Litmos Heroes launches new microlearning collection to diversify video learning library

Short courses, big learning

Following from a progressive 2017, where Litmos Heroes expanded their library by over 800% and are now offering customers access to over 2,500 video training courses, the team now launch a new ‘60 Second Skills’ collection into their library, free of charge to all current subscribers.

Consisting of short, bite-sized micro courses, the ’60 Second Skills’ collection delivers quick, minute-long training interventions to time-poor staff, allowing them to make the most of their downtime with quick refresher training. These courses were designed to accommodate the transient nature of many employees by being available on any device and providing them with brief informative videos that are relevant at the point of need.

The course collection covers the following developmental areas:

  • Personal Development
  • Management and Leadership
  • Life Hacks
  • CBT and Mental Health
  • Sales Hacks
  • Fundamentals of Success
  • Smart Selling

These courses contribute to Litmos Heroes’ ongoing commitment to saving the world from boring learning. They are part of a weekly release schedule which gives customers new training content every single week, without incurring any additional costs.

Speaking of the new collection release, Tom Moore, Managing Director of Litmos Heroes, commented:

“We’re so excited to be able to release this new collection to our customers and the market as a whole. Microlearning is an extremely relevant and hot topic at the moment for the learning technologies industry and we felt that it is training style which is well suited to our delivery medium – video. Our courses are short, succinct and to the point and provide learners with ample information for quick refreshers on a range of topics.

It’s big learning in a very short course. Perfect for the modern, time poor learner.”

Litmos Heroes will be attending Learning Technologies 2018 at Kensington Olympia on January 31st – February 1st on stand E8. They will be giving attendees a first glimpse into these short courses, as well as saving the entire exhibition from boring learning!

If you can’t wait for Learning Technologies, you can find out more about these courses by requesting a free trial: https://litmosheroes.com/free-trial

HT2 Labs to Inspire a Year of ‘Learning Firsts’ at Learning Technologies Show

Oxford, UK15 Jan 2018Learning NewsHT2

Following an unprecedented ‘Year of Firsts’ in 2017, R&D specialists HT2 Labs, are looking to inspire attendees of the upcoming Learning Technologies Exhibition to achieve their own ‘Learning Firsts’ in 2018.

 

Best known as the developers of social learning platform, Curatr, and Open Source LRS, Learning Locker, HT2 Labs, are fast becoming one of the most talked about companies in the industry.  One of the many highlights of 2017 saw the company recognised in a record six categories at the recent Learning Technologies Awards, including Most Innovative New Learning Technologies Product, and Learning Technologies Company of the Year.

Making 2018 A Year of Learning Firsts 

Ahead of attending the Learning Technologies show later this month, HT2 Labs have launched a new #LearningFirsts campaign to inspire more organisations to strive to achieve something new and different..

To ensure that as many organisations as possible are able to take part in what is billed as ‘a Year of Learning Firsts’, HT2 Labs will be offering an exclusive discount to attendees – heavily reduced licence fees across its product range – to those who visit them at the show (Stand N10).

Example ‘Firsts’ that are being worked on include:

– Using big learning data to prove the impact of training on performance
– Embracing the concept of the ‘invisible LMS’ to surface learning resources in the systems that their people use day-to-day
– Deploying chatbots and conversational interfaces for learning
– Enhancing social learning to get user generated content flowing throughout the organisation.

Learning Firsts: The Case Studies 

Attendees on Day 1 of the show are invited to attend HT2 Labs’ free exhibition seminar – taking place at 11.45am in Theatre 7. In this session HT2 Labs CEO, Ben Betts, will share the stories behind three recent award-winning ‘Firsts’:

– How AstraZeneca made their own MOOCs and got more than 150,000 contributions back from its workforce (taking home a Gold and Silver award in the process)
– How Villeroy & Boch proved the impact of a blended learning programme on retail sales using xAPI (picking up the Bronze for Best Blended Learning project)
– How Humentum and Action Against Hunger changed the lives of thousands of service users in Nigeria, using a combination of social and mobile learning to develop project managers (that won them the Silver award for Best NGO Project)

Speaking ahead of the show, Ben shared his aspirations for the year:

“2017 was an incredible year for us at HT2 Labs, and we worked tremendously hard to deliver some outstanding outcomes for our clients, and to further establish ourselves as a Place of Firsts.”

“In 2018, our mission is to help even more organisations achieve a Learning First of their own, by partnering with us and utilising a mix of cutting edge product platforms and our implementation savvy to achieve something they’ve never done before – and we look forward to meeting interested organisations at the [Learning Technologies} show to ensure this is made a reality!”

How 5 states are rocking education data

States are on the right path when it comes to using real-time education data to inform teaching and learning, but they should continue taking critical steps to improve data use, according to a new report.

The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) Show Me the Data 2017 report highlights strides made by states in their education data reporting and ways they can make their report cards clearer and more useful so that parents, educators, community members, and policymakers have the information they need to make decisions that help all students excel.

The report cards in the report help show if schools are serving students equitably, and the information, including test scores and postsecondary enrollment, can give school leaders a look at school performance and pinpoint existing inequities.

Without clear, understandable report cards, people are left in the dark,” said Paige Kowalski, executive vice president of DQC. “Parents need this data to ensure their child has the best possible education, communities need it to advocate for changes in their schools, and policymakers need it so they know how to direct resources. Every state should improve their report card if they’re going to meet their ambitious goals under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).”

Because no state fully meets the education data needs of parents and community, the DQC’s report asks states to keep making progress and produce report cards that meet the needs of all stakeholders, including families, policymakers, and taxpayers.

The report also offers best practices and spotlights successful education data initiatives from various states:
• Illinois includes information about school culture and learning environment, as well as data about teacher collaboration, leader effectiveness, and family engagement. The inclusion of multiple data points provides a deeper understanding of what learning is like in every school.
• Virginia features information such as discipline rates, chronic absence, and postsecondary enrollment, with explanations accompanying each indicator. Data beyond student test scores can also be disaggregated by race and gender, helping to paint a fuller picture of school quality.
• New Mexico allows users to quickly gauge school performance through the use of clear summative ratings. Information in Spanish is easy to find and helps meet the needs of the state’s large Spanish-speaking population.
• Wisconsin clearly identifies priorities for schools in the state, such as student performance and student growth, ensuring report cards have meaningful information that helps parents and community members better understand the data.
• Louisiana eliminates confusion and frustration by making its report cards easy for the public to find. Users can find information on a specific school in just three clicks.

States have the building blocks in place to make their report cards more accessible and useful, and they don’t have to wait to make these improvements. In addition to learning from the strengths of their peers, there are three steps states can take to make concrete improvements to their education data report cards:
• Use plainer language and clean up acronyms to make it easier to understand.
• Disaggregate data to help illuminate achievement gaps and drive equitable outcomes.
• Work to better communicate their specific education priorities.

3 Biggest Education Innovation Questions For 2018

Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. – William Pollard

Which forces and trends will drive the next 20 years of K-12 education innovation? We’re asking this question at NewSchools Venture Fund as we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year.

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In this spirit, here are three big, important questions for 2018, the answers to which have implications not only for the coming year, but for the next decade and beyond.

Is education technology poised for a new wave of innovation?

Several years ago, I often frustrated ed tech entrepreneurs and investors by pointing out that the last thing teachers wanted was another online gradebook. I’d say, “We already have a bunch of those.” Nonetheless, it was the most frequent pitch I heard from 2009 – 2011.

Fortunately, this imitative drought gave way to a flood of innovation. Investment in K-12 ed tech increased fourfold from 2010 to 2015. The sheer volume of instructional content and tools produced during this period resulted in many high-quality digital offerings in segments such as math, classroom management, and school communications.

But over the last couple of years, it’s felt like we’re in a trough again as the volume and variety of early-stage companies slowed significantly. Investments in K-12 ed tech dropped by 40% in 2016.

But there are early indications that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning are creating fresh possibilities to deepen and accelerate student learning.

