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News in Brief

News in Brief

Hold the praise to raise performance levels
The Center for Transformative Teacher Training has worked with about 250 schools to introduce No-Nonsense Nurturing, a teaching approach that keeps expectations high by only praising outstanding effort. This method has been found to increase engagement while decreasing the number of out-of-school suspensions (National Public Radio, 1/11/16).
Personal appearance plays a part in grading
Female college students who are considered attractive may earn higher grades, according to a study by researchers at Metropolitan State University of Denver. However, data show the achievement gap narrows when the same students take online classes (NPR, 1/14).
California insists on inclusion in new standards
New teacher-prep programs in California will include lessons about teaching students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms under new standards released by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. General-education teachers will learn about small-group instruction, behavior management, and the use of informal assessments to identify and address learning gaps (EdSource, 12/13/15).
Michelle Obama seeks better access to education for girls worldwide
Sixty-two million girls around the world do not attend school, according to Michelle Obama, who is championing a US$200 million plan to promote girls’ education worldwide. Britain and the U.S. will work together on teacher training, girls’ leadership camps, and other community-based programs in developing countries. “Let Girls Learn” will fund community girls’ education projects, such as girls’ leadership camps and school bathrooms; educate girls in conflict zones; and address poverty, HIV, and other issues that keep girls out of school. It will also seek to address the broader cultural beliefs and practices that can help cause and perpetuate this crisis (The Atlantic, 11/2/15).
Massive British Ed-Tech show attracts 36,000 visitors
The Bett Show, the world’s largest technology conference and exhibition focused on education, took place in London on 20 January. Ed-tech companies, organizations, and educators from more than 110 countries were represented as attendees, exhibitors, and presenters (EdWeek, 1/19/16).
Scotland faces massive teacher shortage
Scotland is short on teachers, particularly in STEM areas. Education policy adviser Bruce Robertson has proposed offering incentives for students to study to teach those subjects. More than 100 teacher training places went unfilled this year at a time when councils have already warned over unfilled vacancies (The Herald – Scotland, 12/14/15).
Researchers find peers can put a stop to bullying
Students are more likely to stop bullying if they hear anti-bullying messages from their peers rather than from authority figures, according to a study of 56 middle schools in New Jersey. The findings could potentially overhaul how schools address bullying and conflict among students (New York magazine, 1/6/16).
Google launches free 3D field-trip pilot program
A Six states and three countries will participate in a new 3D virtual field-trip pilot program announced by Google on Monday. The field-trip simulation system, which is free for schools, includes about 100 trip options with plans for it to offer college tours and other options in the future (The New York Times, 9/28/15).
Most U.S. 8th-graders not proficient in geography
Data from the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress indicates that only 24 percent of U.S. eighth-grade students are proficient in geography. This is the same percentage as when the exams first were administered in 1994 (The Deseret News,10/29/15).
U.K. leader Milburn calls for education reform
England should offer incentives to top teachers to teach in disadvantaged areas, said Alan Milburn, chairman of the social mobility commission. In his state of the nation report, the country’s “inequality tsar” highlighted inequities in education and recommended a zero-tolerance approach to failure in schools and further education colleges (The Guardian, 12/22/15).
U.S. schools give fewer tests than most other nations
Despite reports that students in the U.S. are overtested, an analysis of data from the OECD shows U.S. schools administer fewer standardized tests than most other nations. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Asian countries—all with high-performing education systems—administer a lot more. Data show about 2 percent of U.S. students take such tests on a monthly basis, compared with the OECD average of 8 percent (The Hechinger Report, 12/7/15).

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