Friday, May 23, 2008

Information-seeking study

This new report offers insight into the ways people search for information in the online age, and how this affects the ways they interact with public libraries and museums, both online and in person. Findings include:
* Libraries and museums are the most trusted sources of online information among adults of all ages, education levels, races, and ethnicities. Libraries and museums rank higher in trustworthiness than all other information sources including government, commercial, and private Web sites. The study shows that the public trust of museums and libraries migrates to the online environment.
* The explosive growth of information available in the “Information Age” actually whets Americans’ appetite for more information. People search for information in many places and since the use of one source leads to others, museums, public libraries, and the Internet complement each other in this information-rich environment.
* The Internet is not replacing in-person visits to libraries and museums and may actually increase onsite use of libraries and museums. There is a positive relationship between Internet use and in-person visits to museums and public libraries.

Institute of Museum and Library Services. (2008). InterConnections: A National Study of Users and Potential Users of Online Information. Washington, DC: Author.

Teen summer reading study

This study examines the reading behaviors and attitudes of
adolescents during the summer when they can exercise free choice.
Does mandated reading during summer non-school months as it is
currently practiced encourage students to read, or does it create
barriers to reading? It takes place in a United States high school,
grades 9-12. A stratified random sample of 288 students and 11
teachers ensured representation of students from each of three
ability groupings. Data were collected through student surveys and
teacher interviews. Findings show that students attributed varied
types of cognitive, psychological, and social learning to their
summer reading. Mixed responses from teachers point to the need for
consensus about the purpose of a summer reading program.
Gordon, C., & Lu, Y. (2008). The Effects of Free Choice on Students' Learning: A Study of Summer Reading. School Libraries Worldwide, 41(1).

Librarians' images in children's literature study

This article provides an exploration of children's literature
featuring contemporary and historical images of libraries as settings
for empowering diversity and influencing reading attitudes and
behaviors. The featured selections focus on personal, family,
community, and international library experiences and events. The
protagonists represented include individuals of racial, ethnic, and
language diversity. Both women and men are featured as librarians and
both girls and boys as library patrons. The featured selections,
representing a variety of genres, provide empowering images and
positive messages about the love of reading, specifically in the
context of the library community.
Monroe, S. (2008). Check It Out: Diverse Images of the Library Experience in Children's Literature. School Libraries Worldwide, 41(1).

Tutoring studies

Federally mandated tutoring doesn't always have desired effect
Few families take advantage of supplemental tutoring services required under federal rules to be offered at struggling schools, and those that do don't necessarily see much improvement, according to a study of schools in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. According to the researchers in, L.A. observed no increase in scores although students there who had many years of tutoring did improve, and some tutors in Pittsburgh likewise saw some success.
The Effectiveness of Supplemental Educational Services: Perspectives on Student Achievement in Multiple Urban Settings. (2008, March). American Educational Research Association conference, New York.

Class size studies

Smaller classes help keep students focused, engaged
Students behave differently in smaller classes, staying on task with greater frequency and interacting more with their teachers, according to an analysis of research gathered from various countries, including the U.S. Small classes work for children, but that's less because of how teachers teach than because of what students feel they can do: Get more face time with their teacher, for instance, or work in small groups with classmates.
Peter Blatchford, P., Galton, M., University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2008). Class Size Effects: New Insights Into Classroom, School, and Policy Processes.
American Educational Research Association Annual conference, New York.

Technology in education report

This special annual issue shows how individual states rate in technology use. The report details
… how future teachers are learning to incorporate technology across subjects, and where real success is being made.
… what new requirements states are putting in place to close the technology gap.

Technology Counts 2008: STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Education Week, March 27.

Technology and achievement study

Technology incorporated into lectures may improve students' scores
College students enrolled in classes that embed instructional technology into lectures scored, on average, a full letter grade higher than those who took the same class without the added technology, according to new research. Hybrid classes were particularly beneficial.
University of Houston (2008, March 25). College Students Score Higher In Classes That Incorporate Instructional Technology Than In Traditional Classes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/03/080324125154.htm
McFarlin, B. (2008). Hybrid lecture-online format increases student grades in an undergraduate exercise physiology course at a large urban university. Advances in Physiology Education, 32 (March), 86-91.

Nutrition and reading study

Healthful diets tied to success on reading exams
Canadian students who ate more fruits and vegetables and less fat were far less likely to fail a reading test, according to a study of 5,000 fifth-graders. "Above and beyond socioeconomic factors, diet quality is important to academic performance," the researchers concluded.
Michelle D. Florence, M., Asbridge, M., & Veugelers, P. (2008). Diet Quality and Academic Performance. Journal of School Health, 78(4), 209-215.

Sex education study

Teens who took comprehensive sex-education classes in school were 60% less likely to have become pregnant or to have impregnated someone else and were no more likely to have greater rates of sexual behavior or sexually transmitted diseases than teens without formal sex education, according to a new analysis of research data. Meanwhile, there was no clear benefit from abstinence-only education in preventing pregnancy or delaying sexual intercourse. In addition, there was no evidence that comprehensive sex education increased the likelihood of teen sex or boosted rates of sexually transmitted diseases.
Kohler, P., Manhart, L., & Lafferty, W. (2008). Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy
Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 344-351.

