Grading on a Curve. Our whole country?
A majority of Americans from all backgrounds struggled to come up with the correct answers in a quiz about American history by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI's basic 33 question test on civic literacy and 71% of them received an average score of 49% or an "F." The quiz reveals that over twice as many people know Paula Abdul was a judge on American Idol than know that the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people" comes from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. via www.nbclosangeles.com
Since when did a test score of 49, a barely legible 'F', become an average score? I've heard of grading on the curve...But this is a downward slope. Where and how will this curve up?
Open Source Textbooks.
Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr. McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.
“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.” via www.nytimes.com
More Technology to Re-Wire More Teen Brains?
Eat More Chocolate.
That may be the answer. From Psychology Today, Keen Cuisine: The Flavor of Cleverness.
"Our study showed that acute consumption of [a] flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased blood flow to gray matter for two to three hours," reports Ian A. Macdonald of the University of Nottingham Medical School. "This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation."
Link from Lily Koi.
Debunking Education Myths: America's Never Been Number One in Math
Back in 1964, American 13-year-olds took the First International Math Study and ended up ranking in 11th place. Considering that only 12 nations participated, including Australia, Finland, and Japan, our next-to-last performance was pretty abysmal. Other international tests American students have taken over the years have also never showed that we were in the top spot. It's a myth that we've fallen from our glory days.
American students first took the PISA, which is administered every three years, in 2000. The United States has always scored in the middle of the pack, meaning, as Loveless told Education Week, "We once were terrible and now we're mediocre. I think that's a more accurate description, but we've never had scores that we should be proud of."
We've never been number one in math. But, we're getting better. That's progress. That's a future that looks promising.