The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #48 (September 28, 2014)

    • New Yorker
    • 09/29/14

    “Freshmen arrive on campus three weeks before the fall semester starts, not to river-raft or play getting-to-know-you games, but to study philosophy, literature, and religious texts for five hours a day. In January, they are required to stay on campus and work in science labs… Bard… saw a thirty-per-cent increase in applications this year.”

    • NPR
    • 09/26/14

    “Here we examine student course evaluations from a statistical perspective. We argue that averages of rating scores should not even be calculated, much less compared across instructors, courses, or departments. Instead, frequency tables should be used to summarize scores. It is crucial to report survey response rates, not merely the number of respondents. Finally, we recommend complementary sources of evidence that can be combined with student teaching evaluations to provide more meaningful and reliable formative and summative assessments of teaching.”

    • EdWeek
    • 09/23/14

    “Last school year, 13 juniors and seniors in the 6000-student Andover, Mass., school system enrolled in edX courses and received extracurricular credit—but no grades—upon completion of a pass-fail class. The district's goal was to provide its students with a more rigorous and extensive list of course offerings… All but two students at Andover High completed and passed their edX courses, an accomplishment she attributed in part to the school's guidance counselors' making sure students were prepared for the higher-level coursework before they enrolled.

    • Character Lab
    • 09/01/14

    “Character is a person’s disposition to think, feel, and act in ways that help oneself and others… Research tells us that we can develop and practice these skills [curiosity, gratitude, grit, optimism, self-control, social intelligence, zest], just like we can with traditional subjects.”










Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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