SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, May 3, 2006

News & Product Updates

Testing Industry Discusses SAT Scoring

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings met with executives from testing companies and the College Board to discuss industry practices in the wake of a high-profile scoring error on the SAT college entrance exam. Deputy Education Secretary Ray Simon said Spellings called the hour-long meeting in Washington to discuss the SAT error and try to evaluate whether the testing industry can accurately handle the growing number of high-stakes, state-level tests under the No Child Left Behind law.

Last month, the College Board revealed that a scoring error had resulted in more than 4,000 high school students receiving incorrectly low scores on the SAT exam they took in October. The problem may have been caused by wet weather creating excessive moisture on answer sheets. A recent report by Thomas Toch of the Washington-based group Education Sector argued that a shortage of testing experts and pressure on the companies to return scores to the states quickly could compromise accuracy... ( Read more

MIT Pulls Course Web Page

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took down a history course Web page after Chinese students complained about a 19th century wood-print image from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, which depicted Japanese soldiers beheading Chinese prisoners. The course was created by Pulitzer Prize-winning history professor John Dower and linguistics professor Shigeru Miyagawa, who posted an apology on his Web page. The Web site was pulled Tuesday and the school hosted a forum Wednesday for students, particularly those from the Chinese community, to voice concerns.

The MIT Chinese Student and Scholar Association, in a letter to MIT President Susan Hockfield, called for "proper historical context" at the top of the Web page, and asked for a posted warning that the images are graphic and racist. MIT spokesperson Pam Dumas said the Web site was pulled only temporarily and that the professors and the Chinese community at MIT are discussing ways to add more context to the images... ( Read more

Social Networking Software for Cell Phones

Virtual Communication Expression & Lifestyle, a small startup firm, unveiled VcellVibes, a social networking service for cell phones. The downloadable Java application allows users to create a profile on their Web sites, download the application on their cell phones, and send an invitation for friends to join.

Users have control over their profile either from phone or from a Web browser. They can leave comments on both Web and mobile profiles, plan group activities. Voice commenting and free text messages are also available.

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