Education specialists argue that ILSA scores should not be used to conduct

first_img As the authors note, ILSAs such as PISA and TIMSS have, in recent years, become a tool for nationalistic bragging among those with high scores—those with lower scores are more often scorned. But, they note, using ILSA scores in such a way offers little in the way of educational improvement, which is the generally accepted purpose of testing students. They also note that there is a danger in over-interpreting such scores because it can have a dramatic negative impact on education policy. There is a problem, they point out, when journalists and politicians use ILSA test scores as means to serve their own ends rather than to champion the goals of educating the world’s children—it can skew how people view their country’s education system.Ranking ILSA score results by country, the authors note, is quite misleading—instead of offering a fair assessment of academic abilities, such lists instead offer little except headlines or web clicks. They also note that the rankings do not always give an accurate portrayal of academic achievement—some countries jump around on the list from year to year, for example, without making any changes. Others skew their own results by hiding low-scoring students. They note also that there are vast differences in how hard students try to do well on such tests—for many students in places like Korea or Japan, scoring high on an ILSA is so important that parents spend hours helping them prepare, or spend thousands on tutors. Meanwhile, in places like the U.S., students see little advantage in preparing at all.The authors suggest that all countries view results on ILSAs as a means of learning more about their own system and in so doing discover ways that their own educational systems can be improved. How expectations impact actual exam scores This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Journal information: Science © 2018 Phys.orgcenter_img Citation: Education specialists argue that ILSA scores should not be used to conduct educational policy (2018, April 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further A pair of education specialists, one from Harvard, the other Boston College, have published a Policy Forum piece in the journal Science decrying the use of international large-scale education assessments (ILSAs) as tools for educational policymaking. In their paper, Judith Singer and Henry Braun point out problems with comparing ILSA results between countries and suggest they could be put to better use by local entities looking to improve their education systems. More information: Judith D. Singer et al. Testing international education assessments, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4952SummaryNews stories on international large-scale education assessments (ILSAs) tend to highlight the performance of the media outlet’s home country in comparison with the highest-scoring nations (in recent years, typically located in East Asia). Low (or declining) rankings can be so alarming that policy-makers leap to remedies—often ill-founded—on the basis of what they conclude is the “secret sauce” behind the top performers’ scores. As statisticians studying the methods and policy uses of ILSAs (1), we believe the obsession with rankings—and the inevitable attempts to mimic specific features of the top performing systems—not only misleads, it diverts attention from more constructive uses of ILSA data. We highlight below the perils of drawing strong policy inferences from such highly aggregated data, illustrate benefits of conducting more nuanced analyses of ILSA data both within and across countries, and offer concrete suggestions for improving future ILSAs.last_img read more

French artiste to light up Jantar Mantar

first_imgThis Valentine’s Day, you can treat yourself to a whole new experience of French art at Jantar Mantar. French light sculptor Patrick Rimoux is lighting up the monument with a huge spectacle titled Lumino City, combining a feast of electronic music, visual arts and fashion.Funded by the Government of France, the show will cost 100,000 Euros and will be the star attraction of the second edition of Bon Jour India, a three-month festival of France in India, beginning January. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘The couture will showcase light dresses by the Indo-French couture duo Leconaet Hemant and the music will be done by DJs of the band Scratch Bandit’s crew. It’s a 30-minute show but we will play it repeatedly since we are expecting a 5,000 plus turnout at Jantar Mantar on that day,’ Rimoux told Millennium Post.Rimoux, who was in Kolkata to unveil a show titled Under the Sky, said that the Jantar Mantar show will play on the theme of Indian astronomy and depict the sun, the moon, the calendar and various stellar configurations. ‘It took about five months to give shape to the project. I treated it as a building where I was doing the sculpture. But it was an honour to be doing this show,’ said Rimoux, who has also bagged the contract for doing the lights for the City Palace, Jaipur. The French sculptor also plans to work on Bollywood set designs if he gets an opportunity. ‘After all, I’ve used 35 mm film rolls for the Kolkata show and I am a big fan of Satyajit Ray,’ he gushed.In Delhi, Rimoux will also display his installation, Beauty and the Beast at the Delhi Art Fair. Bon Jour India 2013 will be celebrated in 14 Indian cities including Delhi and will host French dance, theatre and culinary art.last_img read more

