The cicadas are a superfamily, the Cicadoidea, of insects in the order Hemiptera. They are in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha, along with smaller jumping bugs such as leafhoppers and froghoppers; the superfamily is divided into two families, with two species in Australia, Cicadidae, with more than 3,000 species described from around the world. Cicadas have prominent eyes set wide apart, short antennae, membranous front wings, they have an exceptionally loud song, produced in most species by the rapid buckling and unbuckling of drumlike tymbals. The earliest known fossil Cicadomorpha appeared in the Upper Permian period, they live in trees, feeding on watery sap from xylem tissue and laying their eggs in a slit in the bark. Most cicadas are cryptic; the vast majority of species are active during the day with some calling at dawn or dusk. Only a rare few species are known to be nocturnal; the periodic cicadas spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging only after 13 or 17 years. The unusual duration and timing of their emergence may reduce the number of cicadas lost to predation, both by making them a less reliably available prey, by emerging in such huge numbers that they will satiate any remaining predators before losing enough of their number to threaten their survival as a species.

The annual cicadas are species. Though these cicadas have lifecycles that can vary from one to nine or more years as underground larvae, their emergence above ground as adults is not synchronized, so some members of each species appear every year. Cicadas have been featured in literature since the time of Homer's Iliad, as motifs in art from the Chinese Shang dynasty, they have been used in myth and folklore as symbols of carefree living and immortality. Cicadas are eaten by human beings in various countries, including China, where the nymphs are served deep-fried in Shandong cuisine; the name is directly from the onomatopoeic Latin cicada. The superfamily Cicadoidea is a sister of the Cercopoidea. Cicadas are arranged into two families: Cicadidae; the two extant species of the Tettigarctidae include one in southern Australia and the other in Tasmania. The family Cicadidae is subdivided into the subfamilies Cicadinae, Tibicininae and Cicadettinae; some previous works included a family-level taxon called the Tibiceninae.

The largest species is the Malaysian emperor cicada Megapomponia imperatoria. Cicadas are notable for the great length of time some species take to mature. At least 3000 cicada species are distributed worldwide with the majority being in the tropics. Most genera are restricted to a single biogeographical region and many species have a limited range; this high degree of endemism has been used to study the biogeography of complex island groups such as in Indonesia and the Orient. There are several hundred described species in Australia and New Zealand, around 150 in South Africa, over 170 in America north of Mexico, at least 800 in Latin America, over 200 in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. About 100 species occur in the Palaearctic. A few species are found in southern Europe, a single species was known from England, the New Forest cicada, Cicadetta montana, which occurs in continental Europe. Many species await formal description and many well-known species are yet to be studied using modern acoustic analysis tools that allow their songs to be characterized.

Many of the North American species are the annual or jarfly or dog-day cicadas, members of the Neotibicen, Megatibicen, or Hadoa genera, so named because they emerge in late July and August. The best-known North American genus, may be Magicicada; these periodical cicadas have an long lifecycle of 13 or 17 years, with adults and emerging in large numbers. Australian cicadas are found on tropical islands and cold coastal beaches around Tasmania, in tropical wetlands and low deserts, alpine areas of New South Wales and Victoria, large cities including Sydney and Brisbane, Tasmanian highlands and snowfields. Many of them have common names such as cherry nose, brown baker, red eye, yellow Monday, whisky drinker, double drummer, black prince; the Australian greengrocer, Cyclochila australasiae, is among the loudest insects in the world. Forty-two species from five genera populate New Zealand, ranging from sea level to mountain tops, all are endemic to New Zealand and the surrounding islands. Fossil Cicadomorpha first appeared in the Late Triassic.

