May 2018 Edition: What’s News In Education

The mysteries of prime numbers, Australian education politics, a new galaxy, and more.

Maths Education

Graphing, graphing, graphing. Eat your heart out.

Some pedagogical thoughts…

  • What makes for an effective ‘hook’, and how can they be used to promote productive struggle in maths? Read on.
  • Making mistakes can be a learning opportunity. This article delves into which mistakes are ‘inspection-worthy’ and why.

New maths reports to dive into:

  • A new report, published by Professor of Education Robyn Jorgensen, highlights practices being used by remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schools to improve mathematics results.
  • The Maths Pathway 2018 Impact Report provides an overview of the work being done by over 180 schools in implementing an evidence-based Learning and Teaching Model.
  • “Play alone is not enough, children need intentional teaching during these play experiences to expose them to mathematical concepts.” — Marianne Knaus. Read more in her reportSupporting Early Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood Settings

Early Childhood Through To Tertiary Education

As this article highlightspreschool education isn’t simple. There are critical learning strategies for children’s development and instructional practices to go with them.

What is personal best goal setting, and why does it matter? A study by Emma Burns, Andrew Martin and Rebecca Collie of 1,481 Australian secondary students has examined this question.

“There is a surprising lack of research into reporting on student learning, but what little there is suggests that reporting formats and conventions in the past have not been found to be particularly helpful.” The humble school report receives a critique from Hilary Hollingsworth and Jonathan Heard.

A new report out of the O.E.C.D “aims to help teachers navigate the huge number of promising practices and new approaches”, drawing on insights from innovative schools and pedagogies.

Internal coherence: “the collective capacity of the adults in a school building or an educational system to connect and align resources to carry out an improvement strategy.” According to a new book by Michelle Forman, Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, and Candice Bocala, internal coherence is essential for building a structure of continuous improvement in schools. Read a review here.

Polar opposites:

Education by numbers:

  • 2,500: the number of sessions at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Here are some of the highlights from education research across the globe.
  • 50,000: this is the approximate number of students who started university in Australia this year, who will drop outA report by Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham examines the costs and benefits of dropping out.
  • What data matters? As Pete Goss explains, “Big data can inform teaching, but small data drives learning.”

A Window Into Some Schools & The People In Them

The BHP Billiton Foundation Science & Engineering Award rewards “young people who have undertaken innovative, practical and thorough scientific or engineering projects”. This year, three students from the Christian Aboriginal Parent Directed School are finalists. Read their story here.

Doveton College in Melbourne represents a new model of schooling, providing an “early learning centre, short courses for parents, community and volunteer programs, doctors, psychologists, paediatricians, fitness classes, playgroups, employment services and hundreds of extra-curricular activities”.

Former journalist, Lucy Kellaway, has just started teaching. Here is an insight into her experiences so far.

The Kaiela Dhungala First Nations curriculum was launched last year for schools in the Greater Shepparton and Moira Shire areas in Victoria. The curriculum is enabling students from schools like Strathmerton Primary School to learn more about the culture, history and traditions of the local indigenous groups.

Education Policy & Politics

With the Tasmanian Government starting its second term, what’s ahead in education policy? Read on.

A lack of strategic direction and instability at Western Australia’s only juvenile detention centre is resulting in poorly delivered education services. In the same state (yet worlds apart), together with Rio Tinto and TAFE, the W.A.Government will soon be offering an Australian first: automation courses in operating driverless trucks and trains.

What is the economic cost to Australia of educational inequalityThis issues paper from the Public Education Foundation looks at the figures. Laura Perry discusses what can be done to address the problem.

There’s a downside to school choice and uncapped enroments. Read on.

How has the data available on the MySchool website been used by schools? It has been used very little to influence schools policies or practices, according to research by Michael Coelli, Gigi Foster and Andrew Leigh.

This month’s HOT TOPIC: Gonski 2.0.

Also recently released, is the final report of the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education:

Let’s not forget NAPLAN. Victoria has recently joined other states, including N.S.W., Queensland and South Australia in calling for a review of the national assessment program.

…Or the ATAR:

  • Andrew Norton gives an overview of the ATAR’s history and why, despite the criticisms, it is “ the most useful indicator we have of who should get a university place”.
  • Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has released a report entitled, Optimising STEM Industry-School Partnerships: Inspiring Australia’s Next Generation. In it, he explains “Rightly or wrongly, [students] absorb the message that the way to boost their ATAR is to drop down a level in mathematics.” See also, this interview with Finkel.

Education Around the World

India: the world’s largest school lunch scheme feeds 1.6 million children a day, and has served more than 2 billion meals since it started in 2000.

New Zealand: the curriculum wars have entered the land of the long white cloud.

U.S.A.: Reading scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress have flat-lined since 1998. But why?

The World: Who are some of the young educators changing the face of education across the globe? Read on.

Evaluation & Research Practices

Effect sizes are all the rage in meta-analyses for edu-research. But, be warned:

“If effect sizes are so different due to study design, then we cannot have a single standard to tell us when an effect size is large or small. All we can do is note when an effect size is large compared to similar studies.” — Robert Slavin

Maths, Science & Tech

A ‘ghostly galaxy’. SOURCE.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to help find a new galaxy in our ‘cosmic neighbourhood’ that has no dark matter.

Do you need sun or soil to grow vegetables? Apparently not, according to a team of German scientists based in Antarctica.

Does this sound familiar? The scientific impotence excuse is when people “question the methodological quality of the scientific evidence, the researcher’s impartiality, or even the ability of scientific methods to provide us with useful information about [a] topic”.

Cryptocurrency start-up, Ripple, has donated $29 million to 35,647 campaigns on public school crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose.org.

Researchers are making headway into a geometric relationship, first stumbled upon decades ago. Mirror symmetry is the term used to describe “two seemingly distant mathematical universes [that] appear somehow to reflect each other exactly”.

The quest to understand prime numbers is 2,300 years old. Here are findings about these mysterious numbers that will surprise you.

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