Friday, February 29, 2008

Advanced courses impact study

Overemphasis on rigor derailing U.S. high schools
By requiring all students to take advanced courses and score higher on standardized tests, states are missing out on deepening learning and teaching vital critical-thinking skills. Gains come at the expense of other goals for high school reform, including equity, curricular relevance, and student interest.
Grubb, W., Oakes, J. (2008). Restoring vaue to the high school diploma. Phoenix: Arizona St. University.

Tutoring study

NCLB tutoring may not be effective in raising scores
Federally funded tutoring may not be doing much to improve student test scores, according to early data from a University of Wisconsin-Madison study. Researchers did not see strong relationships between number of hours (students attend) and results. Tutoring programs are most effective when a student attends 40 to 45 hours in an academic year, a little more than an hour per week. But just 15% of middle school and 6% of high school students attended 40 or more hours in 2005-'06.

Academic achievement factors report

Focus on children, not testing
Academic achievement requires student engagement, personalized learning and skilled and caring teachers, not just testing gains, said a recent report from ASCD's Commission on the Whole Child. "We need to rethink what education of the whole child means and make sure every student has access to a rich and challenging curriculum that pays attention to other aspects."
ASCD Commission on the Whole Child. (2008). The learning compact redefined. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Library automation survey

The survey results indicate major differences in satisfaction in the products and companies from which libraries acquire their automation systems. Dissatisfaction and concern prevail, yet some companies maintain exceptional levels of satisfaction from the libraries that use their products.
Breeding, M. (2008). Perceptions 2007: An International Survey of Library Automation.

Homework survey

A survey found a big disconnect between teachers and parents when it comes to homework. Veteran teachers said homework is crucial to students' academic success in school. Most assigned homework to help students build skills like reading comprehension or to help them prepare for tests. One out of four teachers rated the quality of their homework as "excellent." But one-third of parents rated the quality of homework only "fair to poor." Parents also complained that there's too much homework — that it takes up way too much time and deprives their children of sleep.
The MetLife survey of the American teacher: the homework experience. Hartford, CT: MetLife.

teacher librarian impact study

Higher test scores linked to certified media specialists
Preliminary findings of research show a statistically significant increase in the ELA test scores—almost a 10 point difference—among fourth-grade students whose schools had certified librarians over students in schools without certified librarians. Certified librarians are also more likely to provide students with materials that present more diverse points of view and that better support the curriculum than non-certified librarians.
Small, R., et al. (2008). New York State's School Libraries and Library Media Specialists: An Impact StudySyracuse, NY: Syracuse University.

California student academic achievement report

Recent performance trends in California’s education system
Imazeki shows that California students have generally held steady or improved their academic performance across grades and subject areas in recent years, in spite of growing financial and demographic challenges in the state’s schools. Per pupil spending in California is well below the national average, and the ratio of adults to children in the system is lower than in almost any other state. A majority of California’s students are poor, and nearly one quarter are English learners. Despite these challenges, scores on state and national assessments have been rising, not only on average but for poor and minority students as well.
Imazeki, J. (2008). Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools. Berkeley, CA: PACE.

Play and academic success study

Imaginative play may help solve some behavioral problems
Researchers say unstructured play helps children learn to control their own emotions and behavior -- abilities that are a better predictor of a child's academic success than IQ. The regulated play many modern children experience doesn't foster such skills because the control has shifted to adults, which is something several researchers suspect may be behind the rising number of ADHD diagnoses.
Diamond, A. (2007, Nov. 30). Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control. Science, 318(5855), 1387 - 1388.

Teen knowledge survey

Survey Finds Teenagers Ignorant on Basic History and Literature Questions
In a phone survey of U.S. teens, researchers found that a significant proportion of teenagers live in “stunning ignorance” of history and literature.
Hess, F. (2008). What students don't know, even now. Washington, DC: Common Core.,filter.all/pub_detail.asp

Youth leadership readiness report

State Children's Cabinets & Councils: Getting Results for Children and Youth
Too few young people are entering adulthood ready and collective efforts to make a difference are far too fragmented to have a big impact. Partners, places and products are key to the five year plan of creating a critical mass of youth and adult leaders in every state across the country. Leaders have many opportunities for getting started in taking up the Ready by 21 Challenge.
Forum for Youth Investment. (2008). Ready by 21: The challenge. Washington, DC: Author.

Virtual teaching and autism research

Virtual characters and digital tutors are helping children and adults develop advanced social and language skills that can be tough to learn via conventional approaches. Children with autism can develop advanced social skills by interacting with a "virtual child" that they might not develop by hanging out with real children or teachers.
Cassell, J. (2008). Virtual Humans: A Tool for the Study and Teaching of Language and Social Interaction. Paper presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, Boston.