The superfamily Palaeontinoidea contains three families. The Upper Permian Dunstaniidae are found in Australia and South Africa, in younger rocks from China; the Upper Triassic Mesogereonidae are found in South Africa. However, this group is thought to be more distantly related to Cicadomorpha than thought; the Palaeontinidae or "giant cicadas" come from the Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous of Eurasia and South America. The first of these was a fore wing discovered in the Taynton Limestone Formation of Oxfordshire, England. Most fossil Cicadidae are known from the Cenozoic, the oldest unambiguously identified specimen is Davispia bearcreekensis from 59-56 Ma

Transformative assessment

Transformative assessment is a form of assessment that uses “institution-wide assessment strategies that are based on institutional goals and implemented in an integrated way for all levels to systematically transform teaching and learning.” Transformative assessment is focused on the quality of the assessment instruments and how well the assessment measures achieving of a goal. "The classic approach is to say, if you want more of something, measure it"There is a dialectical aspect to transformative assessment with standardized measures that implicitly claim that learning can be decontextualized and that comparisons of scores across contexts hold meaning. Transformative assessment by its title implies that there is no single absolute standard that can be assessed, that each context requires its own definition of a successful learning performance. Further, the process of assessment will do much to shape the performance. Central to transformative assessment, are the stakeholders who engage in the assessment process.

Because standardized measures involve faculty who teach or the hearts of the students who learn, they are not transformative. This is unlike Student-centered learning, where the focus is on the needs of the student, unlike Standards-based assessment where the focus is on the institution achieving a specific level of learner proficiency. Neither of those strategies help the institution to reform at all levels; the Transformational Assessment Project was an activity within the EDUCAUSE National Learning Infrastructure Initiative. The project was active from January 2002 to September 2003 and was coordinated by Vicki Suter of EDUCAUSE. Core members were Gary Brown, Darren Cambridge, Steve Ehrmann, Joan Lippincott, Patricia McGee, Vicki Suter and Robin Zuniga. Project members made presentations on the work at Educause 2002, NLII 2003 Annual Meeting and the AAHE Assessment conference in 2003; the project produced a rubric for evaluating the transformative potential of an assessment program or plan.

While the project produced a tool for assessing the transformative potential of institutional assessment strategies, it did not produce any implementation. Assessment Purpose The assessment plan aligns with other institutional plans and promotes a collaboration of administration, faculty and community. Data Acquisition & Analysis Data from multiple and diverse sources illuminate students’ learning, learning processes, learning purposes learning as those aspects of learning extend beyond course- specific outcomes. Application of Findings The assessment findings are used to systematically inform and reshape teaching and learning practice to improve effectiveness, and/or value, to promote an operational “culture of evidence”. Dissemination Results are reported internally and externally with plans for expanding the collaboration for transformation. A series of blog posts in 2008 by Nils Peterson, Theron Desrosier, Jayme Jacobson are exploring transforming the grade book to closer align with the criteria of the transformative assessment rubric.

Washington State University is attempting to implement a version of transformative assessment as part of its University re-accreditation process. Educause Learning Initiative

Green Hill Park Shelter

The Green Hill Park Shelter is a historic picnic shelter in Green Hill Park, the largest city park of Worcester, Massachusetts. It was designed by architect George H. Clemence, built in 1910-11; the building is the most architecturally sophisticated park pavilion in the city, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Green Hill Park is located in eastern Worcester, occupying about 480 acres of uplands separating the Blackstone River valley from Lake Quinsigamond. Near the center of the park is Green Hill Pond, a 30-acre artificial body of water; the shelter is located near the southeastern end of the lake, between it and Green Hill Parkway, the park's main circulating road. The shelter is an open structure, consisting of sixteen fieldstone piers supporting a hip roof with curved eaves and ridge; the roof has a metal support structure. At its south end is an enclosed area designed for use as a concession stand; the roof's flared edges and projecting louvered. The park was a country estate, given to the city by Andrew Green in 1906.

None of the estate's original buildings have survived. The shelter is one of several buildings that were designed by local architects as part of its conversion to a public facility, it was designed by George H. Clemence, completed in 1911. National Register of Historic Places listings in eastern Worcester, Massachusetts