A senior administrator at California’s Claremont McKenna College has confessed to submitting false SAT scores to publications such as U.S. News & World Report since 2005 to inflate the small, prestigious school’s ranking among the nation’s colleges and universities, the Huffington Post reports. President Pamela Gann told college staff members and students at the small, prestigious school about the falsified scores in an email Monday, according to the New York Times. Gann wrote that a “senior administrator” had taken sole responsibility for falsifying the scores, admitted doing so since 2005, and resigned his post. Gann said the critical reading and math scores reported to U.S. News and others “were generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each.”
A few weeks ago, my colleague Paul Schwartzman introduced readers to a group of Prince George’s County residents known as “the Seat Pleasant 59.” They were promised in 1988, when they were in elementary school, that their tuition would be paid if they worked hard and got into college, says Jay Mathews, columnist for the Washington Post. More than two decades later, only 11 have four-year degrees, a consequence of many bad turns, most of them related to growing up in poverty. Some readers may conclude that most of these children were doomed from the start. Many lacked the parental support, teacher encouragement and personal resilience needed to take advantage of the offer from philanthropists Abe Pollin and Melvin Cohen. Is a tuition promise wasted on such children? That conclusion appalls educators in the region and across the country who have dedicated their lives to preparing disadvantaged students for college and helping them graduate…
Now in his third year at Yuba College, a year he once hoped to spend in Chico or Davis, Robert Bond said every student he knows has struggled to get the classes they need, the Sacramento Bee reports.
“My first semester here, no math classes were open, so I couldn’t get a math class,” Bond, 20, lamented on the Yuba campus quad, decked in a sweat shirt and shorts on an unseasonably warm afternoon. “Basically it took me two years until I could get a math class, college-level Math 52. So I’m like way behind.”
Faced with state budget cuts since the recession – annual funding is now 12 percent below its 2008-09 high-water mark – community colleges have pared back course offerings. Yet demand remains sky high as costs at four-year universities shoot upward and unemployed Californians seek retraining. Community college leaders say it has become necessary to ration classroom seats like water in a drought. They plan to impose statewide rules that prioritize students working toward a degree, certificate or basic academic skills. To meet that end, students who make little progress or take classes for enrichment purposes will move to the back of the line…
Erika Northcutt, 18, has not had a math class since she was a junior in high school, more than two years ago. The freshman at the University of Memphis was anxious enough about college calculus that she considered changing her major.
Nearly three weeks into the semester, her calculus homework scores are averaging 98 percent. She’s confident she can pass and plans to register for calculus 2.
“I think I can get an A, actually,” she says, relief shining in her eyes.
The secret is a computerized math tutorial system, MyMathLab by Pearson, which the university adopted in 2008.
It allows Northcutt and 39 other students in John Haddock’s 11:15 a.m. elementary calculus to dissect the problems, step by step.
If they get a step wrong, a prompt tells them they are off course. If that doesn’t help, they can click the “help me solve” button and the solution appears on the screen.
“The secret is immediate feedback. Because they’re not getting stuck, they’ll be able to do more problems,” Haddock says.
He figures his calculus students are doing two and a half times as many problems as they do in a lecture-based class.
Attendance is up, and class withdrawals are down. Those factors, combined with the reward of getting better grades, is changing who gets into science, technology, engineering, and math careers from the university.
Four years of university data show 65.2 percent of African-American students are passing the tutorial-based math classes, compared with 39.9 percent in traditional math courses.
In elementary calculus, 22.4 percent of African-American students drop out of traditional lecture classes. MyMathLab drops the number to 6.8 percent.
Haddock remembers when calculus classes were predominately white and male.
“No more,” he says.
“American students very often are not coming in to college with a strong background in math,” said Tom Nenon, vice provost for assessment and institutional research at the university. “Part of what we are trying to do is increase student success.”
Students pay about $140 for a login and online calculus textbook.
Haddock loads up the assignment bay before each lecture, specifying how many hours the queue will be open and how many tries students get at a problem before they lose points.
As the semester advances, he will reduce the number of attempts allowed.
“Part of the deal now is to get them acclimated and off to a good start,” he says.
He can quickly see how many problems students have completed, including how many they got correct.
The student’s admissions essay for Boston University’s MBA program was about persevering in the business world. “I have worked for organizations in which the culture has been open and nurturing, and for others that have been elitist. In the latter case, arrogance becomes pervasive, straining external partnerships.”
