Blog: Education by the Numbers

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Education might be the next weight loss fad; obesity rate much lower among college grads

The obesity rate among college graduates is significantly lower than for high school drop outs or those with only a high school degree. This obesity gap exists not only in the United States, but also in 23 other countries around the world, according to a new data report, Education at a Glance 2013, by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released on June 25, 2013.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

New data on Australians who go into teaching

The Australian teaching system has long been revered in the United States. Even today Aussie is the biggest professional development consultancy in New York City. Back in Australia, the government is trying to use data to track the teaching profession more closely. A first annual data report on the teaching profession was recently released in May 2013 that looks into what kind of people go into teaching.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Low and incomplete marks for most prestigious teacher training programs

I was just starting to poke through the National Council on Teacher Quality’s first Teacher Prep Review, published June 2013, which makes a data-rich argument that the nation’s teacher training programs are admitting some of the weakest students in the nation and spewing out unprepared teachers at the end. I was struck by how few of the nation’s most prestigious and famous teacher training programs were in it.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

India data show test scores rise when students are automatically promoted to the next grade

A controversial 2009 law in India outlawed the practice of holding failing students back and making them repeat the entire year of school in classes 1 through 8. In India, it’s called “detention” and at least one student union staged a protest this Spring to bring detention back, arguing that automatic promotion undermines academic quality and standards.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Teachers’ opinions matter more than parents’ and students’ on school surveys

Schools are kind of like Congress. Most people claim they hate Capitol Hill, but they like their own representative. Similarly, people say the U.S. education system is broken, but they like the school that their kids go to. I’ve been doing alumni interviews for Brown for more than 15 years and my first question is always, “So, how do you like your high school?” One would think this is an opportunity to show off some critical thinking. But the answer is invariably something like, “I love it. My school is great.”

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Data analysis of MOOCs shows that many students skip videos

The MIT Technology Review posted, “As Data Floods In, Massive Open Online Courses Evolve,” on June 5, 2013. Writer Tom Simonite reports that both Coursera and Udacity data show that “a large subset of students who prefer to skip videos and fast-forward as much as possible.” Udacity is already restructuring courses to reduce the amount of video and is rerecording old videos.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Report urges that federal funds for class-size reduction should instead go to train teachers in data analysis.

The New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank in Washington headed by Anne-Marie Slaughter, is calling for more federal funds and school time for teachers to use student data to change how they teach. The report, “Promoting Data in the Classroom,” written by Clare McCann and Jennifer Cohen Kabaker, was published on June 4, 2013.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Not much educational data is yet improving classroom instruction

A May 28, 2013 blog post from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation by Micah Sagebiel notes that after a decade of collecting and analyzing education data, since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, that classroom instruction is no better for it. So far, all this education data has mostly been used for “accountability” purposes, that is, to show how bad teachers are or how little students are learning.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Education of girls and youth literacy varies widely in Africa, new educational data on developing nations

Last week on May 23, 2013 the Global Partnership for Education launched an Open Data Project that consolidates education indicators from 29 developing nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The World Bank Development Data Group and the aid data organization Development Gateway are supporting it. The data posted so far is uneven and scanty. For many nations, a lot of data is not available.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

The number of high poverty schools increases by about 60 percent

Poverty is getting so concentrated in America that one out of five public schools was classified as as a “high poverty” school in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education. To win this unwelcome designation, 75 percent or more of an elementary, middle or high school’s students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. About a decade earlier, in 2000, only one in eight public schools was deemed to be high poverty. That’s about a 60 percent increase in the number of very poor schools!

Blog: Education by the Numbers

More tuition inflation

This just in: colleges are unable to rein in their costs and keep hiking their tuition bills. For in-state students at public 4-year universities, tuition and fees increased 7 percent after adjusting for inflation between this academic year (2012-13) and the 2010-2011 academic year. During the same period, tuition and fees at all 4-year nonprofit institutions increased 3 percent (to about $24,300), again after adjusting for inflation.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

When $20,000 is not enough to teach a student

New York City may spend more per student than most districts in the United States ($19,597 during the 2009-2010 school year according to the U.S. Census), but one education scholar’s number crunching shows that the city’s schools are underfunded.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Do U.S. students lag behind the rest of the world?

In a May 3, 2013 HuffPo story, ‘We’re Number Umpteenth!’: Debunking the Persistent Myth of Lagging…, Alfie Kohn takes issue with the conventional wisdom that American students are slipping behind their peers abroad. Kohn is partly right. The international ranking tables are largely a reflection of how much poverty you have in your nation. Countries with the lowest poverty levels rise to the top. Countries with the highest poverty levels sink to the bottom.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

The accuracy of federal education data

Correcting mistakes may be an essential part of a good education, but that doesn’t apply inside the branch of the U.S. government that compiles and keeps education statistics. Indeed, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) knowingly leaves in errors that are discovered two to three years later. And then this error-ridden data is used by education policy makers to make decisions.

Blog: Education by the Numbers

Data on bullying

It’s a myth that “bullying” at schools is a worse problem today than in the past, according to a task force report released on April 30 commissioned by the American… Indeed, major categories of bullying, such as being threatened by a weapon on school grounds have remained stable — between 7 and 9 percent — between 1993 and 2009.  The percentage of high school students who say they’ve been in a physical fight has declined fro