There's a growing sense that the current system of college grading is broken beyond repair. With grade inflation and student entitlement running rampant, is it time to explore some creative alternatives? Or is grade inflation just a myth?
Professor Mills Kelly of George Mason University had his History 389 class spend the fall semester on a class project about the intriguing figure of Edward Owens, the "Last American Pirate". They blogged about their research, made videos for YouTube, and gave Owens a Wikipedia entry. The story even got some media attention. There was just one problem: History 389 was a class on historical hoaxes, and Edward Owens was their fictional creation. [more inside]
The DiVincenzo Code [youtube trailer, geekery]. Faced with a strict demand from a funding agency to allocate research funds towards the dissemination of research ideas to the public, an experimental physics group at the University of Oxford produced a feature-length (55 min) action thriller about murder, ancient prophecy, tea breaks, and quantum computation. [more inside]
Student artwork from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. Departments include computer animation, photography and digital imaging, interior design, and others. [more inside]
Teams of student entrepreneurs around the world had six days to add value to a stack of Post-It notes as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The results are documented in Imagine It!, which aims to promote creative thinking. [more inside]
An interactive audiovisual tour [flash, audio] of the student protests in Paris in May 1968. Part of a larger look at 1968. [Previously]
Hungry Russian Students (single link youtube)
Use your library. Make more GIF files. Trust the process. Make art - it's good for your heart. from advice to sink in slowly.
Portland, ME school board approves distribution of birth control at King Middle School, where students are as young as 10. Students must have a signed parental permission slip to use the student health center, unless a student requests confidentiality, in which case birth control pills could be prescribed without a parent's knowledge.
Librarian Chick is a blogger who has put together a wiki of literally hundreds of online learning sources with over twenty categories for "students, educators & anyone else who's hip to learning." [more inside]
A gast-flabbering awesome. single link YouTube post
Students are now using the internet to criticise their teachers behind their backs by using a popular new site called Rate My Teachers. While some 'feedback' left at the site is relatively tame, many teachers are not spared from a flood of insults (which isn't surprising when a group of venting teenagers are involved). The owners of the site are calling it a useful teaching critique tool, but teachers groups are labelling it "a vengeful smear campaign." The site is available in a host of international flavours, such as the UK and Australia, to name but two. Hmmph. Back in my day, we used to just write our 'critiques' on the blackboard while the teacher wasn't in the room...
My half year in hell... Foreign exchange students are often deceived and economically abused by their hosts, with incidents on the rise across the US. The CSFES reports often on these horror stories. Sadly, students are also treated horribly by the US government, even though academic experts say they are more essential than ever.
A Chicago teacher vents about the situation at his school on his blog and ends up angering the student body, fellow teachers, and parents.
The evolution of the French students' CPE protests in photos.
Mascots helping Mascots High schools across America have witnessed the devastation brought about by several recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. An outpouring of sympathy and concern, and a desire to help, have come forth from high schools wanting to assist those in need. To enable schools to help other schools, the National Federation of State High School Associations has initiated a fundraising program called the Mascot Adoption Program.
Cellfilms. Ithica College in New York is hosting the Cellflix Film Festival, and has asked students between 13 and 20 to submit 30-second movies shot entirely with their cell phones. They have narrowed down the nearly 200 entries they received to 10 finalists that can be found here. (My votes to the shadow puppets and the progression of life.)
The Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks. For "Stupid in America," a special report ABC will air Friday, we gave identical tests to high school students in New Jersey and in Belgium. [...] The Belgian kids called the American students "stupid." Interesting insights into the different school systems employed in both countries.
Greenlighters are an emerging underground movement of sexually promiscuous teenagers, including bisexual, homosexual, and heterosexual members. Members of this movement wear a green polo shirt with the collar up, indicating that they are open to pretty much any sexual adventure. When someone comes up to them and puts the collar down, they are "collared" and will go with that person and do whatever sexual act they ask. Transfer of money is not usually involved. Some parent groups are starting to get involved - urging parents to go through their kids clothes and confiscate green shirts and polos. Supposedly this has been going on since mid-2004 and may be related to the "chavs" in Britain somehow.
According to Stanley Fish, "Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are." The solution: make them invent their own language. After a generation that privileged content to the exclusion of form, is the pendulum swinging back the other way?
