If you've ever wished you could afford a Stanford University course--or just this semester's textbooks for community college, we have some interesting articles for you this week. If you've wondered how you would score on your child's standardized tests, read on.
A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public... [full story]
No one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control... [full story]
I realized something this week: I have a deep-seated, unhealthy HATRED for paper.
Forms from the office, handouts from professional development sessions, and materials that need to be sent home to families sit in silent stacks on my desk, my counters, my backpack and my floor. And that doesn’t even include the piles and piles of handwritten assignments that my 130 students turn in each week to demonstrate mastery... [full story]
Proposed Calif. legislation for creating open source library aimed at lowering spending on textbooks
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced Tuesday that he will push for legislation to create an online open source library to reduce the cost of course materials for college students across the state.
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the average student spends $1,300 a year on textbooks, a figure his staff said is based on projections the University of California, California State University and community college systems provide to students for budgeting purposes.
Under his proposal, materials for 50 common lower division courses would be developed and posted online for free student access. Ordering a paper copy would cost $20, compared to the $200-plus price tag carried by some books... [full story]
In November, Wolfram Burgard, a professor of computer science at the University of Freiburg, in Germany, administered an online midterm exam for a course in artificial intelligence to 54 students. The test-takers sat in the lecture hall, spaced at least a meter apart, with proctors roaming the aisles to make sure nobody was looking up clues or chatting online with co-conspirators.
The students were from all over. Some were enrolled at Freiburg, some at the Technical University of Munich, some at the University of Hamburg, and several from outside Germany. Most were hoping to get credit for the course at their home universities, which meant they would have to return to Freiburg in mid-December to take a proctored final exam; no small chore for a pair visiting from Paris, and the one who had flown in from Finland, a distance of 1,500 miles.
Still, those incurring travel costs could take solace: First, they did not have to trek nearly 6,000 miles to where the course was actually being given, at Stanford University. Second, they stood a chance at getting academic credit for taking the course — previously available only to Stanford students as part of the university’s exclusive, $40,000-per- year-tuition undergraduate curriculum — without paying a dime... [full story]
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