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The Smarter Balanced Pilot Test
Smarter Balanced
Smarter Balanced — one of the consortia developing assessments to go with the Common Core State Standards — is launching the first large-scale pilot of its assessment. The pilot will allow the Consortium to gather information about the performance of assessment items and the test delivery system under real-world conditions. More than one million students will try out the computer adaptive tests, designed by Smarter Balanced to adapt questions to the child's level and produce results more quickly.
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Researchers find a biological marker for dyslexia in kids
TIME
Detecting the reading disorder as early as possible may help more children to overcome reading and learning problems. About 1 in 10 people suffer from dyslexia, the reading disability that does not impair thinking processes or overall intelligence, but hampers the ability to process written language, often making it difficult to rhyme, determine the meaning of a sentence and recognize words.
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Girls may be naturally resistant to autism
Disability Scoop
In what may help explain why autism is far less common in girls than boys, new research suggests that females have a "protective effect" against the developmental disorder. Statistics show that autism is nearly five times more common in boys than girls, but it's long been unclear why the gender disparity exists. In a study published this week, researchers found evidence to suggest that there is something about girls that's warding off the development of autism, though it remains uncertain exactly what factors are providing that protection.
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 In the News


Cuts to special education loom
Disability Scoop
Within days, severe budget cuts are slated to hit nearly every federal program — including special education and other disability supports — and there's no sign of a deal on the horizon. The sweeping automatic spending cuts will take effect March 1 unless Congress acts. For people with disabilities, the across-the-board reductions are expected to touch everything from employment assistance to housing programs, education, mental health initiatives and research dollars. The funding chop is coming under a process known as sequestration, which was triggered in 2011 after Congress failed to reach a budget deal.
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Arne Duncan: 'There is no fix' to sequestration for ailing schools
The Huffington Post
While sequestration is not a sure thing yet, school districts are already asking for help dealing with the massive, imminent cuts, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "I was on a call yesterday, people are starting to give RIF [reduction in force] notes," Duncan said in a meeting with reporters at the U.S. Education Department. "The sequestration stuff is very very worrying to me. I'm increasingly concerned that's going to happen. Schools are already starting to give teachers notices."
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Education department considering district-by-district NCLB waivers
eSchool News
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is talking with individual school districts about how to free them from unworkable parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law, signaling he is open to an approach he long tried to avoid. The education department has given 34 states and the District of Columbia permission to ignore parts of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, and eight others have waiver applications pending ahead of the application deadline.
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District NCLB waivers: Do risks outweigh rewards?
Education Week
During a Senate hearing on the U.S. Department of Education's state waiver program under the No Child Left Behind Act, Education Secretary Arne Duncan was asked point-blank if he was considering offering similar flexibility for school districts. Duncan gave the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee the strong impression that he was not considering this, despite his own earlier comments that district-level NCLB waivers are very much on the table.
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High fat diets maybe linked to ADHD and learning problems
Medical News Today
Diets that are high in fat are possibly linked to childhood brain-based conditions, such as memory-dependent learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, researchers from the University of Illinois College of Medicine reported in Psychoneuroendocrinology. Altered dopamine signaling is common in both obese/overweight children as well as those with ADHD, Freund explained. When the number of dopamine metabolites is higher, anxiety behaviors in children are more prevalent, he added.
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Can repetitive exercises actually feed the creative process?
MindShift
In Sherri Scott's first grade class, the daily "main lesson" pages students work on — essentially their handmade textbooks made up of words, numbers and artwork — are copied straight from the old-fashioned blackboard, not created. And that's the point. "It's what we do in Waldorf schools," Scott says. "In the lower grades, those initial main lesson pages are copied as closely as possible, to allow practice and more practice with shading, perspective, accuracy, spatial awareness. All that practice copying turns into a keen eye and skilled hand when given free rein in the upper grades."
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Researchers find a biological marker for dyslexia in kids
TIME
Detecting the reading disorder as early as possible may help more children to overcome reading and learning problems. About 1 in 10 people suffer from dyslexia, the reading disability that does not impair thinking processes or overall intelligence, but hampers the ability to process written language, often making it difficult to rhyme, determine the meaning of a sentence and recognize words.

