MIT Stem Pals
  April 2012  
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Is Less More?
Dick LarsonLast month I argued that we should move away from standardized tests, that they were not magic bullets. They may in fact be harmful bullets. I suggested that we needed multiple ways to evaluate each student, perhaps with a portfolio of accomplishments. Top universities do this already. In evaluating a candidate for next year’s freshman class, it is not unusual to use the SAT or other standardized test as a first filter, requiring that the scores be above some acceptable (high) threshold, and if this threshold is satisfied, to toss out the scores and then consider everything else in the application—personal statement, letters of recommendation, demonstrated leadership, and non-academic accomplishments and recognition. This is one version of a portfolio approach. And yes, this approach can lead (and has led) to applicants with perfect SAT scores being rejected by top universities due to uncompetitive portfolios. Students should not be raised as ‘test taking machines.’ Read more.

Florida’s CPALMS: An Interdisciplinary Project Built Upon Collaborations
Danielle SherdanCPALMS aims to organize efforts to support educators working together toward goals of understanding and implementing standards. CPALMS is not only the official source of Florida’s Standards, with a collection of some of the best educational resources and tools to help educators develop and use those resources, but it is also a community of educators. Read more.


The First-ever DCPS STEM Stakeholders Summit
Camsie McAdamsEnergy was high and tweets were multiplying on the morning of Monday March 5th, as nearly 150 representatives from local and national industries, non-profit organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, and professional societies all gathered with one focus: supporting STEM education in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Read more.

Industry Participation in Informal Education to Move the STEM Agenda
Rick McMasterRecent publications and articles have discussed the importance of informal education in moving our national STEM agenda forward. The Role of Informal Science in the State Education Agenda from the National Governors Association includes the recommendation “Explicitly include informal science education as a key part of an action agenda to improve STEM literacy and proficiency among the state’s youth.” Read more.

Project ENGAGE of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences
Jenna FarrellIt’s never a dull moment here at the MAS, but before I go into further detail about why none of us sleep, I’d like to give you a bit of information about us if you aren’t already familiar with our story. Read more.