Friday, June 20, 2008

Smaller Learning Communities study

Smaller Learning Communities
The U.S. Department of Education studied the implementation of its Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) discretionary grant program. The SLC program was established in response to growing national concerns about students too often lost and
alienated in large, impersonal high schools, as well as concerns about school safety and low levels of achievement and graduation for many students. The most prevalent structures were freshman and career academies. All but two schools reported undertaking efforts to increase personalization. SLC-related professional development, although provided by nearly all schools, was not very extensive. A common set of factors affecting academy implementation included strong school leadership, involved and supportive districts, high levels of staff buy-in, and sufficient space to make programs separate. Inhibiting factors included staff and administrative turnover, weak school leadership, prescriptive district oversight of SLC reforms, and limited resources on the part of the school.
United States Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy
Development. (2008). Implementation Study of Smaller Learning Communities: Final
Report. Washington, DC: Author.

Reading First study

Federal Study Shows Reading First Program Not Showing Significant Success in Test Scores
Created under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Reading First program provides assistance to states and districts in using research-based reading programs and instructional materials for K-3 students.
Institute of Education Sciences. (2008). Reading First impact study: Interim report. Washington, DC: Author.

Reading and ELL study

Research Shows That Books Facilitate Language Learning
The Civil Rights Project at the University of California
studied the impact of newer state policies of structured
English immersion vs. traditional bilingual education.
Researchers found that other factors - such as whether
students have books at home - have greater impact upon
English Language Learners' (ELLs) achievement than state
instructional policies.
Gándara, P., Maxwell-Jolly, J., & Rumberger, R. (2008). Resource Needs for English Learners: Getting Down to Policy Recommendations. Santa Barbara: University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute.

ALA / Libraries report

This annual report provides facts and statstics on US libraries and their use. All types of libraries flourished, both in traditional ways and in the rapidly expanding universe of the Internet. Library use continued to increase, continuing a decade-long trend. Libraries still weathered budget woes and delivered new programs to their customers—while still providing the nuts-and-bolts services that people need to lead full lives. Information about credentialed librarians and recruitment budgets are also included.
American Library Association. (2008). State of America's Libraries. Chicago: Author.

children's wellness report

More U.S. children live in poverty
More U.S. babies are being born underweight than at any time in the past 40 years, increasing their risk of dying in infancy or suffering long-term disabilities, according to the annual Kids Count report. But while more children are living in impoverished conditions, there were some positive findings as well: There are fewer deaths among children and teens and less incidence among teens of dropping out of high school, according to the report.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2008). Kids count. Baltimore: Author.

Reading intervention study

Educational "workouts" for the brain can boost reading ability
A rigorous intervention program targeting students with dyslexia effectively rewired their brains to work almost the same as children who don't struggle with reading, Carnegie Mellon University researchers reported. The changes, which appeared immediately after the 100-hour intervention, remained for at least one year, brain scans of a sampling of the students showed.
The central finding was that prior to instruction, the poor readers had significantly less activation than good readers bilaterally in the parietal cortex. Immediately after instruction, poor readers made substantial gains in reading ability, and demonstrated significantly increased activation in the left angular gyrus and the left superior parietal lobule. Activation in these regions continued to increase among poor readers 1 year post-remediation, resulting in a normalization of the activation. These results are interpreted as reflecting changes in the processes involved in word-level and sentence-level assembly. Areas of overactivation were also found among poor readers in the medial frontal cortex, possibly indicating a more effortful and attentionally guided reading strategy.
Ann Meyler, Timothy A. Keller, Vladimir L. Cherkassky, John D.E. Gabrieli, Marcel Adam Just. (2008, August). Modifying the brain activation of poor readers during sentence comprehension with extended remedial instruction: A longitudinal study of neuroplasticity. Neuropsychologia, 46(10),2580-2592
U.S. teachers call for more tech training, resources
Many educators don't feel fully prepared to blend technology into classroom lessons and say they also lack the necessary tech support and equipment to do so, according to a recent national report. Districts that do offer technology training for teachers tend to focus on non-instructional areas, such as showing them how to conduct Internet searches or use administrative software applications.
National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. (2008). Access, Adequacy, and Equity in Education Technology. Washington, DC: Authors.

