery, aims to foster learning environments that prioritize personal growth over time spent in a classroom.

As we move forward, this approach could redefine success in education, making learning experiences more adaptive, equitable, and aligned with the demands of the modern world.

See:
Skills Transcripts at Scale: Why The ETS & MTC Partnership is a Big Deal — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • One of the core problems is that education is based on time rather than learning.
  • We finally have a chance to move courses and grades into the background and foreground powerful personalized learning experiences and capture and communicate the resulting capabilities in much more descriptive ways—and do it at scale

How to Help Older Students Who Struggle to Read — from nataliewexler.substack.com by Natalie Wexler
Many students above third grade need help deciphering words with multiple syllables

Kockler hypothesizes that the reading struggles of many older students are due in large part to two issues. One has to do with “linguistic difference.” If a child’s family and community speak a variant of English that differs from the kind generally used in books and by teachers—for example, African-American English—it could be harder for them to decode words and connect those words to their meanings.

The Decoding Threshold
The other issue has to do with difficulties in decoding multisyllabic words. Kockler points to a couple of large-scale research studies that have identified a “decoding threshold.”

In theory, students’ reading comprehension ability should improve as they advance to higher grade levels—and it often does. But the researchers found that if students are above fourth grade—past the point where they’re likely to get decoding instruction—and their decoding ability is below a certain level, they’re “extremely unlikely [to] make significant progress in reading comprehension in the following years.” The studies, which were conducted in a high-poverty, largely African-American district, found that almost 40% of fifth-graders and 20% of tenth-graders included in the sample fell below the decoding threshold.


What Is Doxxing, and How Can Educators Protect Their Privacy Online? — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

The education profession relies on teachers being accessible to their students and families and open to sharing with colleagues. But a little information can be a dangerous thing.


 

 

Rise Of Homeschooling Is Making A Transformative Impact On Education — from forbes.com by Sarah Hernholm

In 2019, prior to remote learning, approximately 2.5 million students were homeschooled in the United States. This number has risen significantly, with estimates indicating that almost 4 million students are being homeschooled nationwide.

The homeschooling educational approach allows parents or guardians to educate their children at home rather than sending them to a traditional public or private school. Homeschooling families typically design their own curriculum or use pre-designed curricula tailored to their children’s needs and interests. In many cases, homeschooling is a choice made by families seeking more flexibility, personalized instruction, or alignment with their values and beliefs about education

 

 

Learning On Purpose | What problem do you want to solve? — from michelleweise.substack.com by Dr. Michelle R. Weise

I quickly decided to take a different tack with my students, and instead asked each of them, “What problem in the world do you think you want to solve? If you could go to a school of hunger, poverty, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health … what kind of school would you want to attend?” This is when they started nodding vigorously.

What each of them identified was a grand challenge, or what Stanford d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg has called: purpose learning. In a great talk for Wired, Greenberg asks,

What if students declared missions not majors? Or even better, what if they applied to the School of Hunger or the School of Renewable Energy? These are real problems that society doesn’t have answers to yet. Wouldn’t that fuel their studies with some degree of urgency and meaning and real purpose that they don’t yet have today?

 

Before The Year Ends, Audit Your Own Choices as a Teacher — from thebrokencopier.substack.com/ by Marcus Luther
Included: a reflection form you can use, if you want!

However, in my experience, far too often there is too little time actually spent considering and reflecting upon the choices we make as teachers.

So that’s what I wanted to write about today—along with a tool that I’m using refocus my own reflections around the choices I’ve made in my classroom this year.
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A couple other items re: teaching:


Positive behavior strategies: A guide for teachers — from understood.org by Amanda Morin

What you’ll learn

  • Why use positive behavior strategies?
  • What do positive behavior strategies look like?
  • How do I put positive behavior strategies into practice?
  • How can families support this at home?
  • Additional resources and research

Empathetic sentence starters for teachers — from understood.org by Amanda Morin
Learn how sentence starters can help you respond to your students with empathy. Get a one-page printable of empathetic sentence starters to help you get started.

Before jumping into fix-it mode, ask some open-ended questions and give kids time to answer. Try not to make assumptions or impose your viewpoint. Use sentence starters like these:

  • Could you tell me a little more?
  • Can you tell me what you need right now?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share?
  • Would you like my help in figuring this out?

Average Teacher Pay Passes $70K. How Much Is It in Your State? — from edweek.org by Mark Lieberman

For the first time ever, the average teacher salary in America has topped $70,000 this school year.

