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The A-Pass Initiative

Links to the A-Pass Blog ... a collection of posts about many aspects of modern education


Peter Burgess

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Solve the Biggest Problem with American Education

Do you know what Microsoft, Google, Apple, Ford, Coke, GE, and Michael Jackson all have in common? Of course, they were all made in America. The United States of America has the best of everything. Yet, when it comes to our education system, we continuously rank low on international comparisons. Educational pundits across the country and beyond contend that the American educational system just does not measure up. How can this be? How can the United States have so many good things going for it and a lousy educational system at the same time?


Posted by Andrew Pass

Tags: diversity, Quality

Monday, July 20, 2015

Facilitating Conversations Around High Quality Content

In the United States of America, local educators are typically told what to teach but not how to teach it. Consequently, educational publishers are in the enviable position of having the opportunity to uniquely influence teaching and learning within American classrooms. In order to best achieve these objectives, the leaders of these companies should build constructive conversations around ideal teaching and learning resources.


Posted by admin

Tags: Resource, Twenty First Century Learning, Learning, Teaching, outcomes, Quality

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Misconception as Distractor

In his seminal article, “Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching,” Lee Shulman emphasizes that teachers must help students break down their misconceptions and preconceptions during the learning process. Shulman argues that effective teachers must possess a very specific kind of knowledge: pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). According to this thinker, “(PCK) goes beyond knowledge of subject matter per se to the dimension of subject matter knowledge for teaching. I still speak of content knowledge here, but of the particular form of content knowledge that embodies the aspects of content most germane to its teachability.” (p. 9)


Posted by admin

Tags: curriculum, assessment

Monday, July 13, 2015

Balancing Quality and Resources in Content Development

Have you ever looked at a course, lesson plan, assessment item, or learning object that you have created and wondered if it is as good as it could be?  If you are anything like me, you know that training and educational content can almost always be improved. Even if what you have developed is very good, there are always lingering questions as to whether tweaking something in a slightly different way would make it better. After all, don’t the best people always try to improve anything that they work on?


Posted by admin

Tags: curriculum, accountability, Quality, P&L

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Outsourcing Content Development

Several years ago, I asked the executive of a major educational publishing company if he ever thought that his company would acquire A Pass Educational Group. He responded, 'So, let me think about this for a second. You are asking if I would ever take a cost that is currently a variable cost and make it a fixed cost?' Shyly, I responded, 'I guess you wouldn't do that?' He said, 'Nope.'



Posted by Andrew Pass

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Future of Assessment: Renaissance or Armageddon?

The recent popularity of the “opt-out” movement, especially evident in New York (Harris and Fessenden), has led many education policy commentators and observers to conclude that high stakes assessments as we know them may eventually disappear. Indeed, some states, such as Colorado, have passed measures limiting the number of assessments and allowing parents to keep their students out of state tests.


Posted by George Rislov

Tags: Pearson, state tests, accountability, assessment

Friday, May 29, 2015

Who Are These Guys?

Remember that great line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?  Allow me to tell you who we are. A Pass Educational Group specializes in the creation of customized educational and training content, and it’s an exciting time to be in this business. The challenges are many- just think about how the delivery of content has changed in just a few short years.


Posted by George Rislov

Tags: corporate training, curriculum, digital age, digital content, education technology, assessment

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why History Day is a Great Day

Recently I had the opportunity to judge student work at my state History Day contest. It’s an opportunity I’ve had so many times that I can’t exactly remember when I started, but I do know that my involvement as a teacher working with my students on their entries began in the mid-1980s. If you don’t know what History Day is, I’ll give you a brief description. For more information you can click here.

Middle school and high school students are eligible to enter National History Day (NHD). NHD is a yearlong research


Posted by George Rislov

Tags: technology, student centered learning, education, project based learning, history

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A World Full of Differences

We are all unique.  In today’s world, the idea of embracing differences and diversity is seen and heard everywhere.  From television shows, advertising, books, and even casual discussions with our friends, we are all very aware that each of us is different.  Unfortunately, in today’s educational atmosphere each child’s individuality is not always valued or encouraged.  When we send our children to school, our hopes are that they find a warm, stimulating place that they want to return to day after day.  Anxiety and stress should not be


Posted by Julia Wright

Tags: differentiated instruction, personalized learning, 504, special education

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Innovate in Higher Education

Do you know what percentage of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree? It’s a pretty basic fact, and a good place to start in a discussion that includes the popular notion that “college isn’t for everyone.”  We've looked at two recent publications we think can inform discussions about the roles of higher and continuing learning among American adults, and show what the future may look like at institutions of higher education. Oh, and the answer is that about one third of young adults receive a bachelor’s degree.


