Saturday, December 10, 2016

The reason for “lousy” performance on international tests: Poverty.

Sent to the Miami Herald, Dec. 10, 2016

Does Andres Oppenheimer want to know why "Latin America, U.S. do lousy on student math tests" (Dec. 8)? It's not because of the family culture or lack of commitment: Research consistently concludes that the real problem is poverty.

High poverty means food deprivation, lack of health care, and lack of access to reading material, all of which have to shown to have devastating effects on school performance and test scores.

Until we eliminate poverty, let's invest in food programs, school nurses, and libraries and at least protect children from some of the effects of poverty.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Original article: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article119670753.html

Some sources on the effect of poverty on on test performance:
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/Bracey-Report. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/). Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential:  Out-of-School Factors and School Success.  Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential,  Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership  55(4): 18-22.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How California can save $550 million a year

Sent to the Ventura County Star, Dec 7, 2016
Hat-tip: Mary Mayhew
The California High School Exit Exam (CAHEE), suspended for two years, will be re-instated in 2018. Columnist Tom Elias ("Don't dump high school exit exam," Dec. 4) wants it back. Superintendent Tom Torlakson does not. The research clearly supports Superintendent Torlakson.
A thorough review of research on the impact of high school exist exams done by researchers at the University of Texas in 2010 concluded that state exit exams do not provide short-benefits, such as increased learning, or long-term benefits, such as increased college attendance or higher employment. An earlier review done by the Center on Educational Policy in Washington DC found "no evidence that exit exams increase student learning," as measured by standardized tests/
In 2011, analyst Jo Ann Rupert Behm wrote that "…Californians easily shell-out over $550 million a year to administer, defend, tutor, and teach to the CAHSEE beginning in 7 th grade."
I am sure we can find better ways of spending this money.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Original article: Elias, T. Don't dump high school exit exam. Ventura County Star, December 4, 2016
Reviews of research: Holme, J., Richards, M., Jimerson, J., and Cohen, R. 2010. Assessing the effects of high school exit examinations. Review of Educational Research 80 (4): 476-526; Chudowsky, N., Kober, N., Gayler, K. and Hamilton, M. 2002.  State High School Exit Exams: A Baseline Report. Washington DC: Center on Educational Policty.
$550 million: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2011/04/test_expenditures_climb_in_cal.html

Monday, December 5, 2016

"Failing" schools, poverty and libraries


S.Krashen: www. sdkrashen.com; twitter = skrashen; skrashen.blogspot.com
Presentation at Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee, Board of Education, LAUSD 
December 6, 2016

"Failing" schools, poverty, and libraries: "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.” (Martin Luther King, 1967) Why Dr. King was right:
1. Evidence for failure? Scores on international tests.
But: Raw scores not horrible – when poverty controlled statistically, US scores near top of the world.
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13;Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changingschools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/).
2. The US has a very high percentage of children living in poverty: 21%. Highest of all industrialized countries.  UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2012, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. Inner city (LAUSD) = 80% Finland = 4%.
- The problem is poverty. NOT: teaching, schools of ed, unions, parents, lack of national standards/tests
http://home.lausd.net/apps/news/article/344072
3. Devastating effects of poverty on school achievement (Berliner, 2009)
a. Food deprivation/nutrition

b. Lack of health care (eg school nurses in high and low poverty schools)
c. Lack of access to books (1) home; (2)  school: classroom libraries, school libraries; (3)  community: public libraries, bookstores
Beverly Hills/Watts study: (Smith, Constantino & Krashen)
Available books in the home: BH = 200; Watts = .4; Classroom libraries: BH = 400; Watts = 5 Philadelphia study (Neuman & Celano): middle-class children "deluged" with books, high poverty have difficulty getting any access

Part of the cure: libraries and librarians.

THE PIRLS Study: 4th graders in 40 countries, tested in their own language
Krashen, Lee and McQuillan (2012)
Multiple Regression Analysis: predictors of achievement PIRLS 2006 reading test
Predictor
Beta
P
SES
0.41
0.005
independent reading
0.16
0.143
library: 500 books
0.35
0.005
Instruction
-0.19
0.085
r2 = .61


Children of poverty: Library is their only source of books.
Better access to public libraries > more recreational reading
Children get many of their books for recreational reading from libraries.
Children who live in low-income neighborhoods have fewer books at home, less access to books at school, access to fewer libraries that have what they want to read.
Libraries don’t always have what children like to read; children from high-income families can find these books elsewhere but children of poverty cannot.
Impact of school librarian: Kachel and Lance, http://www.slj.com/2013/03/research/librarian-required-a-new-study-shows-that-a-full-time-school-librarian-makes-a-critical-difference-in-boosting-student-achievement/

Los Angeles: 68th in the US out of 77 cities in library quality (America's Most Literate Cities, 2014). CA captures 7 of bottom ten places.
Rankings are based on
1. Number of branch libraries per 10,000 library service population
2. Volumes held in the library per capita of library service population
3. Number of circulations per capita of library service population
4. Number of library professional staff per 10,000 library service population
5. Number of media specialists per 10,000 students service population
"These numbers were then divided by the city population in order to calculate ratios of library services and resources available to the population."
School libraries: LAUSD ratio of librarians to students: 1 to 7000; US 1 to 1000

The power of reading:  Self-selected reading > the source of our reading ability, writing ability (writing style), vocabulary, spelling, grammar).

