Tag Archives: Tracking

University of Washington study: For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use

19 Oct

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy may not have been specifically talking about domestic violence, but each situation is unique. There is a specific story and specific journey for each victim, each couple, and each abuser. There is no predicted endpoint for domestic violence; each situation will have its own outcome.

Headlines regularly detail incidents of domestic violence involving sports figures and other prominent people. Domestic Violence is a societal problem. According to Safe Horizon:

The Victims
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner….. http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html

Abusers come in all races, classes, genders, religions and creeds.

Andy Greenberg reported in the Wired article, It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone’s Location With Mobile Ads:

When you consider the nagging privacy risks of online advertising, you may find comfort in the thought of a vast, abstract company like Pepsi or Nike viewing you as just one data point among millions. What, after all, do you have to hide from Pepsi? And why should that corporate megalith care about your secrets out of countless potential Pepsi drinkers? But an upcoming study has dissipated that delusion. It shows that ad-targeting can not only track you at the personal, individual level but also that it doesn’t take a corporation’s resources to seize upon that surveillance tool—just time, determination, and about a thousand dollars.
A team of security-focused researchers from the University of Washington has demonstrated just how deeply even someone with modest resources can exploit mobile advertising networks. An advertising-savvy spy, they’ve shown, can spend just a grand to track a target’s location with disturbing precision, learn details about them like their demographics and what apps they have installed on their phone, or correlate that information to make even more sensitive discoveries—say, that a certain twentysomething man has a gay dating app installed on his phone and lives at a certain address, that someone sitting next to the spy at a Starbucks took a certain route after leaving the coffee shop, or that a spy’s spouse has visited a particular friend’s home or business… https://www.wired.com/story/track-location-with-mobile-ads-1000-dollars-study/

Tracking a partner’s movements is one element of control in an abusive relationship.

Rachael Williams wrote in the Guardian article, Spyware and smartphones: how abusive men track their partners:

New technology is being developed so quickly, and social media pervades so many aspects of our lives, that it is hard to stay ahead, says Jennifer Perry, the chief executive of the Digital Trust, which supports victims of digital abuse. In fact, spyware, she reckons, is “yesterday’s technology” for tracking victims: “The easiest thing is to access the woman in the cloud. A man might buy a phone and set it up for his partner to be ‘helpful’. He knows the username and password. You have women who don’t even realise they have a cloud account in their smartphone.
“There is also an app you can buy that mirrors the phone on to a PC. The man can just sit at his computer and watch everything that happens on the phone.”
The technology is cheap and accessible, she says. And evading it is often not as simple as just turning the phone off. Perry usually advises women to take their sim card out, leave the phone with a friend until it can be cleaned, and use a cheap pay-as-you-go device in the meantime. But if her ex-partner owns the phone, it will never be safe.
Cloud storage is particularly problematic because it is linked to laptops and PCs, which, unlike phones, can have spyware installed on them remotely via email. “You often find that a woman had spyware put on to her computer remotely, so even if she changes the username and password for the cloud on her phone, the abuser can see that on the computer and get back in,” Perry says.
Perpetrators don’t just use this technology to find out where an escaping partner has gone; it is another tool for abuse when they’re together, too. “They will use the information to belittle or threaten the woman,” says Clare Laxton, public policy manager at Women’s Aid. “They’ll say: ‘Why were you at this restaurant? You’re cheating on me, I’m going to kill myself.’ It closes down that woman’s space, so she won’t want to go out and socialise, because she knows the abuse she’ll get when she gets home isn’t worth it. It’s all part of controlling her as much as possible….” https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/25/spyware-smartphone-abusive-men-track-partners-domestic-violence

Science Daily reported about privacy concerns:

Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.
But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?
The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, which will be presented Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using….

Citation:

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use
Date: October 18, 2017
Source: University of Washington
Summary:
New research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team hopes to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171018124131.htm

Here is the press release from the University of Washington:

October 18, 2017

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use
Jennifer Langston

UW News

New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team aims to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat.

Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.

But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?

The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, to be presented in a paper Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using.
“Anyone from a foreign intelligence agent to a jealous spouse can pretty easily sign up with a large internet advertising company and on a fairly modest budget use these ecosystems to track another individual’s behavior,” said lead author Paul Vines, a recent doctoral graduate in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

The research team set out to test whether an adversary could exploit the existing online advertising infrastructure for personal surveillance and, if so, raise industry awareness about the threat.

“Because it was so easy to do what we did, we believe this is an issue that the online advertising industry needs to be thinking about,” said co-author Franzi Roesner, co-director of the UW Security and Privacy Research Lab and an assistant professor in the Allen School. “We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks, and so that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.”

This map represents an individual’s morning commute. Red dots reflect the places where the UW computer security researchers were able to track that person’s movements by serving location-based ads: at home (real location not shown), a coffee shop, bus stop and office. The team found that a target needed to stay in one location for roughly four minutes before an ad was served, which is why no red dots appear along the individual’s bus commute (dashed line) or walking route (solid line.)University of Washington

The researchers discovered that an individual ad purchaser can, under certain circumstances, see when a person visits a predetermined sensitive location — a suspected rendezvous spot for an affair, the office of a company that a venture capitalist might be interested in or a hospital where someone might be receiving treatment — within 10 minutes of that person’s arrival. They were also able to track a person’s movements across the city during a morning commute by serving location-based ads to the target’s phone.

The team also discovered that individuals who purchase the ads could see what types of apps their target was using. That could potentially divulge information about the person’s interests, dating habits, religious affiliations, health conditions, political leanings and other potentially sensitive or private information.
Someone who wants to surveil a person’s movements first needs to learn the mobile advertising ID (MAID) for the target’s mobile phone. These unique identifiers that help marketers serve ads tailored to a person’s interests are sent to the advertiser and a number of other parties whenever a person clicks on a mobile ad. A person’s MAID also could be obtained by eavesdropping on an unsecured wireless network the person is using or by gaining temporary access to his or her WiFi router.
The UW team demonstrated that customers of advertising services can purchase a number of hyperlocal ads through that service, which will only be served to that particular phone when its owner opens an app in a particular spot. By setting up a grid of these location-based ads, the adversary can track the target’s movements if he or she has opened an app and remains in a location long enough for an ad to be served — typically about four minutes, the team found.
Importantly, the target does not have to click on or engage with the ad — the purchaser can see where ads are being served and use that information to track the target through space. In the team’s experiments, they were able to pinpoint a person’s location within about 8 meters.

“To be very honest, I was shocked at how effective this was,” said co-author Tadayoshi Kohno, an Allen School professor who has studied security vulnerabilities in products ranging from automobiles to medical devices. “We did this research to better understand the privacy risks with online advertising. There’s a fundamental tension that as advertisers become more capable of targeting and tracking people to deliver better ads, there’s also the opportunity for adversaries to begin exploiting that additional precision. It is important to understand both the benefits and risks with technologies.”

An individual could potentially disrupt the simple types of location-based attacks that the UW team demonstrated by frequently resetting the mobile advertising IDs in their phones — a feature that many smartphones now offer. Disabling location tracking within individual app settings could help, the researchers said, but advertisers still may be capable of harvesting location data in other ways.
On the industry side, mobile and online advertisers could help thwart these types of attacks by rejecting ad buys that target only a small number of devices or individuals, the researchers said. They also could develop and deploy machine learning tools to distinguish between normal advertising patterns and suspicious advertising behavior that looks more like personal surveillance.
The UW Security and Privacy Research Lab is a leader in evaluating potential security threats in emerging technologies, including telematics in automobiles, web browsers, DNA sequencing software and augmented reality, before they can be exploited by bad actors.