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Study: Inclusion may not be best after all
Disability Scoop
Inclusion is often believed to be the best option for students with disabilities, but a new study calls into question whether or not the practice truly leads to better outcomes long term. Researchers found that students with autism who spent 75 to 100 percent of their time in general education classrooms were no more likely to complete high school, go to college or see improvements in cognitive functioning than those who spent more time in segregated environments.

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Appeals court backs parents in special education placement
Education Week
A Colorado school district must reimburse the parents of a student with learning disabilities as well as emotional and behavioral difficulties for the costs of the student's enrollment at an out-of-state residential treatment facility, a federal appeals court has ruled. The case has been watched closely by school board groups and President Barack Obama's administration because it involves the standard for "unilateral" private school placements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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Cyberbullying law shields teachers from student tormentors
NPR
Ganging up on classmates online can get students suspended. But sometimes teachers are the target of cyberbullying, and in North Carolina, educators have said enough is enough. State officials have now made it a crime to "intimidate or torment" teachers online. Chip Douglas knew something was up with his 10th-grade English class. When he was teaching, sometimes he'd get a strange question and the kids would laugh. It started to make sense when he learned a student had created a fake Twitter account using his name.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    To read better, dyslexics may need to speed things up (Discover Magazine)
Class struggle — How charter schools get students they want (Reuters)
New online assessments to include accommodations for students with disabilities (eClassroom News)
ADHD treatments not working for most young children (HealthDay News)
Advocates, administrators divided on dyslexia bill (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

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How educators and technology can let students take control
MindShift
For many educators, helping students direct their own learning is a priority. Educator and author Alan November, who has been talking about ways to get students to own their learning for years, draws on his experiences as a teacher, principal and education consultant to tell stories about some of the ideas he sees as integral to education.
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Kids being bullied via calls and text messages? There's an app for that
The Miami Herald
As you know, bullying and the prevention of it has become a major focus in our schools. But bullies are no longer limited to just verbal or physical bullying. Text bullying has become a serious problem among adolescents and teens. Almost 9 out of 10 teens have a cell phone and about 1 in 5 will be victims of a text bully. About 1 in 10 teens engage in text bullying. Many of you have emailed me or called our office asking how you can control what happens with your child's phone.
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Victims of bullying at increased risk of anxiety disorders and depression later on
Medical News Today
Children who are bullied are at an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression when they become adults, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study identified that bullying is not simply a "harmless rite of passage," as it can also cause serious adverse health outcomes in the victims and perpetrators, in the form of depression, physical health problems and behavior and emotional problems, psychotic symptoms and loss of motivation.
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US schools brace for federal funding cuts
The Washington Post
Schools across the country are sending out pink slips as they brace for the possibility of deep federal budget cuts that could take effect, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. Duncan criticized Congress for failing to reach a deal to stop the across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, which could force thousands of teachers out of their jobs. "There's no one in their right mind who would say that this is good for kids or good for the country, yet somehow it becomes tenable in Washington," Duncan said. He said that "there is no fix" to mitigate the impact of the cuts.
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Teachers make move to improve student focus by ditching desk chairs in favor of yoga balls
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
In 11 years of teaching, ditching students' desk chairs in favor of yoga balls is one of the best decisions Robbi Giuliano thinks she ever made. Replacing stationary seats with inflatable bouncers has raised productivity in her fifth-graders at Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School in West Chester, Pa., making students better able to focus on lessons while improving their balance and core strength, she said.
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Report: State school funding unfair
Stateline
A recent report commissioned by Congress found that states don't fund education fairly across jurisdictions, need to do a better job intervening in struggling school districts and encouraging better-qualified teachers to enter the profession — and stay. "In far too many communities, in far too many cities, in far too many states, there are inequities," said U.S. Education Secretary Duncan. "This report doesn't just compel us to think and talk, but to act." The report, overseen by a broad commission that includes academics, education advocates, state and federal officials and labor leaders, targets five major areas for improvement: school funding, teacher quality, preschool, resources in high-poverty communities and school governance and accountability.
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LDA does not recommend or endorse any one specific diagnostic or therapeutic regime, whether it is educational, psychological or medical. The viewpoints expressed in THE LD SOURCE are those of the authors and advertisers.

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