Thanks so much for visiting me here on my newly revised website. Along with an altogether new look, the changes allow me to more readily offer you timely, informative articles, websites to visit, and even quotes to use in your teaching. There’s also, of course, my free, monthly The School-Wise Newsletter, keeping readers up-to-date on all that’s happening in education.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping you’ll check out my blog from time-to-time and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Be sure to visit me on, too, where you’ll find numerous articles on education, parenting, and family life. You’ll also find me at bizymoms and ezinearticles.

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Education Data Collecting Keystroke by Keystroke

19/10/2016   |   No Comments »

data-cloudOkay, all you education data fans, here’s the latest, and it makes me wonder if you’ll still be applauding  after reading all about it. Thanks to an Education Week piece by Sarah Sparks titled, “Hunt Is On for Clues to Students’ Test-Taking Strategies: Studies to Yield Further Picture of Learning Process,” we’re offered an eye-opening update on what’s going on behind the scenes as our children take mandated online standardized tests.

As she explains, “… Researchers on some of the leading national and international assessments work to pull more data about students’ learning strategies and skills from summative tests.” Apparently, what they’ve gathered so far is insufficient when it comes to knowing what’s going on in kids’ heads during testing. The concern: “We miss out on measuring the struggle a student has when she tries to overcome a misconception in learning science concepts or the anxiety a student feels when he’s trying to solve a problem…”

The solution: “process data, aka interaction, telemetry, clickstream, or logfile data, etc. As Sparks explains, these are the traces a student leaves behind while making Read the rest of this entry »

Professional Development for Teachers: A Revealing Study

16/10/2016   |   1 Comment

This just out: A study recently published by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science determined that a fourth grade teacher’s general math knowledge does not necessarily translate to better outcomes for students.

For the study, 221 fourth grade teachers from five states were randomly chosen to either participate in 13 hours of professional development, meetings, coaching sessions, and analyzing student work, plus an 80-hour summer workshop to deepen their knowledge of K-8 math, not jut fourth grade–or not.

This, of course, matters even more in this Common Core age where rote memorization and procedures have been superseded by an emphasis on conceptual understanding of math and critical thinking.

As for the upshot:

  • On a test of math knowledge, participants bested non-participants by 7 points: 258 vs 551.
  • On an assessment of teachers’ ability to explain math concepts, participants scored 23 percentile points higher than the non-participants.

Sounds about as expected, no?

And yet, it turned out that those teachers now so well-grounded in K-8 math had NO actual impact on student achievement–at least no positive impact. That’s right: The students of the the participating teachers actually scored 2 percentile points LOWER than those of the control group.

So: Maybe it’s not just knowing a whole lot about numbers–or any other subject for that matter, either–that makes the difference, but how information is presented/shared. Content knowledge is essential, of course, but just maybe a teacher’s passion for that content, personality, patience, and heart need to be in the mix, as well?

That’s the ultimate question and possibly the key to effective instruction.