Improving Learning

A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.
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Updated March 05, 2018 |
How Does Standardized Testing Affect Teaching Quality?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has changed the course of education in the United States, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing. But how does standardized testing affect teaching quality? Keep reading to find out.

Introduced in the early 2000s, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is designed to ensure that students across the country receive a similar quality of education. The initiative set specific standards for what students should know at the end of each grade with the goal of making sure that every student has an equal opportunity to attend college after high school.

Since its introduction, the Common Core State Standards Initiative has encountered a great deal of controversy. In some ways, it may benefit students to have a more structured education, regardless where they go to school. In other ways, however, the standards don’t always work for every school or every student. One of the biggest problems about the initiative, however, is its emphasis on standardized testing.

As one of the major tenants of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, standardized testing has a significant impact on the nation’s educational system. Keep reading to learn more about how standardized testing affects teachers and teaching quality.

What is the Deal with Standardized Testing?

According to the Common Core website, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is, “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematical and English language arts/literacy” that were created to ensure that “all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life”.

Having standards designed to increase the quality of education in the United States is a good thing – there are no arguments that quality of education is not important. The problem

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Published September 27, 2017 |
Tips for Easing Test Anxiety in Public School Students
Even the smartest of students can sometimes perform poorly on tests when they become anxious. Keep reading to learn how to ease test anxiety in public school students.

If your student attends public school, you are undoubtedly familiar with standardized testing. Standardized testing is designed to determine the effectiveness of a school’s curriculum and teaching staff as well as the degree to which students understand core concepts.

Many schools engage in standardized testing once a year or more in grades 3 through 8, focusing particularly on subjects like math, science, and language arts. Though these tests are partially designed to measure the effectiveness of a school program, they are also used to determine funding for public schools – this puts a lot of pressure on schools to ensure that their students perform well.

With so much riding on these tests, it is no wonder that many students develop test anxiety. Anxiety over testing can turn even the smartest, most intelligent student into a F student. But what is text anxiety and how do you deal with it? Keep reading to find out.

What is Test Anxiety?

According to the American Test Anxiety Association, test anxiety is a psychological condition in which students experience extreme distress before, during, and/or after a test or exam. This level of stress makes it difficult for the student to do their best work – it even causes some students to freeze up entirely and to forget everything they’ve learned. As many as 20% of school children have severe test anxiety and another 18% have a more moderate form of the condition. Understanding what test anxiety is and how it affects students is important for both

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Published September 27, 2017 |
The Top 10 Study Tips for High School Students Preparing for College
Are you preparing to make the transition from high school to college? Many things are going to change for you in the coming years, so prepare for them academically by learning strong study skills now that you can apply during your college years.

Preparing for college can be nerve-wracking for a high school student, even if you’ve already been accepted by a school. During that final year of high school, it may be difficult to concentrate on academics, but you want to show your college that you aren’t slacking off just because you’ve already been accepted. It is always important to do your best.

As you prepare for college, not only should you be keeping up with your school work, but you should take some time to evaluate your study habits to see if you are properly prepared for college. In this article, you’ll receive the top ten study tips to get you ready for the transition into college.

How Much Studying Do College Students Do?

According to a national study, the average full-time college student spends about 15 hours per week studying. Of course, the number of hours a student spends studying doesn’t necessarily correlate with their level of academic success. For example, students who studied an average of 20 hours per week or more were not always fully prepared for class, according to the results of a campus-wide student engagement survey. The amount of time students spend studying may also depend on their major and their class load. For example, senior engineering students reported 19 hours of study per week while students in the social sciences and business studied an average of 5 hours less.

What is the takeaway here? While spending more time studying isn’t necessarily a guarantee of academic success, improving

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Updated May 11, 2017 |
What You Need to Know About Behavioral Intervention Plans
Children are going to act out - that is a fact of life. But when does a minor behavioral problem turn into a major issue? Keep reading to learn more about behavior intervention plans and how they might be able to help your child curb problem behaviors in school and at home.

You have undoubtedly heard the saying, “Kids will be kids”. This saying is based on the reality that sometimes children exhibit bad behaviors and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad kids. But some children take this saying to an entirely different level – their behavioral problems become so bad that they are becoming disruptive in school, unresponsive in social situations, or even dangerous to other kids. If your child is exhibiting problem behaviors at school, you may want to talk to his teacher about creating a behavioral intervention plan.

What is a Behavior Intervention Plan?

A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is simply a plan that is designed to reward and reinforce positive behaviors. Behavior intervention plans look different in every instance because they are customized to a specific student and toward specific behaviors. Some of the problem behaviors that a BIP can be used to address may include the following:

  • Inappropriate language at school
  • Being disruptive in class
  • Aggressive behavior toward students and/or teachers
  • Becoming withdrawn or unresponsive
  • Refusal to do classwork and/or homework

There are several important steps that must be taken in order to develop a behavior intervention plan. For one thing, you need to identify the target behavior(s) that you want to address. Does your child throw things in the classroom? Does he refuse to remain quiet while the teacher is speaking? Does he refuse to do any of his homework or classwork? Once you’ve identified the problem behavior you want to address, you then need to determine what your child gains

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Updated April 26, 2018 |
How to Cultivate the Best Environment for Doing Homework
Homework has become deeply ingrained in the U.S. educational system, but how much homework is too much and how can you create a healthy environment for your child to do schoolwork at home?

Doing homework is an unavoidable part of being a student but some children have more trouble than others doing school work on their own at home. As a parent, it is your job to get your child the help he or she needs to learn and to thrive academically – you should also think about ways to create a healthy environment for doing homework at home. Keep reading to learn more about minimizing distractions and cultivating a good homework environment for your child.

The History of Homework

Homework has become a tradition in academic environments, but where does this tradition come from? The concept of extra school work that must be completed at home has become engrained in U.S. academic culture and some believe that it doesn’t provide much value for students. The use of homework has changed as the course of education in history has changed. During the late 19th century, education for primary grades was irregular and most classrooms contained students of different ages. Primary students were rarely assigned homework and the older students got, the more likely they were to leave school for the work force. In the early 20th century, there was a rise in progressive education as well as an anti-homework movement. When the Cold War came around, however, homework once more rose its ugly head as America became obsessed about competing with the Russians. In the years since the pro-homework movement gained strength but it is once more starting to come into question.

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