09 June 2015

Items to Share: 7 June 2015

Yes, I know it's late! So?

Education Focus
  • Gallery Critique | Class Teaching '[Peer assessment is] not always that useful. In fact, it can often be damaging and compound misconceptions. Gallery critique, where students spend an extended period of time reading and assessing the work of their peers, as well as giving high quality feedback, seems to be a far more purposeful alternative.'
  • Desperately Seeking Sir: Empathy, Behaviour, Excuses and Reasons 'I have taught two children that were killed by other children. One was stabbed and one was shot. I have taught children who have killed other children. I have taught a number of children that have been stabbed. I have taught a number of children who have stabbed other children. I have taught one child who said he 'couldn't remember' how many people he'd stabbed. I have taught children who have been convicted of rape. I have taught children who have been abused. I have taught a child who believed a small person lived inside their head and gave them instructions. I have taught a number of children who have battled suicidal thoughts. I have taught one child who attempted suicide but did not quite succeed. I have taught children who have had to be educated in high security units. I have taught children who have had to be forcibly committed to mental health institutions. I have, by necessity, wiped the arse of a child with severe special needs when taking him on a day trip to a theme park as he had made a bit of a mess of it...'
  • Fail again. Nicky Morgan on Academies | SurrealAnarchy 'So on, somehow on marches ‘Academisation’, all business values and managerialism, being brought into an education sector that is itself falling for business values and managerialism without the need to be turned into academies but we’re sick of the either so we’ll try the other… Whether it works or not… But what works is our mantra, that Blairite creed: “What counts is what works…” has now turned into “What counts is what we say works…” which it always was but…'…

  • I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me - Vox [US] 'Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones. [ ] Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.'
  • Closing the feedback loop | The Higher Education Academy  'Getting students to engage with feedback can be a challenging task and in this post Leah Marks [...] shares her experience of a method for encouraging students to use the feedback. To encourage students to engage, they were asked to write feedback reflections and assignment grades were witheld until this was done. Increased engagement with feedback resulted in improved writing and students found the reflective approach helpful.'
  • All academic metrics are flawed, but some are useful [theconversation.com] 'Why are bean counters so fixated on counting? Why are universities overrun by metrics? Are we heading for a world where we know the cost of everything and the value of nothing? [ ] Is an obsession with metrics really corrupting science?

  • Making a difference in education: What the evidence says | British Politics and Policy at LSE 'Research suggests that who teaches you matters much more than what school you go to. Yet a major proportion of educational spending has gone on fostering Academies and Free Schools. The Academies formed up to 2008-9 have been evaluated, and found to have positive results; but improved outcomes were mostly confined to better-achieving students, with little or no benefit to the lowest achieving. At the time of writing, there was no comparable research on Academies founded after that, though an Ofsted survey of 2012-13 found half those inspected ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. There has been little research on Free Schools or primary Academies, though DfE data do not show them to be providing more progress than local authority primaries.'
Other Business
  • Offline: What is medicine's 5 sigma? [Editorial in the Lancet] 'The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. '

  • The Spy Who Billed Me | Atlas Obscura 'It might be incongruous to think of spies having to account for expenses, like any old suit on a business trip, but in reality, people working for intelligence services do have to keep track of the money they're spending, file expense reports, and even hound their company (the Company, in this case) to reimburse them. "They're the same as the reports any businessman would submit after meeting a client," says Chris Lynch, former FBI and CIA counterintelligence officer and author of The C.I Desk. "Meals, miles, parking, small gifts, other expenses, receipts if they had them, some kind of 'certification' if they didn’t."

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