Monthly Archives: April 2017

Temporary school built for pupils

A temporary secondary school complete with dance studio, art rooms and science labs is being built to house pupils whose academy at the base of Grenfell Tower has been closed since fire raged through the block.

The Kensington Aldridge academy (KAA) is relocating to a new site for the start of the academic year while police continue a forensic examination of the scene. Construction of the temporary school, just over one mile from the current site, is under way.

KAA has been closed since the fire at the 24-storey block of flats on 14 June. Two other nearby schools, the Burlington Danes academy and Latymer Upper school, took in hundreds of pupils for the last few weeks of term.

The school had hoped to reopen in September, but investigations are expected to continue until the end of the year and as yet there is no timetable for the tower to be covered. Staff are concerned about the psychological impact of the sight of the building’s blackened skeleton on children.

KAA’s buildings also need extensive cleaning following the fire and ventilation systems need checking.

The vast majority of KAA’s 900-plus pupils live within a half-mile radius of the school and the tower. Four pupils died in the fire, plus another who had recently left.

Over the next eight weeks, a temporary school is being constructed on land at Wormwood Scrubs, a large open space in the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, about a 20-minute walk from KAA.

It will comprise five blocks of Portakabins, close to Burlington Danes academy. “We had hoped to be back in our usual building by September, but that’s not possible so we are activating plan B. The important thing is that children have as normal an education as possible,” said a spokesperson for KAA

KAA is advertising for a maths and a physics teacher for the autumn term to cover two members of staff who have been seconded to provide pastoral support to students affected by the fire.

Some people who live near the temporary site for KAA have expressed concern at the impact of an extra 960 students – the number enrolled for the next academic year – in an area where about 1,200 children are already attending Burlington Danes academy. KAA is considering staggering its timetable to start and finish at different times to BDA.

“We’re going to be sandwiched between two massive secondary schools,” said a resident of the small Woodman Mews estate. “There is a rationale to the new site which completely stacks up, but there’s been no recognition of the impact on our lives and local infrastructure.”

KAA is negotiating with Transport for London for extra bus services from the Grenfell Tower area to the new site, and is “planning appropriate road safety measures … given the heavy traffic on Wood Lane”, Benson told parents.

The school opened three years ago as an academy specialising in performing and creative arts. It is sponsored by the Aldridge Foundation, which is responsible for eight academies.

the UK is still a desirable study destination

A new 2017 study, published by Universities UK International, The UK’s Competitive Advantage, found that international students in the UK have higher levels of satisfaction than their global peers.

The study revealed that 86 percent of international undergraduates in the UK are “very likely” to recommend the UK as a study destination.  This figure is three percentage points higher than results in 2008.

What’s refreshing for the UK?  These numbers are higher than other significant global study destinations like the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The report also shows that the UK is number one for student satisfaction, with 91 percent of international students reporting that they are “satisfied.”

The drop in numbers of international students studying in the UK is a worry to universities.

“International recruitment figures in the UK over the last few years have not done justice either to the global success of the UK’s universities, or the sector’s ability to tap into this substantial growth market,” says Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK. “At the same time, competitor countries have seen rises in international student numbers.”

When aggressive statements on immigration are made by British politicians and a few days later hit newspapers in India, Pakistan or Malaysia, it’s hardly surprising that as a prospective student you may decide to spend three years and a shedload of your cash somewhere a bit friendlier.

Dandridge says: “The quality of our universities must be matched by the quality of welcome we provide to students.”

Fees are a big worry for many international students, says a British Council survey. High costs and poor exchange rates may be a reason why more international students are doing UK university courses outside the UK now than inside, studying either on satellite campuses or via distance learning – or a combination of the two.

If you’re a student deciding where to do your degree, you have more choice than ever on where to study. David Smith, from Simon-Kucher & Partners, thinks this could lead to UK universities setting different prices for different courses, to better reflect the value of the course you’re applying for.

Worries about getting a job after graduation are particularly hard for international students whose families have made enormous financial sacrifices so they can study overseas.