What might help push this wave along? Two things:

  1. Smart, accessible market intelligence that gathers and analyzes the wisdom of educators, students, researchers, and other experts to identify specific, high-priority instructional use-cases that might benefit from emerging technologies
  2. Education could use one or more R&D hubs or funds that could make large, patient investments in efforts to apply emerging technologies to concrete learning challenges that have proven difficult to solve with existing instructional approaches. This function exists in various forms in other sectors (think DARPA, Breakthrough Energy, CZ Biohub)

A few funders have been exploring the possibility of such a hub or fund, and 2018 would be a great time to make it happen.

An increased focus on social-emotional learning opened an innovation window over the last few years. Has it closed already?

A broad coalition of educators and policymakers now agree it’s too narrow to rely on test scores as the sole indicator of student success. A strong academic foundation is important, but students need additional mindsets, habits, and skills to be successful in the long run. The new federal education law (ESSA) allows for an expanded set of indicators for school performance, including social-emotional learning (SEL).

Organizations such as CASEL have been working in this area for years, but the field lacks consensus on which SEL skills are most important, how to support teachers in creating learning environments that foster them, and how to measure their development. The risk in this ambiguity is that like so many other promising ideas, today’s trend could become tomorrow’s fad.

It’s time to coalesce around a manageable number of SEL skills that are meaningful, malleable, and measurable. This will make it easier to mobilize resources and expertise to advance the state of the art in SEL assessments, tools and practices, test them responsibly, and spread the most effective ones widely.

Will our renewed focus on career and technical education stimulate smart investments in ways to better prepare all young people for the future of work?

In June 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming reauthorized the Perkins Act, creating updates to funding rules for career and technical education (CTE). The bill is stalled in the Senate. This legislation is the largest federal funding program for high schools. If passed, it could help accelerate efforts to prepare more students for good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. In a separate effort, ten states are participating in the New Skills for Youth project, working to connect their CTE systems to jobs available in their states.

However, the real innovation challenge is how to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s economy, not just the jobs available now. With nearly 40% of U.S. jobs likely to undergo massive shifts due to automation by 2030, we need to begin designing education and workforce development opportunities now that reduce the probability of economic displacement later. Today’s kindergartners are the graduating class of 2030, so while the challenge might seem far off, it is actually quite urgent.

Now is the time to rethink CTE in service of preparing all students for where the economy is headed. This kind of shift is difficult for government agencies to do at scale. This is where education entrepreneurs can make a huge contribution, helping schools, nonprofits and businesses try out new partnerships, designs, and funding mechanisms. Doubling down on approaches that show early promise and jettisoning ones that do not will create proof points that can be adopted more broadly as states revise their CTE systems to keep up with the changing nature of work and opportunity.

Every young person in America deserves to finish high school prepared and inspired to create and live a good life, full of opportunity, choices, connection and meaning. As the answers to these three questions take shape in the coming year, I hope they bring us closer to realizing this aspiration.

Can Sadness Be Good for Reading?

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I’ve always assumed that students who were happy at school would be more receptive to learning lessons that day. And if they were sad, or having a bad day with classmates or the teacher, well, then they might not learn so much.


So a recent study suggesting just the opposite caught my attention, especially since it has potential applications for online learning.

Researchers randomly assigned 160 adults to watch one of two short video clips. Half saw a tear-jerker scene from the 1979 remake of “The Champ.” Half watched some of the comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” which supposedly makes viewers feel happy. Afterward, everyone read the same passage about how polar bears survive in the Arctic and took a reading comprehension test. The “sad” adults were significantly better at answering sophisticated questions, such as inferring ideas that were not explicitly written on the page, than the “happy” adults. Emotions didn’t seem to matter for noting facts and details of the story; the happy and sad groups scored the same on those basic questions.

Just to be sure, the researchers did the experiment a second time, with almost 600 people, and found, again, the sad group outperformed the happy one when it came to analysis and inference.

“We found that deep learning was better with sadness,” said Caitlin Mills, one of three authors of the study, “Being Sad Is Not Always Bad: The Influence of Affect on Expository Text Comprehension,” published in October 2017, in the peer-reviewed journal Discourse Processes.


“We shouldn’t take away from this, ‘Let’s induce sadness!'” said Mills, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Mills pointed out that the sad subjects outperformed those who were feeling happy, but not those who watched a horror film and were scared.