Posted by George Rislov

Tags: education policy, innovation, vocational education, community college, higher education

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Where to Put the Ottoman

By Mona Meyer

I’ll never forget the episode of “Cheers” when the rest of the gang teased Norm relentlessly about his interest in interior design. Finally, in an attempt to deflect attention from his hobby, Norm shrugs and says along the lines of, “I can’t help it. I’ve just always known where to put the ottoman.” That phrase has returned to me many times during my career as an instructional designer. After all, it describes what we do pretty accurately-we know where to put the ottoman. Okay, we’renot usually really moving furniture around, but the art of “arrangement” is key to the practice of instructional design. When faced with a mountain of information in the form of textbooks, lecture notes, training materials, and articles, instructional designers choose the most critical pieces of content then reframe them and serve them up to the learner in the arrangement that is best designed to promote learning and retention.


Posted by admin

Tags: Instructional Design, Course Creation

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Re-Living History: Performace Tasks and Social Studies

By Stephen Gibson

The teaching of social studies, history foremost among them, has long been assailed as little more than a forced memorization of a grand compendium of dates, places, and figures.

The saga of “how our parents and grandparents learned/were taught” the history of the United States usually included a very detailed (but hardly nuanced) story with a more-or-less finite beginning (Columbus, Jamestown, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock), a middle (the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction) and a satisfactory conclusion (WWII, end of the Cold War),


Posted by Stephen Gibson

Tags: history

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What Teachers Should Know About Classroom Assessment

By: Scott Elliot

Anyone who has been through a teacher education program knows about that dreaded course in testing you have to take. You know the one; the one where you learn about norms, reliability coefficients, and measures of central tendency and variability, p-values, and point biserials.


Posted by admin

Tags: assessment

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Constructing Curriculum for Career Colleges

By Andrew Pass with Mona Meyer 

Many years ago I had a heated discussion with the vice president of a major teachers’ union. We disagreed on some issue related to teachers. At the end of the discussion she looked at me and said, 'I guess the big difference between us is that I stick up for teachers.' I responded, 'I know the main difference between us is that I stick up for students.' Though I felt proud of myself for making this largely rhetorical point, in reality there is a tremendous amount of


Posted by admin

Tags: Relevance, Instructional Design, Curriculum Development

Sunday, January 18, 2015

There's No Stopping Curiosity - Harnessing the Pull of Curiosity in Education

By Lynsey Peterson 

One of my children's first and favorite television shows is Curious George. Spinning off from the popular book series and movie, the television series follows the exploits of the little monkey as he explores his urban and rural neighborhoods. Unlike some of their other favorite shows, Curious George is also one of my favorites. The show's tone is not whiney or sarcastic, and it teaches many math and science concepts through George's adventures. The main motivation for George's adventures is his curiosity. Despite what the Man in the


Posted by admin

Tags: Science, Games, Play, Learning

Monday, December 15, 2014

If Only We Knew What We Don’t Know—Data-Informed Instruction Can Help

In the early 70’s I was teaching high school English to a range of classrooms of students from honors to remedial to however they then described “regular” students. I had five preparations each day and a frightening percentage of students who did not read above sixth grade level. I had not been prepared for any of this. I did not yet know terms like personalized learning, differentiated instruction, learning preferences, project-based learning, or formative assessment. But I somehow instinctively knew I needed to group students, to know what motivated each, and to meet


Posted by Vicki Bigham

Tags: Data Enhanced Learning, Twenty First Century Learning

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

International Reflections on the Structure of the Grade School Experience

I don’t remember very much about the 5th grade.  I remember learning the state capitols (I’m still pretty good at these) and about the different types of clouds (though I really don’t remember what they are).  The thing I remember most is being inspired by the student teacher in our class to, for the first time, vocally express my own intention to become a teacher.  From there it was an interesting path from student to student teacher, from teacher to school leader and on to content/assessment developer.


Posted by Sarah Bierman

Tags: Israeli school structure, American school structure, International Education

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Math – My First Foreign Language

I can remember the moment that math made sense to me. Not the moment that math became easy for me – I’m still working on that. This was that moment that I gained my entry point into math. This was the moment that this collection of numbers and symbols meant something more to me than another opportunity to feel stupid.

I’ll set the scene. I was an incoming freshman at Florida State


Posted by Scott Dinho

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tell Me a Story: Using Children's Literature with Secondary Students

by Susan Nightingale, A Pass Educational Group April, Contractor of the Month

When I taught ‘at-risk’ middle school math students, I often found myself looking for ways  to engage a group of students that had basically already quit before the school year even began. One such activity involved using children’s books, designed for elementary students, to introduce mathematical concepts to my learners. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was utilizing a learning method. I just knew that everyone loves a story, and a children’s story book


Posted by admin

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learn How to Use Your Smart Board in the Classroom

by Twan De Leijer of Gynzy  


Posted by admin

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