Next steps for the team include working with experts at the UW’s Tech Policy Lab to explore the legal and policy questions raised by this new form of potential intelligence gathering.

The research was funded by The National Science Foundation, The Tech Policy Lab and the Short-Dooley Professorship.

For more information, contact the research team at adint@cs.washington.edu.
Grant number: NSF: CNS-1463968

Resources:

Cell Phone Location Tracking Laws By State https://www.aclu.org/issues/privacy-technology/location-tracking/cell-phone-location-tracking-laws-state

Mobile Phone Safety for a Domestic Abuse Victim http://www.getdomesticviolencehelp.com/domestic-abuse-victim.html

Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/15/346149979/smartphones-are-used-to-stalk-control-domestic-abuse-victims

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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I-Best adult education prepares adult education students for employment

5 Nov

Moi wrote in The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students:
There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.
http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/

Kavitha Cardozo of NPR reported in the article, How To Turn Adult Education Into Careers, Quickly:

From The Classroom To The Workplace
Students going through this program are pretty typical of what you’d find in any adult education class across the country. They’ve often dropped out of high school, have low levels of reading and math, many don’t speak English fluently.
Through this program, they can take college-level courses and earn certificates in any of the almost 200 courses offered, from medical billing to welding to building maintenance.
I-BEST programs teach students specific skills that employers value.
Millions of adults who grew up speaking a language other than English are still held back by their language skills..
Students at Shoreline Community College have just finished the theory portion of an auto mechanics class, where they learned about the physics of manual transmissions. Then it’s a quick change into overalls and the hands-on part begins.
This class isn’t child’s play though. Instructor Mark Hankins says students have to learn the complex systems of today’s cars so at the end of the program, “they can go out and do a brake job, they can do fluid replacement, they can do inspections.
“And those are the kind of jobs that there’s a big need for,” he says.
All I-BEST programs have to demonstrate that students can get jobs paying a living wage when they graduate. In most parts of Washington state, that’s $13 an hour.
C.J. Forza says his brain “just clicks with engines.” He dropped out of school in the 12th grade; he’s now 31. He loves cars so much he works part time in a mechanic shop already. Forza’s now learning the “why,” not just the “how,” of repairs.
“Instead of just guessing at what it is, I’m more able to figure out, OK, this issue can be caused by this, this or this,” he says.
Like most adults here, Forza is managing many responsibilities, without much money to hold his life together. But he sticks it out because he can see exactly what the connection is between this class and his career.
At the end of one year, Forza will have a certificate in general auto mechanics and will see his pay jump from $10 an hour to $15.
“I want to be the breadwinner of my family. I have a 3-year-old daughter that I need to raise. I want a career not a job,” he says.
‘Not Everybody Has Bootstraps’
Instructor Hankins says this program really does make a difference.
“I have a student that is now a general manager of a dealership, and I’m sure he’s making two or three times more salary than I am right now,” he says with a laugh.
It can take years before adults in typical adult education programs can take college courses. But what makes I-BEST unusual is that it shortens that time by bypassing the GED exam completely. Students in a Washington state community college program who earn an associate’s degree can receive a high school diploma retroactively.
I-BEST’s Erickson says that when people talk about the program’s success, they often focus on the numbers and the model and the research. But at its heart, she says, I-BEST is about giving people another chance.
“A lot of people will say, ‘Why can’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps?’ But not everybody has bootstraps or even boots,” she says.
Erickson says if we can create opportunities to get more people educated and into the workforce, why shouldn’t we?
http://www.npr.org/2013/11/02/241897572/how-to-turn-adult-education-into-careers-quickly?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Here is a description of the Washington program from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.:

