National / International News

Toucan 'to get prosthetic beak'

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:58
A toucan in Costa Rica, which lost part of its beak in an attack by youths, looks set to be fitted with a prosthetic replacement.

The humble teacher inspiring Ireland

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:57
Passionate, obsessive, humble; schoolteacher, Guinness drinker, litter monitor: How Joe Schmidt inspired Ireland to new heights.

Bambi savaged 'by a pack of dogs'

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:56
A hand-reared deer called Bambi is believed to have been mauled to death by dogs at a Powys wildlife park.

Man detained by anti-terror police

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:56
A 31-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of planning acts of terrorism as police search five addresses on Merseyside.

Watch Jon Stewart Break The News Of His Departure To An Audience

NPR News - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:56

Taping last night's show before the news of his departure became public, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart faced an awkward task: telling a studio audience that he's leaving the show.

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Crashed plane's fuel gauge 'faulty'

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:49
The fuel gauge of a plane which nosedived at a Flintshire airport killing two people must have been faulty, an inquest hears.

German ex-president laid to rest

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:42
Former German President Richard von Weizsaecker is laid to rest in a state funeral in Berlin.

3D-printed knuckle dusters seized

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:37
Police in Queensland, Australia arrest a 28-year-old man after finding 3D-printed knuckle dusters and suspected gun parts.

Charity must surrender castle land

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:35
A High Court judge orders a charity to hand over the coffee shop it runs in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle to the government.

England lose final warm-up match

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:34
England lose their last World Cup warm-up game by four wickets as Pakistan prevail in a tense finish in Sydney.

One cost of starting high school later in the morning

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:30

For almost 20 years, school districts across the country have debated shifting high school start times later to allow for more time for adolescent students to sleep, which studies say helps brain development and school performance.

But an effort to push up start times by an hour in Montgomery County, Maryland, ran into trouble over the cost.

Click the media player above to hear more.

The cost of starting high school later

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:30

For almost 20 years, school districts across the country have debated shifting high school start times later to allow for more time for adolescent students to sleep, which studies say helps brain development and school performance.

But an effort to push up start times by an hour in Montgomery County, MD, ran into trouble over the cost.

Click the media player above to hear more.

The cost of starting High School later

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:30

For almost 20 years, school districts across the country have debated shifting high school start times later to allow for more time for adolescent students to sleep, which studies say helps brain development and school performance.

But an effort to push up start times by an hour in Montgomery County, MD, ran into trouble over the cost.

Click the media player above to hear more.

UN pulls out of DR Congo offensive

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:29
The UN withdraws support for a planned offensive against rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after the government refuses to sack two generals.

Western powers close Yemen embassies

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:20
The US, UK and France are closing their embassies in Yemen due to the deteriorating security situation and political crisis in the country.

Ukraine conflict: Back to Minsk with so much at stake

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:17
Leaders meeting in Minsk know the bitter consequences of failing to find a way to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, the BBC's Lyse Doucet reports.

Your pictures: Shadows

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:15
Readers' photographs on the theme of shadows

North misses Wales game in Scotland

BBC - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:05
Recovering Wales wing George North is out of the team to face Scotland in the Six Nations and replaced by Liam Williams.

Two cybersecurity agencies diverged in a wood...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:00

In the last month, President Barack Obama has spoken about new cybersecurity initiatives several times. This week, his administration announced that it will establish a new government agency to fight the growing threat of cyberattacks.

The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, as it will be called, is expected to coordinate intelligence from similar agencies across the U.S. government — agencies that already exist within the FBI, the NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security.

But that’s easier said than done, says Stephen Cobb, a security researcher at ESET North America. For one, there is already an agency called the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, whose purpose is to protect the U.S.’ “critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats.” The only difference, Cobb says, is that it reports to the Department of Homeland Security, whereas the new agency will answer to the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

Sound like the two cybersecurity agencies are being driven apart?

“I hope not but that is the fear,” says Cobb. “The best and most effective role of our government is to identify and sanction people doing this, which is something which is very hard for the private sector to do."

 

Adding up the costs of new Common Core tests

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-02-11 02:00

The Washington, D.C. headquarters of PARCC seem pretty quiet for an organization about to face its own big test. Starting next week, millions of students will take the first of two rounds of new assessments the group developed.

“It’s like two or three minutes before game time and we’re ready to hit the road running,” says Jeff Nellhaus, director of assessment for PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It’s one of two large groups of states that have spent more than four years and $360 million in federal grants building new tests tied to the Common Core state standards.

To explain where all that time and money went, Nellhaus brings up a sample problem on his computer from a fifth grade English test. Students are asked to read a passage from a novel called “Moon Over Manifest.”

It’s copyrighted, so there are royalties to be paid. PARCC also pays a testing company to write questions that reveal how well students have mastered various skills, like reading comprehension.

“Literally dozens of people are looking at the question after that,” he says. The question goes through several phases of review, field testing and revision, with the meter running the whole time.

All that costs around $1,000 for a single multiple-choice question, says Scott Marion, an advisor to PARCC and associate director of the Center for Assessment. A more open-ended question can cost up to $5,000 to develop, he says.

“What started out as a little innocent process of somebody sitting in a room writing a question to a passage is now this sort of Rube Goldberg-esque kind of process that it goes through to actually land on the operational test,” he says.

Every year, the process repeats, as old questions go to the testing graveyard and new ones replace them.

It’s a necessary investment, says Bob Rothman with the reform group Alliance for Excellent Education, as long as tests carry so much weight. They’re used to judge not only students, but teachers and schools.

“If you really want this information about how students are performing, then just buying something on the cheap won’t get you very much,” Rothman says.

Still, to keep costs down, PARCC made a shorter test with more multiple choice questions than originally planned. The price works out to about $24 per student, around the average PARCC says states paid for tests in the past.

 

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