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Rise in College Applications Fuels Uncertainty

High School GraduatesAs anxious students hover by computer screens or mailboxes for news of college admissions, they face even more disappointment than even the record-breaking class of 2009. Though the number of high school seniors fell in many states last year, they continue to apply to more schools. The average now tops 4.5, with a hefty percentage applying to eight or more colleges.

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Obama’s Budget Boosts Money for Schools

Budget BoardCash-strapped school districts got some welcome news from Washington last week. The Obama administration’s proposed 2012 education budget, if approved, would significantly increase federal spending for public schools and maintain the maximum Pell grant — the cornerstone financial-aid program — at $5,550 per college student.

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Feature: Peril in Small Places

Things Made with NanotechnologyMore and more consumer products are being developed using super-small particles, but is it safe? This article examines the steps scientists are taking to try and find an answer, including research being done that has already shown some startling and complicated results.

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Informal Science Programs Can Benefit Girls

After School ProgramInformal, out-of-school science and math programs offer great ways to engage girls in the subjects, but they need to be carefully planned and executed to make sure reluctant students want to sign up for and stick with them, Education Week’s Beyond School blog reports on findings from a new Harvard Family Research Project report.

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Smart Phones to Eliminate Digital Divide?

Using a Smart PhoneWithin five years, every K-12 student in America will be using a mobile handheld device as a part of learning, according to Elliot Soloway, a professor at the University of Michigan. “Smart phones are the one technology that can eliminate the digital divide.”

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Most U.S. Students Not Proficient in Science

Proficiency MapScores released January 25 from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress show that many U.S. students still struggle in science. Just 34 percent of fourth graders, 30 percent of eighth graders, and 21 percent of 12th graders are performing at or above ‘proficient’ – with just a tiny fraction displaying the advanced skills that could lead to careers in science and technology.

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U.S. Schools Earn a C

Empty ClassroomThe nation receives a C when graded across the six distinct areas of policy and performance tracked by Quality Counts, the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. For the third year in a row, Maryland is the top-ranked state with a B-plus. The majority of states receive grades of C-plus or lower.

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Is There an AP Overload?

Taking a TestNationwide, the number of students taking AP tests has surged 50 percent in the last five years. For those who hope to attend selective colleges, it’s the norm. But when a Harrisburg, Pa.-area school district sought to introduce an AP course in ninth grade, some parents balked.

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Stress Skills Instead of Content Learning, Report Urges

Kids Doing MathA new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recommends that student assessments be based on skills, such as reading for information, locating information, and applied mathematics, instead of content. In STEM subjects, students’ desired outcome should be improved skills in inquiry, design, and the understanding and use of symbolic language in math.

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