Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dartmouth College accuses dozens of students of cheating in sports, ETHICS and religion class

Dartmouth college has suspended 64 students accused of cheating in a sports ethics class and charged them with breaking the exclusive Ivy League school's honour code. 

College officials confirmed the number of students charged but declined to comment further until the appeals process ends later this month.

The students under investigation are all athletes who were being given special classes in ethics and religion.

Prof Randall Balmer noticed he was receiving far more answers to his questions than students in the class.  He confirmed that most of the students had been suspended for a term.

The alleged scandal involves hand-held electronic clickers which are used to answer questions during college classes.

It is believed that some students may have passed their clickers onto their classmates who answered the questions on their behalf.

According to The Boston Globe, the scandal was unearthed after Prof Balmer noticed that he was receiving significantly more answers to his questions by electronic clicker than the number of students sitting before him in the lecture theater. 

Prof Balmer described the situation of cheating in an ethics course was ironic and 'very sad and regrettable on many levels'.

He said: 'A lot of the students will probably come away with a stain on their transcripts. And, a level of trust that is so necessary for students and teachers has been betrayed, and I feel sad about that.'

Prof Balmer reported his concerns, which initially involved 43 of the 280 students in the class. A further 21 came forward after details of the investigation were made public.

The college confirmed that honour code violations were considered 'major misconduct'.

Prof Balmer added: 'I think honour no longer is something that has a lot of resonance in society, and I suppose in some ways it’s not surprising that students would want to trade the nebulous notion of honour with what they perceive as some sort of advantage in professional advancement.'

According to college newspaper The Dartmouth, Prof Balmer has decided against failing those students found guilty of cheating and instead reduced their grades by one letter.

More than seven in 10 of the students on the course are members of the various college athletics teams.

Prof Balmer said: 'Part of the reason I designed this course was that I had the sense that some athletes coming here to Dartmouth might have felt just a little bit overwhelmed or intimidated academically.

'I wanted to design a course that would appeal to their interests and allow them to have an early success in the classroom, and I’d hoped that they would be able to build on that success throughout their time at Dartmouth.'


UK: Latin storms state schools

Once the preserve of private schools, the language of the Romans is even booming in Britain's inner cities

'Res ipsa loquitur,' (the thing speaks for itself) said MP and columnist Boris Johnson when asked to describe his love for Latin. Steeped in classics, he thinks it 'tragic' that the subject has been 'ghettoised in independent schools' for decades. So Johnson will be the first to welcome today's news that Britain's state schools are experiencing an astonishing renaissance in Latin.

The number of state secondary schools offering Latin has soared from 200 three years ago to 459, new research will reveal today. From after-school clubs for gifted pupils to pan-European contests and on-line courses, Latin is in vogue.

Some say the revival is being driven by popular culture. Television, films, radio and books are filled with stories based in a bygone age, according to Peter Jones, of the National Co-ordinating Committee for Classics. 'One thinks of Boris Johnson's book on the Roman empire or a film such as Gladiator that raises issues of conflict and a sense of value.

'A great spin-off from that is a greater interest in the ancient world,' he added. 'Latin is no longer perceived as an elite subject simply studied by pupils at Eton.' He and other classicists fiercely dispute the argument that Latin is not a relevant subject in the 21st century. They point out that concepts of freedom, democracy and citizenship, embedded in modern politics, were first developed by the Greeks and Romans.

Moreover, learning Latin can help pupils with modern languages. 'I have been trying to learn Czech,' said Anne Dicks, head of classics at Malvern St James, an independent girls' school. 'Although the vocabulary is different, the structure is the same as Latin.'

Last week pupils from across Europe turned up in Paris, Berlin and Malvern, Worcestershire, to battle it out in a European Latin competition that Dicks helped organise. On the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend they turned up to tackle a tough translation.

Will Griffiths, the director of Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP), who carried out today's research, said many people wrongly assume that Latin is only taught well in the independent sector. His study highlighted schools such as George Green secondary, a comprehensive in Tower Hamlets, east London, where pupils stay after school to learn the language. Other schools were using a new online course from CSCP which allows pupils to learn Latin without a specialist teacher.