Sustained silent reading
The Fiji Island study (RRQ, 1983): Elley & Mangubhai: gains in RC
Grade
ALM
SSR
Big Books
4
6.5
15
15
5
2.5
9
15
year 2: larger differences, readers better in writing, listening and grammar

Case histories: Elizabeth Murray (Breaking Night) & her dad's unusual habit
Multivariate studies: Beniko Mason: 1.0 = .6

Source of knowledge: literature, history, science, practical matters (Stanovich)
Simonton (1988) "omnivorous reading in childhood and adolescence correlates positively with ultimate adult success" (p. 11). 
> career path: Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln

ELLs: problem is academic language/poverty/access to books
Dedicated readers – never long term ELL (prediction), prepared for more "academic" reading


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Three Options: Non-targeted input, and two kinds of targeted input


S. Krashen
November 29, 2016

I propose here that there are three options for targeting of grammar and vocabulary: not targeting at all, and two types of explicit targeting.   

Nontargeted input (NT):  I argued for this option in Krashen (2013).  It rests on a corollary of the Comprehension Hypothes: Given enough comprehensible input, all the structures and vocabulary items the acquirer is ready to acquire are present in the input, and naturally reviewed. In other words, we don't have to aim at i+1; i+1 will be there.

NT asserts that we should not use a grammatical syllabus even if it is based on the natural order. Rather, aspects of grammar will be acquired in the predictable natural order as the result of exposure to comprehensible input.

Targeted Input
There are times when targeting is useful – when acquirers are or will soon be faced with tasks that require knowledge of some specific vocabulary and/or grammar that they have not yet acquired or have not yet fully acquired.
TPRS uses targeting to prepare students to understand stories that the teacher and student will co-construct in class, called "backwards planning." The teacher determines in advance what aspects of language are needed and provides add focus on these items.
We can distinguish two kinds of targeting: The first is consistent with the "skill-building" view of language development and the second is consistent with the Comprehension Hypothesis.
Targeting 1 (T1):
1.     The goal is full mastery of the rule or vocabulary in a short time, so complete that the rule can be easily retrieved and used in production.
2.     The source of the rules to be targeted is external, from a syllabus made by others (not the teacher).  The teacher's job when doing T1 is to find a story or activity that will provide extra exposure to and use of the target items. Thus, Targeting 1 is a way of "contextualizing" grammar or vocabulary.
3.     T1 consists of "practice" in using the target items. "Practice" generally consists of skill-building, first consciously learning the new items, and then "automatizing" them by using them in output, and getting corrected to fine-tune knowledge of the rule. "Automatizing" means converting explicit, or consciously learned competence into implicit, or acquired competence.  It has been argued that T1 does not result in the automatization or acquisition of language (Krashen, 1982, VanPatten, in press). The best we can hope for with T1 is well-learned and highly monitored performance.

Targeting 2 (T2):
1.T2 targets new items in order to help students understand input, and promotes the development of spoken fluency because it results in acquisition of new items. 
2. Unlike T1, the goal is comprehension of the story or activity, not full mastery of the targeted item in a short time.  
3. The source of the rules to be targeted is internal; in TPRS classes, the source is the story.
4. This kind of targeting may result in full acquisition of the target item when used in one or just a few sessions, but it generally results in partial acquisition, enough to understand the text. Full acquisition comes when the item appears in the input again and again, in other stories or activities, assuming that the targeted item is at the students' i+1.

My previous arguments (Krashen, 2013) against targeting are arguments against Targeting 1, not Targeting 2.

Note that even when a great deal of Targeting 2 is used, TPRS students receive a great deal of non-targeted comprehensible/compelling input during the creation of a TPRS story, i.e. during circling and related discussion: This is probablhy not the case with targeting 1.


Table 1 The contrast between targeting 1 and targeting 2

source of target

expectation

method


external
internal
rapid mastery
gradual
skill-building
Compr. Hyp.
T1
x

x

x

T2

X

x

x


Discussion

Nontargeted input is the "default mode."  With nontargeted input, unfamiliar vocabulary and unacquired grammar is made comprehensible with the help of context, linguistic and non-linguistic.  Sometimes, however, this is not enough, especially when the first and second languages have few or no cognates. 

