MPA Blog

Why Are Over 1000 Colleges No Longer Requiring SAT's or ACT's ?

That's right.  As of January 10th this year, 1000 colleges and universities no longer require an entrance exam of any kind.  Do you know how many didn't require a test in 1985?  


What in the world has changed everyone's mind?  It turns out after decades of SAT's and ACT's, studies show those tests don't predict success in college.  Even when used in conjunction with academic grades from...

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What Does the Best Learning Environment Look Like?

If you've ever visited preschools in the hope of choosing the best environment for your child, you will have seen a multitude of options.  But which one is best?  And how are you supposed to know for sure?  

Looking at the two photos above, most parents are familiar with the second one, which might resemble the preschool classroom of their own childhood.  It's filled with hanging art, colorful...

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Montessori's Response to Inequality


In 1907, the Italian owners of tenement buildings in the San Lorenzo slums of Rome had a brilliant idea. They had been concerned about the damage young children were doing to their apartment complexes while their parents were away at work.  (In those days,  childcare for those under six was not mandated by law.)  So, they came up with a plan: create a classroom inside a building so that the...

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Creating Tenacity


If you've ever spent time around farmers, you'll notice how normal they think they are.  But to us city folk, they're pretty amazing people.  I couldn't imagine doing what they do, but for them it's second nature. From the time they're young, young farmers hang out with their parents and watch all their activities, absorbing the nuances of a very difficult lifestyle, making it their own by...

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The Importance of the Freedom to Make Mistakes


If you're like most people, you prefer to avoid mistakes in your daily work.  They can be embarrassing, perhaps even career threatening.  Not so with very young children.  They don't differentiate between success and failure at first.  It's all just experimentation in their eyes.  As children age, the stakes rise in their education, as do peer and parental expectations, and children more...

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One of the amazing things you witness when you walk into a Montessori classroom is the concentration, which rises from the curiosity within nearly every child. For Dr. Montessori, this is the gold standard of her method, the sine qua non upon which everything else revolves.  And whether the child is two or twenty, curiosity remains the necessary propulsion to reach greater achievement at every...

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Do Relationships in Preschool Affect Performance?

It's well-known that classroom environments and teachers are important to a student's growth.  But a recent study reviewed 49 different classrooms to determine how important a student's engagement with fellow students, with teachers, along with materials, were to a child's success in a pre-school classroom.

What is engagement?  Simply put, "How does a child relate to his environment?"  Is he...

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Grades A Through F--Do They Help or Hinder?

A recent article in The Atlantic detailed the results of a teacher's experiment with eliminating grades from her classroom.  Her principal had approved for her to create a six week window without quantitative assessments for her students.  What were the results?

The teacher reported that "...during the six-week period when my students were freed from the pressures of grades and instead focused...

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Executive Function--How Does It Grow?

What exactly is executive function?  The term encompasses a wide range of abilities, many of which are used simultaneously.  These neurological processes include: attention, inhibition, working memory, fluid thinking, planning, and problem solving.  If these traits sound important to success in life, they are indeed.

Adults might find themselves wondering, "Is there a way I can improve my...

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"Why Do I Need to Learn This?"

"Why do I need to learn this?"  I am fairly certain we all asked this question, at some point, when going through school.  Some of us may have asked it more frequently than others.  The question gets to the heart of intrinsic motivation, a key ingredient to success in school--and life.  

Who do you think is best equipped to give a complete answer to that question above?  If you answered "the...

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