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Daniel Koretz on Skills We Need for the 21st Century
Daniel Koretz is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. He focuses his research primarily on educational assessment, particularly as a tool of education policy. A primary emphasis in his work has been the effects of high-stakes testing, including effects on schooling and the validity of score gains. His research has included studies of the effects of testing programs, the assessment of students with disabilities, international differences in the variability of student achievement, the application of value-added models to educational achievement, and the development of methods for validating scores under high-stakes conditions. His current work focuses on the design and evaluation of test-focused educational accountability systems. Dr. Koretz founded and chairs the International Project for the Study of Educational Accountability, an international network of scholars investigating improved approaches to educational accountability. Dr. Koretz is a member of the National Academy of Education. His doctorate is in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Before obtaining his degree, Dr. Koretz taught emotionally disturbed students in public elementary and junior high schools.
21st century skills means, the phrase means different things for different people. And the only common denominator is that most people agree that these in this mix are higher order of cognitive skills of various kinds, solving of complex [ill-structured] problems, for example. The kinds of skills you need in the “a knowledge economy” rather than the manufacturing economy. But when you get down to details of what that actually means, then you find, I think a lot less agreement. I do think it’s critically important. It was, frankly, critically important in the 20th century as well that the particular skills were somewhat different. So, for example, in many high school science classes, a large portion of what kids do is memorization. In biology classes, there’s a tremendous amount of memorization of vocabulary. Some of that is necessary. You can’t work in the field without knowing terminologies. Some of it is not. I mean, we have books, we have Google, and you can look things up. What’s very hard for teachers to do and this is one reason why I think encouraging more talented people to come into teaching is so important, what is extremely hard to do from the point of view of a teacher is to focus kids on complex application of knowledge, solving problems that are really hard to solve. We’ve never been good at that in American schools. Back in the 1960s, the National Science Foundation funded a lot of scientists in different fields to come up with new curriculum. And one of the most famous was a physicist at Berkeley who said high school science classes don’t include experiments. What they call experiments are demonstrations. The ridge to give you the answer you want. You just basically manipulating stuff to show something you could have read. So that’s not what scientists do. Scientists do things that produce dirty data, puzzling findings, anomalies, and they have to sort through information to try to find a pattern rather than saying, oh, I got the result the teacher wanted me to get. We’ve never been good, in my view, in most American schools, at teaching kids those kinds of skills. In mathematics, for example, we teach all kids now how to solve simple linear equations. Almost all kids take algebra. It’s one of the first things you learn. If you ask adults to actually apply that to anything in their real lives, most of them have no idea how to do this. So what we need is to back off from an emphasis on the lower level skills to make room for the higher. The problem here, and this is, I think, an extremely [thorny] problem is that the more interesting, more valuable high order thinking skills are extremely hard to test. Some people will tell you that’s not true. We know how to test them. We know how to test them on a small scale. We have lots of people who’ve generated interesting [tasks], for instance, that classroom teachers can use to measure these skills. We find it, in my view, extremely hard to test them on a large scale. And to just give you one reason to test whether kids are solving complex problems well, you have to give them [novel] problems. And if you take a test and drop it in from the state capital, you don’t know which kids will find the test [novel] and which kids will say, oh, I recognize that. We did something like that three weeks ago. The classroom teacher would know but the test [author] does not. So we’re caught in a real paradox. On the one hand, we want higher overall performance. We see externally imposed tests as part of the path to getting that. And I agree with that, that assumption, I just think we’re doing it badly now. But at the same time, we also want this more complex, more interesting, and potentially more valuable high order thinking skills, and we don’t know really how to set up the accountability system to encourage them. I met recently with a group of, a couple [hundred] teachers discussed, this exact question came up. And I said, well, in my class, one of my classes, I give two tests, the midterm and the final. Those are solely to judge students’ mastery of content knowledge. And, frankly, they’re mostly a method to force the reluctant students to review the material. The interesting stuff, whether kids, and I shouldn’t say kids, they’re not kids, whether students can apply those skills to solve really vexing real problems, I learn from papers. I give them realistic problems, sometimes real, sometimes made up that are very, as [IB] scientists would say, ill structured. There’s not a clear path to one solution. And I give them a couple of weeks and say, you know, figure out a solution. Justify your solution. Critique your solution. That kind of thing is extraordinarily hard to do with large scale testing. So, in my view, one of the pieces of unfinished business is to figure out how to incorporate that kind of thing into an accountability system. If you really want to use accountability to generate 21st century skills, that is probably one of the two or three most important unsolved problems in education.
Daniel Koretz believes fostering accountability in the system will, in turn, foster critical twenty-first century skills.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.