“A lot of Indian students get a loan through their parents, which they’ll have to pay back. Without being able to work here afterwards, that’s not feasible now,” says Vicki Smith, director of Study in the UK, which offers advice on UK higher education to students in countries around the world.

A visa to work beyond four months after graduating from a university in the UK now normally requires a job with a minimum salary of at least £20,300 a year – and it can be even higher for some sectors. A mechanical engineer must earn a minimum of £24,100, an electrical engineer £23,600 and a design engineer £24,800.

Given that the UK graduate job market is hardly at its healthiest – latest data from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education survey shows that the median salary of employed graduates from full-time courses six months after graduation was £20,000 – this means that many overseas students will be heading home shortly after handing their graduation gown and mortarboard back to the hire shop.

And while PhD graduates are allowed stay on for a year to look for work or start a business through the Doctorate Extension Scheme, introduced in April 2013, their university must be willing to continue being their sponsor. This is different to USA, Canada, Australia and Germany who are extending their post-study work offer in recognition of the skills that international students can offer their job markets.

Despite all this, the UK is expected to retain its position as the second strongest market after the US, attracting an extra 126,000 international students, according to a study by the British Council’s education intelligence service.

But with China, for example, investing heavily in its own universities and colleges, there is likely to be a fall in the numbers of Chinese prepared to spend a king’s ransom to study abroad, and larger numbers wanting to apply to do their degree in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Based Education

State and federal policymakers are increasingly talking about “competency-based learning” as the way of the future. In a competency-based system, students advance upon mastery. This model marks a sharp departure from the school system’s traditional metric:  hours spent in the classroom studying a specific subject.

At the turn of the 20th century, in an effort to standardize high school curricula and college admissions, a committee at the National Education Association determined that a satisfactory year’s work in a given high-school subject would require no fewer than 120 one-hour instructional periods. In 1909, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching codified this standard as the Carnegie unit, or credit unit. Since then, the education system has measured student progress in terms of instructional hours, not student learning. So long as a student logs the necessary hours and receives a passing grade, he can move on to the next course, regardless of gaps in his understanding. And a passing grade may be based in part on non-academic factors like attendance, extra credit, and good behavior, rather than demonstration of mastery.

Today, the Carnegie unit is showing its age, as more educators recognize that the time-based measure leaves students susceptible to moving on to material before they are ready, or remaining mired in a subject that they have already mastered. In addition to introducing flexible pacing, competency-based education attempts to import newfound rigor to the concept of “mastery.” In this new system, “competencies” describe what students should know,as well as what they should be able to do. Competency-based assessments aim to test students’ ability to demonstrate what they can do in real-world applications and across a variety of contexts.

Policies that allow institutions to measure student progress in terms of mastery rather than credit hours are beginning to take hold in K–12 and higher education. The U.S. Department of Education recently committed a wave of Experimental Sites Initiative funding to supporting competency-based approaches in postsecondary education, and more than 300 institutions are lining up to be among the approved experimenters. In K–12 education, states are following suit: 42 states have granted schools the flexibility to incorporate competency approaches in some form or fashion. Among states promoting K–12 efforts, New Hampshire has been a trailblazer.

In 2005, New Hampshire began to build a competency-based education policy and has eliminated the Carnegie unit in its high schools. As the first effort of its kind, New Hampshire’s example demonstrates both the power and limitations of statewide competency-based education policy.

The state’s move has enabled many innovative schools to transform the schooling experience for students. But spreading competency-based practice has also proven challenging in a state with a strong tradition of local control. One superintendent captured the wider sentiment when he said in an interview last year, “Frankly, a lot of superintendents don’t like the state telling them what to do in their districts.”

The state has struggled to balance a culture of autonomy with furnishing school districts with supports and guidance to move away from time-based practices. “The state is supportive in theory,” a New Hampshire school leader said. “They like the idea of competencies. I don’t think they’ve really thought through what has to happen for those things to be viable.” The challenge of providing meaningful supports is made more acute by the fact that the field at large is still attempting to research and understand exactly what is required—logistically, pedagogically, and culturally—to transition to a fully competency-based system. As a result, the state has found itself tasked not only with providing what districts say they need, but also with identifying still-emerging best practices in how to transition from time- to competency-based systems and structures.

