As the College Board overhauls the panic-inducing SAT admissions exam, it’ll be giving Khan Academy access to actual test questions in the hopes of creating a sophisticated learning program aimed at test prep otherwise reserved to wealthier students. “So big picture success is that access to college (and success in life) becomes much less dependent on income and much more dependent on merit,” Khan Academy Founder, Sal Khan, writes to me. “We think we can make the playing field more level by making the best-in-class tool and making it free. We hope that beyond individual students, these tools become adopted by after-school and college readiness programs.”

Get ready for more extreme weather and increasingly serious impacts on health, the economy and the environment, courtesy global climate change.

  • The U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with more than 80 percent of the increase occurring since 1980.
  • Extreme weather and climate events have risen in recent decades, with “new and stronger evidence” that many of these increases are related to human activities.
  • Climate change impacts already are evident and expected to become “increasingly challenging” across the U.S. through this century and beyond.
  • Climate change threatens human physical and mental health in many ways due to rising extreme weather events, wildfires, degrading air quality, disease transmitted by insects, food and water.

Wielicki noted that coastal areas are particularly vulnerable because of rising sea levels. Yet, the coastal population is increasing by 1,000,000 people per year. Many of these areas have key infrastructure such as ports, military bases, power plants and tourism.

This has to be the coolest app ever. Create a quiz on Quick Key and then you can print out a bubble sheet. Snap a picture of the quiz with your iphone and it will grade it for you! Wow. Just remember that if all you do is bubble in - you’re probably not testing very well. Hat tip to Richard Byrne’s Awesome Facebook page for this one! (Free Technology for Teachers)

(via Quick Key Turns Your iPhone Into a Scanner | iPad Apps for School)

“Human intelligence is so multifaceted, so complex, so varied, that no standardized testing system can be expected to capture it,” says William Hiss, the study’s main author. Hiss is the former dean of admissions at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine — one of the nation’s first test-optional schools — and has been conducting similar research for a number of years.
Reflecting on my new assessment practice and taking some advice

So before the year began I really wanted to improve my assessment practices. I wanted to have an easy and detailed way to track all my notes, thoughts, and my students goals.

I came up with this method:


I made a new spreadsheet or sheet as Google calls them for each of my students and a new tabs for each strand. I loved how organized it was and as I started using it this week I loved it even more.

BUT then, I began documenting all my students work and opening up different sheets and tabs for each of the students took forever.

So I’m adapting and following advice from Joel Frey, and Kimberly Pollishuke. Thanks guys for taking the time and commenting on my post!

I’m creating a form for me to use to make notes about my students progress and to conference with them and make new goals.

Here is what it looks like:



I’m excited to try it this way and hope it is easier and quicker to use!

This semester I am student-teaching three 9th grade Biology classes at Taos High School. My mentor teacher uses this free online program, Socrative, for quizzes on a regular basis. Recently I got to try it for myself - I wrote a quiz on the four molecules of life. 

Socrative offers several advantages over pencil and paper quizzes. For one thing, the interface makes it very easy to create assessments, offering ready-made templates for multiple choice, short answer, or true-or-false questions. One doesn’t have to spend any time formatting in a word processor. Socrative also delivers real-time results, showing you which students have finished, what questions they haven’t answered, and their answer selections as they happen. 

There is also very little grading involved - that time-consuming pursuit is done by the computer, for the most part. Users are given the option to grade short-answer responses by hand (to give students a break on things like spelling), but the rest of the grading is all done instantaneously and presented in an orderly spreadsheet. 

Socrative is easy to use - one can create a teacher account for free and get a “room number,” which students enter in their student accounts to access and take quizzes that the teacher has posted. Quizzes can also be shared between teachers.

I don’t want to sound like I’m plugging this too much, but one of the main purposes behind this blog is to share potentially helpful resources with other educators, especially if they’re well made, easy to access, and free. Socrative is all of the above. 

However, it must be said that there is a clear potential barrier involved here. In order to successfully employ Socrative, one has to have the necessary technology conveniently available. My mentor teacher is fortunate enough to have a cart full of iPads in her room that the students are accustomed to using for quizzes, projects and activities. Unfortunately, this is obviously not the case for everyone. It might be overly disruptive to take an entire class to a computer lab just for a quick quiz. But for any teachers fortunate enough to have a laptop or iPad cart at their disposal, Socrative is an effective assessment tool that has the potential to save a lot of time in and out of the classroom. 

Companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review, as well as smaller boutique test prep businesses, can charge more than $1,000 per course. Private tutors often charge more than $15,000 a year. According to the College Board, the industry is largely built on teaching kids “tricks” and gimmicks to outsmart the test, as well as other skills and facts that even Coleman now admits have been disconnected from what kids learn in school. Part of Coleman’s SAT overhaul will scrap esoteric vocabulary and the non-evidence-based essay, with the goal of making the test more tied to schools’ curricula so that any student who studies hard can be sufficiently prepared for the test.

