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LearnED Stories

  • Are You Listening? Hi-Tech Conversations That Help Teach English

    by LearnEd

    Kids using a tablet device

    Steve Ferrara spends most of his day thinking about how one kind of student can talk more, not less, in class. He's working with children who are learning English as a second language—and every one of these students learns better when they're able to practice their conversational skills out loud.

    "The problem is that teachers have so many kids in the classroom and they don't have a lot of time to sit down and talk with individual students," Steve says. "Many of these kids then go home where their native language is the only language spoken."

    Speech Recognition Pull Quote

    So, Steve and his colleagues are working on an automated learning system that runs on a tablet or laptop. It interacts conversationally with dual language learners without the need for constant oversight from busy teachers.

    When a student talks to a device, a customized, hi-tech avatar responds—just like someone interacts with a smartphone to find directions or call a friend.

    English Language Learners
    English Language Learners

    "It's not just about speech recognition, though," Steve says. "Once words are recognized by the technology, the program has to determine whether those words are correct and relevant to the conversation." He adds: "Our intelligent technology helps the program's avatars recognize where the learner is struggling and responds accordingly."

    Subtle Feedback

    On the learning side, the avatars are programmed to provide the most important part of the dual language education process: feedback. Learners might hear responses like "You didn't pronounce that word very clearly, here's how…" or "When you express an opinion, you need to provide support for your opinion." It's this kind of feedback that helps language learning stick.

    Though only in the prototype stage, Steve and his colleagues are already beginning to roll out pilots of this technology in classrooms in Arizona and Indiana.

    "The project is a collection of intelligent technology tools, as well as a lot of empirically supported data," Steve says. "We're being incredibly ambitious here, but it's not unrealistic."

  • Seven Ways GradMinnesota and Minnesota Alliance With Youth are Working to Raise Graduation Rates

    by LearnEd

    Students celebrating graduation

    The GradMinnesota Initiative is making an impressive and substantial effort to improve graduation rates and proposes seven key recommendations to continue making such progress. Examples of these recommendations in practice are evident at several sites partnering with GradMinnesota: Washington Technical Magnet School in St. Paul, the College Knowledge Fair held at Concordia University, and the West Education Center, an alternative program in District 287.

    Here are the seven recommended approaches:

    1. Ensure and Utilize Quality Data: Student performance as early as grade school can signal whether or not that student will leave or drop out. An early warning system that combines multiple data points, ranging from attendance and behavior to academic performance, can be used to identify and provide a framework of supports for students who may not be on track to graduate.
    2. Provide a Tiered Framework of Interventions and Support: Support for students comes through a tiered framework that ranges from universal efforts to encourage all students; targeted supports for students with early warning indicators; and intensive supports for those at high risk of not graduating.
    3. Increase Mentoring: Minnesota Alliance with Youth believes at-risk students need support, not punitive warnings. The GradMinnesota Initiative actively promotes mentoring as a key strategy that empowers adults to make a difference in the lives of youth.
    4. Recover and Re-engage: Once a student leaves school, they can become lost to the education system. The GradMinnesota Initiative supports building a coordinated system to re-engage these students. Offering young people the ability to return to school or to take advantage of alternative learning options that will allow them to earn their diploma is critical.
    5. Replace Exclusionary Discipline Procedures with Alternatives: Research shows zero tolerance behavior policies can actually increase long-term problems for students and can push them out of school. Worse, they disproportionately affect boys, and are often used to punish minor misconduct. GradMinnesota encourages a revision of exclusionary policies in favor of alternatives that teach and promote better behaviors.
    6. Provide Transportation: Lack of transportation is a barrier that affects students who need access to nontraditional education programs, including after school programs, alternative learning centers, or college courses to succeed. GradMinnesota is working on transportation solutions that allow equal access to programming for all students.
    7. Champion Alternative Pathways and Additional Time: The availability and accessibility of alternative forms of education help students who are challenged by traditional school settings. For example, some students may need more time or innovative programming to complete school and successfully move onto opportunities in the workforce or continuing education.

