Monday, December 31, 2007

Internet use and libraries study

Internet-savvy young adults drawn to libraries
Computer-savvy adults ages 18 to 30 were the biggest library users in the U.S. this year, according to a recent survey. Internet users were more than twice as likely to patronize libraries as non-Internet users, according to the survey. More than two-thirds of library visitors in all age groups said they used computers while at the library. 65% of them looked up information on the Internet while 62% used computers to check into the library's resources. One major surprise was our finding that those who live in the Gen Y generation cohort are more likely than their elders to use libraries when they face problems. Those in Gen Y are also more likely to patronize libraries for all kinds of reasons"Internet use seems to create an information hunger and it is information-savvy young people who are most likely to visit libraries."
Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2007). Information Searches That Solve Problems. Washington, DC: Author.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Library impact study

Powerful Libraries Make Powerful Learners: The Illinois Study
This Illinois State study links student achievement (e.g., test scores) to strong student libraries; major factors include staffing, computer access to OPACs and DBs, library visits, and collections.
Lance, K. (2007). Powerful Libraries Make Powerful Learners: The Illinois Study. Canton, IL: Illinois School Library Media Association.

Online learning study

Online learning growth and needs
30 states now offer state-led online learning programs or initiatives, 42 states have either supplemental of full-time online learning programs for K12. More oversight is needed is this trend increases because some programs do not adhere to high-quality standards. Furthermore, programs need to be accessible for all, and require teacher training.
North American Council for Online Learning. (2007). Keeping pace with K-12 online learning. Vienna, VA: Author.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Social skills study

Social-Skills Programs Affect Academic Achievement
New research suggests that teachers should take time to teach students to manage their emotions and to practice empathy, caring, and cooperation.
Rand Corp. (2007). Caregiver well-being affects academic achievement. Santa Monica, CA: Author.

New teachers studies

New Teachers Outdo Peers of Last Decade on Academic Scales
A new study concludes that teachers entering the profession today have higher academic qualifications than their counterparts a decade ago. Those who used alternative routes and those in traditional programs show equally strong gains over the earlier test-takers. The improvements held equally for men and women, for different racial and ethnic groups, and across those aiming for careers in elementary and secondary teaching, the report says. Less positively, though, the profiles of those seeking a license to teach in elementary school, special education, or physical education remained “markedly” lower, it says, than the profiles of those seeking to teach an academic subject in high school. And takers of the tests for middle school teaching—including experienced teachers seeking federal “highly qualified” status—“much more” strongly resembled elementary school teachers in their weaker academic qualifications.
Gitomer, D. (2007). Teacher quality in a changing policy landscape. Princeton, NJ: ETS.

Reports Renew Debate Over Alternative Preparation
Only half the teachers in high-needs schools trained via alternative routes said they were prepared for the first year of teaching, according to survey findings. Only half the teachers in high-needs schools trained via such routes said they were prepared for the first year of teaching, compared with 80 % of teachers prepared in traditional programs, according to survey findings in the report released last week.
In addition, 54 % of teachers prepared in alternative programs said they could have used more time working with a classroom teacher during the preservice period, and 16 % say they spent no time with a teacher before their first jobs.
Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. (2007). Lessons Learned: New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges and Long-Range Plans. New York: Author.

Two organizations slammed a majority of the 49 programs surveyed as providing “woefully inadequate training and support” to their candidates.
Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. (2007).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Startling evidence for the power of reading

A review of PISA 2000 testing: Startling evidence for the power of reading (and of course libraries)

Brozo, W., Shiel, G. and Topping, K. 2007. Engagement in reading: Lessons learned from three PISA countries. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 51 (4): 304-315.

The PISA is a reading test given to 15 year olds in 31 countries, in the language of the country. The mean score is 500. Finland was number one, at 546. USA was 504, in the middle.

