Education Week - October 23, 2013 - (Page 5)
REPORT ROUNDUP www.edweek.org/go/rr
Test-Makers Forge Pact
For Concussion Management
Two major developers of concussion-management
tools have announced
a partnership that could
expand the way youth-athletes are
evaluated for head injuries.
ImPACT Applications Inc., the developer
of the ImPACT neurocognitive
test, and the maker of the King-Devick
Test have partnered to "promote
a multidimensional approach to assessing
concussions in athletes," according
to the announcement this
The ImPACT test aims to guide return-to-play
decisions by measuring
a student-athlete's "baseline" during
the preseason of his or her sport.
The King-Devick Test helps guide
remove-from- or return-to-play decisions
right on the sideline. Neither
is necessarily 100 percent accurate.
The hope is that the combination
of tests will improve reliability.
More Students Expected
To Take PSAT
An estimated 3.6 million high
school students were expected to take
the Preliminary SAT/National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test last
week, about 100,000 more than last
year, according to the College Board.
Generally, students pay a $14
exam fee, but a growing number
of states and districts are covering
the cost for all students. Fee waivers
are available for low-income
students, and nearly 150,000 qualified
On average, students who took the
PSAT scored 136 points more on the
SAT than those who did not, according
to the most recent report from
the College Board.
Few Disciplined in Probe
Of Pa. Test Irregularities
More than a year after then-state
education Secretary Ron Tomalis
vowed to file "well over 100" complaints
against Pennsylvania educators
over alleged cheating on state
tests, the state has disciplined five.
Action was taken against four in
Philadelphia and one in Erie, ranging
from a public reprimand to a
surrender of some teaching certificates.
State education officials say
they never comment on complaints
that are under review.
A report analyzing irregularities
arrived at the state education department
in July 2009, but officials
said it basically sat on a shelf. It
came to light in 2011 when an online
publication ran an article about
it, triggering Mr. Tomalis to order an
investigation. It focused on atypical
erasure patterns in which unusual
numbers of answers were changed
from wrong to right on state tests in
2009, 2010, and 2011.
Regulators Find Deficiencies
At Conn. Child-Care Centers
Connecticut child-care facilities
had a noncompliance rate greater
than 10 percent on seven of 13
state requirements, state regulators
found during unannounced visits,
according to an analysis published
in this month's American Journal of
Playground safety posed the biggest
problem, with nearly half the
centers failing to meet standards, the
report says. Indoor safety and health
violations were also documented.
For example, plastic bags, balloons,
and Styrofoam were within reach of
young children, and rules for diaper
changing were not always followed,
the study says.
The visits to 676 child-care cen-
ters, or 41 percent of those operating
at the time, took place from 2006 to
Ore. Elementary Charters
Found Lacking in Diversity
The six least-diverse Oregon elementary
schools all are charter
schools, according to a new state
education department analysis.
They have the fewest low-income
students, students who speak English
as a second language, and students
who are black, Latino, Pacific
Islander, or Native American.
Four of those six schools registered
top-tier performance on this
year's school report cards.
Rather than being assigned to a
charter school based on where they
live, families have to apply, be admitted
by lottery if there are too many
applicants, and provide their own
transportation to the school.
Proceeds in New York
New York is looking for school
districts to come up with promising
proposals that lengthen the amount
of time students spend in school.
The state education department
last month issued a request for proposals
outlining the state's vision.
The Extended Learning Time Grant
Program will provide $20 million in
competitive grants to districts over
each of the next three years. At least
25 percent more time must be added
to the academic calendar or 300 more
hours per year.
Applications are due this month.
-LAURA HEINAUER MELLETT
Hawaii Prepares for Change
In Kindergarten Age
Hawaii officials are emphasizing
an upcoming change in the age
children can enter kindergarten as
an opportunity for late-born pupils
to receive an extra year to prepare
Starting next school year, children
must be at least 5 on July 31 to
enter kindergarten the same year.
The current cutoff is Dec. 31. The
education department estimates
about 5,000 children won't be entering
kindergarten next school year.
Many affected families are worried
about how to afford another
year of preschool. State officials are
looking at the impact on low-income
families and exploring ways to reduce
the co-pay tiers for the state's
"The Invisible Achievement Gap"
In a first-of-its-kind academic
portrait of California's foster
children, researchers last week
unveiled a report showing that
students living in foster homes
are twice as likely to drop out of
school as other students and significantly
trail their low-income
peers on other academic measures.
Twenty-nine percent of students
in foster care reached proficiency
or higher on the California
state exam in English/language
arts in 2009-10, compared with
40 percent of students who are
from low-income families and 53
percent of all students. In 2010,
58 percent of students in foster
care graduated from high school.
By comparison, 79 percent of lowincome
students and 84 percent
of all students in the class of 2010
earned a high school diploma.
The report was published by the
Center for the Future of Teaching
and Learning at WestEd, in San
-LESLI A. MAXWELL
"Aid Like a Paycheck: Incremental
Aid to Boost Student Success"
Instead of giving low-income college
students their financial assistance
in a lump sum, a pilot program
disburses the money every
two weeks, and a new paper reports
that the arrangement may promote
academic success and smart financial
The study by the nonprofit re-
search organization MDRC analyzes
the Aid Like a Paycheck project
launched by the Institute for College
Access and Success in 2009
and pilot-tested at two colleges.
