Tag Archives: high school graduation

Several states plan to drop the GED because of cost

17 Apr


Moi wrote in Closing the door on some futures: Increasing the cost of a GED:


Moi wrote in The GED as a door to the future:


There are a variety of reasons why people fail to complete high school and fail complete their high school education, According to the July 24, 2011 NPR report, School Dropout Rates Add To Fiscal Burden by Claudio Sanchez and Linda Wertheimer, “Nearly 1 million kids who start high school every year don’t make it to graduation.” http://www.npr.org/2011/07/24/138653393/school-dropout-rates-adds-to-fiscal-burden


There are many reasons why kids drop out of school. Kate Convissor lists the following reasons in the EduGuide article, Why Kids Drop Out of School:


While the reasons kids drop out vary, the following are six important risk factors:


  1. Academic difficulty and failure. Struggling in school and failing classes is one of the main reasons teens drop out, and this pattern often shows up early. Students who fail eighth grade English or math, for example, are seventy-five percent more likely to drop out of high school.

  2. Poor attendance. Teens who struggle in school are also absent a lot, and along with academic failure, absenteeism is an important future predictor for dropping out. As with the previous example, students who are absent for twenty percent of their eighth grade year (one day per week) are also highly likely to drop out in high school.

  3. Being held back (retention). Linked to academic difficulty, students who are held back and who are older than the kids in their grade also tend to drop out.

  4. Disengagement from school. Many kids who drop out say that school was boring and teachers did little to connect learning to real life. They didn’t feel invested in their school and they didn’t feel that adults seemed interested in them or their high school experience.

  5. Transition to a new school. A poor transition from the smaller, more protected environment of middle school to the anonymity of a high school can cause a teen to have difficulty catching up-and some kids never do.

  6. Other life factors. Pregnancy, family problems, and financial difficulties are all factors that distract a student from schoolwork and make keeping up more challenging. http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/2132/


Because many entry level jobs require at a minimum a high school diploma, the General Education Development Test or GED is often substituted for the high school diploma to show that an individual has reached a basic level of education achievement. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/17/the-ged-as-a-door-to-the-future/




Heather Hollingsworth writes in the Huffington Post article, States Dropping GED As Test Price Spikes:



Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED high school equivalency test because of concerns that a new version coming out next year is more costly and will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format.


The responsibility for issuing high school equivalency certificates or diplomas rests with states, and they’ve relied on the General Education Development exam since soon after the test was created to help returning World War II veterans.


But now 40 states and the District of Columbia are participating in a working group that’s considering what’s available besides the GED, and two test makers are hawking new exams.


“It’s a complete paradigm shift because the GED has been the monopoly. It’s been the only thing in town for high school equivalency testing. It’s kind of like Kleenex at this point,” said Amy Riker, director of high school equivalency testing for Educational Testing Service, which developed one of the alternative tests.


Last month, New York, Montana and New Hampshire announced they were switching to a new high school equivalency exam, and California officials began looking into amending regulations to drop the requirement that the state only use the GED test. Missouri has requested bids from test makers and plans to make a decision this month. Several others states, including Massachusetts, Maine, Indiana and Iowa, are making plans to request information about alternative exams.


Meanwhile, Tennessee and New Jersey are exploring offering more than one test.


“The national situation is definitely fluid,” said Tom Robbins, Missouri’s director of adult education and high school equivalency, noting that other states plan to use the GED for now and bid later.


The pushback comes as GED Testing Service prepares to introduce a new version of the exam in January. In the first revamp since for-profit Pearson Vue Testing acquired a joint ownership interest in the nonprofit Washington-based GED Testing Service, the cost of the test is doubling to $120. That’s led to a case of sticker shock for test takers, nonprofits and states. Some states subsidize some or all of the expense of the exam, while others add an administrative fee. The new GED test would cost $140 to take in Missouri if the state sticks with it.


Kirk Proctor, of the Missouri Career Center, said the organization is looking for a way to cover the increased test cost for students participating in a GED preparation and job training program he oversees. He said his students can’t come up with $140, noting they need help paying for the current, cheaper test….


Competitors responded with a paper version and a cheaper base price, although GED Testing Service said its price includes services the other two test makers don’t. The alternative exams’ makers also said they will work with states to find ways to combine scores from the GED with their new exams so students who have passed some sections of the current GED won’t be forced to start from scratch. GED Testing Service said that would undermine the validity of a state’s equivalency credential or diploma.


Trask also said he feared the competing exams would be confusing for colleges and employers. But states considering switching say they’ll put more emphasis on the equivalency credential or diploma they issue rather than the test taken to earn it.


