Teachers at Hayfield Secondary School and Oakton High School asked students to take part in a Twitter discussion during the final state governor’s debate on Oct. 24. While the conversation centered on the candidates, the students ended up grabbing some of the spotlight for themselves.
Students from Advanced Placement and honors government classes at the schools sent out more than 1,000 tweets during the hour-long debate, enough to become a trending topic on the social network.
Trending topics are the most-discussed subjects at any one time on Twitter. Students from both schools used the tag #hayfieldapgovclass in their messages so their conversation could be tracked under one umbrella heading, and it ended up breaching the top trends.
Hayfield students were led by teachers Ken Halla, Doug Zywiol and Charity Fisher; Oakton students were led by teacher Rebecca Small. The teachers plan to turn to Twitter as an educational tool again during President Obama’s State of the Union address in January.
Virginia eighth graders outstripped international peers from 39 countries and jurisdictions in a math assessment, according to the results of an academic achievement study.
The first of its kind, the study by the National Center for Education Statistics compared math and science test scores of American students from each state with the results of international students from 47 countries and jurisdictions.
Virginia students’ average math score came out above the international average, but behind those of students from South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia and the Canadian province of Quebec.
The comparison showed similarly high results on the science assessment. Virginia students’ average score beat those of 37 countries and jurisdictions, but were lower than those of Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
In both science and math, Virginia students’ average scores placed above the United States as a whole.
“We now have a much clearer picture of how Virginia students actually compare with their peers around the world,” said state superintendent Patricia I. Wright in a press release. “Our elementary and middle school teachers and principals should take pride in how the commonwealth’s students stack up against students in countries with schools known internationally for achievement in mathematics and science.”
Eight students from Fairfax County public high schools have been named regional finalists in the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The competition recognizes high school students for scientific research projects they have conducted at school.
The students, from McLean High School, Oakton High School, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology represent eight of nine winners from the state of Virginia. They will make up a group of 100 regional finalists from across the country, selected from a pool of 2,440 entrants.
The Fairfax County regional finalists are: Timothy Cha, TJHSST; Sandy Cho, McLean High School; Jeffrey Liu, TJHSST; Oliver Shi, TJHSST; Kevin Wan, TJHSST; Ben Wang, Oakton High School; Jessica Wu, TJHSST; and Wilson Zhou, TJHSST.
These students will compete in one of six regional events in November. Winners of the regional contests will then move onto the final national competition in December in Washington, D.C., to vie for scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.
— Kate Yanchulis