There are two options for dealing with this situation: Use Targeting 2 or supply more comprehensible input with more contextual support, eg pictures.  I have noticed that there are fewer comprehensible texts available in just those languages where they are the most needed.




Krashen, S. 1982. Principles and Pratice in Second Language Acquisition.  Available at www.sdkrashen.com.
Krashen, S. 2013. The Case for Non-Targeted, Comprehensible Input. Journal of Bilingual Education Research & Instruction 15(1): 102-110. Available at www.sdkrashen.com, "language acquisition" section.
VanPatten, B. Why explicit knowledge cannot become implicit knowledge. Foreign Language Annals, in press.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turning kindergarten into a kinder grind won’t make kids love to read.

Published in the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3, 2016

"Catch-up kids" (Nov. 27) sends the message that high standards will lead to hard work and real achievement.  But there is no evidence that tougher standards lead to more learning, and no evidence showing that the Common Core standards are better at preparing children for college and career than other standards or than no standards.

The core of any successful literacy programs is enjoying stories and helping children develop a pleasure reading habit.  Scientific studies show that children who hear lots of stories and are read to become enthusiastic readers, and develop more than satisfactory levels of literacy. This can happen at any age.

Forcing young children to study flashcards in the car and spell words during family outings in order to "master" 100 words is turning kindergarten into kindergrind.  Children who develop a love of reading will master thousands of words, without suffering.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Original article: “Catch-up kids” November 27, page B1, B4

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The value of reading and our neglect of libraries

PUBLISHED IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, DECEMBER 3, 2016, as "Reading is a form of nutrition to the mind."
The WSJ left out the sentence about President Obama.
 
“The Need to Read” agrees with a great deal of research. Studies show that fiction readers develop the capacity to empathize with others and have a greater tolerance for vagueness. Dedicated readers also develop higher levels of literacy and have more knowledge of literature, social studies, science and even practical matters.
Studies consistently show that the quality of available libraries is associated with how much reading is done. Ironically, as our knowledge of the value of reading increases, support for school and public libraries and librarians has been decreasing. Isaac Asimov’s insight is still valid: “When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.”
Em. Prof. Stephen Krashen
University of Southern California
Los Angeles



Original version sent to the Wall St. Journal, November 26, 2016.

Will Schwalbe's insightful essay, "The need to read," (Nov. 25) agrees with a great deal of research: Studies show that fiction readers develop the capacity to empathize with others and have a greater tolerance for vagueness. Dedicated readers also develop higher levels of literacy and have more knowledge of literature, social studies, science and even practical matters.
In an interview in the Guardian (October 28, 2015), President Obama gave fiction the credit for his understanding that "the world is complicated and full of grays ... (and that) it's possible to connect with someone else even though they're very different from you."
Studies consistently show that library quality is associated with how much reading is done. Ironically, as our knowledge of the value of reading increases, support for school and public libraries and librarians has been decreasing.
Isaac Asimov was right in 1995 and his insight is still valid: "When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself."

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Original article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-need-to-read-1480083086

Sources

Interview with President Obama: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/28/president-obama-says-novels-taught-him-citizen-marilynne-robinson?CMP=share_btn_tw

Fiction and literacy development: Krashen, S 2004. The Power of Reading. Heinemann and Libraries Unlimited.  Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. 2014. Vocabulary from Adolescence to Middle Age. Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University of London

Knowledge: Stanovich, K., and A. Cunningham. 1992. Studying the consequences of literacy within a literate society: the cognitive correlates of print exposure. Memory and Cognition 20(1): 51-68.
Stanovich, K. and A. Cunningham. 1993. Where does knowledge come from? Specific associations between print exposure and information acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2): 211-229. Stanovich, K., R. West, R., and M. Harrison. 1995. Knowledge growth and maintenance across the life span: The role of print exposure. Developmental Psychology, 31(5): 811-826. Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. (2014). Vocabulary from adolescence to middle age. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University of London. West, R., and K. Stanovich. 1991. The incidental acquisition of information from reading. Psychological Science 2: 325-330. West, R., K. Stanovich, and H. Mitchell. 1993. Reading in the real world and its correlates. Reading Research QuCastano,arterly 28: 35-50.

The ability to empathize: Kidd, D. & Castano, E. (2013). Reading literary fiction improves theory of mind. Science, 342 (6156), 377-380.
Library quality: Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36; Krashen (2004), op. cit. Studies by Keith Curry Lance and associates at http://www.lrs.org/impact.php).
Library support: Henderson, E. and Lonegran, J. 2011. Majority of states report decline in support for library services. Institute for Museum and Library Services. Kachel, D. 2015. School libraries are under attack. The New Republic, July 23.
Asimov Quote: Asimov, I. (1995) I, Asimov. Random House.



