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English Language Arts

Schoolbook

Never Mind Algebra. Is Literature Necessary?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In an opinion post in response to a recent New York Times essay, a city English teacher writes: "If algebra can be tossed by the wayside, why not Austen?" And he laments, that is already happening. "Bit by bit, the body of English language instruction has been dismembered over the last 15 years or so."

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Schoolbook

Report Finds Student Performance on State Exams Remains Consistent

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An independent analysis of individual student achievement on state English exams found that a majority of New York City's public school children are not improving, but rather are holding steady from grade to grade.

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Schoolbook

Pearson Says Its Tests Are 'Valid and Reliable'

Friday, May 04, 2012

Pearson, which has a $32 million contract to develop tests for New York State, defended the quality of its work. In a letter to the State Education Department, it said the answers to a controversial question involving a pineapple and a hare on the eighth-grade English language arts exam could be derived through “evidence” from the text.

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Schoolbook

Testing Absurdities, Reading Worries and Robo-Grading

Monday, April 23, 2012

English Language Arts exam week ended on Friday with the decision by state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. to scrap the answers to an absurd question -- literally and otherwise -- about a pineapple and a hare that had stymied eighth grade test takers. That was just one development in a flood of news this weekend about testing and grading -- including Michael Winerip's column in The Times about new computer software that "robo-grades" essays.

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Schoolbook

State Scraps Pineapple Test Question

Friday, April 20, 2012

The New York State education commissioner, John B. King Jr., pulled a series of questions from this year's eighth-grade English Language Arts exam, after an uproar about a question involving an absurd scenario of a pineapple and the hare that it challenged to a race.

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Schoolbook

Live Near a Great School? It's Costing You

Friday, April 20, 2012

For the second time this week, a study came out identifying a relationship between where a child lives and his or her ability to attend a high-performing school. The latest is by the Brookings Institution, which "found that housing costs in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas were an average of 2.4 times as high -- a difference of $11,000 a year -- for homes near schools whose average test scores put them in the top fifth of schools in the area, compared with schools in the bottom fifth."

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Schoolbook

With Test Week Here, Parents Consider the Option of Opting Out

Monday, April 16, 2012

While thousands of New York public school students will sit for mandated standardized tests this week, only a handful will be deliberately kept from picking up their No. 2 pencils to fill in the test sheet bubbles. That doesn't mean more parents aren't thinking about keeping their children home.

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Schoolbook

Townsend Harris Teacher Wins $25,000 Milken Award

Friday, March 02, 2012

Rafal Olechowski, an English teacher who loves to teach 19th-century romantic poets, was surprised to learn during a school assembly that he had won a prestigious prize for his teaching.

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Schoolbook

My (Oops! I Mean, the Author's) Fight for Pronouns

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An English teacher writes: "The first salvo in the war on pronouns was fired several years ago when teachers were advised that we should have students steer clear of using pronouns in their writing. Despite 20-plus years of hearing dubious dictates from the Department of Education, I nevertheless assumed that writing teachers were being told to make sure students avoided the overuse of pronouns. I was wrong. Or, as the pronoun police would have me say it, the author of this essay was in error."

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Schoolbook

Everyday Failures, but a Narrative of Success

Monday, February 06, 2012

A middle school teacher writes: 'In order to maintain sanity you have to accept the feeling of not being done at the end of the day. You have to grow accustomed to the to-do list that generates in your head as you lie down for bed -- a parent that needs to be called, a referral that you have to write, a retest that has to be administered. At the end of the day, you just aren’t ever done. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t wonderful moments of absolute satisfaction.'

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Schoolbook

Strong Opinions About Reading and Testing

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A post last week -- "Dear Governor: Lobby to Save a Love of Reading" -- by Anne Stone and Jeff Nichols about their New Year's Eve encounter with their son’s third-grade English Language Arts practice test struck a nerve. Numerous responses came in to SchoolBook's query, “What effect is standardized testing having on reading?” Here are some of them.

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