    7 Ways GradMinnesota and Minnesota Alliance With Youth are Working to Raise Graduation Rates
    7 Ways GradMinnesota and Minnesota Alliance With Youth are Working to Raise Graduation Rates

    GradMinnesota is made up of Minnesota Alliance With Youth, the Office of the Governor, and Minnesota Department of Education. To read more about the initiative, visit: https://mnyouth.net/work/gradminnesota/.

  • How Small Steps Make a Big Difference In Raising Minnesota’s Graduation Rates

    by LearnEd

    A lady smiling

    This is the first of a series highlighting the unique ways states and local groups are helping young people finish high school and stay on the road to college or a career.

    Teachers at West Education Center use different techniques to focus on each individual student’s needs to succeed in the classroom.
    Teachers at West Education Center use different techniques to focus on each individual student’s needs to succeed in the classroom.

    At West Education Center just south of Minneapolis, Alexia Poppy-Finley often uses social media to find students on the verge of dropping out or young adults who already left school.  Online, she encourages them to consider coming back—but only when they’re ready.

    West Education Center is one of several alternative education centers in what’s known as Intermediate District 287, a partner to Minnesota’s school districts focusing on providing a supportive and quality education to students facing multiple challenges.  

    Ms. Poppy-Finley, a licensed social worker at District 287, often recruits students herself, finding them online. Her work requires dedication and persistence; in one instance, she texted with a student for nearly three years before the young adult returned to school at the West Education Center.

    “It’s the power of relationships,” said Ms. Poppy-Finley. “We show them the choice is theirs and give them options to succeed.”

    Alexia and West Education Center staff talk to Pearson and Minnesota Alliance With Youth.
    Alexia and West Education Center staff talk to Pearson and Minnesota Alliance With Youth.

    West Education Center and Intermediate District 287 are just two examples of local efforts highlighted by Minnesota Alliance with Youth that work to improve graduation for all young people. The ability to bring together multiple partnerships to impact a common goal is one reason why the group was just awarded a $200,000 grant from America’s Promise Alliance and Pearson.

    The Minnesota Alliance With Youth partners with the Office of the Governor and the Minnesota Department of Education to support GradMinnesota. GradMinnesota is a statewide initiative that is linked to the national GradNation campaign led by America’s Promise Alliance. The goal is not to reinvent the wheel, but to affect change through collective efforts of school, community, and government agencies.

    More than 81 percent of Minnesota high school seniors graduated in 2014, up from 79.8 percent in 2013. But the graduation rate for students of color is much lower than their white counterparts. In 2014, 86.3 percent of white students graduated on time, compared to only 60.4 percent of black students and 50.6 percent of Native American students.

    Minnesota Public High School Graduation Rates
    Minnesota Public High School Graduation Rates.

    At West Education Center, many of the students face significant challenges. They may speak limited English, have unemployed parents, have mental health issues or may be young parents themselves. Additional barriers make attending and completing school even more difficult. For example, some of the neighboring school districts don’t bus to the center, forcing students to find their own way to the school. In some cases, this means a commute of more than an hour via public transportation.

    Students talk about their challenges before attending West Education Center and how they encourage others to take the steps to attend themselves.
    Students talk about their challenges before attending West Education Center and how they encourage others to take the steps to attend themselves.

    Finley says the school focuses on meeting each student’s unique needs. Teachers invest substantial personal time with each student and classes are often as small as seven to 10 people. When students need a special learning environment—like studying while listening to music—they are given that leeway.

    Despite these daily struggles, more than 50 percent of West Education Center’s students go on to graduate. A huge victory for many who thought high school graduation was never meant for them.

    West Education Center students like the one-on-one attention, focus and relationship with their teachers to help them succeed in their studies.
    West Education Center students like the one-on-one attention, focus and relationship with their teachers to help them succeed in their studies.