Friday, November 18, 2016

Compelling CI: ACTFL 2016



Input has to be interesting – otherwise nobody would pay attention to it. 
Conjecture: optimal input for second language should be not just interesting but compelling.

Compelling Comprehensible Input:  Case Histories
Paul: Cantonese & English speaker, acquired Mandarin from cartoons and lots of TV shows and movies, with no particular motivation to acquire Mandarin. Lao, C. and Krashen, S. 2014. Language acquisition without speaking and without study.  Journal of Bilingual Education Research and Instruction  16(1): 215-221.
Jack: Mandarin heritage language speaker: Stories of A Fanti led to improvement, but only when stories were available (Lao & Krashen, IJFLT, 2008).
Fink (1996/6): 12 people considered dyslexic. 9 published creative or scholarly works, one Nobel laureate. 11 learned to read between 10-12, one in 12th grade.   “As children, each had a passionate personal interest, a burning desire to know more about a discipline that required reading … all read voraciously, seeking and reading everything they could get their hands on about a single intriguing topic."
Explanation: Input was compelling, so interesting that acquirer is not aware of the language, sense of time, self diminishes = Flow (Csíkszentmihályi) = the end of motivation
In the case histories: language acquisition never the goal, but a by-product. It was the story. No "motivation" to acquire language or learn to reading = by-product of compelling comprehensible input
Academic literacy: My case

Language education and compelling input
A brief history of foreign language pedagogy – steady increase in compellingness
ALM, Grammar Translation > TPR > natural approach > TPRS.

How to be compelling
Compelling: meets your social needs (M. Lieberman, Social) and/or your cognitive needs (finding your path).
The power of social cognition: the default mode, the reality of social pain
Nonsocial cognition = problem-solving: Finding your path. "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso
Specialize: Don't go to your left
Path is long, but pleasant: not "harrowing challenges, but rather tasks we find natural and interesting, tasks we were apparently born to perform"  (Vonnegut, 1997, p. 148).
When you know you are on the path: FLOW = awareness of self, time diminish, concerns of everyday life disappear = only the activity matters.
Work = the ultimate seduction.

Social needs and TPRS: "You are going to love this class. We all know each other and like each other." (Reaction to Bryce Hedstrom's class, K. Rowen, "Personalization" in Ray & Seely (2015).
TPRS methodology:  = Personalizaton: valuing each student makes input compelling and lowers social stratification
1.     Co-created stories: students as characters, their interests and hobbies, real background: Don't just go to a restaurant, go to Denny's on 20th and Pico.
2.     Special person interview (Bryce Hedstrom): "Each student is made to feel good about the interview process, Very little output is required. Focus on what is unique about the person.
A quiz after interview five students. 
If the student plays the guitar .... how many years have you played the guitar? Where is your guitar from? Do ou take lessons? Do you play any other instruments?
And "going deeper" – What do you do that you want to get good at? How would you like to be remembered? What are some things in our life that you are most proud of?
What is your superpower? (K. Rowan; see http://www.grantboulanger.com/a-superhero-generator/). Grant's friend Tim: origin, power, weakness

Free voluntary reading – social and nonsocial cognition
Guaranteed personalized if self-selected
Nonsocial
1.     Acquisition of literacy competence; FVR > reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing style. Self-selection > more acquisition. (Lee, SY. 2007. Revelations from Three Consecutive Studies on Extensive Reading. RELC Journal , 38 (2), 150-170.).
2.     builds knowledge (literature, history, science, practical knowledge),
3.     Makes harder reading more comprehensible: A bridge to "academic"/specialized reading
4.     School success: Ben Carson, Elizabeth Murray, G. Canada.
5.     Helps you find your path - Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln:  Simonton (1988) concluded that "omnivorous reading in childhood and adolescence correlates positively with ultimate adult success" (p. 11).
Social: The importance of fiction
1.    In the Guardian (October 28, 2015), President Obama credits fiction for his understanding that "the world is complicated and full of grays ... (and that) it's possible to connect with someone else even though they're very different from you."
2.    Reading fiction develops an expanded "theory of mind," defined as "the capacity to identify and understand others’ subjective states" (Kidd & Castano, 2013). 
3.    Fiction readers have more tolerance for vagueness, that is, they are better able to deal with uncertainty, which is important for problem-solving (Djikic, M., Oatley, K. and Moldoveanu, M. 2013).

My case revisited: Baseball stories: Social cognition. Science fiction: both