I went to a clinical psychologist to get an assessment and although I fit all the symptoms for Inattentive and the computerised test said it is likely that I have ADHD seeing my slow processing speed, inattention etc from the results, she said (bold text):
- She couldn’t diagnose me even though I could have ADHD because it could be the anxious feelings causing the ADHD behaviour
- If I deal with stress management issues, I may be able to get rid of the ADHD behaviour altogether
- But I also have the ADHD behaviour even when I don’t feel anxious and stressed. I’m pretty sure it’s the ADHD causing the anxiety.
- I don’t only show ADHD behaviour in a school setting.
- How do/can psychologists differentiate between ADHD, induced ADHD from anxiety, and induced anxiety from ADHD?
- I show no signs of hyperactivity/impulsivity and which is a criteria of ADHD and that ADHD is mild when it is without hyperactivity/impulsivity.
- Is Inattentive ADHD “mild” and Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD “severe”? How is “mild” and “severe” decided? Honestly I feel pretty invalidated.
- Also I’m pretty sure hyperactivity/impulsivity isn’t a criteria for ADHD.
- I have attention problems, especially when the stimulus is auditory
- She referred me to a psychiatrist who is experienced in ADHD and said I could get medication for the problems. It already cost a lot to get the first assessment. 
- Do you think the psychiatrist could give me a diagnosis without another expensive computerised test?

- Without a diagnosis, I feel like I have no reason to be failing classes etc in school. My teachers are concerned and I keep telling them I don’t know why and I am trying but I just can’t. So after the results of my assessment, I was expecting to be able to explain to everyone around me, esp my school that the reason for these things is ADHD but now I’m not really sure what to tell my school. 

- What do you think I should tell my teachers?

- Do you think I could still get accommodations for school/examinations without the diagnosis?

Sorry for the long text and all the questions, I don’t think there’s anyone else I could ask apart from you. This blog helped me out a lot. Thank you so much.

[Okay, I’m going to try and answer your questions in order. I’ve put my stuff behind a Read More because the post is just so long otherwise.

Read More

Plenty of Fish Assessments

One of the most interesting things about Plenty of Fish (other than all these fish who can’t spell for shit and don’t use any punctuation whatsoever) is that it is chock full of seemingly dead-on personality assessments that are designed to help you find a match and understand what you need and want out of a relationship.

First, there is the Relationship Needs Assessment:


After taking this 100+ question test, Plenty of Fish gives you a shockingly thorough assessment on your personal relationship needs according to the categories above. Then they summarize your assessment and you can choose to make it visible on your profile or not.

(It is so thorough and long, I won’t post my results here. Don’t worry, I post other results below.)

Then there is the Psychological Assessment which consists of only 30 questions and aims to “determine what you really want versus what you say you want” in a potential match based on the theory that there are three key issues that lead to misunderstand and conflict in relationships: (1) Accomplishment (2) Physical Chemistry and (3) Drive. 

I had some big doubts about whether this site could actually tell me this with any accuracy because, um, I’m not even sure I know what I want half the time I’m a very nuanced, unique flower but WHOA GUYS. They kinda nailed it:


So naturally, when I saw that there was a “Seduction Style Guide” I had to see what it was about. I mean, it says, ”If you dare to proceed, this test will generate a complete step by step guide on how someone would seduce you and you wouldn’t be able to resist.”

Yeah alright.

I’m game.

This was far more than 30 questions and they got super detailed especially when it comes to fetishes, fantasies, and locations where you may or may not want to get it on.  For example:


I honestly had no confidence that this assessment would actually get it right. But again, Plenty of Fish shocked me. Here is a selection of my results:



I mean, without going in to more detail than the ridiculously detailed assessment above, I can say very confidently that this is scary accurate.

You do not have to be a member of Plenty of Fish to take the test! Access it here.

So why are there so many sucky people on this website?! The science is there…. but the people are just not. It’s a travesty, really.

Although, I have to confess: I did go out on a date with one person from Plenty of Fish….

And it was a really great date.

So we went on another…

… and another…..

and a few others….

… and we’re still hanging out.

And he’s pretty fucking cool.

So, you know, there’s that.


First Steps

Sawyer’s assessment went very well on Tuesday.  There will be two specialists that come once a week to work with him.  From what I got, Sawyer may not fully understand what we’re doing or saying when we try to communicate with him.  He has no way to distinguish words with their meanings.  I hope I understood that correctly, but it’s a learning process I guess.

It just kind of breaks my heart that he is dealing with this, but who am I to judge?  He’s such a happy kid, and the biggest sweetheart.  I just wish that I could fix whatever problems he is having, or help him understand and learn.  I don’t know, I’m just a big worry wart.  

But a professor’s job is to educate all of her students—to help as many of them as possible to thrive in their studies—not to foster competition between them to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let employers and graduate schools come up with their own ways to evaluate students; you’ve got more important things to do.

Here are seven questions to guide your thinking as you shape your classroom, school or district’s assessment toolkit.

  1. How will you use the information?
  2. What type of insight are you seeking?
  3. Can the assessment measure multiple targets?
  4. Does the assessment measure multiple targets?
  5. Does the assessment meet content and depth of knowledge standards?
  6. How do you ensure fair and accurate assessments?
  7. How can this assessment engage students?