Princeton Students and Polticians Stage Filibuster -- Princeton students started a filibuster at the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University to protest the impending unloading of the "nuclear option" in the United States Senate. Bill Frist is a Princeton alum and his family donated the building the filibuster is in front of. It's been going on for a whopping 78 hours already and looks to at least go through the weekend. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) spoke earlier today, and NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora was there yesterday. They've even got physicists (one and two) and a Nobel Prize winner.
'Yep, life'll burst that self-esteem bubble' says USA Today This article can't seem to decide whether it wants to discuss Gen Xers or Millenials. And it quotes Neil Howe (Of The Fourth Turning) toward the end, about the characteristics of Millenials (people born after 1982). What may be the most interesting aspect of this article is that the author seems uncomfortable speaking negatively about the millenials. The writer is hesitant to criticize the Millenials, and so she initially suggests that the cry babies finishing college who are now entering the workforce were born in the 70s and early 80s. Of course, if that were true, those recent college grads would be in their late twenties to mid-thirties. And I particularly like that improved self esteem is bad because it leads to "enhanced initiative, which boosts confidence, and increased happiness."
People talk about how universities have almost turned into diploma mills, churning out degrees to almost anyone that breathes. So what do students think about the current situation? According to this student, it doesn't go far enough: "I have come to the conclusion that the University system makes absolutely no sense. Students pay teachers to educate us, yet they are then allowed to tell us how much we're learning...I'll be the one to tell the receiver of my hard-earned money exactly how well they did. Shouldn't it be the same with education?" That's right, students want, nay, demand an A, since they paid for it.
37 percent of Americans want the teaching of 'evolutionism' replaced outright. (Yeah, I know it's hackneyed but 37%??)
Some of the results from the city of Vancouver's Art Underfoot contest. "The competition invited anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Vancouver to submit design ideas for new manhole covers..."
MIT's OpenCourseWare project. Course materials for over 700 classes offered at the school, including syllabi, reading lists, related educational links for the self-learner. Get your knowledge on!!
There are goofy news items every day, but once in a while you have some story that transcends them all. Teacher accused of ordering student thrown from window is quite possibly the silliest story I've seen this year. It's beyond the Onion. Teacher enters class and takes photo of students, one student objects, teacher makes a disparaging remark about the way the student looks and student hits an emergency button, then the teacher orders two boys to throw her out the window (where she suffered injuries). Best line about the boys "they threw the girl out the window because they did not want to be written up for disobeying a teacher."
Students for an Orwellian Society. Also: The complete Newspeak dictionary and American Newspeak. I love Big Brother!
Hey! A thirteen year-old kid gets suspended for three days for using a DOS command to send a one-word message to all 80 computers on his school's network. Even more charming is that the computer teacher of his school apparently doesn't know much about the computicatin' machines.
Mitsi Kato's fifth-grade class at Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro listened to Radiohead and drew pictures of what the music suggested to them.
Simpsonsmath.com: a guide for teachers to engage math-o-phobes with animated fun. "Mmmmmm, pi."
Ms. Gonick is a dooshe bag. Unfortunate experiences with a gaggle of teenagers in an enclosed space.
Gene Wolfe declared "unfair" by snotty brats. Wolfe, a man who has given us some of the finest fantasy novels of the past three decades, was slated to teach writing at the Odyssey workshop. He graded the manuscripts with tough comments. But the students took this personally and complained to director Jeanne Cavelos. Wolfe, being the gentleman that he is, left the workshop. Here's a sample of one student's arrogance. Now if I had the opportunity of learning from a master and he told me that my shit stank, then I'd listen. Why have workshops and educational opportunities prioritized feeding this "I'm okay, you're okay" narcissism over developing talent?
"We own you, you don't have any legal rights" U.S. Secret Service agents aggressively interrogate two Bay Area high school students after their teacher reports their remarks on President Bush, made during in-class discussion on the war in Iraq, to authorities.
Does being valedictorian still matter? A New Jersey high school student with top grades and a 1570 SAT score is suing her school (including a $2.5 million punitive damages demand) for deciding to make her one of three "co-valedictorians." Considering that valedictorian is an award given well after college acceptance letters are sent out, is the title actually relevant in the American education system? Has anyone here actually gained something (other than pride) via the highest GPA in their class?
