Kentucky high school students worried about the math portion of a statewide assessment test have another reason to be stressed.
The Kentucky Department of Education this week announced it will no longer allow students to use calculators that have the algebra software package Zoom Math while taking the ACT Compass test. That test is taken by high school seniors who haven’t met college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT test taken during their junior year.
Northern Kentucky University Math Professor Steve Newman helped lead the charge against Zoom Math, and says students who knew little algebra were able to use the software to get passing grades on the test.
“And that doesn’t mean they know anything about mathematics, know how to solve equations, or do all the kinds of things that colleges require them to know.” Newman told WKU Public Radio.
Newman says he helped lead several experiments at NKU that looked into the impact of Zoom Math on a test-taker’s ability to get the right answer on the ACT Compass test. The Kentucky Department of Education also conducted similar studies.
Cathy Roemer-Garrison is always looking out for innovative ways to teach. She’s an English as a Second Language instructor at Moss Middle School in Warren County.
"I came across on the Internet something about children reading to shelter animals, and that the research showed it was successful at improving reading fluency and building self-esteem, which is a perfect fit for my ELL kids," explained Roemer-Garrison.
She took the idea to Principal David Nole, who admits he was skeptical at first.
"I thought, 'How's that going to improve what we're doing?' The more I listened the more I realized she was going about the heart of the reader, and that's just developing the love to read," Nole said.
And so it began. An initiative called Paw Pals: Literacy with Love. Every Wednesday, Roemer-Garrison visits the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society with a group of ELL students, or English Language Learners. Most are from war-torn countries, but at the shelter, those memories are overcome with smiles and laughter.
On this visit, a shelter employee brings out eight-week-old long-haired Chihuahuas.
Seventh graders Graciella Ventura of El Salvador, and Soe Meh and Bway Baw both of Thailand, sit in a circle, each holding a puppy and a book. Storytime is about to begin. Ventura has a wide grin as one of the puppies licks her face.
WKU is part of a collaborative effort to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in the so-called “STEM” fields.
WKU and eight other higher education institutions in the commonwealth and West Virginia have been awarded a five-year, $ 2.5 million National Science Foundation grant that will primarily focus on undergraduates seeking diplomas in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
WKU’s Associate Vice President for Retention and Student Services, Joelle Davis Carter, says she hopes some of the school’s grant money will be used to create a “summer bridge” program.
“This would be an opportunity for prospective college students to come to campus a little earlier, maybe five weeks earlier, stay on campus, and participate in reiterations of math and science,” she told WKU Public Radio.
Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:51 am
At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.
Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.
WKU President Gary Ransdell is confident the school will be able to grow its international student body over the next several decades.
But he admits it will become more difficult to do so as countries such as China and India become wealthier and begin to build more of their own universities.
“There are not enough colleges and universities to meet the needs in an awful lot of the countries that have growing economies and growing populations. Therefore, we’re a solution," the WKU President said. "Now, in another generation—in another 25 or 30 years—they may have built enough universities to meet their needs.”
Dr. Ransdell says WKU is actively recruiting in several countries where the school has previously not had a presence.
“South America is really an emerging market for higher education," Ransdell said during a break in Friday's Board of Regents meeting. "We’re looking at as many as 90 students from Brazil next year. We’re always looking for new markets. Turkey is an emerging market for us. Their economy is doing great, and their families are looking for a place to send their sons and daughters.”
WKU is working to recruit students from a school in far western Kentucky that is closing at the end of June.
Mid-Continent University in Mayfield announced this week that it will shutter due to financial struggles. All employees have been laid off, though many faculty members have volunteered to continue helping students who are set to graduate this semester.
WKU Provost Gordon Emslie says the school has been working since the announcement to reach out to Mid-Continent students.
“We’re offering students the ability to transfer here, we’ll waive the application fee, we’ll match their courses in their catalogue to our courses in our catalogue, to try to facilitate that transfer as much as possible," Emslie told WKU Public Radio Friday. "We’ll work with them on tuition and scholarships, and financial aid. And we’re going to go out to Mayfield someday next week.”
Emslie said a website has also been set up to help Mid-Continent students learn more about transferring to WKU.
Mid-Continent is a non-profit university with about two-thousand students. Most are non-traditional and take online courses.
The Office of the Kentucky Attorney General has also set up a website dedicated to helping Mid-Continent students. In addition, the AG’s office sent letters to Mid-Continent administrators reminding them of their obligation to maintain all records as the school prepares to close.
A Corbin eighth-grader will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next month to represent Kentucky in the national finals of the National Geographic Bee.
Nikhil A. Krishna, who attends Corbin Middle School, won the 2014 Kentucky Geographic Bee in Bowling Green. Louisville Farnsley Middle School student Andruw T. Stewart took second place, and third place went to a student from Lexington's Winburn Middle School, Zsombor T. Gal. They were among 82 students competing Friday.
The winner received $100 and a paid trip to Washington for the national finals May 19 to 21.
First prize in the national competition is a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands, with $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to the next two finishers.
Attendance at some schools in our listening area could be light today and tomorrow--but not because of weather.
The Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 basketball tournament gets underway Wednesday in Lexington, and many students from participating schools will be at Rupp Arena, as opposed to the classroom.
Bowling Green High School plays its first round game tomorrow afternoon against Knott County Central. Bowling Green High Principal Gary Fields says his school system understands that attending the tournament is a great experience for students.
"We didn't want to dismiss school, so what we're doing is if a student buys a ticket and travels with their parents or family friends, then they are excused from school that day. It is an absence. We're required to count them absent, but it's an excused absence," Fields told WKU Public Radio.
Fields says calling off school wasn't an option, especially since Bowling Green has missed five days already due to winter weather. Several county school systems in our region have missed a dozen or more days.