Art Ellison, who leads the Bureau of Adult Education in New Hampshire, called the sudden choice in the exams “the new reality of adult education.” His state and Montana are switching to HiSET, a $50 test that the Educational Testing Service, or ETS, is offering. Both states said cost influenced their decision, with Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau proclaiming in a news release that residents “looking to improve their economic situation by obtaining a high school equivalency diploma should not have to overcome a significant financial barrier in order to achieve that goal.”


Ellison also noted that a paper option was important because many students in adult education classes lack the skills needed to take a computer-based test and that it will take time to beef up the courses to add that training.


Meanwhile, New York chose California-based CTB/McGraw-Hill’s new Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC. Developers said it will range in price from $50 to $60.


Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a news release that without the change, New York would have had to pay the GED test maker twice as much or limit the number of test takers because state law bars residents from being charged to take the equivalency exam. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/states-dropping-ged_n_3088855.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share


In The GED as a door to the futurehttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/the-ged-as-a-door-to-the-future/, moi looked at question of whether a GED might open employment doors for some who have failed to complete their high school education. There are a variety of reasons why people fail to complete high school and fail complete their high school education, According to the July 24, 2011 NPR report, School Dropout Rates Add To Fiscal Burden by Claudio Sanchez and Linda Wertheimer, “Nearly 1 million kids who start high school every year don’t make it to graduation.” http://www.npr.org/2011/07/24/138653393/school-dropout-rates-adds-to-fiscal-burden See, More Than Half Of Older High School Dropouts Not Employed Today http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/high-school-dropouts-unemployment_n_1291210.html?ref=education&ir=Education


Unless, children are given a meaningful education which provides them with basic skills to adapt to a changing environment, the education system is producing a permanent underclass which will not be able to participate in the next “new, new thing.”


The real issue is reducing the number of high school dropouts.





Studies: Lack of support and early parenthood cause kids to dropout https://drwilda.com/2012/11/19/studies-lack-of-support-and-early-parenthood-cause-kids-to-dropout/


Dropout prevention: More schools offering daycare for students https://drwilda.com/2013/01/14/dropout-prevention-more-schools-offering-daycare-for-students/



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Studies: For struggling math students, teacher quality matters

14 Apr


Moi wrote in Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?


Math is important for a number of reasons.


Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:


Why is math important?


All four year Universities have a math requirement


Math improves your skills:


  • Critical Thinking Skills

  • Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills

  • Problem Solving Skills


A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options


Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics


Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry


Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography


Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development


Business and Commerce


Actuarial Sciences






Often, the students who need the best math teachers are shortchanged.


Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, Qualified Math Teachers Elusive for Struggling Students, Studies Find:


Succeeding in freshman-level mathematics is critical for students to stay on track to high school graduation, with students who make poor grades in math in 8th and 9th grades more likely to leave school entirely.

Yet two new studies presented at the Association for Education Finance and Policy meeting here last month suggest that students who enter high school performing below average in math have a lower chance of getting a teacher who is well-qualified to teach math than do higher-achieving students. The problem, the research concludes, exacerbates gaps in teacher access between schools with different performance and wealth levels.

In one studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, Cara Jackson, a research assistant at the University of Maryland College Park, analyzed the math coursetaking and achievement of 12,900 9th graders at 730 high schools nationwide who were linked with their high school math teachers as part of the federal High School Longitudinal Study of 2009.

Ms. Jackson calculated the odds of different students’ learning math in 9th grade from a “qualified” teacher, defined as one who: had earned at least a bachelor’s degree, with seven or more different courses taken in mathematics; was certified by the state to teach high school math; and had been teaching at least five years.

Assignment Priorities

Ms. Jackson found big differences in how high- and low-performing schools allocate teachers….

Similarly, in a separate reportRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, researchers from the American Institutes of Research’s Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER, probed the differences in the value, as measured by assessment results, that teachers added at high-poverty and wealthy schools in Florida and North Carolina from 2000 to 2005.

At schools with more than 70 percent of their students in poverty, the researchers found, teachers were, on average, less effective than those at schools with less concentrated poverty. Specifically, while highly effective teachers performed at about the same level in both high- and low-poverty schools, there was a much greater range of effectiveness among lower-performing teachers in high-poverty schools than in richer ones. Teachers in high-poverty schools were also generally less likely to have a graduate degree, or to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

“These differences are apparent even among new teachers,” said Philip M. Gleason, a senior fellow with Mathematica Policy Research who was not associated with either study. “This isn’t just a story of high-poverty schools having lots of turnover so more students have inexperienced teachers; that isn’t explaining what they are finding.”