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training
(I-BEST)
________________________________________
Washington’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST) is a nationally recognized model that quickly boosts students’ literacy and work skills so that students can earn credentials, get living wage jobs, and put their talents to work for employers.
I-BEST pairs two instructors in the classroom – one to teach professional and technical content and the other to teach basic skills in reading, math, writing or English language – so students can move through school and into jobs faster. As students progress through the program, they learn basic skills in real-world scenarios offered by the job-training part of the curriculum.
I-BEST challenges the traditional notion that students must complete all basic education before they can even start a job-training program. This approach often discourages students because it takes more time, and the stand-alone basic skills classes do not qualify for college credit. I-BEST students start earning college credits immediately.
A Benefit to the Economy
Talent and skills determine the competitive edge in today’s economy, yet one out of every six people in Washington lacks the basic reading, writing and math skills to get living-wage jobs and meet the needs of employers. This segment of Washington’s population is growing quickly at the same time that most jobs now require college experience. By 2019, two-thirds of all new jobs in Washington State will require at least one year of college education.
In order to have a vibrant economy, Washington employers need access to skilled, credentialed workers and all residents need access to opportunities that allow them to earn a living wage.
In Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges, I-BEST pairs workforce training with ABE or ESL so students learn literacy and workplace skills at the same time. Adult literacy and vocational instructors work together to develop and deliver instruction. Colleges provide higher levels of support and student services to address the needs of non-traditional students. There are more than 170 approved programs, expanding each year since the 2006 launch of I-BEST. State Board staff provide colleges with technical assistance and information on best practices to ensure low-income students successfully complete integrated programs and find family wage careers.
Why I-BEST Was Developed
The SBCTC developed Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) to address the changing needs of employers and students. It tested traditional notions that students must first complete all levels of adult basic education before they can advance in workforce education training programs.
In Washington state, over half of the students come to community and technical colleges with the goal of getting to work. Research showed that students were not transitioning to higher levels of education.
“Only 13 percent of the students who started in ESL programs went on to earn at least some college credits. Less than one-third (30 percent) of adult basic education (ABE/GED) students made the transition to college-level courses. Only four to six percent of either group ended up getting 45 or more college credits or earning a certificate or degree within five years.”
Building Pathways to Success for Low-Skill Adult Students:
Lessons for Community College Policy and Practice
from a Longitudinal Student Tracking Study
(Prince, Jenkins: April 2005).
I-BEST moves students further and faster to certificate and degree completion. As a result, I-BEST was designed to directly transition into college-level programs and help students build skills that will move them forward.
The I-BEST Model
• I-BEST programs must include college-level professional-technical credits that are required of all students in the selected program and are part of a career pathway.
• All students must qualify for federally supported levels of basic skills education.
• Students must be pre-tested using CASAS (the standardized test used statewide to assess ABE and ESL students).
• An instructor from basic skills and an instructor from the professional-technical program must jointly instruct in the same classroom with at least a 50 percent overlap of the instructional time.
• Faculty must develop integrated program outcomes, jointly plan curriculum, and jointly assess student learning and skill development.
• I-BEST programs must appear on the demand list for the local area and meet a minimum set wage.
Questions about I-BEST?
Contact Louisa Erickson, SBCTC, lerickson@sbctc.edu or 360-704-4368.
Top of page
© 2013 Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_integratedbasiceducationandskillstraining.aspx

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each student.

Resources:

Vocational Education Myths and Realities
http://www.fape.org/idea/How_it_works/voced_myths_8.html

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/95024-2.asp

Related:
The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/
What is the National Association of Manufacturers ‘Skills Certification’ https://drwilda.com/tag/vocational-education-career-mapping/
Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping
https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/
Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

What is the National Association of Manufacturers ‘Skills Certification’

20 May

Moi wrote in The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students:

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree  follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of

the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence

to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college?https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/

https://drwilda.com/2011/11/29/the-international-baccalaureate-program-and-vocational-students/

Now, there is a new program in community colleges. According to the NAM site, NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System:

Close the Skills Gap! Take Action Now!

  • 82% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers.

  • 75% of manufacturers say the skill shortage has negatively impacted their ability to expand.

