January 2013 Reports

Digital research www.pewinternet.org
A survey of advanced placement and National Writing Project teachers finds that 77 percent of them feel that the Internet and digital search tools have had a mostly positive effect on students’ research efforts, but at the same time 87 percent of them feel that these same technologies are making their students easily distracted and shortening their attention spans. Overall, 64 percent of the teachers surveyed felt that the technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.” Additionally, 60 percent of the teachers surveyed for the Pew Research Center’s How Teens Do Research in the Digital World felt that modern technologies actually make it harder for their students to find credible resources.

ELL and Common Core www.all4ed.org
It is estimated that by 2020, English language learners (ELLs) could comprise more than half of all school-age children. Results of the 2011 12th-grade NAEP reading assessment show that 77 percent of ELLs performed below the basic level, and only 3 percent of ELLs tested as proficient or better. A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, The Role of Language and Literacy in College- and Career-Ready Standards, says that historically language arts programs for ELLs focused on grammar and correctness, rather than collaboration, critical thinking, and the understanding and communication of ideas, which are stressed in the new standards for language arts. The report lists 10 key strategies ELL teachers can use to help their students meet the new standards, and discusses current reform efforts such as Formative Language Assessment Records for English Language Learners.

Implementing the Common Core http://educore.ascd.org
A report from ASCD, Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards, says that the 2012-13 school year is a pivotal time as teachers across America begin to integrate the new Common Core State Standards into their classrooms. The report recommends that schools set nine priorities to ease their implementation: 1) adopt technology to meet teaching and learning needs that will work with new assessments; 2) use professional learning to maximize collaboration and capacity building; 3) have principals serve as instructional leaders; 4) meet educators’ professional learning needs; 5) find higher-education partners; 6) plan for coming assessments; 7) ensure instructional resources are of high quality and align with the standards; 8) make sure teachers understand the standards and how their instruction methods must change to accommodate them; and 9) align initiatives into comprehensive reforms.

Shaping up American kids www.aahperd.org
Shape of the Nation, a report from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Heart Association, says that most American kids under 18 spend most of their days sitting in classrooms, watching television, surfing the Internet, and playing video games, and do not come close to participating in regular physical exercise -- an hour or more of exercise per day, every day. The report says that a required daily physical education period at school would ensure that kids would get at least a portion of the physical activity recommended for them, as would unstructured play at recess.

Compiled by Margaret Suslick, ASBJ’s Editorial Assistant.