Rather, teachers at low-income schools did not improve professionally over their years of experience as much as their colleagues at wealthier schools, according to study co-author Zeyu Xu, a CALDER senior research associate. “Why is the bottom of the teacher distribution lower in high-poverty schools?” Mr. Xu said. “It could be teachers are learning less in high-poverty schools, or that better teachers are likely to move out of high-poverty schools.”

At the same time, Ms. Jackson’s research also found that, among schools with lower overall student achievement, those with good student behavior and principals with high expectations were more likely to give students of all stripes access to qualified teachers in math. In higher-achieving schools, student behavior was not linked to teacher availability. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/04/03/27access_ep.h32.html?tkn=UMXFs3hTCKncLf9QXvVbjwJ1dHWiba0wucND&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es


Here is what the Pearson blog said about the Jackson study:


Study: Struggling students least likely to have quality math teachers

Many low-performing ninth graders struggling to meet the more rigorous Common Core math standards could improve their chances of success if they had access to quality instruction, but a new study suggests that these students are the least likely of all to be taught by a qualified math teacher.

“Within schools, a student’s access to qualified teachers wasn’t related to gender or race or socioeconomic status, or whether the student is an English-language learner,” Cara Jackson, a research assistant at the University of Maryland College Park, told Education Week. “It is related to whether the student is enrolled in special education or a low-level math class.”

The study defines “qualified” teachers as those who have earned at least a bachelors degree, with seven or more different math courses taken, are state certified to teach high school math and have been teaching for at least five years.

Jackson found that only 54 percent of ninth grade students have a math teacher that is, by the study’s standards, “qualified.” High-performing students are 10 percent more likely to have a qualified math teacher than low-performing students.

At this critical juncture in math education, the disparity may make it even more difficult for struggling students to close the achievement gap as they move towards graduation. http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS1n4y&elementType=news&elementId=197441


Here is information about the CALDER paper No. 52:


Working Paper 52


Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools
Working Paper 52
Author(s): Tim R. Sass, Jane Hannaway, Zeyu Xu, David N. Figlio, and Li Feng

Using data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper examines whether teachers in high-poverty schools are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. Bottom teachers in high-poverty schools are less effective than bottom teachers in lower-poverty schools. The best teachers, by comparison, are equally effective across school poverty settings. The gap in teacher quality appears to arise from the lower payoff to teacher qualifications in high-poverty schools.  In particular, the experience-productivity relationship is weaker in high-poverty schools and is not related to teacher mobility patterns. Recruiting teachers with good credentials into high-poverty schools may be insufficient to narrow the teacher quality gap. Policies that promote the long-term productivity of teachers in challenging high-poverty schools appear key.

Published: November 2010 | Download: pdf icon new Full Text (PDF 629KB) | Journal Publication


In Perhaps the biggest math challenge is how to teach math, moi said:


There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.


There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.


A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education






Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/


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Ohio study: Academics and high school sports may mix

7 Feb

It is a story about the dreams, realistic or unrealistic, of many young people who try to achieve the brass ring of a super star career. The NCAA offers some sobering statistics about how many young people actually achieve super stardom. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart. that estimates the probability of high school athletes competing in college athletics. So, count moi among the skeptics about the value placed in many high schools on athletics and athletic programs. A study of Ohio high schools find that many schools combine a strong athletic program and strong academics.

Jay P. Greene writes in the Education Next article, Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?

We found that high schools that devote more energy to athletic success also tend to produce more academic success. In particular, we looked at whether high schools with a higher winning percentage in sports also had higher test scores as well as higher rates of educational attainment. We also looked at whether high schools that offered more sports and had a larger share of their student body participating in sports also tended to have higher test scores and higher attainment.

Using several different specifications, we find that higher rates of athletic success and participation were associated with schools having higher overall test scores and higher educational attainment, controlling for observed school inputs. For example, we found:

With regard to attainment, a 10 percentage point increase in a school’s overall winning percentages associated with a 1.3 percentage point improvement in its CPI, which is an estimate of its high school graduation rate.We also looked at whether schools that offered more opportunities to participate in sports had different rates of attainment:

When we only examine winter sports, an increase of one sport improves CPI by 0.01, which would be a 1 percentage point increase in the high school graduation rate. For the winter, the addition of 10 students directly participating in sports is associated with a 0.015 improvement in CPI, or a 1.5% increase in high school graduation rate.In addition to attainment, we also looked at achievement on state tests:

