Just how unprepared high school seniors are for college course work is the basis for Claiming Common Ground, a new report from The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Drawing on a number of surveys and collaborations, the report offers suggestions for reforms to help improve college readiness. The report says that most students focus on college admission, but "the more difficult challenge for students is becoming prepared academically for college coursework."
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 28 percent of entering freshmen enrolled in remedial reading, writing, or mathematics courses in fall 2000. Twenty-two percent of students took remedial math, 14 percent writing, and 11 percent reading. The NCPP points out that standard academic admission requirements are often different than the knowledge measured by college placement tests. The first recommendation is for K-12 and postsecondary institutions to align their coursework and assessments. "The quality and level of the coursework and instruction [at the K-12 level], and their level of alignment with post secondary expectations, are the key elements of reform," the report states. The No Child Left Behind act requires testing in grades 4 through 8 and grade 10, but not for junior or senior year of high school, something that should be changed, according to the report.
Other recommendations in the report are for states to develop financial incentives to encourage collaboration; developing a state-wide system to track a student's entire academic career, including enrollment in multiple IHEs; and publicly reporting on student progress and success K-20. To see the full reports, visit www.highereducation.org and www.nces.ed.gov. -A.M.
Network users at Ball State University (Ind.) are able to see their activity as sound, color, a pattern, or an image on the Interactive Wireless Sculpture that was installed on campus in April. Featuring form and function, the sculpture allows the IT Department to see the volume of wireless traffic on the network for each zone during a specific time of day, allowing for better management. -A.M.
We've heard a lot about university podcasts, OpenCourseWare, video lectures, and more, but how can you find out who is doing what? Wynn Williamson has come up with a unique answer with a web interface that lists online academic materials from around the world, using interactive Google Maps. Williamson, a New Yorker currently living in Spain, developed the tool as part of his new "Stingy Scholar" blog (http://stingyscholar.blogspot.com).
"I created the map interface to add a twist to a basic listing of universities with open coursewares and free resources," Williamson says.
Users can zoom in on a country or region, and click on one of the location "pins" to see a brief description of what is offered. They then can click on the highlighted link in the description to go the source page.
"I wanted to keep track of free education materials for my personal reference," Williamson says, but it soon grew into more than that. His correspondence with bloggers at Textbook Revolution (http://textbookrevolution.org) and Learn Out Loud (www.learnoutloud.com) brought more visitors to his site. "It made me realize that there was a whole community really excited about these materials," he says.
Materials from nearly 80 different universities and educational collections around the world are currently listed, including the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, France, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and Australia.
Check it out at www.wayfaring.com/maps/show/10585. -T.G.
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