  • 600,000 jobs in manufacturing are unfilled today because employers can’t find workers with the right skills.

To help close the growing skills gap, the Manufacturing Institute has launched the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.  This system of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials validates both the “book smarts” and the “street smarts” needed to be productive and successful on the job.  For more information, see the following sections:

Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait.  Each manufacturer must take action NOW to help grow the next generation of manufacturing talent.  Learn more about the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System and how it can make a difference in your workplace! http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Skills-Certification/Skills-Certification.aspx

The Adult College Completion Network describes the program in Manufacturing Skills Certification System

This effort allows 12 states to align their educational and career pathways with a nationally-recognized skills certification system.

Description: 

The project is supporting 12 states to join five current states (North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Indiana) that are leading efforts to align their educational and career pathways with the National Association of Manufacturers-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. The states in the project were scheduled to begin implementation over a four-year period; however, during year one there was such demand from manufacturers for action that the Institute initiated efforts in all the states. The states are: Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Nevada, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kansas. The project is scaling up the model to align stackable industry-recognized skills certifications in advanced manufacturing with educational degree pathways that span from high school to community colleges to four-year institution programs of study.

Expected Outcomes: 

  • Increase in the number of students who earn a postsecondary credential with value in the workplace.

  • Creation/validation industry-aligned postsecondary pathways with advanced manufacturing career pathways, using real-time data on each state’s economy map.

  • Mapping the Advanced Manufacturing educational pathways in the states.

  • Integration of industry credentials into early adopter postsecondary institutions’ programs of study.

  • Modularization of the college curriculum to shorten time to credentials and provide more on/off-ramps in postsecondary education.

  • Strengthening of employer engagement with education.

  • Creation of a community of learners among states to share best-in-class tools to facilitate implementation.

Contact

Brent Weil

Senior Vice President

202-637-3134

Location

1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20004

United States

http://adultcollegecompletion.org/content/manufacturing-skills-certification-system

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each child.

Resources:

Vocational Education Myths and Realities

http://www.fape.org/idea/How_it_works/voced_myths_8.html

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/95024-2.asp

Related:

The IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/06/28/the-ib-career-related-certificate-ibcc/

Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping                 https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                https://drwilda.com/

Ability Grouping or tracking may be making a comeback

20 Mar

A study by Courtney A. Collins and Li Gan, Does Sorting Students Improve Scores? An Analysis of Class Composition is focusing attention on ability grouping or tracking. The NEA Research Spotlight on Academic Ability Group defines ability grouping:

Ability grouping, also known as tracking, is the practice of grouping children together according to their talents in the classroom. At the elementary school level, the divisions sound harmless enough – kids are divided into the Bluebirds and Redbirds. But in secondary schools, the stratification becomes more obvious as students assume their places in the tracking system. In many instances, these students are given labels that stay with them as they move from grade to grade. For those on the lower tracks, a steady diet of lower expectations leads to a low level of motivation toward school. Consequently, in high school, the groups formerly known as the Bluebirds and Redbirds have evolved into tracks: College Preparatory and Vocational.

The educational practice of ability grouping emerged around the turn of the 20th century as a way to prepare students for their “appropriate” place in the workforce (Cooper, 1996). Students with high abilities and skills were given intense, rigorous academic training while students with lower abilities were given a vocational education.

The two most common forms of ability grouping are:

  • Within-class grouping – a teacher’s practice of putting students of similar ability into small groups usually for reading or math instruction
  • Between-class grouping –  a school’s practice of separating students into different classes, courses, or course sequences (curricular tracks) based on their academic achievement

Proponents of ability grouping say that the practice allows teachers to tailor the pace and content of instruction much better to students’ needs and, thus, improve student achievement. For example, teachers can provide needed repetition and reinforcement for low-achieving students and an advanced level of instruction to high achievers.

