Future of Learning Top Reads for Week of May 20 2019

“How new learning modes will shape the 'future of work',” by Hallie Busta, in EducationDive

“Colleges are also adding job-related knowledge to their curriculum. Embedding certifications in degrees, long an option at two-year institutions, is slowly gaining traction in four-year curriculum as well. Other recent work on short-term credentials includes the development of badges in soft skills employers have asked for, such as oral communication and problem solving.

“Critical to the uptake of these credentials is finding ways for students to present to prospective employers their full range of skills they learned on their path to a full degree—something institutions are working toward with approaches such as new kinds of transcripts.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

We might just as easily title this article “How new learning modes will shape the future of learning,” because the primary business of schools is credentialing. Not the primary mission; but the primary business.

New forms of credentials, reflecting new skills and content knowledge, can create new business opportunities for schools.

If you could credential just one new skill or content knowledge area, what would you choose?


“SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background,” by Doug Belkin, in the Wall Street Journal

“This new number, called an adversity score by college admissions officers, is calculated using 15 factors including the crime rate and poverty levels from the student’s high school and neighborhood. Students won’t be told the scores, but colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

File under “sleight of hand.”

The Adversity Index helps the College Board to shift the conversation from “the SAT predicts nothing meaningful, is biased in several ways, and has been subject to long-standing cheating” to “Look at how the College Board is helping underrepresented groups.”

There is nothing virtuous about the Adversity Index. The model is not transparent; the collection and use of data do not involve full consent; and, most of all, the Index keeps the conversation grounded in the SAT as a meaningful educational assessment—which it is not.

Perhaps the author buried the lede in the 7th paragraph: “The SAT, which includes math and verbal sections and is still taken with No. 2 pencils, is facing challenges. Federal prosecutors revealed this spring that students cheated on both the SAT and ACT for years as part of a far-reaching college admissions cheating scheme. In Asia and the Middle East, both the ACT and SAT exams have experienced security breaches.”

…meanwhile, if we care about underrepresented and underresourced learners, what does work?…


“The College Dropout Crisis,” by David Leonhardt and Sahil Chinoy, in the New York Times

“But perhaps the biggest lesson from our reporting is that the colleges with higher rates of student success […] deepen students’ connections to other people on campus, including their classmates (through extracurriculars), professors and advisers. ‘A lot of it seems like it’s attention to detail in catering to students,’ said Leebo Tyler, a recent graduate of Troy, an Alabama university with a higher-than-expected graduation rate. La Verne’s president, Devorah Lieberman, said, ‘The bottom line is connection — feeling like somebody cares.’”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

This provides a lesson for K12 schools, too: if you want to retain all students, ensure that each of them, regardless of socioeconomic status, is connected to adults and peers.

And for those of us who sometimes recommend colleges, this interactive article from the NYT offers windows into which schools not only keeping students connected, but also ensure that they graduate on time.


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot