For more than two decades, the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a coalition of 38 public high schools, has steered clear of high-stakes testing, which superficially assesses student learning. In the cover story of the Spring 2016 issue of American Educator, Avram Barlowe and Ann Cook explain how the consortium's approach relies on performance-based assessments—essays, research papers, science experiments and high-level mathematical problems—to engage students in their learning and measure their knowledge and skills in a deep and meaningful way over time.
The next article in the new issue examines what teachers should know about technology in education. While the use of technology in the classroom is increasing, research shows that many widely held beliefs are spurious. But a number of scientifically based pieces of advice actually serve educators well.
The issue also includes two articles detailing the importance of having nurses in schools. At a time of budget cuts and increased class sizes, districts often disinvest in school nursing. However, research shows that having a school nurse brings a high return on investment in dollars saved and time spent on instruction.
Next is an article about understanding students' misconceptions in middle school physical science. Researchers find that teachers who have strong content knowledge and can identify students' most common misconceptions in science are more likely to increase their students' science knowledge than teachers who do not.
The issue concludes with an article in which a nonfiction writer discusses the relevance of her work in the classroom, and the role content-rich texts play in building knowledge and literacy.
The complete Spring 2016 issue is available online.