Opponents, however, contend that ability grouping not only fails to benefit any student, but it also channels poor and minority students to low tracks where they receive a lower quality of instruction than other groups. This, they claim, contributes to a widening of the achievement gaps. The National Education Association supports the elimination of such groupings. NEA believes that the use of discriminatory academic tracking based on economic status, ethnicity, race, or gender must be eliminated in all public school settings (NEA Resolutions B-16, 1998, 2005) http://www.nea.org/tools/16899.htm

Collins and Li studied data from the Dallas Independent School District.

Jay Mathews writes in the Washington Post article, Ability grouping is back despite scholarly qualms:

Except that it did, as Brookings Institution education expert Tom Loveless reveals in a new report. The canaries, redbirds and other ability-group fauna took a huge hit from scholars studying inequity in American schools in the 1970s and 1980s. Teachers moved away from ability grouping.

Now, without much notice, they have moved back. Depending on your point of view, the No Child Left Behind law deserves credit or blame for the return of my bluebirds and lesser fowl.

Loveless, senior fellow at Brookings’s Brown Center on Education Policy, examines this turnabout in his new report, “How Well Are American Students Learning?” He is a former teacher with an eye for newsworthy developments in education reform.

One of the earliest and sharpest attacks on ability grouping was Ray C. Rist’s 1970 paper, “Student Social Class and Teacher Expectations: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Ghetto Education.” Loveless says Rist “followed a group of kindergarten students through the first few years of school and noted how the composition of the reading groups rarely changed, consistently reflecting students’ socioeconomic status.” Rist said teachers developed higher expectations for the more affluent kids in the top groups.

Other scholars assaulted tracking, the practice of putting classes at different levels in the same grade, rather than the ability-grouping approach of different levels in the same class. Jeannie Oakes’s 1985 book “Keeping Track” argues that tracking was an attack on social justice, making inequality worse.

Loveless’s research shows that the anti-tracking movement had some effect, although middle schools and high schools still have one set of courses for college-oriented students and a less demanding set in the same subjects for those not so academically inclined.

The biggest triumph of the anti-trackers, particularly evident in this area, has been the opening of college-level classes like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and the Advanced International Certificate of Education to all students who want to take them.

Ability grouping declined more sharply than tracking did in the face of the scholarly assault. A 1986 Johns Hopkins survey found bluebird/redbird/canary/etc. groupings in at least 80 percent of elementary schools. By the mid-1990s, such grouping had dropped to as low as 27 percent, according to another study.

Then it rebounded. A 2006 survey found that ability grouping was back to 63 percent of teachers. The jump was even more pronounced in fourth-grade reports from the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress, from 28 percent of students in ability groups in 1998 to 71 percent in 2009. The jump in math ability groups was from 40 percent of students in 1996 to 61 percent in 2011.

Washington area school officials tell me tracking and ability grouping is permitted as long as students are not stuck at one level and are helped to improve.

Studies show teachers prefer ability grouping to teaching all students, fast and slow, at the same time. Ability grouping also helps them focus on those children closest to reaching the proficiency targets under No Child Left Behind. This retread from my youth is back, and likely to stay, no matter what researchers and my mom think of it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/ability-grouping-is-back-despite-scholarly-qualms/2013/03/17/5dc15a1c-8df8-11e2-9f54-f3fdd70acad2_blog.html

Citation:

Does Sorting Students Improve Scores? An Analysis of Class Composition

Courtney A. Collins, Li Gan

NBER Working Paper No. 18848
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED

This paper examines schools’ decisions to sort students into different classes and how those sorting processes impact student achievement. There are two potential effects that result from schools creating homogeneous classes—a “tracking effect,” which allows teachers to direct their focus to a more narrow range of students, and a peer effect, which causes a particular student’s achievement to be influenced by the quality of peers in his classroom. In schools with homogeneous sorting, both the tracking effect and the peer effect should benefit high performing students. However, the effects would work in opposite directions for a low achieving student; he would benefit from the tracking effect, but the peer effect should decrease his score. This paper seeks to determine the net effect for low performing students in order to understand the full implications of sorting on all students.