Initial response to the program
from college staff and students has
been positive, with enthusiasm
generally exceeding researchers' expectations,
according to the report.
Students said the new system helps
them spend their money wisely,
reduce their work hours, and put
more energy into their schoolwork.
-CARALEE J. ADAMS
"Charter Schools Pose Growing
Risks for Urban Public Schools"
A report released last week by
Moody's Investors Service found
that while most public school districts
have weathered the rise of
charter schools without a negative
fiscal impact, some risk factors are
making it harder for districts in
economically challenged areas to remain
financially viable as charters
continue to grow.
The report outlines four major
factors that can lead to charters
taking a toll on a district's
finances: declining enrollment,
districts' inability to adjust operations
in response to charter
school growth, state policies that
can make it difficult for districts to
operate with charter schools, and
the lack of integration between
districts and local government.
The study looked at a variety of
urban districts with high numbers
of charter schools, including the beleaguered
Detroit and Philadelphia
systems, to examine how these issues
"Retained Students and
in Urban Schools"
Retaining students has implications
for the attendance and
academic performance of their
nonretained classmates, finds a
new study of California students.
For the report, author Michael
Gottfried, an assistant professor
in urban education at Loyola
Marymount University, in Los
Angeles, examined data for elementary
children in an unnamed
He found that students in classrooms
with a higher percentage of
retained children also had more
unexcused-but not excused-
absences during the school year.
Because studies have linked unexcused
absences to academic
disengagement, Mr. Gottfried suggests
that retained students may
have a negative effect on their
classmates' learning. -ALYSSA MORONES
"Oklahoma School Grades: Hiding
As few as three correct responses
on Oklahoma state
tests can separate those schools
receiving an A grade from those
receiving an F under the state's
accountability system, says a
paper by the University of Oklahoma
and Oklahoma State University.
The study, released this month,
is based on raw scores on the
state's reading and mathematics
tests from 15,000 students in 63
urban schools and science scores
for about 4,900 students.
When averaging the scores
across all three tests, the study
found that about three to six correct
responses separated the best
schools from the worst, based on
the A-F system.
On the math tests, researchers
note that some scores from D and
F schools topped those from B and
The study concludes that the
system has many flaws, among
them that it hides the poor performance
of racial-minority and lowincome
TEACHERS AND AGING
"Occupational Differences Between
Alzheimer's and Aphasic Dementias:
Implication for Teachers"
As if there weren't already
enough hazards to entering the
teaching profession, a new study
by the Mayo Clinic, in Scottsdale,
Ariz., finds educators at greater
risk of losing the ability to communicate
as they age.
A team led by Mayo Clinic neurologist
Dr. Keith Josephs found
that teachers were disproportionately
represented among patients
with degenerative speech and language
disorders-but not among
patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Patterns among the group
of about 500 total patients were
consistent with larger trends in
2008 census data.
Those speech-and-language dis-
orders-in which patients forget
which words to use or try to speak
around them-are progressive
and typically lead to death eight
to 10 years after diagnosis, the
-SARAH D. SPARKS
EDUCATION WEEK | October 23, 2013 | www.edweek.org | 5
Poverty's Effects Vary by Environment
"Working Memory Differences Between Children Living
In Rural and Urban Poverty"
Students in poverty have been repeatedly shown to have poorer
working memory than higher-income students, but students living in
urban versus rural poverty show different types of working-memory
problems, finds a new study in the fall issue of the Journal of Cognition
Michele Tine, an assistant education professor at Dartmouth College
in Hanover, N.H., gave a series of tests of verbal and visual-spatial
working memory to 186 6th graders in three low-income rural schools,
one low-income urban school, and one high-income school each in rural
and urban areas. The tests included reciting strings of remembered
numbers in reverse order for verbal memory, and recalling the positions
and patterns of shapes for spatial memory, among others.
Higher-income rural and urban students performed about equally
well in verbal and visual-spatial memory tasks, at about the 60th percentile.
However, while students in urban poverty performed at just
below the 40th percentile in both verbal and spatial working memory,
students in rural poverty performed better in verbal-memory tasks-
at the 45th percentile-and significantly worse in visual-spatial working
memory, at the 29th percentile. "I was surprised to see the visualspatial
weakness in the rural population," Ms. Tine said.
The Dartmouth professor suggested that rural students may have to
navigate less-complex spatial environments, leading to weaker spatial
memory, but causes of the differences aren't clear.
-SARAH D. SPARKS
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 23, 2013
Education Week - October 23, 2013
Colorado Tax Boosting K-12 Up to Voters
Paddling Persists in U.S. Schools
Health-Care Law Raises Questions For Districts
K12 Inc. Learning Difficult Lessons This School Year
News in Brief
New Student Majority in South and West: Poor Children
School Poverty Said to Hurt College Access
Media Group Calls on Companies To Protect Students’ Personal Data
D.C. Teachers Improved After Overhaul Of Evaluations, Pay
Blogs of the Week
K-12 Advocates Remain Braced For Fiscal Fight
Illinois Among Outliers With No NCLB Waiver
Appeal Argued on Affirmative-Action Ban
The Public School Ownership Gap
We Need a National Monument to Teachers
Changing the World, One Student at a Time
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Common Core’s Power for Disadvantaged Students
Education Week - October 23, 2013