kitchen table math, the sequel: off-task

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Chesterfield County middle schools this year are assessing all eighth-graders' knowledge of 21st-century skills, which include communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and use of technology.

"We obviously want our kids to have those 21st-century skills," said director of technology Lynda Gillespie. "The only way to make sure that you have those skills is through assessment."

Area schools assess students’ 21st-century skills
Published: May 24, 2010

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, life goes on:

Statistically speaking, however, having an expertise in statistics may help in getting a job: according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates with math skills are more likely than their peers in other majors to find themselves promptly and gainfully employed.

The safest of all degrees to be acquiring this year is in accounting: forty-six per cent of graduates in that discipline have already been offered jobs. Business majors are similarly placed: forty-four per cent will have barely a moment to breathe before undergoing the transformation from student to suit. Engineers of all stripes—chemical, computer, electrical, mechanical, industrial, environmental—have also fared relatively well since the onset of the recession: they dominate a ranking, issued by, of the disciplines that produce the best-earning graduates. Particular congratulations are due to aerospace engineers, who top the list, with a starting salary of just under sixty thousand dollars—a figure that, if it is not exactly stratospheric, is twenty-five thousand dollars higher than the average starting salary of a graduate in that other science of the heavens, theology.

Economics majors aren’t doing badly, either: their starting salary averages about fifty thousand a year, rising to a mid-career median of a hundred and one thousand.

Learning by Degrees
by Rebecca Mead
The New Yorker
June 7, 2010


Catherine Johnson said...

More good news: "Richmond schools have no formal assessment for students, but they are working on rubrics and checklists to identify technology skills through project-based learning, said schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby."

GoogleMaster said...

I grew up in the Chesterfield County school system, so I feel qualified to comment on this T-D story.

Unless you're from around there, you might not know they're talking about four different school systems in the Richmond area.

Richmond (the city) is independent of any county. The Richmond school district is mostly urban (urban like a southern city, not urban like NYC) and serves the city.

Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover are three counties that surround Richmond. Each has its own school district, which ranges from suburban at the outskirts to urban where the county borders the city.

The two middle schools mentioned, Midlothian and Perrymont, are both in Chesterfield.

It sounds as though Henrico and Chesterfield are assessing, and Richmond and Hanover are "planning to assess" or doing the "project-based learning" thing.

Henrico is one of those districts that gave every middle- and high-school student a laptop, starting about 7 years ago when my niece was in eighth grade there.

Lisa said...

Assessing use of technology. Begin your x-box test now! On the brighter side, my ds's ambition of becoming a forensic accountant seems like a better idea than I thought.

LynnG said...

forensic accountant sounds great -- especially if you like math and like figuring out complicated issues.

I'm scared to look at what my school system is doing on the 21st century skills assessment front. We just adopted a 21CS mission statement, so I'm sure they must be assessing them now too.

Asking kids to submit blog comments as a part of their 21stC education is the equivalent of passing notes in class. Two decades ago, would anyone have thought it was a good idea to encourage kids to pass notes and even assess them on how good they are at it? Parents, we are on our own.