Weekly roundup: Curriculum helps students identify ‘fake news,’ new Dashboard results released, and more

A group of Stanford researchers has developed a free online curriculum called Civic Online Reasoning, or COR, designed to help students tell the difference between reliable and fake information on the internet.

An article on EdSource describes how the Stanford History Education Group found that the lack of a fact-checker mindset is a big part of why so many students — and adults — so often are duped by political and social issues websites.

Cluttered deskThe developers, a group of Stanford faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars, are confident that their strategies will make a difference, if students learn and then regularly use them.

The lessons “need to be explicitly taught,” Will Colglazier, an AP history teacher at Aragon High in San Mateo, says in a video on the COR website in which his students learn the techniques. Students need these skills to develop a “habit of mind” that will stay with them, he adds.

Last month, the group released a nationwide study of the ability of 3,446 high school students to evaluate information online. It found that “nearly all students foundered.” The results were no better than a 2016 analysis of high school and college students.

“We hoped there would be some improvement, given the hand-wringing about fake news, but there hadn’t been,” Joel Breakstone, director of the Stanford History Education Group, told EdSource.

In the latest study, for example, two-thirds couldn’t differentiate between news stories and ads, clearly designated as “sponsored content,” on the news site Slate. And 96 percent didn’t consider why funding by fossil fuels companies might affect the credibility of a climate change site.

Here are some other education-related articles from throughout the region for the week ending Dec. 13.

  • The California School Boards Association presented prestigious Golden Bell Awards to eight educational programs in Orange County that improved technology, supported language acquisition and promoted community support for students.
  • The Orange County School of the Arts is a charter school with a reputation for rigorous academics and famous alumni in film, television, theater, and across the arts. It has been in downtown Santa Ana for almost two decades, but at a Santa Ana Unified school board meeting Tuesday night, its future was up in the air.
  • Anaheim High School opened its new on-campus pool on Wednesday, dedicating the lighted, 38-meter facility behind its gymnasium to Jon Urbanchek, its former coach who went on to become a legendary men’s swimming coach at the University of Michigan and part of the U.S. coaching staff at six Olympics.
  • Saying they seek to protect low-income and minority students’ rightful chances for college admissions, civil rights organizations and the Compton Unified School District followed through with their threat and filed lawsuits Tuesday demanding that the University of California stop requiring that applicants take the SAT or ACT entrance exams.
  • A group of California parents and preschool teachers are overcoming their fear of math and discovering new confidence to teach it to young children through an unexpected source: storybooks.
  • A coalition of education organizations and school officials on Tuesday called on Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders to place one tax measure on the November 2020 ballot “solely focused on education: quality child care, pre-school, K-12 and higher education.”
  • A parent at John C. Fremont Elementary School in Merced donated $1,525.25 to clear the outstanding school lunch debt for the entire school.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates or following us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.