We observe similar positive and statistically significant relationships between the success and participation in high school sports and student achievement as measured by the Ohio standardized test results. A 10 percentage point increase in overall winning percentage is associated with a 0.25 percentage point increase in the number of students at or above academic proficiency. (See Table 4) When we examine the effect of winning percentage in each sport separately, once again winning in football has the largest effect. Girls’ basketball also remains positive and statistically significant (at p < 0.10), but boys’ basketball is not statistically distinguishable from a null effect.Lastly, we looked at the effect of participation rates in Ohio high schools on overall student achievement:

As for participation and achievement, the addition of one sport increases the number of students at or above academic proficiency by 0.2 of a percentage point. The addition of 10 students directly participating in a sports team improves the proportion of students at or above proficient by 0.4 of a percentage point. Both of these results are statistically significant at p < 0.01. (See Table 5) When examining just the winter season, adding one winter sport increases the percentage of students performing proficiently by 0.4 of a percentage point, while an additional 10 student able to directly participate in sports during the winter season relates to a 0.6 percentage point increase in students at or above proficiency (see Table 5)It is a common refrain among advocates for education reform that athletics ”have assumed an unhealthy priority in our high schools.” But these advocates rarely offer data to support their view. Instead, they rely on stereotypes about dumb jocks, anecdotes, and painful personal memories as their proof.

Our data suggest that this claim that high school athletic success comes at the expense of academic success is mistaken. Of course, we cannot make causal claims based on our analyses about the relationship between sports and achievement. It’s possible that schools that are more effective at winning in sports and expanding participation are also the kinds of schools that can produce academic success. But the evidence we have gathered at least suggests that any trade-offs between sports and achievement would have to be subtle and small, if they exist at all. Descriptively, it is clear that high schools that devote more energy to sports also produce higher test scores and higher graduation rates. http://educationnext.org/does-athletic-success-come-at-the-expense-of-academic-success/


Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?

Daniel H. Bowen*

Jay P. Greene

University of Arkansas


Claims are often made about the impact of high school athletics on academic achievement without reference to empirical research on the issue. In this paper we empirically examine the relationship between the extent to which high schools have winning sports teams, offer a variety of sports options, and facilitate student participation in athletics on schools’ overall student achievement and attainment. We find that high school athletics do not appear to detract from academic success. In fact, based on the data we examined from Ohio high schools, an emphasis on athletic success and participation is associated with higher scores on standardized tests and higher graduation rates.      http://www.eeraonline.org/journal/files/v22/JRE_v22n2_Article_1_Bowen.pdf

Still, most kids need to prepare for a life outside of athletics and for parents who are living out their dreams and hopes through their children, to tell them differently is reckless.

Kids health has some thoughts about What Makes A Good Coach?

 Winning Isn’t Everything

.Most of you respect coaches who put winning in perspective and teach players it’s just one part of the game. Naturally, you want to win – but you also want the enjoyment of playing well, learning, and working as a team. Kim, 13, told us, “A good coach isn’t obsessed with winning but will motivate you and your team to want to win.” l

You Want to Improve Your Skills

So what should your coach care about most? Giving everyone a chance to play received the most votes from girls. Guys voted for teaching new skills. But when girls’ and guys’ votes were combined, it was pretty much a coin toss: 45% of you think your coach should teach new skills and 46% said giving everyone a chance to play should be most important….

 Coaches Who Understand and Motivate Their Players

A coach has to understand a player’s weaknesses and strengths. “They need to know the sport and the athletes well enough to make good choices for the athlete,” said Shannon, 14….

Coaches Who Are Tough but Fair

Coaches who are realistic and honest about what a person can achieve – even when it’s hard – are the kinds of coaches you look up to. Stephanie, 13, told us a good coach has “the ability to tell you the straight truth or facts without making you feel bad….”

Coaches Who Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills

“Besides just coaching, they share wisdom and insight on life based on personal experience,” said Alex, 15, who told us about his high school wrestling coach. “It helps having someone besides a parent that’s an adult that you can talk to in some situations….”

Coaches Who Make It a Team Effort

Working toward a goal as a team is a priority for you (even if the team’s just you and your coach). And coaches who treat players with respect, as equals, win your praise. “A good coach will listen to the team’s ideas,” said Kelsey, 14.

“A good coach understands that respect is to be earned and understands that they do not control the team, they are part of the team,” said Rebecca, 13….

Coaches have a great impact on players, but parents have a great influence as well. Too many players have pressure put on them to succeed in athletics because they are living out a parent’s failed dream or the parent feels the child is a lottery ticket out of miserable circumstances. The outcome of these failed dreams is often devastating.

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes. The best outcome for any school setting is to produce well-rounded kids.

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