Teacher salaries are growing faster than at any previous point since the Great Recession—but with inflation factored in, teachers still take home less on average than they did a decade ago, according to the nation’s largest teachers’ union.

The nationwide average teacher salary during the 2023-24 school year is $71,699, the National Education Association estimates in its annual report that ranks and analyzes teacher pay by state.

 

Educators help children and teens learn how to identify fake news — from WMUK.org by Kalloli Bhatt and Sue Ellen Christian

Last year at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, kids could learn about how misinformation is made and how to avoid it. Now the media scholar behind the exhibit is adapting it for libraries.

A new exhibit for libraries

That concern also drove the “Wonder Media” exhibit that ran through last year at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Sue Ellen Christian is a communications professor at Western Michigan University. The exhibit was her idea. Full disclosure: I’m a former student of Christian’s. We met in her office on campus.

“It’s really important for our entire society to think about the importance of facts and truth to a democracy,” said Christian. “And without an informed citizenry, we cannot have a healthy democracy.”

Christian recently received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, based in Washington D.C., to adapt the Wonder Media exhibit for public libraries. It’s designed to reach middle-school-age children.

Mainly, with her grant, Christian wants to develop something for students whose schools do not have librarians anymore. The website associated with the exhibit has resources for students, teachers, and libraries.

 

Are two teachers better than one? More schools say yes to team teaching — from hechingerreport.org by Neal Morton
Early research shows it cuts turnover and improves teachers’ job satisfaction

The model, known as team teaching, isn’t new. It dates back to the 1960s. But Arizona State University resurrected the approach, in which teachers share large groups of students, as a way to rebrand the teaching profession and make it more appealing to prospective educators.

In Mesa, teachers working on a team leave their profession at lower rates, receive higher evaluations and are more likely to recommend teaching to a friend.

Early research also indicates students assigned to educator teams made more growth in reading and passed Algebra I at higher rates than their peers.


Question: What Early Advice Had a Lasting Impact on Your Teaching? — from edutopia.org
Share the pivotal advice that shaped your teaching and learn from others in our community.


What Districts With the Worst Attendance Have in Common — from edweek.org by Sarah D. Sparks

It is tough to bring students back to the classroom once chronic absenteeism rates begin to climb. As more districts struggle with historically high absenteeism, new research suggests they may need a more systemic approach to reengaging students.

A new working paper on Michigan schools released by the Annenberg Center found most school districts with severe attendance problems did not directly address absenteeism when planning school improvement strategies. Among those that did focus on improving attendance, few coordinated their interventions across schools and aligned interventions to combat the specific barriers keeping students from school.

“If you think about the reasons that families are missing school, informing families about their children’s attendance is certainly important, but it’s not like the primary driver of absenteeism,” Singer said, “so there’s a disconnect.”


3 Strategies for Successfully Starting Your Career as a School Leader — from edutopia.org by Alexandra Auriemma
An assistant principal near the end of her second year in the job shares her advice for those moving into leadership roles.

However, I’ve learned that effective leadership isn’t about having all of the answers; it’s about knowing which questions to ask. Effective leaders listen deeply and ask questions that shape people’s thinking, moving the organization from where it is to where it needs to go. 


Building Better Schools: The art of leading change in education — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Thigpen

Today’s K12 students are spending the vast majority of their time in classrooms listening to answers to questions they did not ask and following rules they did not have a hand in making. Given that this dynamic goes on for years, what is it doing to students’ minds and spirits? To their agency and empowerment? Are we unintentionally graduating dependent young adults?

But what if the opposite were true? What if schools empowered children to flourish? What if schools were the places where they could explore, identify, express, and develop their thoughts, feelings, and goals? There’s power in the uniqueness of every child. It’s time that school designs honor students’ unique calling, preferences, and goals, and encourage them to pursue those. It’s time to move fully into a new era for learning where learners can develop greater self-leadership than ever before.

 

 

 

The AI Tools in Education Database — from aitoolsdirectory.notion.site; via George Siemens

Since AI in education has been moving at the speed of light, we built this AI Tools in Education database to keep track of the most recent AI tools in education and the changes that are happening every day. This database is intended to be a community resource for educators, researchers, students, and other edtech specialists looking to stay up to date. This is a living document, so be sure to come back for regular updates.


Another Workshop for Faculty and Staff — from aiedusimplified.substack.com by Lance Eaton
A recent workshop with some adjustments.