    College Knowledge Month: 62 Percent of Participants Had Increased Interest in College

    College Knowledge participants bustling in Concordia University’s gymnasium.
    College Knowledge participants bustling in Concordia University’s gymnasium.

    From four-year universities to two-year community colleges, opportunities often seem unrealistic for some District 287 students. But College Knowledge Month supports the belief that college can be for anyone. A recent College Knowledge Fair hosted at Concordia University gave students a glimpse into that path. Students walked throughout the Concordia University gymnasium and investigated potential colleges and universities, asking questions about programs offered, financial aid, credit requirements and more.

    Students gather at various university tables to learn about what various colleges have to offer them.
    Students gather at various university tables to learn about what various colleges have to offer them.

    Student Tati Ampah migrated towards Colorado State University. The school has an excellent art program. “I want to be a tattoo artist and this is a great art school that can help me,” said Tati.

    Tati the future tattoo artist
    Tati the future tattoo artist.

    The fair is part of a larger College Knowledge Month program, which encourages students to learn more about higher education opportunities. Two-thirds of student participants say that exposure to that information has increased their interest in going to college and helped them understand things like the admissions process.

    Attendance Matters: An Estimated 5 to 7.5 Million Students Nationwide Are Absent 18-19 Days Per Year

    School buses lined up after dropping off students at Washington Technology Magnet School
    School buses lined up after dropping off students at Washington Technology Magnet School.

    Another approach supported by the Alliance tackles a major factor affecting graduation rates: school attendance.

    Minnesota law requires schools to drop students once they have 15 unexcused absences. The team at the Washington Technology Magnet School works diligently to prevent that from happening. They know that once students drop out, it is nearly impossible to get them back into the classroom.

    Washington Technology Magnet School and School Attendance Matters team up to tackle school attendance.
    Washington Technology Magnet School and School Attendance Matters team up to tackle school attendance.

    Washington’s Attendance Intervention Program starts with a telephone call home and 90 minute after school detention for unexcused absences. Interventions for three to five unexcused absences include a letter home to the parent from the school Attendance Liaison, and a parent/student meeting with the County Attorney. At seven unexcused absences, an attendance contract is developed outlining responsibilities of the student, parent/guardian and the school. If a student reaches 10 unexcused absences, that process escalates to Student Assistance Review Team hearing.

    But the Attendance Team takes a positive approach to avoid getting to that point. Team members meet with students to find out what’s preventing them from coming to school and provide incentives and practical assistance to keep them attending. Many students come to rely on their counselors for help with basic needs like groceries, carpool rides and day care.

    Even if a student drops out, the team doesn’t lose hope. Team member Albert Green continues to seek out former students in the community, on Facebook and Snapchat, going that extra mile—even buying diapers to help a teen mom care for her newborn.

    Allied with the Minnesota Alliance With Youth

    America’s Promise Alliance and Pearson believe that education is one of the most important ways to put young people on the path to a better future. GradMinnesota’s collective impact approach and recommendations to facilitating students’ success offers lessons that both schools and states can apply to their own efforts to raise graduation rates. With a focus on collaboration and empowering individuals, the Alliance is building bridges in Minnesota and proving that when organizations come together, they can make a big difference. Look for more reports on their future progress.

    Minnesota Alliance WIth Youth

     

  • 4 Common Types of Tests Teachers Give (and Why)

    by LearnEd

    Close-up of a multiple choice answer sheet

     

    Dr. Kimberly O’Malley is a public school teacher, a mother of two boys, and a Pearson researcher at the Pearson Research & Innovation Network. She specializes in ways to measure student growth and in finding new ways to interpret test scores so that they’re more meaningful.

    When parents hear the word “testing,” many think “clear your desk and take out your No. 2 pencil.” They imagine testing to be what happens at the end of the year when students are faced with blue books and bubble sheets.