Protect arms from suns rays

first_imgWish to bare arms when the sun shines bright, but scared of putting your tanned arms on display? Save them by using sun protection products.Celebrity dermatologist Kiran Lohia shares tips for keeping your arms gorgeous:* Prevention with sunblock: A lot of tanning and discoloration occurs due to the ravages of UVA and UVB rays. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen will help you do that. Look for SPF 30 with PA++ and above for the best coverage. SPF refers to UVB protection and PA++ refers to UVA protection. Wear copious amount of sunscreen  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’and re-apply every four hours for the best result! * Cover up: The fact is that sun exposure is the number one cause of freckles and darkened arms. So if you do not wear sleeveless and instead wear long sleeves when going outside, you will find that your arms will stay smooth. The problem is that it’s mighty hard to wear long sleeves in 40-degree weather! So when it’s hot, you can instead wear light cotton fabrics in light colours to help provide a physical protection to your arms. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix* The natural solution: For mild pigmentation and for those with patience, there are natural options. ‘Ubtans’ can help get rid of tan because they exfoliate the dull, old and dead skin cells, revealing newer and brighter skin underneath. For an effective ‘ubtan,’ combine buttermilk and chickpea flour. Apply it on your skin and let it dry. Then rub it off and wash. Do this once or twice a week. Another option is to create a natural scrub. For softer arm skin, combine sugar crystals with rose oil. Apply while in the shower using gentle circular motions and then wash off. Do this once a week for the ultimate glow.last_img read more

Eat homemade food to cut diabetes risk

first_imgEating meals prepared at home may reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, a recent study reveals.Eating fast food from restaurants is associated with lower diet quality and higher body weight in children and young adults and is also a major risk factor for heart disease, according to the researchers.“The trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the US has increased significantly over the last 50 years,” said Geng Zong from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’People who ate two homemade meals each day, or about 11-14 meals a week, had 13 per cent lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to people who ate less than six homemade meals a week. The study included nearly 58,000 women and more than 41,000 men up to 36 years from 1986-2012. None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study.The researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was associated with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals. The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions recently in 2015.last_img read more

Blast from the past Zamindar family Puja gives taste of a bygone

first_imgBALURGHAT: Gun firing in open air during Sandhipujo is a decade-long tradition of this Zamindar Barir Durga Puja — almost since the British era in India.The Puja, popularly known as Baidul Zamindar Barir Durga Puja, is held at the Chowdhury’s ancestral premises in Baidul.The puja was first started under the patronage of zamindar late Prasanna Lal Chowdhury in 1811. He had six sons and each family has one licenced gun as legal property, which is used in Durga Puja every year. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Puja is organised rotationally by the family members of six sons once in every six years. Chowdhury family is celebrating the 108th year this Puja uninterruptedly, particularly even in the age of big-budget themed Pujas in South Dinajpur. This puja still remains a crowd-puller along with many revelers visting it for a taste of its unique heritage.Asking about the tradition of gun firing, Prasanna Lal’s grandson Mrityunjay Chowdhury who stays in Baidul, said: “The custom of gun firing started from early fifties as I learnt from my uncle late Kshitish Chandra Chowdhur. The area as I learnt from him was dominated by robbers and goons then. They had frequently targeted rich zamindars and landlords of the area. We were their soft target due to lack of proper security measures back then. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAs a result, the rich people were forced to keep licenced firearms to keep goons and robbers at bay. Our forefathers had started the tradition of gun firing during Sandhipujo to send a stern message publicly that they can protect themselves from those anti-social elements. The person who fired the gun in the air during the Puja had to take blessings from Maa Durga, so that he can protect his family from unwanted incidents throughout the year. My father late Baidyanath Chowdhury, who was the youngest son of my grandfather told me that the six brothers had purchased one Belgium made double bore riffle along with four one-shutter India made riffle for self-defence.”Baidul is about 9.5 km from Balurghat and located on the banks of Atreyee River. According to the sources, there are about 21 family pujas across the district. “We are proud maintaining our ancestral tradition. The puja days are family reunion for us too as many of them are scattered in different parts of the country and foreign as well,” said Mainak Chowdhury, who is another successor and great-grandson of Prasanna Lal Chowdhury.last_img read more

