New push aims to close skills gap between graduates and jobs

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan lawmakers, university officials and local school systems have taken up the fight to improve how well the state’s students learn to be high tech producers and consumers. Just this fall, Michigan State University redesigned a course that will teach 175 student teachers to incorporate computational thinking into curriculum. And the university is offering a new graduate certificate in creative computing to about 250 teachers for professional development. Aman Yadav, MSU associate professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education and director of its Masters of Arts in Educational Technology program, sees the greater purpose of this new approach to be “moving students from consumers of technology to creators and producers.”
Meanwhile,  lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow computer programming to count as a foreign language or arts requirement. The bill was approved by the House in May and is in the Senate Committee on Education.

Schools prepare for new test on Common Core Standards

Capital News Service
LANSING — State education officials are testing a new test over the next two weeks to measure high school students’ college and career readiness. From March 24 to April 11, a pilot will be given to 120,000 Michigan students in 675 schools. Some local officials worry that the test may not measure up if it takes too long or if students lack the computer skills or the schools lack the computers needed to take it. The test was created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a national group developing a test that aligns with the Common Core standards. Those are a consistent set of standards created to measure math, science, English and social studies programs in most states.