We use a unique student-level data set from Dallas Independent School District that links students to their actual classes and reveals the entire distribution of students within a classroom. We find significant variation in sorting practices across schools and use this variation to identify the effect of sorting on student achievement. Implementing a unique instrumental variables approach, we find that sorting homogeneously by previous performance significantly improves students’ math and reading scores. This effect is present for students across the score distribution, suggesting that the net effect of sorting is beneficial for both high and low performing students. We also explore the effects of sorting along other dimensions, such as gifted and talented status, special education status, and limited English proficiency.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

There are pros and cons of ability grouping.

Margie of Bright Hub Education lists the pros and cons of ability grouping in the article, The Pros and Cons of Ability Grouping:

Positive Aspects of Ability Grouping

Students Are Not Forced To Wait Or Rush

When you place students of the same ability together, they usually are able to work at about the same pace. This means the students that understand the concept you are teaching can move on to a more advanced stage and the ones that need extra guidance can slow down and get extra help. No one is waiting on someone else to grasp a concept (that they already understand) and no one is being forced to move on before they are ready.

Teacher Can Work More Intensely With Those That Need Help

When you divide your class into ability groups, you will have groups that completely understand the topic and are ready to move on to something new. You will have groups that understand most of the concept but need some extra practice, and you will have groups that need extra instruction and guidance before they can progress. Since they are seated and working together, you can take this opportunity to sit with the ones that need extra instruction and provide it for them. The other students have their assignments, so they are busy working on material that has been tailored to fit their needs, so this frees you up to spend some time with those who need it.

Students Are Allowed to “Fly” On Their Own

The students that clearly understand a concept have time to move forward and progress at a faster pace and possibly move on to a more complex topic. This can build self-esteem and alleviate boredom in the classroom.

Negative Aspects of Ability Grouping

Students May Get “Stuck” In a Group

It is important to remember that no student is perfect at everything and no student is bad at everything. Sometimes, when we ability group it is easy to label students and place them in the same low, middle, or high group time after time. This can lead to labeling, (the “nerdy group” or the “dumb group”) something teachers want to avoid at all costs. Afterall, a huge part of our job is to make our students feel confident and secure.

It is easy to avoid this by using a data notebook to track students’ progress. This way you do not unintentionally place students in the same groups time after time. If you follow the data, students will actually be placed according to their ability.

If you do notice that students are consistently being placed in the same group, you might want to shake things up and step away from ability grouping for awhile, or try some heterogeneous grouping. School is hard enough for our students, we certainly don’t want to give anyone a reason to bully or tease a classmate.

Additional Work For The Teacher

Ability grouping can add additional work for the teacher… and teachers are certainly busy enough. Ability grouping is not something that has to be done every day, or even every week if you are having a particularly busy week. Figure out the concepts where you seem to have the most differing abilities and use ability grouping only in those areas. Ability grouping can be very beneficial, but only if it is done thoughtfully and with a plan in mind. If you are simply too busy to undertake it one week, put it off until the next.

Ability grouping can be looked at as simply another tool in your toolbox. Pull it out when you need it and when it will work for both you and your students. http://www.brighthubeducation.com/classroom-management/19620-pros-and-cons-of-ability-grouping/

Moi shares the concerns of the NEA that poor students and students of color may be channeled into lower aspirational tracks.

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The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students

29 Nov

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree  follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of

the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence

to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The comprise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/why-go-to-college/

Michael Alison Chandler is reporting in the Washington Post story, New college-prep IB program could be offered to technical students about giving vocational students the opportunity to participate in the International Baccalaureate program.

America’s high schools have historically separated students who learn technical skills from those studying the liberal arts, preparing them for distinct futures.