“The main implication is what the student is experiencing is affecting how they learn,” Mills said.

The role of emotions in learning is getting a renewed interest from scholars. Neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang made the argument in her 2015 book that emotions don’t interfere with learning, as is commonly thought, but are critical for building memories and engaging in complex thoughts.

The most likely application of research like this is in developing educational software. As researchers attempt to make instructional software more sophisticated, tailoring topics for each student, some are realizing that personalizing the content is only part the solution. Often, students are bored or unmotivated. And so some researchers, such as Mills’ coauthor Sidney D’Mello of the University of Notre Dame, are interested in figuring out how to detect students’ emotions from their keystrokes and then finding ways to help spark interest or sharpen focus.

Mills says a lot more research needs to be done before we know what the optimal emotions are for different learning tasks. She speculates that sadness might be a terrible emotion when you want students to engage in discussions. And who knows if school-age children process emotions the same way that adults do in an online study like this one?


There is some precedent for finding cognitive benefits in sadness. A 2016 Australian study, “Can Sadness Be Good For You?” found that negative emotions prompted people to remember things better. A 2002 study found that happy people were more likely to focus on the big picture, or the “forest,” while sad people paid more attention to the details, or the “trees.” Mills believes this attention to detail is what might have caused her sad subjects to do better on the reading comprehension test.

Nonetheless, Mills wouldn’t want classroom teachers to resist their instinct to cheer up a sad student. “There are more important reasons to cheer them up other than their test grades,” she said. But graduate students? Perhaps we can let them mope.

Tax Bill Could Hand DeVos First Major School Choice Victory

U.S. President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy Devos pose for photographs with members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's champion University of Virginia men's tennis team in the East Room of the White House November 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House welcomed athletes representing universities and colleges from across the country to meet Trump who congratulated them on their NCAA victories in sports like lacrosse, bowling, gymnastics, golf, rowing and others.

The GOP tax plan could hand the Trump administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos their first major school choice victory.

As it stands, the brokered deal between House and Senate Republicans, which is slated for a final vote sometime next week, includes language that would allow individuals to use 529 savings accounts – currently reserved for college-related expenses – to also cover expenses at K-12 private schools, including religious schools.


“Happy with the addition of the 529 piece in the bill,” DeVos told the Associated Press on Thursday after a higher education summit hosted by the Education Department. “But beyond that, I know that this is like sausage making, so I am looking forward to the results and to a successful outcome.”

Indeed, final passage of the tax package is not given, as a handful of Senate Republicans have voiced concerns over various aspects of the bill. But should Republican leadership wrangle the numbers needed, it would hand DeVos her first legislative win.

The provision, which was included in the original version of the House tax bill but only added to the Senate bill after an amendment offered by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was adopted upon a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, would be a major victory for DeVos, the billionaire private school choice advocate who had thus far been shut down in attempts to pursue the administration’s top education priority.

Another provision in the tax plan that could have major implications for K-12 education relates to the state and local tax deduction, sometimes called the SALT deduction. Language in the newly brokered proposal would allow taxpayers to choose a property tax deduction or a deduction for state and local income taxes, up to $10,000 in either case.


The current tax code’s state and local tax deduction is claimed by around 44 million taxpayers, allowing them to write off payments made for state and local taxes and thus providing an indirect federal subsidy to state and local governments.

The deduction encourages state and local governments to levy higher taxes. That connects to K-12 education, as up to 90 percent of school budgets are funded by state and local governments. Several education groups worry eliminating part of the deduction would undermine local government funding and, as a result, reduce the resources available for public schools.

The National Education Association had estimated that the House’s original pitch to allow individuals to write off up to $10,000 in property taxes, would result in roughly $250 billion in cuts to public education over the next 10 years.

Notably, the brokered tax plan excludes language in the original House proposal that would have instituted a tax on graduate school tuition waivers.

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña Gets High Marks

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña is relinquishing control of the country’s largest school system, announcing Thursday morning that she plans to step down at the end of the year.