    As a public school teacher, I use different types of testing. When I taught my second graders how to tell time on an analog clock, I handed out models of clocks and called out different times. The students moved the hands to express each one, and would hold up their clocks so I could check who was having trouble. I got feedback on student learning during the lesson and it helped me tailor my instruction in real time.

    What testing offers me, as a teacher, is information about where students are in their learning and insights that guide me as I move forward with my lesson plans.

    As a parent, I get testing information on my two boys, Jace (13) and Luke (10), throughout the school year. I use the feedback from different forms of testing — grades on assignments, notes from their teacher, and standardized test results — to track the progress they are making.

    What testing offers me, as a parent, is an understanding of how my boys are doing academically. Test results are a way for me to have eyes on my kids’ classrooms even though I am not there. This information guides what we focus on when we do homework at the kitchen table.

    Understanding the different types of testing, the kinds of results they provide, and how they complement one another can help parents help their children learn.

     

    Different Types of Testing 

    There are four types of testing in schools today — diagnostic, formative, benchmark, and summative.

    4 types of testing

    Diagnostic Testing

    This testing is used to “diagnose” what a student knows and does not know. Diagnostic testing typically happens at the start of a new phase of education, and covers topics students will be taught in upcoming lessons.

    Teachers use diagnostic testing information to guide what and how they teach. They’ll spend more time teaching skills students struggled with most on the diagnostic test.

    Diagnostic testing can be a helpful tool for parents. The feedback my kids receive on these tests lets me know what kind of content they will be focusing on in class and lets me anticipate which skills or areas they may have trouble with.

     

    Formative Testing

    This type of testing is used to gauge student learning during the lesson. It is informal and low-stakes, used throughout a lecture and designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate they understand the material (like in my clock activity example above).

    Schools normally do not send home reports on formative testing, but it is an important part of teaching and learning. If you help your children with their homework, you are likely using a version of formative testing as you work together.

     

    Benchmark Testing

    This testing is used to check whether students have mastered a unit of content. Benchmark testing is given during or after a classroom focuses on a section of material.

    Unlike diagnostic testing, students are expected to have mastered material on benchmark tests. Parents will often receive feedback from these tests - it’s important to me as a parent, as it gives me insight into which concepts my boys did not master. If I want to further review a concept with my boys, I can find lessons, videos, or games online, or ask their teachers for resources.

     

    Summative Testing

    This testing is used as a checkpoint at the end of the year or course to assess how much content students learned overall. This type of testing is similar to benchmark testing, but covers everything students have been learning throughout the year.

    These tests are given to all students in a classroom, school, or state, so everyone has an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they know. Students demonstrate their ability to perform at the level prescribed as the proficiency standard for the test.

    Since summative tests cover the full range of concepts for a given grade level, they are not able to assess any one concept deeply. As a parent, I consider summative testing a confirmation about what I should already know about my sons’ performance. I don’t expect to be surprised by the results, given the feedback I have received from diagnostic, formative, and benchmark testing.

     

    Combining Test Results

     We need a balance of the four different types of testing in order to get a holistic view of our children’s academic performance.

    Though each type offers important feedback, the real value is in putting all that data together. First, using a diagnostic test, you can gauge what a student already knows and what she will learn in an upcoming unit. Next, formative tests help teachers and parents monitor the progress a student is making on a daily basis. A benchmark test can be an early indicator of whether students have met a lesson’s goals, allowing parents and teachers to reteach concepts the student is struggling with. Ideally, when heading into summative testing, teachers and parents should already know the extent to which a student has learned the material. The summative testing provides that final confirmation.

    Hopefully, the next time parents hear the word “testing,” they won’t just think of summative testing. Instead, they’ll think of all four types and the value of each in realizing a richer, more thorough understanding of their child’s progress.

     

    Read the full story on Kimberly's blog.

    Pearson’s Research and Innovation Network is made up of top education experts who explore solutions and innovations for challenges faced by teachers, parents and students. They’re working to ensure that learning is engaging, meaningful,personalized and focused on student success.

