Last week, the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and NOCTI co-hosted a webinar, “Badging 101: The What, The Why & The How.” This webinar examined the concept of open badges and their potential in demonstrating – and validating – students’ skills, knowledge, and competencies. The presentation focused on the basics of badging and potential uses at the national, state, and local level.
Expanded Learning Opportunities
On December 16th, Education Week hosted a Webinar entitled “Beyond School: Earning Credit for Real-World Experiences.” This Webinar discusses an extended learning opportunity (ELO) initiative involving Providence, Rhode Island school district and its nonprofit partner Providence After School Alliance (PASA). In selected high schools throughout the district, students participate in community programs for digital badges and course credit.
On Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, edited by Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D., was released at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The compendium includes nearly 70 studies, reports, and commentaries that provide evidence that out of school time opportunities, including after school and during the summer, produce positive outcomes for students, families, and communities and examples of how this work can be supported and improved.
The National Academy Foundation (NAF) and the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a Webinar on January 10th, 2013, entitled College and Career Readiness for All Youth: The Role of Businesses. The event focused on business-education partnerships, specifically those aimed at preparing high school-aged youth for college and career.
Looking for new high school-related resources? Here are some pieces that the National High School Center and other organizations have recently released:*
In a recent interview, President Obama said: “We now have our kids go to school about one month less than most advanced countries. And that month makes a difference.” A recent research synthesis, the first on this topic, has shown that there is some research to support expanded learning time initiatives. The authors of the synthesis screened approximately 1,390 studies related to expanded school year and 818 studies related to expanded school day in elementary, middle, and high schools. Due to the limited number of studies published on the topic, the synthesis included studies with varying rigor of their design. The synthesis focused on the 15 studies which included academic outcomes. Of these studies, three included high schools, and the other 12 studies focused only on elementary and middle schools.
Each year, an increasing number of high schools provide longer school days, longer school years, or partner with community-based organizations for out-of-school academic support to close achievement gaps. This number is expected to keep climbing with the new budget proposed by President Obama, which includes $600 million for School Turnaround Grants (increased learning time is a requirement under SIG).
Increasing learning time is one of the requirements of both the transformation and turnaround models of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) and districts propose fulfilling this requirement in myriad ways. About half of high schools receiving SIG funds are adding minutes to the school day and/or adding days to the school calendar—by design, increasing learning time for all students.
Policymakers and educators at the state, district, and building levels are looking to research and evaluation studies to guide policy and practice decisions. Increasingly, applications for federal and state funding require use of “evidence based” or “research supported” strategies, programs, and reform activities.