Child birth order study

Oldest children get the lion's share of parental quality time
First-born children may receive an average of 3,000 more hours of quality time with their parents compared to subsequent children, according to a new study seeking to explain the differences in achievement between siblings. Researchers say the discrepancy is not because parents don't try to divide their time equally, but because first-time parents often are able to show their oldest child more attention before younger siblings are born and child-rearing becomes more chaotic.
Price, J. (2008). Parent-child quality time. Journal of Human Resources, XLIII: 240 - 265.

Multitaking study

More kids juggling TV, online media
Nearly two in three U.S. children ages 9 to 17 surf the Web and watch TV at the same time, with nearly half multitasking in this way anywhere from three times a week to many times per day, according to a study of youth, parents and school districts. The report also found 73% of such children practice "active multitasking," in which they are driven by content on one platform to check out another platform.
Grunwald Associates. (2008). Kids' Social Networking Study. Bethesda, MD: Author.

Math education studies

Singapore math credited with major boost in U.S. school's scores
After a low-income Los Angeles elementary in the 2005-06 school year introduced a math curriculum developed for use in Singapore, where learners excel in the subject, 76% of the U.S. school's students now score at grade-level on standardized math tests, up from 45% in the prior school year. The method blends math basics with conceptual learning in way that's easy for children to understand, educators say.
Landsberg, M. (2008, Mar. 9). In L.A., Singapore math has added value. Los Angeles Times.

The National Math Panel Report on K12 math education made recommendations about:
* The critical skills and skill progressions needed to learn algebra and prepare for more advanced courses;
* The proper role and design of standards and assessment in promoting student competence in math;
* The processes by which students of various abilities or backgrounds learn math;
* How the training, selection, placement and professional development of math teachers affect student achievement;
* Instructional practices, programs and materials that have proven effective in improving math learning; and
* Research needs in support of math education.
National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for Success: Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education.

Community and school reform study

This research assesses the impact of community organizing for school reform on student outcomes such as attendance and test scores, school-community relationships, parent engagement, teacher morale, and policy and resource distribution at the system level.
Mediratta, Kavitha; Norm Fruchter; Dana Lockwood; Sara McAlister; Christina Mokhtar; Seema Shah. (2008). Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings. Providence, RI : Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

California drop-out rates studies

This report compares high school dropout rates between districts as well as between traditional and non-traditional schools. Includes a link to data on numbers of schools, enrollment, numbers of dropouts, and dropout rates, by county, district, and type of school.
Rotermund, Susan.(2008). Which California School Districts Have the Most Dropouts? Santa Barbara: California Dropout Research Project.

Shares what first-year high school students find motivating or discouraging; how they view family, peer, and school factors; and how demographic characteristics, attitudes toward school, and support networks affect the odds of their dropping out.
Bridges, Margaret; Stefan Brauckmann; Bruce Fuller; Oscar Medina; Laurie Mireles; Angeline Spain. (2008). Giving a Student Voice to California's Dropout Crisis.
Santa Barbara: California Dropout Research Project.

The extent of California’s dropout problem is unknown, placed at between 33 and 16 percent. California needs to build a robust student data system—-called a student unit record (SUR) system, because it contains information on every student from entry in kindergarten to exit from college and eventually into the labor force-—in order to accurately measure the dropout rate across schools and colleges, hold educational institutions accountable, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, help identify students at-risk, and assess return on educational investments. The state can do so by building on its existing student data systems enhanced by adding and standardizing data elements (e.g. program participation and attendance), integrating the existing SUR from the four California education segments, linking the integrated SUR data file with other state and federal data files, and broadening access to the resulting data set.
Vernez, g. (2008). Improving California's Student Data Systems to Address the Dropout Crisis. Santa Barbara: California Dropout Research Project.

This report analyzes the different, nested, and interdependent roles of these education support providers. The report particularly examines the role of school districts. The author argues that, while well functioning school districts are uniquely positioned and integral to building school capacity, they also generally need substantial capacity-building themselves to identify and coordinate the array of resources that must be brought to bear in order to address pressing educational challenges. The report concludes by suggesting that the most potentially powerful and systemic approach to coordinating the different organizations supporting educational improvement would establish a state-wide consortium of support providers.
Supovitz, J. (2008). Building System Capacity for Improving High School Graduation Rates in California. Santa Barbara: California Dropout Research Project.

Teacher effectiveness studies

This report discusses the need to invest in multiple methods to measure a teacher's effectiveness, as well as in high-quality evaluations and career development to improve it. Describes "value-added" analysis, its limitations, and other measures of effectiveness.
Alliance for Excellent Education.(2008). Measuring and Improving the Effectiveness of High School Teachers. Washington, DC: Author.

