Fiona Deller – Need to Read: Changes x 3: SAT, teaching and learning, MOOCs

One of the many things we do at HEQCO is read the trades. We try to keep up on the latest research, as well as the media commentary, relevant books and the blogosphere. We read the good, the bad, the controversial and the bland. This year, we thought it might be nice to share with you some of the best. We plan to post this column on Fridays every couple of weeks – or more frequently if demand warrants it.

Given that there is not a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in Ontario, I was fascinated by all the commentary around the changes to this test that American high school youth take if they want to apply to college (it is required by many, but not all universities). There is a competing test, the American College Testing (ACT) exam, which of course, is part of the change story. The recent changes to the SAT seem to reflect some thinking about who the test intrinsically privileges and how meaningful the results actually are. You can find early commentary on the changes in the New York Times, Bell Curves Blog  and the Atlantic.

University of Texas at Austin professor Steve Mintz wrote an excellent piece for Inside Higher Ed on the five ways 21st century teaching and learning will be different. Joshua Kim wrote a companion article outlining some ways these ideas might be operationalized.

It’s been a while since I have included anything on MOOCs (what else is there to say?). However, if you are still following the “will they, won’t they” debate, IntelligentHQ sums up the current state of the MOOC world.

Now for a short book review: Chambliss and Takacs’ How College Works is a quick, fun read on how  students learn better — when they have more  personalized interaction with professors, mentors, administrators and peers. It’s difficult to dislike this book; the tone is friendly and informal, and it is chock full of “the student voice,” following students from arrival to graduation, using excerpts from interviews to illustrate how students interact with their environments and why this matters. The book concludes with some useful lessons learned and recommendations, most of them wonderfully practical, on how to make the student experience more human and therefore more effective.

Happy Reading.

-Fiona Deller, Executive Director, Policy & Partnerships

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