  • More Than a Test Score: How Parents and Teachers Can Understand the Whole Child

    by LearnEd

    Man and woman looking into a phone

    "Too few students graduate from high school with habits that prepare them for college," says Matt Gaertner, a learning PhD at Pearson who specializes in college access, college admissions, and college success." Graduating from high school is an important goal, but it shouldn't be the ultimate goal."

    Matt says traditional reliance on academic achievement and standardized test scores to indicate college readiness in the final years of high school is part of the challenge. "These tests are delivered so late in high school," he says. "There's often no time to correct learning gaps and get students back on track."

    Matt and his colleagues are developing ways to measure readiness in ways that are both more precise and available to parents and teachers long before a student's junior or senior year in high school.

    The alternative approach to assessing college readiness, Matt says, involves combining academic achievement with five more categories of learning:

    • Motivation, or grit. Is the student achieving beyond their ability? Does the student believe she has control over her success?
    • Behavior. This category encompasses absences, discipline referrals, or suspensions.
    • Social engagement. Is the student involved in activities after school?
    • Family circumstances. Are family members involved in the learning process? This also takes in to account parent education levels and income.
    • School characteristics. This category encompasses community-related factors like crime rates and poverty rates.

    Matt says a combined index of these categories is a much more accurate indicator of college readiness. "It's the whole student," he says.

    This new index has bPearson Motivation Behavioreen tested against a massive Department of Education study that followed a national cohort of 8th graders over the course of 12 years. Of the around 500,000 students in the study who did not attend post secondary school of any kind, 90-percent of them would have been flagged by the index—in 8th grade.

    What's more, the index shows that motivation and behavior combined have more impact on a student's readiness than academic achievement. "People often think it's all about test scores," Matt says. "That's not true."

    Matt says all of this is good news for parents. "We can get very good, very useful diagnoses about your kid's progress towards important goals much earlier than we ever thought we could," he says.

    Matt and his colleagues are already working with school systems on a tool to get their index in the hands of teachers and parents -- to flag learning gaps in students before it's too late.

    Pearson Whole Child Tips

  • A New Way To Boost High School Graduation Rates

    by LearnEd

    Graduated students in the sunset

    Don Kilburn
    President, North America, Pearson

    Education is unquestionably the foundation of a brighter future, and graduating from high school the most fundamental step toward good employment and further education. For that reason, boosting graduation rates throughout America, and particularly among underserved student populations, is an essential piece of building a more just and fair economy and society, with more opportunities for all.

    President Obama has stated a goal of achieving 90% high school graduation rates by 2020, and Pearson is proud to support that goal. We put the learner at the heart of everything we do, and believe strongly in advancing the cause of opportunity for all students.

    In June, we announced the GradNation State Activation initiative in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance. This partnership aims to support and scale multi-year, cross-sector efforts at the state and local levels to make measurable impact on graduation rates.

    We’re delighted to announce three state organizations that will each receive a $200,000 grant to support their work towards these goals.

    • The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable engages with mayors in 16 cities across the state through the Arizona Activation Initiative, in collaboration with WestEd and other state partners
    • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education focuses on students whose first language is not English
    • The Minnesota Alliance With Youth, which supports GradMinnesota, a statewide initiative to increase the graduation rate, focusing on students of color, low-income students, English language leaners and students with disabilities.

    An independent panel selected the grantees from a group of 41 applicants from 26 states. The panel, consisting of respected leaders in the education and youth development community, including Building a Grad Nation report co-author John Bridgeland, president and CEO, Civic Enterprises; former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, president, Alliance for Excellent Education;  Karen Pittman, co-founder, president and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment;  and 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples.

    We congratulate the grantees, and wish them the best in the work to come. We’re looking forward to working with you, supporting you and celebrating the progress you will make in the years ahead.