At another school in Kilburn, northwest London, where 87 per cent of students are from ethnic minorities, Latin is also booming. 'It is wonderful that so many schools are bringing it back,' said Johnson who recently visited the school. 'It is because people are looking for something that is intellectually stimulating, rewarding and delivers lasting value. If you are able to compose sentences in Latin you will never write a dud sentence in English.'

Johnson, who was yesterday crowned president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, called on the government to change the rules so Latin could be taken instead of a modern foreign language when children turn 11.

It is not just secondary schools. Latin is being used as a tool to teach younger children basic English grammar. Barbara Bell, a classics teacher at Clifton High School in Bristol came up with Minimus, a series of Latin books for children that is now being used in 2,500 primary schools. Children learn about Flavius and Lepidina, a couple from AD100, through comic strips.

Bob Lister, a lecturer in education at the University of Cambridge will argue in a forthcoming book that Latin is being used by teachers to stretch the brightest pupils. 'I think there has been a sea change in the attitude towards the gifted child,' he said.

But his book, Changing Classics in Schools, will also highlight a crisis in the subject due to a lack of teachers. 'There is a very serious problem with recruiting,' said Lister. Within recent weeks he has heard of two comprehensives that received no applications at all when they advertised for classics teachers. Figures suggest that there are four or five jobs for each trainee - a shortage that could provide an obstacle to Latin's comeback.


Common Core Boosters Trying to Scare States into Keeping National Standards

Last year wasn’t a good year for Common Core, and the myth-makers are already hard at work publishing some new spin, but first let’s review what we’ve learned over the past five years. Common Core national standards are:

Costly (here, here, and here)
Weak (here and here)
Intrusive (here)
Politicized (here)
Anything but “voluntary” (here, here, here, here, here, and here)
Unconstitutional (here, here, here, here, and here)

In short, the more parents and taxpayers learn about it, the less they like it, and a growing number of states are looking for the nearest exit, including Indiana, along with South Carolina, Missouri, and Oklahoma. States considering ditching the national standards also include Tennessee and Mississippi, and several more states are dumping their membership in taxpayer-subsidized Common Core testing consortia (here and here).

In fact, the election of incoming Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is widely hailed as a victory for parental and local control over education, and a real blow to Common Core and the federal control of education it represents.

Time will tell just how earnest state elected officials are about restoring local control over education, but for now it seems fair to say that Common Core’s in trouble.

So members of the Common Core boosters club are changing tactics.

In their Washington Post editorial last month, Thomas B. Fordham Institute President Michael J. Petrilli and the Institute’s national policy director Michael Brickman argue that replacing Common Core “state” standards with better ones would be virtually “impossible.” Why?

...because Common Core, though not perfect, represents a good-faith effort to incorporate the current evidence of what students need to know and do to succeed in credit-bearing courses in college or to land a good-paying job—and the milestones younger students need to pass to reach those goals. ...

Starting from scratch, on the other hand, pulls the rug out from under educators who have spent almost five years implementing Common Core in their classrooms.

Thankfully, Sandra Stotsky sets the record straight. As Strauss explains:

While serving as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003, she was instrumental in developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers. She served as the English language arts expert on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative (2009-2010), which she has strongly critiqued.

Stotsky aptly dismisses Petrilli and Brickman’s “impossible” claims, stating:

"Their claims have no legs to stand on.  Massachusetts once had standards that looked nothing like Common Core, were judged to be among the best in the country, and have an empirical record of contributing to academic gains for all Bay State students. ...

Contrary to the implication by Petrilli and Brickman that first-rate standards are not easy to implement, I know that it was easy to implement the Massachusetts 2001 English language arts and 2000 mathematics standards. How do I know? Because I was there. Bay State teachers did not moan and groan after these standards were officially approved by a Board of Education chaired by currently incoming Secretary of Education James Peyser. They simply implemented them without a fuss. ..."

Why don’t Fordham Institute’s Petrilli and Brickman, or Common Core defender Jeb Bush, ask each Department of Education or Department of Public Instruction in each state to send out a survey to all the state’s English, mathematics, and science teachers just asking for anonymous suggestions on how to revise the state’s Common Core-based standards. We would soon find out how welcome a different set of standards would be.

State citizens, taxpayers, and elected officials should not allow themselves to be cowed by the Common Core bullies.

Want better standards? Look to successful states like Massachusetts—not Washington bureaucrats, DC insiders, or special interest groups.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

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