Analyzes the factors behind the persistent inequitable distribution of effective teachers, and recommends measures to prepare, recruit, and retain more highly qualified teachers to improve academic outcomes in schools with mainly poor minority students.
Alliance for Excellent Education. (2008). Improving the Distribution of Teachers in Low-Performing High Schools. Washington, DC: Author.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Urban graduation rates

Examines graduation-rate patterns in the 50 most populous U.S. cities and surrounding metropolitan areas. Compares data by race/ethnicity, gender, and principal district, and highlights the urban-suburban gaps within the same metropolitan areas.

Swanson, Christopher B. (2008). Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation. Washington, DC: America's Promise Alliance.

Library use of ebooks

Data in the report is based on a survey of 75 academic, public and special libraries. Librarians detail their plans on how they plan to develop their e-book collections, what they think of e-book readers and software, and which e-book aggregators and publishers appeal to them most and why. Other issues covered include: library production of e-books and collection digitization, e-book collection information literacy efforts, use of e-books in course reserves and inter-library loan, e-book pricing and inflation issues, acquisition sources and strategies for e-books and other issues of concern to libraries and book publishers.

Some of the report's findings are that:

Well over 81% of the sample cataloged their e-book collection and listed it in their online library catalog.
For the most part, librarians in the sample felt that their patrons were less skilled in using e-book collections than they were in using databases of magazine, newspaper and journal articles.
The libraries in the sample had MARC records for a mean of approximately 74% of the e-books in their collections.
Many libraries reported significant use of electronic directories. 12.5% reported extensive use and 30% said that use was significant. The larger libraries reported the heaviest use.
Use of e-books in the hard sciences was particularly high. More than 30% of participants said that use of e-books in the hard sciences (defined as chemistry, physics and biology) was quite extensive and another 26% noted significant use.
Libraries in the sample maintained a print version for a mean of 24% of the e-books in their e-book collections.
Nearly 21% of the libraries in our sample have digitized out-of-copyright books in their collections in order to make their contents more available to their patrons.
Libraries in the sample expect to renew a mean of 77% of their current e-book contract.
E-book spending grew rapidly in 2008 but slowed significantly from 2007 growth rates.
E-books account for only about 3.9% of the books on course reserve, with a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 30%.
Nearly 70% of the sample's total spending on e-books was with aggregators, while just over 24.6% of the total spending was spent with individual publishers.

Primary Research Group. (2008). Library Use of E-books. New York: Author.

Parental impact on children's education

Surveys the literature on how education affects intergenerational mobility. Discusses the impacts of parents' education, financial resources, GED and job training programs, K-12 quality improvements, and early childhood education and intervention.

Grawe, Nathan. (2008). Education and Economic Mobility. Washington, DC: The Economic Mobility Project, Pew Charitable Trusts.

Educational reform

Reviews the progress of American education reform following the 1981 report A Nation at Risk and the status quo, examines the obstacles to implementing the report's recommendations, and urges national and state leaders to take immediate action.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. (2008). A Stagnant Nation: Why American Students Are Still at Risk. Nwe York: Authors.

Teacher mentors

Shares the insights of mentors to new Jewish day school teachers about strategies for, and the challenges of, attracting and retaining effective teachers, fostering professional development, and providing a good educational experience to all students.
Godsoe, Bethany. (2007).Experience Speaks: The Impact of Mentoring in the Classroom and Beyond. New York: AVI CHAI Foundation.

Museums, libraries and youth

IMLS has published Nine to Nineteen, the second installment in the Museums and Libraries Engaging America's Youth series. Based on the information gathered in the Final Report of a Study of IMLS Youth Programs, 1998-2003, Nine to Nineteen includes examples of outstanding youth programs from a variety of institutions, as well as strategies for instituting or improving youth programming in your museum or library.
Institute for Museum and Library Science. (2008). Nine to Nineteen: Youth in Museums and Libraries; A Practitioner’s Guide. Washington, DC: Author.

Impact of electronic media on children

Children and Electronic Media is the Focus of New Volume
The volume focuses on how common forms of electronic media influences the wellbeing of children and adolescents. Accompanying the journal is an Executive Summary and a Policy Brief.
The volume concludes that rather than focusing on the type of technology children use, parents and policymakers should focus on what is being offered to children on the various media platforms. The fifteen leading scholars who contributed to the volume consider how exposure to different media forms are linked with school achievement, cognition, engagement in extracurricular activities, social interaction, aggression, fear and anxiety, risky behaviors, and lifestyle choices.
Media technology can be a positive force in the lives of children and youth. Editors Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Elisabeth Hirschhorn Donahue argue in the Introduction that while government's ability to regulate content is weak, educators and families can promote child wellbeing by ensuring that children engage media in a positive way.
Children and Electronic Media. The Future of Children (Vol. 18, No. 1).

California education viewpoints

Presents findings on Californians' views on K-12 education; school resources; budget priorities; policy preferences, including on teacher quality and curriculum; and data gathering. Sorts survey results by party affiliation, region, and race/ethnicity.
Baldassare, Mark; Dean Bonner; Jennifer Paluch; Sonja Petek. (2008). PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Education. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California.