This week in The Herald: Rhode Island’s high-stakes standardized testing

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While October marks the beginning of a seemingly never-ending midterm period on our campus, thousands of Rhode Island high school seniors have spent the past two weeks taking retests of the reading and math portions of the state’s standardized NECAP exam. Currently ineligible to graduate with the Class of 2014, these students hope this month’s scores will fulfill the testing requirement of the “R.I. Diploma Program,” allowing them to graduate alongside their peers in the spring.

This week in The Herald, the City and State section will be taking an in-depth look into the climate of high-stakes standardized testing in the state’s public schools in a four-part series entitled “Testing Success?” Continue Reading


This week in The Herald: Silent Violence series

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This week, The Herald published a four-part series, “Silent Violence,” examining the experiences of victims and accused perpetrators of sexual assault at Brown. Though the topic of sexual violence on college campuses has recently dominated national news, there has not been a thorough discussion of how sexual assault plays into life on College Hill.

The first article in the series, “Under the surface: Sexual assault at Brown,” takes an overarching look at the culture on campus, focusing on the effects gender, alcohol and drug use, and differing definitions of consent have on students’ perceptions of sexual assault and those who experience it. This article also introduces a few of the victims whose stories the later articles cover in greater depth.

The second article, “Victims of sexual assault confront challenges of reporting,” offers a more detailed narrative of students who have been sexually assaulted at Brown, examining their experiences with various steps in the University’s systems for reporting and prosecuting sexual misconduct cases. Continue Reading


This week in The Herald: Introductory science education at Brown

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This week, The Herald is running a four-part series examining students’ experiences in introductory science courses at Brown.

This topic is particularly relevant now — nearly 60 percent of the class of students that Brown admitted this year expressed the intent to concentrate in the sciences. The Committee on Educational Innovation, one of the strategic planning committees formed under Christina Paxson this fall, identified science, technology, engineering, and math fields as a key area of focus in the strategic planning process.

Improving undergraduate science education has also been an area of recent national concern, with a growing amount of press devoted to high attrition rates in certain STEM fields. In 2011, the Association of American Universities announced it would undertake a five-year initiative to improve STEM education at its member institutions, including Brown.

Introductory courses enroll significant percentages of the student body each semester. In spring 2011, for example, nearly one-fifth of the freshman class enrolled in BIOL 0200: “The Foundation of Living Systems.” Continue Reading


This week in The Herald: Shaping the presidency

This week, as the campus prepares for the upcoming inauguration of President Christina Paxson, The Herald is publishing a three-part series, “Shaping the Presidency,” examining the role of the presidency through almost 250 years and 18 previous presidential tenures. These stories take a look at the evolution of the University’s top leadership post and the mantle Paxson has inherited.

As leadership transitions to the Paxson administration and focus shifts to the programs she will put forth, questions regarding the role of a modern-day University president gain salience. What started as supervision of the day-to-day facets of the workings of the school has transitioned to a position of great power in fundraising, framing the direction of the University’s vision, and impacting higher education at as a whole.

Continue Reading