Professional development on how teacher expectations and preconceptions affect student achievement should be part of all teacher training, especially for new teachers, according to a recent report from the Education Commission of the States. The recommendations come as part of a research review done by the organization, showing that 5% to 10% of the achievement gap might be related to teacher expectations. The group also recommends that teacher evaluations include measurements of teachers' expectations and perceptions of students.
In some states like Texas and Tennessee, students will have taken more than 30 standardized tests by the time they graduate, and the Common Core State Standards are likely to increase these numbers, middle-school teacher Daniel Dawer writes. As an alternative, Dawer suggests that education officials consider the role portfolio- and performance-based assessments can play in assessing students' knowledge.
About 14% of schools nationwide are at overcapacity, according to a study from the National Center for Education Statistics. At issue is whether class sizes affect student achievement. "I don't know that there has ever been a study that didn't show that class size doesn't matter. In every survey of parents and teachers, this is what they care the most about," said Leonie Haimson, head of advocacy group Class Size Matters.
Social-media success is all about being organic and responsive -- but you can still benefit by planning ahead, writes Aliza Sherman. Using an editorial calendar can help ensure you keep hitting your core messages, and help you coordinate your efforts across a range of social-media platforms. "You shouldn't be tweeting and updating entirely in a vacuum," Sherman writes. "Organic conversation doesn't work for companies that are trying to achieve specific business objectives."
There is conflicting data on whether rewarding students for good performance in school is effective, but some school districts already have programs in place that offer students money for making good grades or taking challenging courses. Some say the rewards improve achievement in the short term, but could do more harm than good in the long term.