Another applicant’s essay for UCLA’s Anderson School of Management was about his father. He “worked for organizations in which the culture has been open and nurturing, and for others that have been elitist. In the latter case, arrogance becomes pervasive, straining external partnerships.”
Sound familiar? The Boston University student’s essay was written in 2003 and had been posted at businessweek.com. The UCLA applicant was rejected this year—for plagiarism.
The detection of such wholesale cheating in college applications is on the rise, owing to the use of Turnitin for Admissions, an anti-plagiarism database service that compares student essays to an immense archive of other writings. The program is a version of the Turnitin software that already is popular as a plagiarism-detection tool in academic departments.
Around the country, more than 100 colleges and universities have adopted the admissions version of the software, mainly in graduate divisions, although Stanford University is among the dozen schools starting to use it for freshman applicants this year.
That growth highlights the search for authenticity in college admissions at a time when the internet offers huge amounts of tempting free material, increasing numbers of private coaches sell admissions advice, and online companies peddle pre-written essays.
In addition, the larger numbers of applications from overseas have raised concerns about cheating that might be difficult for U.S. schools to discover unaided.
“The more we can nip unethical behavior in the bud, the better,” said Andrew Ainslie, a senior associate dean at UCLA Anderson. “It seems to us nobody ought to be able to buy their way into a business school.”
In the school’s first review of essays from potential MBA candidates this year, Turnitin found significant plagiarism—beyond borrowing a phrase here and there—in a dozen of the 870 applications, Ainslie said. All 12 were rejected.
Turnitin—as in, “turn it in”—began in the 1990s and became a popular tool at high schools and colleges to help detect copying in academic term papers and research by scanning for similarities in phrases from among billions of web pages, books, and periodicals.
Harbinger Knowledge Products announced today that its award-winning e-Learning rapid interactivity builder tool Raptivity has been selected as one of the tools to power a leading education platform for schools in Hong Kong. Dubbed the “E4Learn System”, the platform is an ‘e-Toolkit for teachers’ that contains a learning management system (LMS) and a school-wide management system. The LMS is an all-in-one platform that supports schools in developing their own curriculum while the latter supports bookkeeping functions and student records. The system also includes mLearning and e-Books for students.
In a bid to reduce time to prepare lesson, manage and develop teaching material, the platform brings together materials prepared from inside and outside individual schools, and catalogs and indexes them along with providing teaching plan templates for easy access by teachers. With Raptivity being part of this system, teachers can use it to create SCORM complaint engaging content for students. The system is free for everyone, and they can register as teachers or students. An auto-match feature enables students to connect with registered teachers, and use features such as web-meeting.
“Raptivity is a wonderful addition to our E4Learn System. Our e-toolkits will help teachers in developing their own curriculum by searching teaching material inside and outside their schools,” said Harry Ngan of Top Link Asia Limited, the company behind E4Learn System. “For example, teachers can use Raptivity to create SCORM-compatible quizzes and share them on the LMS. Raptivity is also perfect to create an interactive multi-media e-Book because it publishes its output as a single flash file.”
Raptivity software turns eLearning into an enriching, interactive experience. The Raptivity library of over 200 pre-built interactions including games, simulations, 3D objects, virtual world interactions, videos and more, is based on best practices in instructional design. All interactivities are customizable and the content published by Raptivity is a single flash file, so it fits right into hundreds of eLearning tools and can be used anywhere. It is this flexibility that E4Learn platform hopes to benefit from by including Raptivity in its suite of course creation tools.
“We are very glad to be part of the E4Learn System, which will significantly improve the time for course creation and development of teaching material,” said Seema Chaudhary, President of Harbinger Knowledge Products Inc. “Raptivity is used worldwide in the education sector to improve speed of course creation on the one hand and learner engagement and retention on the other. Its use in the E4Learn platform will add tremendous value to schools in Hong Kong.”
Visit http://www.raptivity.com to learn more about Raptivity. Visit http://www.e4learn.com.hk to learn more about the E4Learn System platform (http://www.e4learn.com.hk/?lang=en_utf8 for English version of the website).
With Raptivity, users can create interactivity rapidly and add it conveniently to their eLearning content. With interactive content, learning experiences become memorable and drop-out levels go down.