In anti-war protests in Australia yesterday, children as young as 12 were shown on TV coverage participating not only in protests, but in the violence that followed when the protesters attacked police. There has, in the past, been condemnation of those who bring their children along to protests, but this is the first time I have seen large numbers of children protesting on their own behalf - most of whom would have been truant from school and, judging by the way many hid from cameras, without the permission of their parents. Should we take them seriously, or are they too young to really understand what it is they are protesting against? [more inside]
A teacher in Detroit notes the strange disappearance of an Iraqi student. "Even we are starting to notice that a few of our Middle Eastern students and parents and neighbors are disappearing. Another teacher said that my story made her realize she hasn't seen a certain Palestinian student for three weeks." Mass exodus? Detention? Deportation? Where are these students going?
Ted Rall says that college loans are killing America. I'm inclined to agree. At just $14,736, I'm on the lighter-side of college loan debt, but being a single father, I have a hard time making a dent. Ted makes some salient points about young adults who are struggling to make money in a recession. They don't work for the Peace Corps, they don't volunteer, etc. Even China criticizes America on our insistence that students endebt themselves to corporations just for education.(via fark)
These two blogs were created by the "peers" of gay, lesbian, bi, and straight kids in Kentucky who have been struggling for their right to a safe space.
They had a sponsor, Kaye King, who is an English teacher and a certified counselor. They did research and learned that there were 1,200 such clubs nationally. Tyler McClelland, a senior, says they just wanted a supportive group, where no one whispered "queer" behind their backs.Bill O'Reilly has called the ACLU terrorists for taking on the case, which is currently in federal court.
In England it is called the "Graveyard Grannies'' problem, in France the "Chere Grand'mere," while in Bulgaria it is inexplicably known as "The Toadstool Waxing Plan".
Next week, college students around the world will be taking final exams. Their grandmothers will be dropping like flies."
Next week, college students around the world will be taking final exams. Their grandmothers will be dropping like flies."
The Brits appear more concerned about 20-somethings and floundering young people than their American counterparts. They acknowledge that replacing grants with debt has a downside: "Students who fear getting into debt are also more likely to suffer from depression."
The UCSD administration was recently defeated by The Koala, a student satire publication that it attempted to shut down. Said an administrator: "We condemn the Koala's abuse of the constitutional guarantees of free expression and disfavor their unconscionable behavior." The paper's staffers have now sold their blood plasma to raise money for a lawyer to file a countersuit against the administration. Good to see that free speech is alive and well on college campuses, this school's administration to the contrary. And its always good to see an active college humor magazine.
Court gives the go-ahead on random drug testing for non-athlete students. "Given the nationwide epidemic of drug use, and the evidence of increased drug use in Tecumseh schools, it was entirely reasonable for the school district to enact this particular drug testing policy," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the decision. Drug tests which really only target marijuana use (alcohol, cocaine, opiates leave the body shortly after use) can now be randomly given to students involved in extra-curricular activities. Is this a further step in the "my anti-drug" campaign? Is debate or drama club YOUR anti-drug? By denying student drug users the privilege of participating in activities, aren't we just marginalizing them further and making the problem worse? What will it be? Drugs or getting involved?
College Students Speak Out, and just 14% can identify the president of Pakistan, 37% would likely try to evade the draft, and 71% "do not believe American values are superior to the values of other nations." Is your local college breeding ignorant anti-Americanists?
Cheer for Bush, or face arrest, OSU grads informed. A first person account of how Bush's speech at the Ohio State Graduation today resembled nothing so much as a fascist rally - as graduates who had planned to protest by simply turning their backs to Bush during his speech were informed that if they did so they would be arrested and expelled (no diploma). Inside the stadium, crowds of Bush suppporters had been bussed in from miles away. And everyone was instructed to cheer loudly for the president.
Harvard may ignore early decision and attempt to enroll students who have agreed to matriculate elsewhere. Is this the beginning of the end of early decision?
Spitballs It's always fun until someone loses an eye and you get charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and mayhem and are found guilty of two of the charges [via ObscureStore].