The day started out with a short talk about AI (slides). Some of it is my usual schtick where I do a bit of Q&A with folks around myths and misunderstandings of generative AI in order to establish some common ground. These are often useful both in setting the tone and giving folks a sense of how I come to explore generative AI: with a mixture of humor, concern, curiosity, and of course, cat pics.

From there, we launched into a series of mini-workshops where folks had time to first play around with some previously created prompts around teaching and learning before moving onto prompts for administrative work. The prompts and other support materials are in this Workshop Resource Document. The goal was to just get them into using one or more AI tools with some useful prompts so they can learn more about its capabilities.


The Edtech Insiders Rundown of ASU+GSV 2024 — from edtechinsiders.substack.com by by Sarah Morin, Alex Sarlin, and Ben Kornell
And more on Edtech Insiders+, upcoming events, Gauth, AI Reading Tutors, The Artificial Intelligence Interdisciplinary Institute, and TeachAI Policy Resources

Alex Sarlin

4. Everyone is Edtech Now
This year, in addition to investors, entrepreneurs, educators, school leaders, university admins, non-profits, publishers, and operators from countless edtech startups and incumbents, there were some serious big tech companies in attendance like Meta, Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Amazon, Tiktok, and Canva. Additionally, a horde of management consultancies, workforce organizations, mental health orgs, and filmmakers were in attendance.

Edtech continues to expand as an industry category and everyone is getting involved.


Ep 18 | Rethinking Education, Lessons to Unlearn, Become a Generalist, & More — Ana Lorena Fábrega — from mishadavinci.substack.com by Misha da Vinci

It was such a delight to chat with Ana. She’s brilliant and passionate, a talented educator, and an advocate for better ways of learning for children and adults. We cover ways to transform schools so that students get real-world skills, learn resilience and how to embrace challenges, and are prepared for an unpredictable future. And we go hard on why we must keep learning no matter our age, become generalists, and leverage technology in order to adapt to the fast-changing world.

Misha also featured an item re: the future of schooling and it contained this graphic:


Texas is replacing thousands of human exam graders with AI — from theverge.com by Jess Weatherbed

The Texas Tribune reports an “automated scoring engine” that utilizes natural language processing — the technology that enables chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to understand and communicate with users — is being rolled out by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to grade open-ended questions on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams. The agency is expecting the system to save $15–20 million per year by reducing the need for temporary human scorers, with plans to hire under 2,000 graders this year compared to the 6,000 required in 2023.


Debating About AI: An Easy Path to AI Awareness and Basic Literacy — from stefanbauschard.substack.com by Stefan Bauschard
If you are an organization committed to AI literacy, consider sponsoring some debate topics and/or debates next year and expose thousands of students to AI literacy.

Resolved: Teachers should integrate generative AI in their teaching and learning.

The topic is simple but raises an issue that students can connect with.

While helping my students prepare and judging debates, I saw students demonstrate an understanding of many key issues and controversies.

These included—

*AI writing assessment/grading
*Bias
*Bullying
*Cognitive load
*Costs of AI systems
*Declining test scores
*Deep fakes
*Differentiation
*Energy consumption
*Hallucinations
*Human-to-human connection
*Inequality and inequity in access
*Neurodiversity
*Personalized learning
*Privacy
*Regulation (lack thereof)
*The future of work and unemployment
*Saving teachers time
*Soft skills
*Standardized testing
*Student engagement
*Teacher awareness and AI training; training resource trade-offs
*Teacher crowd-out
*Transparency and explainability
*Writing detectors (students had an exaggerated sense of the workability of these tools).

 

Meeting Students’ Needs for Emotional Support — from edutopia.org by Zi Jia Ng
A new survey finds that a large percentage of students don’t feel that they have an adult to turn to at school when they’re troubled.

Only 55 percent of elementary school students (grades three through five), 42 percent of middle school students, and 40 percent of high school students in the United States have an adult at school they can talk to when they feel upset or stressed, according to a survey of more than 200,000 students across 20 different states. At every age, students benefit from a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

Here’s one strategy for helping to ensure that every student has a trusted adult at school.


Getting Middle and High School Students With Low Grades Back on Track — from edutopia.org by Christine Boatman
By sitting down with students and laying out just what they need to do to pass, teachers can give them the tools to succeed.

AN ANTIDOTE TO PROCRASTINATION
There are effective preventive measures that teachers can take to support middle and high school students with time-management and organizational skills. Still, some students inevitably may find themselves behind at the end of the semester and need individualized Tier 2 interventions as a result of their procrastination.