Here is the finding of greatest importance to us, in my opinion: Reading engagement can help overcome the effects of poverty. “Engagement in reading” was a stronger predictor of reading performance than SES (socio-economic status, or poverty). The data is in: Kirsh, I., de Jong, J., Lafontaine, D., McQueen, J., Mendelovitz, J and Monseur, C. 2002. Reading for Change: Performance and Engagement across Countries. Results from PISA 2000. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on pages 119 and 120. Here is an example –

SES defined here as parents’ occupational status.
Low SES group with the highest reading engagement scored 540. High SES group with the lowest reading engagement scored 491. The low SES readers did better than the high SES non-readers.
Kirsch et al also report that:
All students who were “highly engaged” in reading did better than the international mean. All students not highly engaged did worse than the international mean.

The Brozo, Shiel and Topping paper gives specific details about the US, Ireland, and the UK. They conclude that “there needs to be an increase in time allocated to personalized reading” (p. 311), especially for those in poverty. There is only one (very brief) mention of the importance of school libraries (p. 314).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

High school /college courses study

Students who take college courses while in high school are more likely their their peers to succeed in college. The sources more benefit males, students from low-income families and academic strugglers. Duel-enrollment programs, allowing students to take college courses for both HS and college credit, have become more popular.
Community College Resource Center. (2007). Postsecondary achievement of participants in duel enrollment. New York: Author.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teen communication study

Teens still value face-to-face communication
Despite the popularity of social-networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, 31% of teens say they have actual face time with friends every day. Nearly 40 percent of teens say they talk to friends on a traditional wired phone every day, and 35 percent say they do so on cell phones. Fewer teens say they communicate daily using IMing or other social-networking sites.
Pew Internet and American Life Project. (2007). Teens and social media. Washington, DC: Author.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

math studies

U.S. Middle-Grades Teachers Found Ill-Prepared in Math
Aspiring middle school teachers in the United States take fewer math courses and are less knowledgeable in the subject than their counterparts in South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries. That gap in teacher preparation, coupled with curricular differences, could help explain achievement disparities between American students and their peers in other industrialized nations. The teacher-candidates from the United States and Mexico also reported that their undergraduate programs covered less content in advanced math, analysis, and algebra than the other countries’. The American teacher-candidates were also less equipped for the practical aspects of teaching math to middle school students than their counterparts in all but Germany.
Moreover, teachers who pursue certification specific to middle school education, as opposed to elementary or secondary programs, are the least primed of all.
Schmidt, W. (2007). Mathematics teaching in the 21st century. East Lansing: Michigan State University.

Math and science learning linked
Another international study looks in part at the intersection between math achievement and science learning, which experts say suggests the broader importance of good math instruction.
American Institutes for Research. (2007). Lessons learned from U.S. international science performance. Washington, DC: Author.

Math teaching training needed
In its preliminary recommendations, the National Mathematics Avisory Panel highlighted the need for “systematically improving teacher-preparation programs, as well as professional-development strategies for teachers already in the field.”
National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2007). Preliminary report. Washington, DC: Author.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Library youth programs study

This ILMS-sponsored study focuses on understanding informal learning.
"Young people respond to appropriate structure, positive relationships,
and a sense of accomplishment - and they need more than schools alone
can offer. Libraries and museums help fill the gaps through
complementary leadership, rich resources, and effective programs."
Museums and libraries bring unique assets to youth development,
according to the study. They include dedicated, knowledgeable staff;
authentic objects, artifacts, and information resources; opportunities
for personalized, hands-on learning; support for cognitive and social
development; and experiences to help parents, families, and caregivers
make learning fun and rewarding. According to the study, the most
effective youth programs:
*include long-term, trusting, supportive relationships between and among youth,
staff, and other adults;
*partner with community-based organizations and other cultural institutions;
*substantively involve youth in program design and decision making; and,
*regularly assess or evaluate, using what's learned to improve the program and
strengthen other youth development efforts
Institute of Museum and Library Services. (2007). Engaging America's Youth:
Final Report of a Study of IMLS Youth Programs, 1998-2003. Washington, DC: Author.

