May 28, 2016

BUILDING BLOCKS OF LITERACY

GRAMMAR
Parts of Speech

Noun
Pronoun
Verb
Adjective
Adverb
Conjunction
Preposition
Interjection

Parts of the Sentence
Subject
Predicate
Phrase
Clause
Object
Complement
Extension of Verb

USAGE
Formal
Informal
Nonstandard

SPELLING
Alphabet
Pronunciation
Rules
Exceptions
Memory Devices

MECHANICS
Handwriting
Punctuation
Oral Reading
Written Presentation

FOUR LEVELS OF LITERACY
L-1 Functional
L-2 Basic
L-3 High School
L-4 Advanced

Grade Inflation Meets Course Inflation

Although high schools have been adding rigorous-sounding courses like calculus and Advanced Placement English to the curriculum for at least ten years, according to the most recent National Education Achievement Progress (NAEP) report, 17-year-olds in 2009 scored no higher in reading and math than they did in 1973.

Slapping a difficult-sounding title on a course is apparently as easy as handing out a passing grade to any child with a pulse.

A study of textbooks at Michigan State University analyzed test scores of 13,000 American eighth-graders and compared the content of their math textbooks with what their course titles suggested was actually being taught.

“In about 15 percent of the cases, the textbook covered less advanced areas of math than the course name suggested,” said William H. Schmidt, who led the Michigan research. “The titles didn’t reveal much at all about how advanced the course was.”

Isn’t it time that parents and teachers stopped playing along with the charade that passes for education in too many U. S. schools? Parents need to be clear about what they expect their children to learn. They should not rely entirely on school reports and standardized test scores, but monitor their children’s progress for themselves.

Parents should not be reassured by being told that a child is performing “at the national average or above.” The national average is abysmal. Even an “average” child should score in the 80th percentile for basic subjects.

Teachers need to grade on the basis of what the child has learned. A grade of C should represent a minimum level of achievement. Children who are habitually absent should be placed in an ungraded environment in which they can be taught in self-contained mini-lessons when they do come to school.

The Grade of D Needs to Indicate More Than a Pulse

Don’t Rely on Letter Grades

Mere Seat-warmers Don’t Deserve a Passing Grade

More Classes Have Advanced Names But Weaker Content

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LITERACY CAPSULES

Architecture
Taj Mahal

Art
fresco

Geography
Balkans
Garden of Eden
continental drift
Ben Nevis
Galapagos Islands
Rio Grande

Literature
sword in the stone
Charles Dickens
Shakespeare's Birthday
Aslan
Gulliver's Travels
Huckleberry Finn
Invictus

Music

Natural History
human taxonomy
bloodhound
dinosaurs

Physical Science
ozone layer
periodic table

Philosophy
cogito ergo sum

Religion
Walpurgisnacht
Joan of Arc
Constantine I
human soul
Trinity
Mormons
Satan
animism
nirvana
religious literacy

Sports

US History
electoral college
Great Seal
US mottoes
New York City
Betsy Ross
Oklahoma

World History
Alaric
Erik the Red
Elizabeth Blackwell
Baden-Powell
Thomas Becket
Grigory Rasputin
100 Years' War