A Tier 2 strategy that teachers can use to support student efforts to pass classes during the end-of-the-semester scramble is the creation of individual PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycles. A PDSA cycle is a process in which teachers and students work together to create a plan for improvement; implement, or do, the plan; study if the plan’s actions were successful; and act to create long-term improvement actions based on the results of the plan.

In PDSA cycles, teachers work with their students to create plans for success. These plans can be used either with a whole group or on an individual basis. Through working one-on-one with students this way, I’ve seen large gains in student achievement and agency.


A Student’s Perspective on Career and Interview Readiness — from gettingsmart.com by Tyler Robert and Todd Smith

Key Points

  • Sharing experiences in real-world learning is an asset when interviewing for early career opportunities.
  • Building confidence in not only being interviewed but also speaking about your skills in common language is a key part of creating effective pathways.

Asking Students What They Would Do If They Were The Teacher — from thebrokencopier.substack.com by Marcus Luther
one of my favorite practices we’ve normed in our classroom

Though it had been a bit since our previous check-in, the major drop in how students were doing overall was staggering—yet also very much tracked with the “vibe” of the classroom of late: students still feel pretty good about what we’re doing, but overall are exhausted and stressed, each in their own way but collectively as well.

My plan on Monday, then?

To share these results with the entire classroom followed by a simple question:

“If you were the teacher and you saw this feedback, what would you think and, more importantly, what would you do?”

And then I’ll listen to what they have to say.

Reflecting back on my own classroom over the years, though, too often the collecting of the feedback became a dead end as far as how students experienced this: they gave their results and then those results disappeared into the digital ether, in their eyes.


 

 

The US is experiencing a boom in microschools. What are they? — from  thehill.com by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech; via GSV

Story at a glance (emphasis DSC)

  • There has been a surge in new microschools in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The National Microschooling Network estimates there are about 95,000 microschools in the country. The median microschool serves 16 students.
  • There is no regulatory body solely responsible for tracking microschools, so it is difficult to determine just how much their popularity has grown.

Advocates for microschools say they offer some students — especially those who are gifted or have learning disabilities — a greater chance to thrive academically and socially than traditional schools do.   

At Sphinx Academy, a micro-school based in Lexington, Ky., almost all 24 students are “twice exceptional,” meaning they are gifted in one academic area but have one or more learning disabilities like ADHD or dyslexia, according to the school’s director Jennifer Lincoln.   


Student Apathy Is a Big Classroom Challenge, Teachers Say. Cellphones Aren’t Helping — from edweek.org by Madeline Will

The stakes are high: Students have a lot of academic ground to make up following the pandemic. Yet they’re not fully engaged in the classroom, teachers report in a new national survey.


 

 

Assessment of Student Learning Is Broken — from insidehighered.com by Zach Justus and Nik Janos
And generative AI is the thing that broke it, Zach Justus and Nik Janos write.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has broken higher education assessment. This has implications from the classroom to institutional accreditation. We are advocating for a one-year pause on assessment requirements from institutions and accreditation bodies.

Implications and Options
The data we are collecting right now are literally worthless. These same trends implicate all data gathered from December 2022 through the present. So, for instance, if you are conducting a five-year program review for institutional accreditation you should separate the data from before the fall 2022 term and evaluate it independently. Whether you are evaluating writing, STEM outputs, coding, or anything else, you are now looking at some combination of student/AI work. This will get even more confounding as AI tools become more powerful and are integrated into our existing production platforms like Microsoft Office and Google Workspace.

The burden of adapting to artificial intelligence has fallen to faculty, but we are not positioned or equipped to lead these conversations across stakeholder groups.


7 TIPS TO AUTOMATE YOUR CLASSROOM WITH AI — from classtechtips.com by Dr. Monica Burns
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Here’s What Keeps Teachers on the Job — from edweek.org by Madeline Will, Elizabeth Heubeck, Ileana Najarro, Arianna Prothero & Sarah Schwartz
The best aspects of teaching are what propels them to stay, despite the challenges

Their answers reveal the best parts of teaching—the meaningful interactions with students, the freedom to design interesting and engaging lessons, and the feeling of making a difference. And despite the challenges of the last few years, teachers have also noticed positive shifts in education.

 

Why Teachers Quit + What You Can Do Instead — from devlinpeck.com by Devlin Peck

Today we’ll dive into the main reasons behind why teachers quit and signs to look for if you’re considering quitting teaching too.

Instructional design
Instructional design is the process of developing learning experiences for higher education, the corporate world, or for organizations such as non-profits. Many teachers transition into the field because of overlapping tasks that allow you to continue teaching, all while learning a new skill set. But instructional design also offers:

  • Higher rates of pay than teaching. Instructional design is a better paid industry than teaching. You can also work when and where you like.
  • Better work-life balance. 94% of instructional designers said they were happy with their work-life balance in our recent survey.
  • Less stress. Instructional design is a less demanding role than teaching as you don’t have the same safety considerations or unreasonable expectations as you have in many teaching jobs.

From DSC:
I hesitate to post this, as I don’t want to discourage teachers already dealing with all kinds of challenges. But I’m posting it for the teachers who are tired of fighting a broken one-size-fits-all system that answers to their state’s legislators (vs. their students/families/communities). For those teachers hanging in there, please fight for change where you think it’s needed.  We trust your judgment, as you are on the front lines. And I always try to support people working on the front lines — whether in business or in schools.

 

3 Steps for Creating Video Projects With Elementary Students — from edutopia.org by Bill Manchester
A straightforward plan for facilitating multimedia projects helps ensure collaborative learning and a fun classroom experience.

Having elementary students make their own videos instead of consuming content made by someone else sounds like a highly engaging educational experience. But if you’ve ever tried to get 25 third graders to use a video editing software platform that they’ve never seen before, it can get really frustrating really fast. It’s easy for the lesson to become entirely centered around how to use the software without any subject-area content learning.

Through years of trial and error with K–6 students, I’ve developed three guiding concepts for elementary video projects so that teachers and students have a good experience.


Supporting Students As They Work Independently — from by Marcus Luther and The Broken Copier
4 tools that have helped me improve “independent work time”


Movement-Based Games That Help Students With Spelling — from edutopia.org by Jocelyn Greene
Games that combine spelling with physical activity can make it easier for young students to learn new words.

Like actors, students are often tasked with memorization. Although education has evolved to incorporate project-based learning and guided play, there’s no getting around the necessity of knowing the multiplication tables, capital cities, and correct spelling.

The following are movement-based games that build students’ abilities to retain spelling words specifically. Ideally, these exercises support them academically as well as socially. Research shows that learning through play promotes listening, focus, empathy, and self-awareness—benefits that build students’ social and emotional learning skills.


Quizlet Survey Reveals Students Crave Life Skills Education — from prnewswire.com by Quizlet; via GSV

The survey’s key findings included:

  • Financial and life skills uncertainty: One-third of recent graduates don’t believe they have or are unsure they have the financial and core life skills needed to succeed in the world.
  • Appetite for non-academic courses: 68% of recent graduates think non-academically focused courses in formal education settings would better prepare students for the real world. This belief is especially strong among respondents that attended public schools and colleges (71%).
  • Automotive maintenance skills are stalled: More than any other skill, nearly one in five recent graduates say they are the least confident in handling automotive maintenance, such as changing a tire or their oil. This is followed by financial planning (17%), insurance (12%), minor home repairs (11%), cooking (11%), cleaning (8%) and organizing (8%).
  • Financial planning woes: A majority (79%) of recent graduates said financial planning overwhelms them the most – and of all the life skills highlighted in the survey, 29% of respondents said it negatively impacts their mental health.
  • Social media as a learning tool: Social media is helping fill the skills gap, with 33% of recent graduates turning to it for life skills knowledge.

From DSC:
Our son would agree with many of these findings. He would like to have learned things like how to do/file his taxes, learn more about healthcare insurance, and similar real-world/highly-applicable types of knowledge. Those involved with K12 curriculum decisions, please take a serious look at this feedback and make the necessary changes/additions.


How Can Educators Build Support Systems for Students Eyeing Technician Jobs? — from gettingsmart.com by Dr. Parminder Jassal

Key Points

  • Integrating technical skills into the high school curriculum can inspire and prepare students for diverse roles. This approach is key to fostering equity and inclusivity in the job market.
  • By forging partnerships with community colleges and technical schools, high schools can democratize access to education and ensure students from all backgrounds have equal opportunities for success in technical fields.
  • High schools can expand career possibilities by providing apprenticeships as viable and lucrative alternatives to traditional four-year degrees.
 

Chatbot prompts to help support student creativity — from classtechtips.com by Dr. Monica Burns

Do you use chatbots as a thought partner and collaborator? This year, I’ve spent time with educators all across the country to lead workshops on using Generative AI for instructional planning. If you want to use AI to support student creativity in your classroom, I have a handful of prompts that are ready for you to try.

Today on the blog, we’ll look at prompts to help support student creativity. You can tailor to your instructional environment.


Speaking of prompting, also see:


 

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian