Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CareerTech Testing Center: J.T.'s Personal Favorites

I decided last night that David Letterman shouldn't be the only one that has fun making Top 10 lists, so here are my personal favorites from the blog ("Testing and Educational Posts" and "Educational Technology Posts"):             

Top 10 Testing and Educational Posts
  1. Free Offer from the CareerTech Testing Center: "The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items"
  2. 5th Grader's Moving Keynote
  3. Why Do We Test Students?
  4. Understanding the Numbers
  5. Assessment Security and How to Reduce Fraud
  6. Before He Cheats - A Teacher Parody
  7. The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty?
  8. Shmoop: An Excellent Resource for Students and Teachers!
  9. Test Anxiety
  10. Response to Intervention

Top 10 Educational Technology Posts
  1. A Brave New World-Wide-Web
  3. Visual Thesaurus
  4. Visual Dictionary Online
  5. Wordle
  6. When Creativity and Web 2.0 Meet
  8. The Khan Academy: Education to Anyone, Anywhere
  9. Guidebook to Internet Searching
  10. Wolfram/Alpha - A Computational Knowledge Engine
Let me know what your favorites are or if you have new ideas that you would like to see in the blog!

Thanks again for reading and as always, share the blog with others!  J.T.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 Keys to Creating a Successful Testing Program

Let me begin by saying that an effective testing program is dynamic and never static. Skills standards, curriculum, assessments, and instructional methods should always be in a state of change. We should always be asking questions, conducting research, constructing hypotheses, experimenting with our methods, analyzing our data, forming our conclusions and communicating our results. I know, I know...the scientific method can and should be used just about anywhere. So here are what I believe are the five keys to implementing a successful testing program:

1. Everything begins with the skills standards.
This is the foundation for everything you do in the classroom. What duties and tasks are you teaching to? Do you have national standards that your program can tie too? Fortunately, the CareerTech Testing Center has 100+ sets of skills standards that are offered for free on our website. Many of them are national standards for their respective programs and others are endorsed or aligned with national groups or industries. Our goal, on any skills standards development, is a 3:1 industry to instructor ratio. We want the standards to be driven by industry!

2. Curriculum choices must align with the skills standards.
Both CIMC and MAVCC are excellent resources that that will help you in that effort. CIMC and MAVCC have customers from all across the United States and around the world. High school programs, area technology centers, junior and community colleges, proprietary schools, and government agencies are current users of each of their products. Business and industry customers are also learning of the training and cost advantages of using CIMC and MAVCC instructional systems. Several industry groups and trade associations have participated in the development of their products and services.

3. Assessments should be built upon the skills standards.
The CareerTech Testing Center offers 100+ online competency assessments that are constructed from the industry-driven skills standards that we create. The frequency and criticality ratings are used to guide the creation of test items. All test items are in multiple choice format and constructed by subject matter experts.

4. Analyze feedback from all test administrations.
Each examinee is provided with a coaching report that provides not only the overall result, but scores are broken down by duty area. Results should be analyzed for each individual student (relative strengths and weaknesses), for an individual instructors and for the overall program. In other words, did an instructor adequately cover the standards? Did your curriculum align to the standards? Did the program meet your needs at the local or state level?

5. Implement improvements.
Now you have your data and formed your conclusions. Make your changes and improve your program. It may seem like a lot of work but a dynamic environment is always changing and to me, that is a STATE OF EXCITEMENT!

The testing season is now upon us and I HOPE you are analyzing your results for program effectiveness! It's also a great time to plan for next year by reviewing the CareerTech Testing Center's skills standards and assessments and curriculum from CIMC and MAVCC.

This post is actually a repeat of a post that I made at the end of May 2009, but I always thought that I had presented it at the wrong time of year.  I do feel better now that my conscience is clear and I hope you will contact us and let us know how we can assist you with your testing needs!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I wanted to draw your attention to a MUST SEE TED presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. He wonders why don't we get the best out of people?

Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says.

I highly recommend taking the time to watch the video. Watch here:

You can also watch Sir Ken Robinson on a free webinar March 30th, Tuesday (5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern, 11pm GMT): Sir Ken Robinson on The Element.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Do We Address the Crisis in Teacher Retention?

I was looking at the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) website and blog today and found a video that I recommend all of you watch. Teacher retention is a huge problem, not only in K-12 education, but also within career and technology education (according to the 2007-2008 national SASS data, the mode for teaching experience across the U.S. is ONE YEAR).  Only one year?  Where do the teachers go and why? What can be done to change this trend?

Some of the problems facing teacher retention include the need for better pay and better pay systems, a lack of professional growth, and the list goes on from there.  I personally think that new teachers also want to be challenged professionally. It is no longer good enough to have a promise of decent pay, job security, and a retirement after thirty years. These things were of utmost importance to my parents and they are to me as well, but I want a challenge and what makes me the happiest is when I learn something new. I also want to have the opportunity to use what I learn or to share this knowledge with others. As Tom Carroll, President of NCTAF stated at a presentation that I attended a couple of weeks ago, "Learning is no longer job preparation, it is the job. We need to transform schools from teaching organizations into learning organizations."  I believe this applies to not only the students, but to teachers, support personnel, and administrators at every level.  Learning through professional development, peer collaboration, etc. Lifelong learning and discovery are keys to your successful retention efforts.

Take a look at the following video and share your thoughts:

Visit the National Center for Eduction Statistics, the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations, for additional data on retention and more.

Also take a look at "NCTAF In the News."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New from CIMC: Communications in Agriculture

I would like to draw your attention to a new curriculum product from CIMC...

Communications in Agriculture is designed to introduce students to topics related to promoting agriculture through a variety of media sources. It is a specialized course for students interested in pursuing a career in communications.

This product features a full-color student and teacher edition. The activities and assignments are included along with PowerPoints and tests in Word and ExamView formats on a Teacher Resource CD (AG 8045).

Units Include:
  • Communication Theory
  • Photographic Journalism
  • Business Writing and Resumes
  • Journalistic Writing
  • Broadcasting Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Creating Presentations
  • Delivering Presentations
Communications in Agriculture covers the following career clusters and pathways:
  • Agriculture Cluster - Agribusiness Systems pathway
  • Arts, A/V Technology and Communication Cluster - Visual Arts, Journalism and Broadcasting pathway
 CIMC is offering unit 2, "Photographic Journalism," as a FREE sample for you to download.
Contact the Customer Service Division at 800.654.4502 to place your order today!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Khan Academy: Education to Anyone, Anywhere

I would like to introduce you to the Khan Academy. Salman Khan (Sal) founded the Academy with the goal of using technology to educate the world. They have 1,200+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have all been recorded by Sal. He even offers reviews for the SAT and the GMAT tests!

The Khan Academy and Salman Khan have also received a 2009 Tech Award in Education. The Tech Awards is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

The Khan Academy has been featured on PBS Newshour, NPR's All Things Considered, and CNN.

Sal received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also holds a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to beginning the Khan Academy, he served as a hedge fund analyst.

PLEASE take a look at the Khan Academy. These are short and specific tutorials that are easy to understand.  This is well worth your time to investigate!!! Thanks to June at SREB for telling us about the Khan Academy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Free Offer from the CareerTech Testing Center: "The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items"

There are two types of people on the internet: the greedy and the generous.

The greedy want you to pay for everything and the really good content is locked away until you fork over some cold, hard cash. The generous, like the CareerTech Testing Center, are kind, selfless, and giving.

Although we place a great deal of value on our time and expertise, we want to offer our popular publication, "The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items" for FREE!  All you need to do is subscribe to our blog by email and we will send the e-publication to your email address.

It's as simple as that! We also appreciate our existing readers and all you need to do is respond to this post and a FREE copy will be headed your way as well.

Thank you again for all of your support!  J.T.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is Pivot a Turning Point for Web Exploration?

This video from TED features Gary Flake, a Technical Fellow at Microsoft and the founder and director of Live Labs, as he demos Pivot. Pivot is a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on Seadragon technology, it enables zooms in and outs of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.

At the least, Pivot is an interesting way to visualize data. What do you think?

Also check out the article on Pivot in Technology Review entitled, "Making Sense of Mountains of Data."

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Galatea Effect: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Phenomenon

If you remember, I made a previous post entitled, The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty? The Pygmalion Effect refers to situations in which students perform better than other students simply because they are expected to do so. Basically, it requires a student to internalize the expectations of their superiors. It is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, and in this respect, students with poor expectations internalize their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regards to education and social class.