  • Great Minds Think Unalike: Creatively Teaching Gender Diversity in the Workplace

    by LearnEd

    A team collaborating

    When Kendra Thomas was asked to consider a new Pearson project that could help companies understand gender differences (gender diversity), she thought it was "just another reason to single out women who 'all cry in the marketplace.'" She says "that kind of thinking drives me batty."

    Kendra is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in the Americas for Pearson. Her regard for this new project changed drastically when she saw two brain scan images, one of a male's brain at rest and the other of a female's brain at rest. The pictures were entirely different, showing the stark differences between men and women's cognitive processes. "It was really valuable," she says. "If you're not a gender intelligent colleague or leader, then you're missing a lot of progress."

    Brains
    Brain scans of a female brain (left) and a male brain (right). Both brains are at rest.

    Not long after, Be Gender Intelligent was born. It's an online curriculum produced by Pearson in close collaboration with Barbara Annis and Associates, a firm that takes ground-breaking gender research seminars in to executive suites and board rooms.

    "We want to translate that experience, not simply transcribe it," says Sean Stowers who's Pearson's Director of Learning Services. For example, Be Gender Intelligent takes those two brain scans usually shown on a screen during seminars and adds several more interactive steps for the online learner.

    Gender Intelligence 2
    A screen shot of the Be Gender Intelligent digital program for online learners.

    "It begins with the brain science," Sean says about the online version of the two images. "Then we scroll through key differences between men and women in the pictures. Then, again through interactivity and video, we show the man's perspective during the experience, as well as the woman's perspective during the same experience."

    Sean says his own team has learned how to be more gender intelligent while working on the project. "It's now part of our own dialogue," he says.

    Be Gender Intelligent will be available to large firms and their employees starting this fall. The design team has integrated some of Pearson's most creative thinking about online learning in to the almost 16 hours of content. "It can be structured so that learners can go through it in a pace that works for them," Sean says.

    Learning and inclusion work hand-in-hand to make organizations more efficient—and more profitable. “If you don’t know how to be gender intelligent with your colleagues, then you’re likely not finding the best or most innovative solutions together,” says Kendra Thomas. “Truly transformative things happen when men and women leverage their diversity to work better together.”

    Kendra provided three tips for increasing your gender intelligence

    1. Be an insatiable learner. Being gender intelligent means having curiosity that goes beyond binary gender lines. Gender intelligent leaders voraciously learn all that they can, regardless of whether the learning comes from a male or female viewpoint. This makes them more attuned to fine differences that can make or break teams.
    2. Be inclusive. You cannot be a gender intelligent colleague or leader without keeping a constant eye on whether you are contributing to the environment. Practicing inclusive leadership lets you better leverage the unique skills men and women bring to the workplace. 
    3. Even if a meeting ends, keep the dialogue going. Instead of rushing to an immediate conclusion, train yourself to step back and ask, "is there anything here that I'm missing?" Exercise your muscles around contextual and web-like thinking.

    Read more from Kendra and Sean on Twitter.

    Read more about how Pearson and the Gender Intelligence Group are exploring gender intelligence together.

  • You're Already a Learning Expert at Home, Here's How

    by LearnEd

    Photo of a family

    A Concept Called 'Retrieval Practice'

    Retrieval Pull

    Liane Wardlow is a learning research scientist at Pearson—and a mom. Both of these roles are involved when she's helping her children with their homework.

    "My son often has spelling homework, or definitions," Liane says. "Re-writing those words and definitions over and over again doesn't help him learn as much as asking him to spell the words and explain the definitions out loud, out of order."

    It's a concept called retrieval practice and, after decades and decades of research, it's more or less proven to help learners create stronger memories about what they're learning.

    Ever read something, then forget it five minutes later? Liane says you're reading, but you're not putting the information in your long-term memory.

    Reading

    Learning Curves, Forgetting Curves

    Learning curves are often steep for learners. That means forgetting curves can be steep, too.

