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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida students say schoolwork is too easy



Many Florida students believe their schoolwork is too easy, according to a report released today by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates "progressive" public policies.


The report found that 39 percent of fourth graders in Florida said their math work is too often or always too easy. About 30 percent of eighth graders said they read less than five pages a day, either in school or at home. Only 22 percent said they read more than 20 a day. The results are based on student feedback from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test given to students nationwide.

The authors of the report say student surveys could be an important part of looking at teacher effectiveness.

From the report:

"You might think that the nation’s teenagers are drowning in schoolwork. Images of sullen students buried in textbooks often grace the covers of popular parenting magazines, while well-heeled suburban teenagers often complain they have to work the hours of a corporate lawyer in order to finish their school projects and homework assignments. But when we recently examined a federal survey of students in elementary and high schools around the country, we found the opposite: Many students are not being challenged in school.

Consider, for instance, that 37 percent of fourth-graders say that their math work is too easy. More than a third of high-school seniors report that they hardly ever write about what they read in class. In a competitive global economy where the mastery of science is increasingly crucial, 72 percent of eighth-grade science students say they aren’t being taught engineering and technology, according to our analysis of a federal database.

These findings come at a key time. Researchers increasingly believe that student surveys can provide important insights into a teacher’s effectiveness. When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released findings from their Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project in 2011, they found that student feedback was a far better predictor of a teacher’s performance than more traditional indicators of success such as whether a teacher had a master’s degree or not. The mounting evidence on the importance of student surveys has also been shaping policy at the state and local level, and a variety of groups dedicated to the improvement of teaching—such as the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit that works to advance policies and practices to ensure effective teaching in every classroom—have been incorporating student surveys into their teacher evaluation and certification process."

USA Today wrote a story about the report here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 6:08pm]


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