Today, some New Hampshire school systems have embraced the flexibility that the state policy offers, whereas others remain tied to time-based practices. To support those early adopters and move those that are further behind, the state continues to develop and hone the guidance and infrastructure that can ease the transition. New Hampshire’s experience offers valuable lessons in what policies and practices stand to loosen the stronghold of the Carnegie unit on the nation’s approach to education.

 

Educational Attainment

Educational attainment is a term commonly used by statisticians to refer to the highest degree of education an individual has completed as defined by the US Census Bureau Glossary

ACHIEVE EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE

 Set goals in achieving your level of education in the short and long term and then visualize yourself achieving the goal of education continuously in a positive and hopeful way. The starting point for achieving your educational goals can be found in the six letters of D-E-S-I-R-E which can be interpreted by letters as follows: D = Determine (Specify) E = Evaluate (Evaluate) S = Set (Set) I = Identify (Identify) R = Repeat (Repeat) E = Each Day D-E-S-I-R-E is a powerful method that you can use to define and achieve your chosen educational goals. Determine and make sure in your mind exactly what you want. Make clear and specific wishes then evaluate and determine exactly what you did to get it. Determine the clear date, when you will achieve it then identify your wishes with a clear plan to start and achieve your goals. Turn your plan into action and do it now.

Impact on Educational Attainment

Because test scores are not necessarily the best measure of learning or of likely economic success, we examine instead the relationships between SFR-induced spending increases and several long-term outcomes: educational attainment, high school completion, adult wages, adult family income, and the incidence of adult poverty. Our data on these outcomes come from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a survey that has tracked a nationally representative sample of families and their offspring since 1968. In particular, we use information on the roughly 15,000 PSID sample members born between 1955 and 1985, who have been followed into adulthood through 2011.

We find that predicted school spending increases are associated with higher levels of educational attainment. Figure 2b illustrates the effects of reform-induced changes in per-pupil spending on years of schooling completed. One can see clear patterns of improvement for exposed cohorts in districts with larger predicted spending increases. Cohorts with more years of exposure to higher predicted spending increases have higher completed years of schooling than cohorts from the same district who were unexposed or had fewer years of exposure. Also, the increases associated with exposure are larger in districts with larger predicted increases in spending (the line for districts with high predicted increases is consistently above that of districts with low predicted increases for the exposed cohorts). The patterns in timing and in intensity strongly indicate that policy-induced increases in school spending were in fact responsible for the observed increases in educational attainment. Taking into account the relationship between predicted and actual spending increases, we find that increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases educational attainment by 0.3 years on average among all children.

Because prior research has shown that children from low-income families may be more sensitive to changes in school quality than children from more-advantaged backgrounds, we also separately examine the effects of spending on low-income and nonpoor children. We define children as being low-income if their family’s annual income fell below two times the federal poverty line at any point during childhood.

For children from low-income families, increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases educational attainment by 0.5 years. In contrast, for nonpoor children, a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending throughout the school-age years increases educational attainment by less than 0.1 years, and this estimate is not statistically significant.

To put these results in perspective, the education gap between children from low-income and nonpoor families is one full year. Thus, the estimated effect of a 22 percent increase in per-pupil spending throughout all 12 school-age years for low-income children is large enough to eliminate the education gap between children from low-income and nonpoor families. In relation to current spending levels (the average for 2012 was $12,600 per pupil), this would correspond to increasing per-pupil spending permanently by roughly $2,863 per student.

Predicted spending increases are also associated with greater probabilities of high school graduation, with larger effects for low-income students than for their nonpoor peers. Specifically, increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years increases the probability of high school graduation by 7 percentage points for all students, by roughly 10 percentage points for low-income children, and by 2.5 percentage points for nonpoor children. Figure 3 highlights the difference in effect size for these two childhood family-income groups and illustrates the closing of the high-school-graduation-rate gap between low-income and nonpoor children as a result of reform-induced spending increases.

In short, increases in school spending caused by SFRs lead to substantial improvements in the educational attainment of affected children, with much larger impacts for children from low-income families.