edTPA, the new "performance-based" assessment tool and career-entry test that measures teacher preparation, is "fully operational" and ready for nationwide use after a two-year field test in about two dozen states, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education officials said Friday. The assessment, which has drawn criticism from some educators who say it could override authority of teacher programs and faculty, uses new and purportedly more valid tools, including videotapes and and evidence of student work and learning to determine whether a teacher is prepared to run a classroom from day one. Currently, preparation is measured in part via a multiple-choice test of basic skills and subject matterisn't it also now measured by student teaching that is supervised? -sj *** this is what AACTE said; I guess to show the differences in approach -ag. Only about 58 percent of the 12,000 prospective teachers who attempted edTPA during the field test would have passed. AACTE notes in a report that factors including a lack of consequence for test-takers and lack of support systems or appropriate coursework among teacher programs, which will presumably improve as more institutions use the assessment.
Higher Education Quick Takes
At an event last week, two Bay Area members of the U.S. House of Representatives were aggressively critical of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges for its treatment of City College of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, both Democrats, said they hope the three lawsuits filed by supporters of City College will prevent the college from losing its accreditation next year.
The massive open online course provider edX announced a new open-source platform on Friday: Edraak, an online education platform for Arabic-speaking students. The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, which promotes efforts to strengthen education in Jordan, will use Open edX, the MOOC provider's open-source platform, to feature select courses translated into Arabic. As the platform grows, faculty members in Arabic-speaking countries will contribute their own courses. The creation of Edraak follows expansion initiatives in France and China.
Note: This article has been updated to clarify that Edraak is an independent platform, not an edX consortium.
Many medical schools are trying to grow, but Vanderbilt University has announced it is shrinking its medical school admissions and Ph.D. admissions at its medical center by 10 percent, The Tennessean reported. Jeffrey Balser, chief of the university's medical center, said that "our priority must be quality, not quantity."
Evan Dobelle has announced his retirement as president of Westfield State University, The Republican reported. For the past few months, Dobelle has been under fire by Massachusetts officials over reports of his big spending on travel and entertainment. Westfield State's board suspended Dobelle with pay last month, and he then sued the board, saying it had acted illegally.
In a statement, Dobelle said: "[T]he unnecessary and unfortunate distractions of the last several months have led me to conclude that the only appropriate path for the University is one which will allow it to move forward unencumbered by such diversions. This path will provide a means by which the university can emerge, before the spring semester begins, from the recent torrent of gratuitous media attention and can get back to focusing its efforts and energies where they are best put to use -- for the benefit of the students, faculty, and a decidedly bright future."
A new analysis by ACT has found that only 36 percent of those who take the ACT and indicate a planned choice of college major are selecting a subject that is a good fit with their stated academic interests. Generally, those students scoring higher on the ACT were found to be more likely to have major choices that were a good fit.
Eastern Michigan University fired Ron English as football coach after a tape surfaced of him yelling at team members in a tirade with numerous expletives and insults, The Detroit News reported. Heather Lycke, the athletics director, issued a statement on the dismissal Saturday: "We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where the language is appropriate. The statements made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable. My decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape."
The Detroit News article linked to above includes a link to a censored version of the recording.
The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper at Eastern Michigan, has released an uncensored version of the recording.
A new poll by National Journal and the College Board has found that non-white adults in the United States are more likely than white adults to view a four-year college degree as a "ticket to success." The percentage of adults, by racial and ethnic group, who believe this is:
- White: 47 percent
- Black: 55 percent
- Hispanic: 70 percent
- Asian: 61 percent
Across racial and ethnic lines, women are more likely than are men to believe that statement (56 percent vs. 47 percent). And while 64 percent of Democrats agree with the statement, only 40 percent of Republicans do.
Florida Atlantic University football coach Carl Pelini, who resigned last week after his athletic director approached him about allegedly using an "illegal drug," says he never used drugs and rather was forced out for failing to supervise his staff. In a letter to the university president, trustees and general counsel, obtained by Deadspin, Pelini retracted his resignation and said he's seeking reinstatement. Sworn affidavits obtained through a public records request show an assistant coach said he personally saw Pelini use marijuana and cocaine, and Athletic Director Patrick Chun apparently possesses a text message Pelini sent to a friend in which he allegedly "admitted he uses drugs on occasion."