Saturday, August 23, 2008

Unintended Consequences for the AP

A really interesting article that talks about the origins of the Advanced Placement Program and its unintended consequences. Not that I'm on an AP kick, but I've just run across these the past few days.

Friday, August 22, 2008

AP Bombshell

Scarsdale High School, the Mecca of AP programs, is seriously considering dropping their AP designation. This would be the first public school to drop its AP program, but it joins a list of such Independent schools as Dalton, Spence, Fieldston, and Crossroads (to name a few). Jay Matthews talks about it in his Washington Post column.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

This is a rather long, but incredibly engaging exploration of YouTube and general web 2.0 stuff.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does Math Acceleration Work?

The Washington Post has an article that chronicles accelerated math students at the Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland (the school is billed as having a magnet program in math and science). The author asserts that students who had been accelerated from geometry to precalc but were needing remediation in Algebra II.

I don't know enough about the school to pass judgment, but the article's worth a read. Another battle in the math wars...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Innumeracy of the Intellectuals

Inside Higher Ed posted an article entitled "The Innumeracy of the Intellecuals" and bemoans the basic lack of understanding of math and science on our university campuses. A knowledge of the arts and humanities is often seen as a sine non que of any curriculum, but far too many can slip between the cracks with barely a whiff of math and science.

As someone who pretty much fits the mold of the college student who skated past math and the sciences, it's hard to disagree with his assessment and this passage stung:

Intellectuals and academics are just assumed to have some background knowledge of the arts, and not knowing those things can count against you. Ignorance of math and science is no obstacle, though. I have seen tenured professors of the humanities say — in public faculty discussions, no less — “I’m just no good at math,” without a trace of shame. There is absolutely no expectation that Intellectuals know even basic math.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rethinking Rewards and Punishments

The Washington Post's Shankar Vadanram discusses some interesting research on human motivation. In essence, he argues that extrinsic motivations such as rewards and punishments may not have the effect on people as previously thought. He cites research that shows that people who like what they're doing perform better than those motivated by extrinsic rewards and punishments. His point is a bit more complex, but as we look at motivating students, this is a worthwhile read.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Highly Educated Useless People

Ian Jukes is back with another article that takes our current education to task. His argument is pretty familiar -- that we are creating "highly educated useless people" -- but is he correct? I think there's room for serious debate on the issue, but I don't have the sense that most educators are looking in this direction.