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Articles: Assessment

Erich May is the principal at McConnellsburg Middle and High School in Central Fulton School District in south-central Pennsylvania.

There is a kind of professional development that we rarely see but that many of us in school leadership could use. Some would call it coaching or mentoring, but what I’m describing is more specific—individualized instruction in an alternative setting off campus.

MUCKING STALLS IN THE BIG CITY—Agriculture students at John Browne High School care for livestock, maintain a flock of laying hens, and grow food and ornamental plants when they’re not studying the details of agriculture. (Julie Fritsch)

Schools are increasingly adding agriculture education, or “ag ed”—about 12,000 agriculture educators teach programs in the U.S., says a National Association of Agricultural Educators survey.

Serving Students Who Are Homeless is one of the four books on education DA promotes in this month's Noteworthy Books feature.

DA promotes four books about serving homeless students, inspiring disengaged kids, improving communication skills and studying personalized learning in K12.

Jon Saphier says policy-makers could create regulations that positively affect the levers of influence on what teachers do, such as teacher education and teacher certification.

As founder of Research for Better Teaching— an organization dedicated to improving instruction and leadership— Jon Saphier says underperforming students need to believe that “smart is something you can get.”

High school students in the tiny Magazine School District in Arkansas receive three hours of sex education a year in grades 9 through 12—an approach that Superintendent Brett Bunch acknowledges is inadequate. 

A variety of research indicates that an engaged and motivated student is more likely to be a high-achieving student. But what does student engagement look like in a digital environment? To keep all students motivated—especially those who struggle or are disengaged—educators need to ensure that engagement is built into the DNA of the curriculum. In a digital environment, engaged students experience more personalized learning and are more likely to actively participate in their learning.

In the last two years, Multiple states, including California and Arizona, have dropped or suspended exit exams in high schools.

Efforts to implement new high school graduation exams in Ohio and New Jersey are faltering, as some educators grow more concerned about the number of students struggling to meet the strict requirements. 

NO MORE GPA IN EDUCATION—Graduates at Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska will no longer be ranked based on GPA in coming years. Administrators hope this will result in students focusing more on content and skills, rather than grades.

Millard Public Schools near Omaha, Nebraska, will switch to a college-like ranking system that designates graduates as magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude.

In the latest round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, given to more than 500,000 15-year-olds in 72 nations, students in the U.S. once again scored in the middle of the pack—and below average in math—raising concerns and sending educators looking for answers.

On the first Friday of every school year, the new kindergartners of Utah’s Canyons School District look ahead to the future—far ahead. To mark Kindergarten College-Ready Day, the children make construction-paper mortar boards and march in mock graduation ceremonies.

Principal DeMarcos Holland created “Fantastic Fridays" to interact with K12 students on social media.

Principal DeMarcos Holland, of New Manchester High School in the Douglas County School System in Georgia, has replaced traditional class tardy bells with music, including compositions created by students and teachers. The friendlier sounds have lowered the average number of tardies from between 50 and 60 per day to less than 10.

States have to create education reporting systems during the 2016-17 school year, run pilots in the 2017-18 year, and begin implementing in the 2018-19 year. (GettyImages.com: DragonImages)

A new accountability and data collection system that the U.S. Department of Education proposed for teacher preparation programs last fall already faces challenges.

District plan to try new assessment techniques in 2017.

District leaders in 2017 will focus heavily on adopting new assessment strategies and instructional technology when it comes to classroom instruction, according to a DA survey of K12 leaders.

Leticia Guzman Ingram, named 2016 Colorado State Teacher of the Year, reveals that education in Finland focuses more on critical thinking, and students aren't as quick to get answers from Google.

Leticia Guzman Ingram, teacher at Basalt High School in Colorado and named 2016 Colorado State Teacher of the Year, shares her point of view of the education system in Finland.

In the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Research & Program Evaluation Office provides rigorous and high-quality research and analysis to support district priorities. By using data dashboards to create accessible, easy-to-understand visualizations of a wide variety of district information, the office has helped administrators understand what's working, what's not working and why, improving strategic decision making.

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