Category Archives: Teaching


U. of Georgia Prevents Professor From Including ‘Stress-Reduction Policy’ in Syllabus

The University of Georgia has prevented a business professor from including a “stress-reduction policy” in his course syllabi that would have allowed students to choose their own grades and abandon group work and meetings without explanation.

Richard Watson, a professor in the Terry College of Business’s department of management information systems, had originally posted his syllabi online with the stress policy, which he wrote was intended to prevent the “profound consequences” of emotional rea…


Students Don’t Always Recognize Good Teaching, Study Finds

Effective teaching has a lasting impact on students but is rarely recognized in their course evaluations, according to an analysis, released on Tuesday, of nearly 340,000 mathematics students at the University of Phoenix.

A skilled instructor affected his or her students’ performance in a course on a scale equal to moving their grade from a B to a B-plus, say researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in a report on their study, “Measuring Up: Assessing Instructor Effectiveness in Hi…


Senate Does Away With Obama Teacher-Prep Regulations

Congress, in an effort to limit federal involvement in higher education, has voted to eliminate Obama-era regulations on teacher-preparation programs.

The legislation, passed on Wednesday by the Senate on a 59-to-40 vote, is expected to be signed by President Trump. The House of Representatives approved the bill last month.

The accountability system that would be affected by the legislation was put into effect in October by the Department of Education. It requires states to report on the success…


Colleges Continue to Abandon Standardized Tests to Assess Learning, Survey Finds

Colleges are continuing to move away from assessing students’ learning outcomes through standardized tests, according to the results of a new survey. A report on the survey, “Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment,” by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, says that only 38 percent of institutions use standardized national tests of general knowledge. That’s down from nearly 50 percent in 2008.

The results appear to continue a trend in recent years of colleges’ abandoning a state…


Public Colleges Lead in Adopting Competency-Based Programs

Report: “Survey of the Shared Design Elements and Emerging Practices of Competency-Based Education Programs”

Organization: Public Agenda

Summary: Competency-based education, which measures students’ progress according to how well they master material instead of how much time they spend in class, has been growing in popularity. Nearly 600 colleges and universities are offering or developing such programs; this report reflects data from 179 respondents.

Among its findings:

  • Public institutions, es…

Yes, Colleges Do Teach Critical-Thinking Skills, Study Finds

Report: “Does College Teach Critical Thinking? A Meta-Analysis”

Authors: Christopher R. Huber and Nathan R. Kuncel, both of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Publication: Review of Educational Research, a journal of the American Educational Research Association

Summary: Educators, policy makers, and employers all want colleges to teach students critical-thinking skills, but are colleges succeeding in doing so? To answer that question, the study’s authors analyzed 71 research reports publis…


Shifting the Focus of Remedial Math Helps More Students Succeed, Study Finds

Report: “Laying the Foundations: Early Findings From the New Mathways Project”

Authors: Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, senior research associate, and John Diamond, research analyst, both at MDRC

Organization: MDRC, a nonprofit research group

Summary: Mathematics is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for community-college students. Up to 70 percent of entering students are placed in remedial math, and only one in five of those students completes a college-level math course within three years. One of…


A College’s High Ranking Often Means Less Time With Professors

Report: “Revisiting the Relationship Between Institutional Rank and Student Engagement”

Authors: John D. Zilvinskis, research project associate, and Louis Rocconi, assistant scientist, both at Indiana University at Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research

Summary: The researchers sought to determine what, if any, relationship existed between student engagement at any given college and how highly that institution was ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, or Washington Monthly. Their …


Team Teaching Is One Key to Success of Job-Training Program, Report Says

Report: “The Second Year of Accelerating Opportunity: Implementation Findings From the States and Colleges”

Organization: Jobs for the Future

Summary: Community colleges in four states are making progress in helping adults who fall below basic literacy levels improve their academic skills and land decent-paying jobs. That’s the conclusion of an independent evaluation of the Accelerating Opportunity Program two years into the three-year effort.

Jobs for the Future manages the program, which is de…


Community-College Students’ Engagement Levels Rise

Report: “Engagement Rising: A Decade of CCSSE Data Shows Improvements Across the Board”

Organization: Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin

Summary: Today’s community college-students are more likely to come to class prepared, participate in class presentations, and discuss career plans with their instructors and advisers, according to a report that compares the engagement levels of nearly two million students at 853 colleges in 2004 and 2014.

The r…