In the Rosenthal-Jacobson Study, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson (1968/1992) report and discuss the Pygmalion effect at length. In their study, they showed that if teachers were led to expect enhanced performance from some children, then the children did indeed show that enhancement.

A related self-fulfilling prophecy is the Galatea Effect. This occurs when high self-expectations lead to high performance. There are several factors that tie into the Galatea Effect such as self-efficacy, self-confidence, and self-expectation of performance.
So how can an instructor encourage positive, powerful self-expectations in students?  According to's "The Two Most Powerful Management Secrets: The Pygmalion and Galatea Effects," an instructor should:
  • Provide opportunities for the student to experience increasingly challenging assignments. Make sure the student succeeds at each level before moving forward.
  • Enable the student to participate in potentially successful projects that bring continuous improvment.
  • Provide one-to-one instruction with the student. This instruction should emphasize improving what the student does well rather than focusing on the student's weaknesses.
  • Provide developmental opportunities that reflect what the student is interested in learning.
  • Assign a successful older student to play a developmental mentoring role with the student.
  • Hold frequent, positive verbal interactions with the student and communicate consistently your firm belief in the student's ability to perform assigments. Keep feedback positive and developmental where possible.
  • Make sure the student is receiving consistent messages from other instructors/personnel. How you speak to others about the student powerfully molds their opinions.
  • Project you sincere commitment to the student's success and ongoing development.
As instructors, you have a tremendous amount of power and influence and you can change a life! J.T.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

2010 Exhibit Schedule

We hope you will take the opportunity to visit us at one of the following locations during 2010.

As always, our goal is to provide the highest quality testing and curriculum resources that will enable individuals and organizations to reach their goals!

Oklahoma FFA - April 27-28 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Skills USA - June 21-24 - Kansas City, Missouri

FCCLA - July 4-8 - Chicago, Illinois

SREB - July 14-16 - Louisville, Kentucky

Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference - August 2-3 - Tulsa, Oklahoma

National FFA - October 19-22 - Indianapolis, Indiana

National Health Consortium - October 19-22 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

National Career Pathways - October 20-23 - Dallas, Texas

ACTE - December 2-4 - Las Vegas, Nevada

If you can't make it to one of the above locations, you can ALWAYS contact us at:

CareerTech Testing
1500 West Seventh
Stillwater, OK 74074-4364

1500 West Seventh
Stillwater, OK 74074-4364

1500 West Seventh
Stillwater, OK 74074-4364

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Skills Standards and Assessments from the CareerTech Testing Center

I wanted to announce the following new offerings from the CareerTech Testing Center:
Please contact the CareerTech Testing Center at 405.743.5412 to order this new assessment! As always, you can access our skills standards for FREE on our website.

ALSO, take a look at the NEW design for our skills standards:
(Thanks to DW for the new look!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tennessee Colleges Fight Cell Phone Cheating

Technology brings more high-tech temptations into classroom

By Jennifer Brooks • THE TENNESSEAN • February 25, 2010

Technology has changed the way they learn, the way they communicate, the way they have fun — and it's changed the way they cheat.

In one recent study, more than a third of teens with cell phones admit to using them to cheat, at least once. Half of them admit to cheating with the help of the Internet.

Worse, the survey released by Common Sense Media last year found that many of the students saw nothing wrong with their actions.

As students head off to college with cell phones in hand, universities are wrestling with the issue of how to cope with high-tech temptations in the classroom.

Some teachers ban cell phones and laptops on sight. Others figure: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

At Middle Tennessee State University, history professor Janice Leone usually starts the semester with a word about cell phones—and that word is usually “no.”

“They’re used to looking at it constantly. I’ve seen students actually text without looking, with their hands in their pockets,” said Leone, who sees the devices as more of a distraction than a temptation to cheat. “I have colleagues who tell their students, ‘If I see a cell phone, I’ll dock you 10 points.’ Others will say, ‘If I see a cell phone during a test, I’m assuming you’re cheating.’”

These are students who grew up texting instead of passing notes in class; who don't wear a watch because their cell phone has a clock; and who may find it a struggle to get through an entire class without a status update.

Click here for the full story.

Today's students are definitely a "wired generation."  Do you have a cell phone policy? Do you think it's needed?
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