Monday, February 18, 2008

California NCLB report

Only 5% of California schools restructured successfully last year
Just 33 of the more than 700 California schools that were in NCLB restructuring during the 2006-07 school year improved their performance sufficiently to be granted a change in status, according to the Center on Education Policy. "Federal restructuring strategies have very rarely helped schools improve student achievement enough to ... exit restructuring," the report concludes. "Our findings in California point to the need to rethink restructuring across the nation."
Center on Education Policy. (2008). Managing More Than a Thousand Remodeling Projects. Washington, DC: Author.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

International literacy study

PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) collected data on student, family and institutional factors that explain differences in student reading performance. Findings include:
Girls outread boys.
Children from homes promoting literacy become better readings.
Only half of students enjoy reading,and almost 1/3 hardly ever read for fun.
Textbooks are the foundation of reading instruction, but independent silent reading is a frequent classroom activity.
In schools with few disadvantaged students reading achievement is much higher than in schools where 50+% students are disadvantage.
Ina V.S. Mullis, Michael O. Martin, Ann M. Kennedy, and Pierre Foy (2007). IEA's Progress in International Reading Literacy Study in Primary School in 40 Countries Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.

Literacy hot topics report

The International Reading Association's annual survey of literacy hot topics include: adolescent literacy, English as a second language/ELL, early intervention, fluency, high-stakes assessment, info/NF texts, literacy/reading coaches, and scientific-based practice.
International Reading Association. (2008). What's hot for 2008. Newark, DE: Author.

Academic libraries impact study

Using NCES,ARL and ACRL data, this study found that library expenditures and professional staff significantly and positively impact student retention. There is also a positive correlations between professional library staff and doctorate-granting institutions.
Mezick, E. (2007). Return on investment: Libraries and student retention. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(5), 561-566.

Emerging technologies report

This annual report identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have considerable impact on teaching, learning, and creative expression within higher education. The six selected areas for 2008 include: grassroots video, collaboration webs, mobile broadband, data mashups, collective intelligence, and social operating systems.
New Media Consortium and Educause Learning Initiative. (2008). Horizon Report. Austin, TX: Author.

Library services to immigants study

Best practices for immigrant outreach
Public library strategies that help communities successfully welcome new Americans are explored in a new publication from the Urban Libraries Council. The study identifies five broad strategies for successful immigrant inclusion and community adaptation and shows how these strategies can be translated as public library outreach and programming.
Milam, D., & Ashton, R. (2008). Welcome, Stranger: Public Libraries Build the Global Village. Chicago: Urban Libraries Council.

Teen health study

Teens show different perceptions of health
A new study found that U.S. teens take into account family, school and social relationships when ranking their own health. The survey also showed that low-income teens placed more emphasis on mental health, rather than just physical health, than their wealthier counterparts.
Johnson, S., & Wang, C. (2008, Feb.). Why Do Adolescents Say They Are Less Healthy Than Their Parents Think They Are? The Importance of Mental Health Varies by Social Class in a Nationally Representative Sample. Pediatrics, 121: e307-e313.

Teen lying study

As kids get older their reasons for deception change
Experts say when children are younger, lying is about avoiding punishment, while at an older age, it becomes about adapting socially with their peers or parents. 98% of teens say they have lied to their parents.
Darling, N., Cumsille, P., Caldwell, L., Dowdy, B. (2008, in press). Predictors of adolescents' disclosure strategies and perceptions of parental knowledge. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Literacy study

Increased daily language instruction may still fall short
Providing ninth-graders with an extra 45 minutes a day of literacy instruction may help boost their reading skills -- but not by enough to help them reach grade level by the end of a school year, the findings of a new federal study suggest.
Institute of Education Sciences.(2008). Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Education.

Downloading survey

Many teens unfamiliar with downloading laws
About half of U.S. teens say they don't know what content can be legally downloaded online, according to a new Microsoft online survey. Teens who were familiar with such laws were much more likely to be in favor of punishing illegal downloaders.
KRC Research. (2008). Topline results of Microsoft survey of teen attitudes on illegal downloading. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.

Children's personality study

Imaginary friends may help children refine personality
Two in three children now admit to having imaginary friends up from one in nine in the 1930s, according to University of Oregon research. Moreover, children appear to be keeping their imaginary friends longer, with school-age children at least as likely to have imaginary companions as preschoolers.
Carter, R. (2008). Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality. Little, Brown,

Advanced Placement report

Advanced Placement test-taking numbers up, scores down
While nearly 15% of the 2007 graduating public high-school class in the U.S. took an Advanced Placement exam -- a 25% increase over the past four years -- the proportion of exams that received an acceptable score dipped from about 60% to 57%, according to the College Board, which administers the tests. While that makes the fourth-straight year that scores have fallen, there are school leaders who say the added participation is worth it.
College Board. (2008). AP report to the nation. Princeton, NJ: Author.

Student achievement database

Two-page report cards package state schools data
Report cards showing each state's K-12 performance and breaking down test results by race and income, and listing the high-school graduation rates reported by each state, are now available from the U.S. Department of Education.
US Department of Education. (2008). Mapping educational progress. Washington, DC: Author.

