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Comment: Re:Why all the fuss about Common Core? (Score 1) 273

by dmiller1984 (#46475509) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

Also, most states only have one of these evaluative tests a year, so you're not comparing students to their own scores, you're comparing them to the scores of the previous year's class.

If that's how the test is being interpreted, the administrators are idiots. You have test results for each class from last year, look at the difference between those results and the results from this year. That gives you the change in test results as affected by the teacher under scrutiny.

This isn't quantum loop gravity, if your only argument against holding teachers to a standard is that the administration is too stupid to apply one correctly, then it's time to nuke the whole district and start over.

It's harder than it seems. First of all, it's the states who administer these exams, not the schools. The public schools have no choice as to how or when these exams are administered. Students are held to different standards during each school year so comparing them to their scores from the previous year doesn't make sense since the material isn't the same. Also, how do you evaluate teachers who teach non-core subjects such as music, PE, or computer science? The whole data driven movement in schools is fine, but not everything in education can be quantified. Teaching is more of an art than it is a science.

Comment: Re:Why all the fuss about Common Core? (Score 1) 273

by dmiller1984 (#46474719) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

"First off, getting stuck with a class of crappy students can cost you your job . . ."

No, that's not how the evaluations would work. The improvement of individual students could be tracked and evaluated against the standard.

"Once they receive tenure, they should no longer be subject to evaluation . . ."

That should not be true of anyone.

Is it really fair to judge a teacher on a test that doesn't mean anything to the students? Also, most states only have one of these evaluative tests a year, so you're not comparing students to their own scores, you're comparing them to the scores of the previous year's class. So the class of crappy students certainly could cost a teacher their job if their previous class was much better.

Comment: Re:On Education (Score 3, Interesting) 161

by dmiller1984 (#46163233) Attached to: Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

2 when they hit K5 1 separate the boys from the girls (outside of Dance Class and Recess)

This has been tried before and it's been found to not work. It's one of the few things in education that has been pretty much proven not to work. I just read an article the other day about seperating by gender, and it just serves to reinforce sterotypes when the genders are not together. Boys are allowed more freedom to move around since "boys will be boys" when there are girls who could use freedom of movement as well. If you were going to break up classes, break them up by the way they learn.

Comment: Re:the real reason (Score 1) 325

by dmiller1984 (#46014139) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Almost no colleges offer credit for taking AP tests regardless of score so high schoolers have absolutely no reason whatsoever to take those tests. You can either study for just your real final exams that actually go into your grades or you can add in an even harder test that benefits you in no way. Hmm, tough one. Oh and they typically charge money to take the tests as well.

That's not true at all. You can go to the College Board website and search by school to find what they offer credit for. I got half a semester of credit from AP exams when I was in high school.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Is Javascript a Good Idea for a Beginning Programming Course?

Submitted by dmiller1984
dmiller1984 (705720) writes "I have a dilemma. I teach high school computer courses, and I am considering teaching my introductory programming course using Javascript. When I first started teaching in my current school the course used VB6, but I quickly moved over to Visual BASIC .NET. After starting up an AP Computer Science course using Java, I changed my intro course to C# since it is closer to Java than VB. I liked the XNA framework that Microsoft created, but, now that XNA will no longer be supported, I decided I should move my intro class to something new. I thought teaching Javascript would help connect the course better to my web design courses, but I know there are some potential pitfalls to this approach. Here are the pros and cons I can think of:

Javascript Pros
  1. Easier language to learn for beginners.
  2. Games and programs can be easily published to the web.
  3. Platform-agnostic.
  4. A lot of decent game engines are available now for web game development using Javascript.

Javascript Cons

  1. Dynamic variable types.
  2. Lack of a lot of OOP functionality.
  3. Not as many good IDEs for debugging Javascript.
  4. It's Javascript.

I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on this change, but I worry that some of Javascript's pitfalls will affect my students when they move on to AP Computer Science or a college computer science course. Does anyone have any thoughts to add, or is there any point I made that's entirely off base?"

Comment: Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (Score 1) 715

by dmiller1984 (#45940481) Attached to: How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

When I emailed the teacher (they don't answer the phone)

Do you expect a teacher to answer the phone during the school day? Elementary teachers typically only have about 30 - 45 minutes of prep time during the day when they aren't directly working with kids. Even if you called after school, that is usually the time teachers are using to make copies, work with other teachers, etc. It isn't like a desk job where you can answer the phone the moment it rings. However, you do have an argument if teachers are not returning your calls. My school district tells us we should return calls within 24 hours, and that's something I try to stick too. Most parents find email easier themselves, but I understand a phone call can sometimes clarify the situation quicker.

Comment: Re:Stanley Cup on cable (Score 1) 261

by dmiller1984 (#45706415) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry
Actually, the NHL streamed the Stanley Cup finals for free on their website this past season. I don't know if they did it during the entire playoffs, but I was very happily surprised to see at least one of the major sports getting with the modern times. I'd be more than willing to pay for a streaming sports package, but they all seem to blackout local teams, which defeats the purpose for me.

+ - Chicago Public Schools to Add Computer Science as Core Subject-> 1

Submitted by dmiller1984
dmiller1984 (705720) writes "The Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest public school system in the United States, announced a five-year plan today that would add at least one computer science course to every CPS high school, and elevate computer science to a core requirement instead of an elective. CPS announced this through a partnership with code.org, stating that the non-profit would provide free curriculum, professional development, and stipends for teachers."
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