A celebration for Book lovers

first_imgOnce again, countless book enthusiasts will throng the grounds of Pragati Maidan as the India Trade Promotion Organisation hosts the 22nd edition of Delhi Book Fair during August 27 – September 4 in the national capital. The fair is being organized in association with Federation of Indian Publishers and will be inaugurated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Science and Technology and Minister of Earth Sciences.ITPO’s other concurrent events, the 18th edition of Stationary and 2nd Office Automation & Corporate Gift Fair 2016 will be added attraction for the visitors. Over 250 leading companies from India and overseas are expected to participate in these fairs.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThis year, the fair aims to showcase the initiatives of the Government under ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan’ for higher education and computer literacy. Delhi Book Fair has been playing a pivotal role in reiterating the might of the pen and the printed world and has come to be recognized as the biggest book bonanza keenly awaited by students, teachers, scholars, authors, intellectuals, librarians and book lovers.  Apart from promoting literacy and reading habit, especially among children and youth, the fair presents a vast panorama of Indian books on a wide range of subjects. The fair provides a unique platform for business to business transactions, establishing new contacts, entering into co-publishing arrangements, translation and copy right arrangements, reprinting of old and rare books, apart from providing retailing opportunities as a multitude of visitors come to the fair.   Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA number of conferences and seminars, buyer-seller meets, book releases, book discussions, literary activities for children and meet-the-author get together will be organized during the fair.  The fair is also complemented by the Stationery/Office Automation and Corporate Gifts Fair held concurrently with its product profile.The Book Fair will cover a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and academic books besides, children’s literature, classics and other categories of publications including digital innovations.  With view to make these fairs more convenient to the visitors, ITPO will introduce mobile applications by which visitors can access details of exhibitors, products on display, location details and concurrent ancillary activities. Also, the theme pavilion will comprise of the ‘Selfie Stations’ which focuses on the national campaigns of the Government of India. These include: ‘Make in India’, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’,  ‘Digital India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Startup India’, and ‘Umang’ (Unified mobile app for New-age Governance). To make the fair more interactive to the visitors, ITPO has planned to introduce book reading session, band performance, on-the–spot competition, screening of films, GK Quiz, Express Yourself, Nukkad Natak and storytelling sessions.last_img read more

Over Rs 1 crore seized 4 held in city ahead of 6th

first_imgKolkata: Over one crore rupees was seized from Burrabazar and Posta area on Thursday night, after multiple teams from the Detective Department (DD) of Kolkata Police launched a special raid. Four persons have been arrested in this connection till now.According to sources, since the last few days sleuths were getting tipped-off regarding unaccounted money being smuggled into the city for use during elections. On Wednesday, sleuths managed to get hold of information regarding 12 suspected locations where the unaccounted money was kept. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataImmediately, senior Kolkata Police officials formed five teams consisting of personnel from DD and commenced raids in Burrabazar, Posta, Bowbazar and Jorabagar areas. Till 9 pm, raids in four places under Burrabazar and Posta police station’s jurisdiction were completed. From there, sleuths recovered Rs One crore six thousand and nabbed four persons. According to sources, sleuths are almost sure that the money was sent to the city for use during the last two phases of Lok Sabha elections 2019. Sleuths also came to know that a hawala racket was being operated to bring the money into the city. The four arrested are also connected with the hawala business. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”Raids are being conducted on the basis of specific information. In eight more places, raids are still continuing. It is suspected that hawala operators are behind bringing the money to the city for the purpose of use during elections. We are trying to know who are sending this money and to whom,” said Praveen Kumar Tripathi, Joint Commissioner (Crime) of Kolkata Police. It may be recalled that during the last few months, huge amounts of unaccounted money have been seized across the city at multiple police stations of Kolkata Police.last_img read more

New West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar arrives in Kolkata

first_imgKolkata: Jagdeep Dhankar, who will take oath as the new West Bengal Governor on July 30, arrived in the city on Monday. Dhankar, who will succeed Keshari Nath Tripathi as the state’s 28th governor, was welcomed at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport here by a number of Bengal ministers, including Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay and Bratya Basu. Chief Secretary Moloy De and Director General of Police (DGP) Virendra were also present at the airport, where Dhankar was given a guard of honour by the West Bengal government. He will be sworn-in as the governor at the Raj Bhavan by the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with other dignitaries, are scheduled to be present at the swearing-in programme. The centre appointed Dhankhar, a noted Supreme Court lawyer and former MP, as the next governor of West Bengal governor on July 20.last_img read more