Physical exercise and learning book

Physical exercise a good warm-up for learning
A first-period exercise class is helping Illinois teens prime their brains for the day's coursework -- a model that should be expanded nationwide, some education and medical experts say. Researcher John J. Ratey said, "The exercise itself doesn't make you smarter, but it puts the brain of the learners in the optimal position for them to learn."
Ratey, J. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Education and the Brain. Little, Brown and Co.

Obesity studies

Sufficient sleep may prevent childhood obesity
Each additional hour of sleep may cut a child's risk of obesity by 9%, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Children who slept the least were 92% more likely to carry extra pounds compared to children who got sufficient shut-eye.
Chen, X., Beydoun, M., & aWang, Y. (2008, Feb.). Is Sleep Duration Associated with Childhood Obesity? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obesity.

BMI insufficient for determining weight-loss needs
A new report indicates that body mass index may not identify all patients who are carrying too much body fat. Measurements such as waist size and total percentage of fat are better for identifying those at risk from weight-related problems and in need of weight-loss recommendations and interventions, the study found.
Colombo, O., et al. (2008). To treat or not to treat: comparison of different criteria used to determine whether weight loss is to be recommended. Nutrition Journal, 7(5).

Student grouping report

Classify students by skills, not age
With poor statewide elementary and middle-school test scores and college-attendance rates relative to the rest of the country, a recent Arizona Community Foundation report recommended that children's advancement should be guided by their existing skills, as opposed to classifying students merely by age.
Arizona Community Foundation and Ellis Center for Educational Excellence. (2008). Educating Arizona. Phoenix: Authors.

Math teachers study

Experienced math teachers less common in low-income schools
Wealthier U.S. children are more likely to be taught by certified, experienced math teachers than those from poor families, according to a University of Missouri study, which examined eighth-graders in particular. When students are not taught by highly qualified teachers, their opportunity to learn is considerably lower.
Zhao, H., & Akiba, M. (In press). School expectations for parental involvement and its impact on student achievement in mathematics: A comparative study of middle schools in the U.S. and South Korea. Compare.

Bullying study

Bullying victims more likely to be depressed and anxious
Children who are bullied may be far more likely to become depressed or anxious or have suicidal thoughts, according to a British study.
Arsenault, L. (2008). Genetic and environmental influences on victims, bullies and bully-victims in childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(1).

Seamless education study

This study describes the P–16 approach of linking education strategies from preschool through college graduation to better prepare low-income minority students. Discusses academic content, state policy strategies, and P–16 network efforts in Atlanta. Lessons learned include: start in pre-K, support communities who help students, focus on transitions periods (elementary to MS, etc.), have high expectations, make students feel part of the community, expand learning opportunities.
Jehl, Jeanne. (2008). The Connection Strategy: Preparing Young People to Succeed in College and Beyond. Baltimore: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

After-school program study

This study evaluates the Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL) initiative's changes in the quality of its literacy programming, the children's participation and engagement, and the relationship of each factor to improvement in reading. Higher-quality after-school literacy activities (involving direct instruction with enrichment activities including tutoring) correlated with higher reading scores and more positive attitude about reading, a finding that applied to all student populations.
Arbreton, A., et al. (2008). Advancing Achievement: Findings from an Independent Evaluation of a Major After-School Initiative. Los Angeles: James Irvine Foundation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dropout study

Dropouts' interest in school may start waning early on
Students who drop out of school don't do so impulsively but instead may fall into a dropout trajectory as early as kindergarten. "Educators may be overlooking important developmental trajectories exhibited by students prior to entering high school," said Gregory Hickman, who directed the undergraduate research. "Dropouts miss an average of 124 days by eighth grade."
Hickman, G. (2008). The Differential Developmental Trajectories of High School Dropouts and Graduates. Journal of Education Research. [in press]

Education technology trends report

Which Technologies Will Shape Education in 2008?
Mobile broadband, collaborative Web technologies, and mashups will all significantly impact education over the next five years, along with "grassroots" video, collective intelligence, and "social operating systems." This according to a new report released last week by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, the 2008 Horizon Report.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tech support study

Schools need more IT support
Most Ed tech services are understaffed, and both funding and time are limited for staff development. A majority of schools/districts said they can't maintain their network adequately, almost two-thirds can't plan for new technologies, and 3/4s have trouble implementing new technologies.
eSchool News and SchoolDude. (2008). Schools need help with tech support. Cary, NC: SchoolDude.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Schools and technology preparation survey

Schools fail to teach innovation
It's widely believed our ability to innovate and prepare students for careers in science and technology will be key factors in keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy. Yet, nearly three out of five American teens (59 percent) do not believe their high school is preparing them adequately for a career in technology or engineering, according to the 2008 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, an annual survey that gauges Americans' attitudes toward invention and innovation.