ICYMI: Most read by educators

Snow closure sparks district secession talks

A North Carolina school district's decision to close schools after a snowstorm this week sparked debate about whether the large district should be broken up -- a process known as school district secession. The debate, which started on social media, has a long history in the district, which was forced to integrate in the 1970s.

Full Story: U.S. News & World Report

MIT researchers pilot "playful assessment"

Education researchers at MIT are developing a way to assess students to measure skills such as creativity, critical thinking and curiosity. The "playful assessment" approach has the potential to change teaching and learning overall, in part, by making assessments less threatening, MIT researcher Yoon Jeon Kim says.

Full Story: EdSurge

Study: "Stress bias" may affect scores

Testing may lead to "stress bias," in which students who have spikes of the stress hormone cortisol get lower test scores, according to a study of 93 elementary- and middle-school students from three New Orleans charter schools. Researchers found that students living in areas with more crime and poverty are more affected by stress, and may be less able "to reveal the things they likely know," says Pamela Cantor, a psychiatrist and founder of an organization that works with children affected by trauma.

Full Story: Chalkbeat

How does brain chemistry affect testing?

The way students process stress could affect their scores on standardized tests, including the PSAT, writes Ned Johnson, founder and president of tutoring firm PrepMatters. In this guest blog post, he shares several tips for parents who want to help worried students manage test stress.

Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)

Report shines light on different ways of learning

Culture plays an important role in how people learn, according to findings included in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's update to its report "How People Learn II." In this interview, the study's director, Sujeeta Bhatt, shares other findings, including the importance of motivation in learning.

Full Story: T.H.E. Journal

Audrey Altmann is an editorial assistant at SmartBrief.

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This "most read" feature reflects the most read items in ASCD SmartBrief from the previous week. Sign up for ASCD SmartBrief to get news like this in your inbox, or check out all of SmartBrief’s education newsletters, covering career and technical education, educational leadership, math education and more.