The Ancient Greek Philosopher who Got Drunk and Laughed Himself to Death

first_imgEnjoying a laugh is thought to be as good as any tonic. Many’s the time a joke has saved someone from a bad day, or worse. Yet the expression “too much of a good thing” applies to laughter as with anything else. The Ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus is a case in point. A towering figure in the field of Stoicism, he lived from c. 280 – 207 BC. Stoicism came from the teachings of Socrates and Heraclitus.It was described in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as, “one of the loftiest and most sublime philosophies in the record of Western civilization. In urging participation in human affairs, Stoics have always believed that the goal of all inquiry is to provide a mode of conduct characterized by tranquillity of mind and certainty of moral worth.”Roman copy of a Hellenistic bust of Chrysippus.In other words, Chrysippus valued the pure qualities of the mind over base pleasures, believing Man should instead use his brain in tandem with nature. How ironic then that his demise involved alcohol beverages and an innocent donkey.The death took place at the 143rd Olympiad where the drink was flowing and surely even the most stoic thinker was kicking off their sandals and having a good time. Two accounts exist of what transpired, with the first depicting Chrysippus as overcome by strong wine.“Now give the donkey a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs” cried Chrysippus and died in a fit of laughter.The second version is more colorful. Having watched a donkey chomping on figs, an idea occurred to Chrysippus that was far from philosophical. He boisterously suggested giving the creature some wine with its meal. It wasn’t comedy of the highest order but it worked for him. He laughed so much he expired.So a life distinguished by concepts such as propositional logic had ended in a decidedly un-Stoic fashion. Despite this, the death may have made sense to Chrysippus. He was a great believer in fate and the role it played in someone’s destiny.“The Death of Pietro Aretino,” by Anselm Feuerbach. Aretino was an Italian poet who reportedly died from laughter.A quote from De Fato by Cicero, meaning “On Fate,” sums up his thinking: “(But) every proposition is either true or false. Therefore, there is no motion without a cause. And if this is so, then all effects owe their existence to prior causes. And if this is so, all things happen by fate. It follows therefore that whatever happens, happens by fate.”Perhaps the wine and the donkey were there for a reason. Certainly, an unusual philosophical idea but the Ancient Greeks didn’t shy away from difficult questions.The myth of Pandora’s BoxAnother question that would occur to Chrysippus is ‘Can someone die laughing?’ While he died in the midst of mirth, was an underlying condition the real culprit? There are examples throughout history, both ancient and modern, of people keeling over during a fit of laughter.The answer could lie in the death of someone who was watching one of the world’s best-loved comedies. Gizmodo reports, “The most direct death by laughter reported is supposedly audiologist Ole Bentzen who, while watching A Fish Called Wanda, laughed uncontrollably. His heartbeat rose to ‘between 250-500 times per minute’ until he died.”“Gelastic syncope” (or laughter-induced fainting) is a rare but medically recognized condition.John Cleese’s expertly-crafted script aside, the experience put pressure on Ole Bentzen’s heart in the same way a long run or stressful situation might. The list of factors that contribute to heart failure are wide-ranging.An NBC news article from 2011 interviewed Professor of Neurology Dr. Martin Samuels, who provided some insight into possible death by laughter.A partial marble bust of Chrysippus – Roman copy of a Hellenistic original (Louvre Museum). Photo by Sting CC By SA 2.5“Extreme excitement, whether that be sadness or happiness activates the part of the brain that’s responsible for the flight or fight response to threats in the wild… This releases a natural chemical — adrenaline — which in large animals can be toxic to various organs, in particular, the heart.”The article goes on to say, “As a result, extremely strong emotional states — whether positive or negative — can be harmful to the heart, on rare occasions causing an abnormal rhythm which can be lethal.”Read another story from us: Only the Strong Survive: Did Vikings Abandon their Sick Children?So it seems the gift of laughter is actually not such a gift after all. It’s a puzzler that philosophers and comedians will no doubt be thinking about for years to come.Steve Palace is a writer, journalist and comedian from the UK. Sites he contributes to include The Vintage News, Art Knews Magazine and The Hollywood News. His short fiction has been published as part of the Iris Wildthyme range from Obverse Books.last_img read more