“Four years ago, Mayor de Blasio asked me to unretire at age 70 to join his leadership team and become schools chancellor,” she wrote in a letter obtained by the New York Times that’s expected to be posted publicly Thursday. “[I] took the job with a firm belief in excellence for every student, in the dignity and joyfulness of the teaching profession, and in the importance of trusting relationships where collaboration is the driving force.”

The news, first reported by Politico, doesn’t come as a surprise. The 74-year-old lifelong educator came out of retirement to helm New York schools under Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013 and it was widely expected she would not stay for a second term.

A national search for a new chancellor is underway. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about Fariña’s tenure and her impact on education for educators and students in the city’s 1,800 schools:

  • When de Blasio convinced Farina to come out of retirement, it was in part a strategy to restore trust among educators after nearly eight years of dramatic education policy overhauls ushered in under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein – two of the most ardent education reformers in the country. At the time, Fariña, who spent four decades as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the city, said her No. 1 job was to reestablish “joy” and “respect” to the classroom. While the Bloomberg administration often battled with teachers unions on issues of testing, teacher evaluation and compensation, and school closures, de Blasio and Fariña have had a more amicable relationship.
  • Overall, math and reading scores have increased among New York City students during Fariña’s leadership. In addition, high school graduation rates crested above 70 percent for the first time ever and in-school incidents of crime have decreased.
  • Fariña oversaw a major expansion of the city’s prekindergarten program, which aims to provide free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds. Currently, about 70,000 children are enrolled in the city’s program for 4-year-olds, which tripled the number of available seats in just two years. The program for 3-year-olds, which offers only 11,000 seats, is still limited to lower-income families, but is expected to expand over the next four years.
  • One of the most costly and controversial programs Fariña oversaw was the city’s efforts to turn around its poorest-performing schools. The Renewal School Program lengthened the school day for more than 90 schools and paired them with academic coaches and social service organizations. The strategy was a departure from the previous administration, which had closed many of the lowest-performing schools and opened smaller schools in their places. But the effectiveness of the Renewal School Program is mixed at best, and the city is in the process of closing or merging 33 of the schools.

Defrauded Students to Receive Only Partial Debt Relief

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a dinner hosted by the Washington Policy Center, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Bellevue, Wash.

Some federal student loan borrowers who were defrauded by for-profit colleges will only see part of their debt discharged under a new relief plan unveiled Wednesday by the Department of Education.

Under the Obama administration, those students stood to have their entire debt wiped clean. The announcement confirms Democrats’ and student loan advocates’ fears that students who were duped into expensive, unaccredited programs to earn certificates and degrees that never translated to a meaningful career may not see their entire debt forgiven.


But department officials framed the new process as “improved,” and one that departs from an “all or nothing” approach to a tiered approach.

“We have been working to get this right for students since Day One,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “No fraud is acceptable, and students deserve relief if the school they attended acted dishonestly. This improved process will allow claims to be adjudicated quickly and harmed students to be treated fairly. It also protects taxpayers from being forced to shoulder massive costs that may be unjustified.”

Notably, for pending claims, no changes will be made to the existing loan-discharge approval criteria. However, the level of reimbursement is now commensurate with borrowers’ current earnings.

For example, students whose current earnings are less than 50 percent of their peers from a comparable postsecondary program will receive full relief. Students whose earnings are at 50 percent or more of their peers from a comparable postsecondary program will receive “proportionally tiered relief to compensate for the difference.” The underlying goal is to ensure that the loan discharge takes into consideration any benefit students did reap from their program.

More than 100,000 claims are currently pending at the Department of Education, a backlog that’s been sitting inactive for months. To date, the Education Department has approved for discharge 12,900 pending claims submitted by students who attended now-shuttered for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges, which collapsed in 2015. About 8,600 pending claims have been denied.

The changes don’t come as a surprise.

In September, DeVos criticized the loan relief program, saying that defrauded students simply had to “raise his or her hands to be entitled to so-called free money.”



She’s also been critical of the Obama-era regulation that governs the debt forgiveness, known as borrower to defense repayment, the rules of which are currently being renegotiated as part of the regulatory reset happening at the Education Department.

“It is the Department’s aim, and this administration’s commitment, to protect students from predatory practices while also providing clear, fair and balanced rules for colleges and universities to follow,” DeVos said in a statement.