Raptivity provides a pre-built library of rapidly-customizable interaction models. These interaction models are based on best practices in instructional design. Users can customize them to create any number of variations. The content published by Raptivity is a single flash file so it fits right into hundreds of eLearning tools and can be used anywhere. With its patented technology and open architecture, Raptivity is at the forefront of rapid interactivity technology.
Raptivity has won numerous awards in various categories, including the e-Learning Guild Platinum Award for highest user satisfaction in the simulation tools category. It has also been voted number one by users on many occasions. This year, Raptivity has won the 17TH ANNUAL BEST EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE AWARDS (BESSIE) 2011 in the Online Technology Tool category and three 2011 LearnX E-learning & Training Awards from Training Australia Magazine.
For more information on Raptivity, visit http://www.raptivity.com.
About Harbinger Knowledge Products
Harbinger Knowledge Products is recognized as a global leader in interactivity solutions for knowledge-sharing applications including learning, presentation and web development.
Harbinger Knowledge Products is a part of Harbinger Group, which serves customers in over 57 countries through its offices in Pune (India), Redmond (WA, USA), San Jose (CA, USA), Pleasanton (CA, USA), London (UK) and through its partner network worldwide.
For three consecutive years, Deloitte has named Harbinger Knowledge Products among the fastest growing technology companies in its Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific and Technology Fast 50 India programs. Red Herring named Harbinger amongst world’s top 100 private technology companies.
Harbinger’s patented technology and sound thought leadership have resulted in groundbreaking products, including market-leading Raptivity and Raptivity Presenter, innovative YawnBuster, and cutting-edge SiteJazzer and TeemingPod.
For more information on Harbinger Knowledge Products, visit http://www.harbingerknowledge.com.
Four years after Antioch College suspended operations due to financial problems, the private liberal arts institution in southwest Ohio is recharging its system by extending full scholarships to current students and anyone who applies over the next three years, CBS News reports. Based on the value of the current $26,500 yearly tuition, that makes each scholarship worth at least $106,000, according to CBS News. In addition, students who qualify for financial aid may pay less for room and board, which costs around $8,600 per year.
“We don’t want economics to be an impediment to a high-quality liberal arts education,” Antioch President Roosevelt said in announcement on the school’s website Tuesday.” By providing four year, full-tuition scholarships, we make attending Antioch College a realistic option for the best and brightest students, regardless of their family’s economic situation.”
At the University of Manitoba, Angela Conrad felt it was taking forever to satisfy degree requirements with courses in women’s studies, Greek mythology and other subjects she considered impractical. All she really wanted was a job in marketing, the Washington Post reports.
“It takes people two years, sometimes three years, to finish” Manitoba’s mandatory general-studies track, Conrad said. “It made me think there had to be a learning style that was faster and more practical than that.”
Conrad, 23, found one at Toronto’s George Brown College, the Canadian equivalent of an American community college, where she transferred after giving up on a four-year university degree in favor of a two-year diploma…
Dozens of applicants to Vassar College were mistakenly told they had gotten into the school when they checked a website that had been set up for students applying for early decisions, the Associated Press reports. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y., school says 76 students logged onto the site after 4 p.m. Friday and saw letters saying they had been accepted when in fact they had not been. The school says it fixed the mistaken information by 4:30 p.m. and informed all the impacted applicants of the mistake by Friday evening. Another 46 students who logged on had been correctly told they were accepted…
Will Thomasen is like a lot of college guys with a big appetite, constantly eating pizza, coffee, bananas, hush puppies, sandwiches, mac ‘n cheese, you name it. The difference is that Thomasen doesn’t pay for any of it. The ultimate college cheapskate, Thomasen is on a mission to eat free for an entire year, Good Morning America reports.
“It is a little bit of, you know, seeing if I can live off the land, in the jungle of Chapel Hill,” the 21-year-old business major said.
At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., where an unlimited meal plan runs $1,700 per semester, Thomasen says scavenging for food isn’t a gimmick, it just makes sense. Every day he checks a Facebook page that lists all of the events on campus offering free food. On the day ABC News visited in January, freshmen doled out doughnuts and coffee. A gesture of good will from the class of 2015 means a free breakfast for Thomasen…From lectures to study breaks, the campus is overflowing with events that have free grub, he explains. His system seems to be working. The last time Thomasen spent money on food was in August…