    "When students are getting ready for a test, they're typically re-reading material or reviewing notes or re-immersing themselves in the material," Liane says. "That's much less effective than forcing a learner to retrieve memories about what they've learned."

    Liane says she tries to do this sort of thing with her daughter, too. "I ask her for her class notes, then I just ask her questions about the material," she says.

    "We're all working towards student learning, towards improving their lives through learning beyond just memorization and forgetting," Liane says. "This is a very simple, no-cost thing that everybody can understand and use to make the learning experience that much better."

    Pearson's Research and Innovation Network is made up of top education experts who explore solutions and innovations for challenges faced by teachers, parents and students. They’re working to ensure that learning is engaging, meaningful, personalized and focused on student success.

  • Learning So-Called Soft Skills Could Tip the Scales In Your Favor For a Job

    by LearnEd

    Woman looking at a man

    Millions of students each year face an American job market that is as competitive as it is evolving. A recent Person survey shows that these employment challenges are wearing a lot of folks down: an incredible 41-percent of people are pessimistic about the future of employment.

    Job applicants have to keep ahead of the challenges with new skills and new learning. That same Pearson survey finds that 65-percent of today's 12-year-olds will have jobs that don't yet exist.

    Future Jobs

    “The challenge goes beyond just giving someone the skills to get a job,” said Leah Jewell, Pearson's Managing Director of Workforce Readiness and Higher Education. “Employability extends from prep to getting and keeping a job. It encompasses basic skills, technical skills, soft skills, and workplace skills. I don’t believe most schools think about teaching those soft skills, things like personal and sociability and other employability skills.”

    Employability Tease Graphic2
    Certain attributes are critical in increasing long-term employability

    Hard skills are the ones that are teachable, like computer programming, foreign language proficiency, or SEO marketing. These are the abilities that are easily quantifiable for recruiters.

    Soft skills are less measurable. Sometimes referred to as "people skills" or "interpersonal skills," these are the things that complement hard skills. They're also more valuable to recruiters. Applicants who are proficient in these skills are sought after because they're much harder to teach—and they make individuals more enjoyable to work with.

    Here are seven "soft skills" employers are looking for in potential hires:

    1. Adaptability - responding well to challenges will help you grow personally and profressionally

    2. Resilience - learning from experience and boldly attacking subsequent challenges

    3. Optimism - being the most poistive person in any meeting - generate good energy and good will

    4. Integrity - being trustworthy, honest, and authentic

    5. Critical thinking - challenging assumptions and finding new and bold solutions

    6. Proactivity - thinking and acting ahead

    7. Empathy - respecting and nurturing all relationships with co-workers and clients

    More on the Pearson poll we mentioned:

    comp_pearson-infographic_smaller2

    Read more from Leah on Twitter.

  • Meet Matt and Briana: They're Making Learning More Childish

    by LearnEd

    Students and teachers at a desk

    Matt and Briana live in Arizona. He is 12. She is 11. Both of them have an essential role in the design of future learning tools because ... well, they're children.

    "It's been a long time since we were kids," says (adult) researcher Lisa Maurer who helps run Kids CoLab with Pearson. The project pairs kids like Matt and Briana with adults for collaborative sessions on upcoming projects and products. "Everyone has a role," Lisa says. "They only thing the kids need to do is be kids."

    Kids CoLab meets each week for about 90 minutes. After snack and circle time, adults and children split up together in to groups to test out a design task or research technique. Everybody addresses each other by first name. Each session ends with presentations about ideas and discoveries.

    "It's helped me change how I look at school," says Briana in the video below. "Like in projects, I'll be open to more things and more ideas."

    "She wasn't always a tinkerer," says Briana's mom, Joyce. "She manipulates things more. She's a problem solver."

    "We're empowering children to take part in the design and ideation process to make learning better," says Lisa Maurer. "We know the role that engagement plays in learning. If kids can be involved in the process early on, they can make changes to the whole system in positive ways."

    Coming soon: more about the specific projects and contributions of the Kids CoLab team.