Higher education experts jumped on the news.

“This is a bad idea for a host of reasons,” Ben Miller, the senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said on Twitter. “It ignores the question of whether you actually got a job in that field, what your long-term career prospects are, the massive cliff effects, and it’s comparing graduates to some potential dropouts.”

He continued: “The result is this formula is going to deny relief to borrowers literally because they just held any job anywhere. It has nothing to do with earnings close to what they should have gotten.”

“Today’s announcement from the Department of Education is an insult to students everywhere who are waiting for relief,” Yan Cao, fellow at The Century Foundation, said in a statement. “Students who have been defrauded – not just from Corinthian, but from all predatory for-profit schools – deserve a full discharge of their federal student loans, which has been the standard to this point.”

Tennessee Nails Student Growth

In a Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 photo, Bethany Engelberger, center, from Prospect Elementary school works on one of several locks during a breakout challenge during Blount County Schools' Academic Olympics, held in the Alumni Gym at Maryville College.The new format was designed to show critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills.

In a new map of the U.S. that details student academic growth, Tennessee is a bright green beacon in a sea of purple.

“If you are looking for Tennessee on a student growth map, just look for the bright green rectangle in the mid South,” Kevin Huffman, former state education chief of Tennessee, said on Twitter. “That’s us.”

The map was included in a research paper, published earlier this month by Sean Reardon at Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, which used standardized test scores from roughly 45 million students in more than 11,000 school districts – almost every district in the U.S. – to show where students were making the greatest academic gains.

And in Tennessee, that progress is very visible.


As Mother Jones put it, “Tennessee is a green oasis in the middle of a desert of purple. Someone should figure out what they’re doing right.”

Tennessee’s transformation has been taking place since 2009, when it was among the first states to nab a $500 million grant from the Obama administration’s hallmark competitive education program, Race to the Top. The state, under the leadership of Huffman and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, adopted a host of major education reforms, including tougher academic standards, new state tests aligned to those standards, new teacher evaluation and compensation models and an aggressive plan to turn around its worst schools.

To be sure, part of the reason Tennessee is the fastest growing in the country is because it rested at the bottom of the totem pole for so long, and therefore stood to gain the most. But unlike many states that adopt ambitious education overhauls and then move on to tackling the next issue, Tennessee has remained focused on education as a way to drive improvements in other parts of the state, including health care and employment


Since its K-12 face-lift, it’s also passed legislation to improve its state-run prekindergarten program and increased access to college. Tennessee Promise, for example, provides provide two years of tuition-free attendance for recent high school graduates at a community or technical college in the state. Tennessee Reconnect, meanwhile, aims to help adults and veterans finish a degree they started or earn a new degree aligned to workforce goals.

The goal of Reardon’s analysis was to explore the correlation of growth and opportunity. The growth rate of average test scores from 2009 to 2015 for students in grades 3 to 8, Reardon argues, can be used as a proxy for the educational opportunity.


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The overall analysis, he says, suggests that the role of schools in shaping education opportunity largely varies across school districts, and therefore, the strategies to improve educational opportunity may need to target different age groups in different places.

“The answer to the question of whether schools exacerbate or ameliorate socioeconomic inequality may be ‘it depends on where you are,'” Reardon writes.

Other factors that play into growth rates that are not considered in the analysis, he notes, include the availability of high-quality child care and preschools programs.

Other state standouts include New Jersey, the eastern part of Texas, the southernmost swath of Arizona and the southwestern quadrant of Wyoming.

Chicago, whose schools have garnered a lot of attention in recent months, also stands out. In Reardon’s analysis, students in Chicago have low average test scores, but rank among the highest in achievement growth.

A separate study from Reardon published in November showed students in Chicago Public Schools have made the fastest academic progress of the 100 largest school districts in the country, including for students of color.

Baltimore, on the other hand, is identified as having one of the lowest average achievement rates and lowest achievement growth – characteristics that often describe school systems in cities that have been hemorrhaging residents. Indeed, the Baltimore Sun reported Friday that school enrollment in the city has fallen to a 10-year low to about 80,600 students – 1,700 fewer students this academic year than last.