Category Archives: Teaching

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Community Colleges Buck the Trend of Shrinking Humanities

Report: Humanities Indicators

Organization: American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Summary: The academy has previously reported on the value of humanities programs, funding for them, and how they are doing over all. This year, for the first time, the academy is posting data on trends in humanities degrees at community colleges, and the results there brighten what is otherwise a gloomy picture. The report highlights historical and year-to-year data for various sectors. Among the highlights are:

  • T…
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Students With Poor Grades May Benefit the Most From Internships

Report: “The Differential Effects of Internship Participation on End-of-Fourth-Year GPA by Demographic and Institutional Characteristics”

Authors: Cindy A. Kilgo, Eugene T. Parker III, Jessica K. Ezell Sheets, doctoral students in higher education and student affairs; and Ernest T. Pascarella, professor of higher education, all at the University of Iowa

Summary: Past studies have concluded that internships foster engagement and learning by college students, bolstering their academic achievement …

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ACT Scores Remain Flat as More Students Express Interest in College

Report: “The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2014″

Organization: ACT

Summary: The share of high-school students who are taking the ACT exams continues to grow — 57 percent of the 2014 high school graduates, compared with 54 percent in 2013 and about 39 percent in 2010.

But the percentage who are ready for college remains about the same, according to the testing company’s latest reports. Just 26 percent of those who took the test met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks. Those s…

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Universities Are Pushed to Improve Lab Safety

Report: “Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research”

Author: Committee on Establishing and Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Laboratory Research

Organization: National Research Council

Summary: The National Research Council formed a panel of university lab-safety experts after a series of campus accidents, including several deaths, emphasized that academic labs have a far worse safety record than their corporate counterparts do.

The result is a 100-page rep…

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Inconsistent Reporting on Remedial Rates Stymies Reforms

Report: “A Cure for Remedial Reporting Chaos: Why the U.S. Needs a Standard Method for Measuring Preparedness for the First Year of College”

Organization: Education Commission of the States

Summary: States differ substantially in how they decide which students need remedial instruction in college, how many receive it, and how they fare. That makes it hard to determine whether efforts to improve remedial education, like placing underprepared students in college-level classes with extra tutoring a…

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Lumina Suggests U.S. Policy Priorities for New Education Environment

Report: “Federal Policy Priorities”

Organization: Lumina Foundation

Summary: To respond to a rapidly changing higher-education environment that includes more low-income students, first-generation students, students of color, and working adults, a range of policies should be adopted on the federal level to raise degree attainment (a particular interest of the Lumina Foundation, the report’s sponsor). The report is intended to prompt discussion about how the foundation believes higher education sh…

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Active Learning Is Found to Foster Higher Pass Rates in STEM Courses

Report: “Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics”

Authors: Scott Freeman, Mary Wenderoth, Sarah Eddy, Miles McDonough, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Michelle Smith

Organizations: The lead researchers are at the University of Washington. The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Summary: The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 225 studies of undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering…

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Students in 20 Countries Seek Change in Teaching of Economics

Economics students in 20 countries have teamed up to call for an overhaul in how their discipline is taught, The Guardian reported.

The group is calling itself the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics. In an open letter on its website, the group objects to what it calls a “dramatic narrowing of the curriculum” over the last several decades. The resulting “lack of intellectual diversity,” the group argues, limits students’ ability to solve 21st-century challenges …

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Environment Influences Individuals’ ‘Cognitive Styles,’ Paper Argues

Report: “Cognitive Style as Environmentally Sensitive Individual Differences in Cognition”

Authors: Maria Kozhevnikov, visiting associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and associate professor of psychology at National University of Singapore; Carol Evans, associate professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter; and Stephen M. Kosslyn, dean of the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences

Publication: Psychological Scien…

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U.S. Biomedical Research Needs Overhaul to Avoid Long-Term Decline

Report: “Rescuing U.S. Biomedical Research From Its Systemic Flaws”

Authors: Bruce Alberts, emeritus professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco; Marc W. Kirschner, professor of systems biology at Harvard University; Shirley M. Tilghman, professor of molecular biology at Princeton University; and Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute.

Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Summary: The period of a rapid budget…