Reading and drop-outs study

For every 100 ninth-graders, 68 graduate on time, and 40 of those go to college. But by the following year, 13 of them have dropped out. To a large extent, these behaviors are correlated to reading habits.
National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. (2004). Educational pipeline loss rate. San Jose, CA: Author.

(Note: older study but still relevant...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Summer reading study

Students from lower SES families progress in reading competence about the same as advantaged students during the school year, but fall behind during the summer. This gap grows over the elementary school years, and may limit their later educational opportunities.
Alexander, K., Entwisle, D., & Olson, L. (2007, April). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap. American Sociology Review.

Children's Internet home use study

The vast majority of parents talk with their children about online safety and ethics, but far fewer parents explain how to critical evaluate information. Parents are less likely to talk with Children ages 6-10 about online issues.
Cable in the Classroom. (2007). Media smart parents. Washington, CD: Author.

Book banning support study

Since 1999, support for the idea of banning books from public school libraries has declined from 5% to 46%, the lowest level of support of the past 20 years.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. (22). Trends in political values and core attitudes, 1987-2007. Washington, DC: Author.

Teen drug use study

U.S. teens less involved overall with illicit drugs
U.S. teenagers are less likely to use drugs than a decade ago, but ecstasy and prescription-drug abuse are still at worrying levels. "The cumulative declines since recent peak levels of drug involvement in the mid-1990s are quite substantial, especially among the youngest students."
U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2007). Monitoring the future. Washington, DC:
U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse
Beginning teachers have better academic credentials than their predecessors did a decade ago, suggesting that tougher requirements at all levels — from the federal government to the local teacher's college — have forced teachers' colleges to improve offerings while luring more qualified candidates into teaching. The gains hold across gender, racial and ethnic lines.
Educational Testing Service. (2007). Teacher Quality in a Changing Policy Landscape: Improvements in the Teacher Pool. Princeton, NJ: ETS.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Student achievement studies

Children left behind before school starts
Four major factors driving students' standardized test performance aren't even within schools' control, according to a new study. Simply by knowing the percentage of students who were often absent, raised by a single parent, not read to daily or watched five or more hours of TV daily, researchers were able to predict each state's results on a federal test with "impressive accuracy." The states that scored lowest tended to be those that had the highest percentages of children who met each of the four criteria.
Educational Testing Service. (2007). The Family: America's Smallest School. Princeton, NJ: Author.

Poverty plays greater role in determining U.S. test scores
U.S. students' test scores are significantly more likely to be negatively affected when their parents are struggling financially compared with their peers in other countries who scored better in the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment. An estimated 18% of variation in U.S. teens' science scores was tied to the students' socioeconomic status, more than twice that of high-performing Finland and Canada.
PISA. (2007). 2006 Program for International Student Assessment. Paris: PISA.,3343,en_32252351_32236191_39718850_1_1_1_1,00.html

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teen birth study

Teen birth rate up 3%
For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. teen birth rate is up, rising 3% from 2005 to 2006. Opponents of abstinence-only health education that doesn't include discussion of other birth control options said the findings bear out their concerns over the effectiveness of such an approach, while health officials cautioned that the statistics may only be an anomaly.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2007). Births: Preliminary Data for 2006. Atlanta: Author.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Teacher experience study

Teacher experience tied to student success
An analysis of several studies indicates that student achievement improves when teachers are more experienced. Arming a teacher with an advanced degree, however, had a negligible effect on student achievement.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy. (2007). Basic education finance. Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Math and science study

Several countries outperform U.S. in math, science
Teenage students in several other developed countries have a better understanding of math and science than students in the U.S., according to new results from the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment, released today. "It's a sad state to be in," said Gerald F. Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association.
OECD. (2007). 2006 Program for International Student Assessment. Paris: OECD.