Education reform over the past three decades has centered on undoing such tracking and strengthening the academic foundation for everyone, thanks to an economy that demands ever higher education for almost any job. Still, experts say there remains too wide a gulf between many career-oriented programs and a broader degree.

A new college-preparatory International Baccalaureate curriculum designed for students pursuing career or technical education aims to bridge the gap. Rockville High has applied to the Geneva-based IB organization to offer an “IB career-related certificate” in future years. If the application is approved, Rockville will become one of the first high schools in the country to offer what some educators are calling a cutting-edge fusion of college and career preparation….

The new program could produce more articulate and creative engineers and computer scientists, its proponents say. The rigor and prestige of IB also could lend esteem and an inroad to college for occupational training programs not typically associated with higher learning, such as cosmetology or construction. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/new-college-prep-ib-program-could-be-offered-to-technical-students/2011/11/21/gIQAareS6N_story.html

Traditionally, students in vocational training programs have not been afforded access to intensive academic programs like the International Baccalaureate while they are pursuing vocational training.

The International Baccalaureate Organization designs the international baccalaureate diploma

The curriculum

IB Diploma Programme students study six courses at higher level or standard level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5.

In addition the programme has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.

The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying.

Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).

Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.

Read more on the Diploma Programme curriculum

Tamar Lewin has a great article in the New York Times which describes the International Baccalaureate program. In International Program Catches On In U.S. Schools Lewin reports:   

The alphabet soup of college admissions is getting more complicated as the International Baccalaureate, or I.B., grows in popularity as an alternative to the better-known Advanced Placement program.

The College Board’s A.P. program, which offers a long menu of single-subject courses, is still by far the most common option for giving students a head start on college work, and a potential edge in admissions.

The lesser-known I.B., a two-year curriculum developed in the 1960s at an international school in Switzerland, first took hold in the United States in private schools. But it is now offered in more than 700 American high schools — more than 90 percent of them public schools — and almost 200 more have begun the long certification process.

Many parents, schools and students see the program as a rigorous and more internationally focused curriculum, and a way to impress college admissions officers.

To earn an I.B. diploma, students must devote their full junior and senior years to the program, which requires English and another language, math, science, social science and art, plus a course on theory of knowledge, a 4,000-word essay, oral presentations and community service….

Our students don’t have as much diversity as people in some other areas, so this makes them open their eyes,” said Deb Pinkham, the program’s English teacher.

The I.B. program is used in 139 countries, and its international focus has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Some parents say it is anti-American and too closely tied to both the United Nations and radical environmentalism. From its start in 1968 until 1976, the program was financed partly by Unesco. It is now associated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and until recently it endorsed the Earth Charter, a declaration of principles of sustainability that originated at the United Nations.

When there is a program at the school with a specific agenda, which in this case is the United Nations agenda, I have a problem with it,” said Ann Marie Banfield, who unsuccessfully opposed the adoption of the I.B. program in Bedford, N.H.

Others object to its cost — the organization charges $10,000 a year per school, $141 per student and $96 per exam — and say it is neither as effective as the A.P. program nor likely to reach as many students.

We have 337 kids, and 80 of them take at least one of our 16 A.P. classes,” said John Eppolito, a parent who opposes the planned introduction of the I.B. in Incline Village, Nev. “If we switched to the I.B., the district estimates that 15 kids would get a I.B. diploma in two years.”

I.B. opponents have created a Web site, truthaboutib.com, to serve as a clearinghouse for their views.

Many schools, and many parents, see the I.B. partly as a way to show college admissions offices that students have chosen a rigorous program, with tests graded by I.B. examiners around the world….

One of the educators interviewed in the Lewin article observed that the IB program might be better suited for kids who are more creative and either are not as good or do not like to memorize.

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each child.

Resources:

Vocational Education Myths and Realities

http://www.fape.org/idea/How_it_works/voced_myths_8.html

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/95024-2.asp

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