George HW Bushs Service Dog Stood Vigil By His Casket

first_imgSully, the service dog of former President George H.W. Bush, spent the night of December 2, 2018, lying before Bush’s flag-draped casket in Houston, Texas. Jim McGrath, spokesman for the Bush family, tweeted a photo on Sunday night, captioning it “mission complete.”Bush, who served as the 41st U.S. president between 1989 and 1993, died on November 30th at the age of 94. Sully traveled with the casket on the flight from Texas to Washington D.C. on Monday, December 3rd.The former president’s body is due to lie in state this week ahead of a day of national mourning.Official portrait of George H.W. Bush, former President of the United States of America.The coffin is being flown to D.C. on board Air Force One — temporarily renamed Special Air Mission 41, in homage to the late president – and then back on Wednesday, with Sully accompanying the body throughout.Jeb Bush, the late president’s son, had also tweeted the image, saying, “Sully has the watch.”Sully, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever, is named after the airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed a passenger jet on the Hudson River in New York in 2009, saving all of the 155 passengers and crew on board.Sully, the yellow Labrador retriever service dog of former President George H.W. Bush, waits as joint services military honor guard carry the flag-draped casket of the remains of his master during a departure ceremony to Washington D.C. at Ellington Field on December 3, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Bush, who died on November 30, will lie in state in Washington before returning to Houston for his funeral on Thursday. Photo by David J. Phillip – Pool/Getty ImagesThe dog was assigned earlier this year as a service dog to Bush, who used a wheelchair in the last years of his life.During the summer, Bush tweeted, “A great joy to welcome home the newest member of our family, “Sully,” a beautiful — and beautifully trained — lab from @AmericasVetDogs. Could not be more grateful, especially for their commitment to our veterans.”According to the BBC, “A highly trained dog, Sully can perform a number of commands, including opening doors and fetching items such as the phone when it rings. He will now work as a service dog, assisting with therapy for wounded soldiers.”The former president had been receiving treatment for a form of Parkinson’s disease and had been admitted to the hospital with a blood infection in April.The United States flag is lowered to half mast aboard USS George H.W. Bush on December 1, 2018.The disease caused slow movements and difficulty balancing, among other symptoms. Bush frequently used a wheelchair toward the end of his life, and Sully provided assistance with daily life.“Sully could open doors, pick up items and summon help,” The Associated Press reported.According to the Washington Post, “The display of instinctual, animalistic devotion captured the reaction to Bush’s death in a way that the words spilled all weekend over the Internet could not. Dogs, wrote the poet Emily Dickinson, ‘know but do not tell.’ ”A portrait of Bush in the White House is pictured draped in black mourning crêpe on December 1, 2018.Bush and his wife, Barbara, were noted dog lovers.While in the White House, the Bush’s presidential pets were Millie, a springer spaniel, and later one of Millie’s puppies, named Ranger.(Spot, the White House pet of George W. Bush, was also a puppy of Millie’s.)Millie was famously referred to during the 1992 presidential campaign, when Bush said, of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, “My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.”Bush’s remains will lie in state inside the rotunda of the United States Capitol, pictured here in 2005. Photo by Matt H. Wade CC BY-SA 3.0Sully was part of America’sVetDogs, “a service dog program that assists veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities.”The Washington Post said, “The Labrador was raised by VetDogs, first through its prison puppy program that gives inmates a chance to teach animals the basic tasks of housebreaking and standardized commands, and then at the program’s campus in Smithtown, N.Y.”Sully celebrated his birthday in July “with a bone tied in a bright pink bow. Last week, he was already preparing for Christmas.”That Sully will continue to serve veterans was important to the Bush family. George W. Bush, the late president’s son and 43rd president, predicted that Sully will bring joy to patients at Walter Reed.Read another story from us: The First Dog in American History to be Awarded Military RankPresident Bush will be buried at the presidential library in Texas, alongside his wife, who died seven months ago.last_img read more