tutoring report

Tutoring has negligible effect on scores at struggling schools
Despite an overall $595 million price tag in the 2006-07 school year for free tutoring for students in struggling schools across the U.S., test scores have failed to significantly improve, according to recent evaluations conducted in Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia.
Glod, M. (2008, June 13). Mandated Tutoring Not Helping Md., Va. Scores. Washington Post.

Study aboard report

Universities Abroad Eager for U.S. Students, Report Finds

Students from the United States are the most sought after international students, followed by students from China, India, Canada, and Russia, a new report finds. Based on a survey of more than 500 higher education institutions in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the report found that 99% of the colleges and universities surveyed expressed interest in attracting more U.S. students, citing in part a desire to become more globally competitive and promote research and academic collaboration with U.S. institutions. And more than 60% of the institutions said they had developed outreach or marketing strategies targeting U.S. students.
Institute of International Education.. (2008). Meeting America's Global Education Challenge: Exploring Host Country Capacity for Increasing U.S. Study Abroad. New York: Author.

Kindergarten and student achievement meta-study

This study reviews the research on how raising the kindergarten entry age affects elementary- and middle-school test scores; achievement gaps between subgroups; grade retention, high school graduation, and college enrollment rates; and wages as adults.
Cannon, J., & Lipscomb, S. (2008). Changing the Kindergarten Cutoff Date: Effects on California Students and Schools. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California.

HIgh school transition study

This national study examines the status of state P-16 councils and their efforts to bridge the gap between K-12 and higher education, with profiles of three councils, and examines high school graduation rates by demographics, state, and congressional district.
(2008). Diplomas Count 2008: School to College. Education Week, 27(40).

Voucher study

Students using vouchers score no better
Nearly 2000 D.C. students who attended private school with the aid of vouchers generally performed no differently after two years time than their public school counterparts, echoing other similar research. Students also reported no higher satisfaction with private schools, although their parents did.
U. S. Dept. of Education. (2008). Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Second Year Report on Participation. Washington, DC: Author.

National Board Certification report

National Board Certification has some impact
Teachers who earn advanced certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are more effective than teachers without that credential, but there’s little evidence to show the program has transformed the field in the broader ways its founders envisioned.
Hakel, W., Koenig, J., & Elliott, S. (2008). Assessing Accomplished Teaching: Advanced-Level Certification Programs. Washington, DC: Committee on Evaluation of Teacher Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Research Council.

NCLB and top students report

Top Students Said to Stagnate Under NCLB
A new NCLB report finds that teachers shift attention toward low-performing students rather than achievement for all students. The report draws on national test-score data and results from a nationwide survey of 900 public school teachers in grades 3-12 to paint a portrait of a generation of high achievers left to fend for themselves as schools and teachers shift their time and resources toward educational strategies aimed more at bringing the bottom up than on raising achievement for all children.
The data show, for instance, that from 2000 to 2007, the scores of the top 10 percent of students essentially held steady on National Assessment of Educational Progress tests in reading and math. The scores for the bottom 10 percent of students, meanwhile, rose by 18 points on the 4th grade reading test and 13 points in 8th grade math—the equivalent of about a year’s worth of learning.
Thomas Fordham Foundation. (2008). High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB. Washington, DC: Author.

Literacy in Canada report

This report includes Canada's first projections of adult literacy levels,
through to 2031; an unprecedented look—more detailed than ever before—
at the “face” of low literacy; and effective approaches to improve
literacy among six identified groups.
Canadian Council on Learning (2008). Reading the future [report] : Planning to meet
Canada's future literacy needs. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Learning.

Preschools and socio-eonomics report

Few poor, minority children enrolled in best preschools
Only 15% of the disadvantaged California children who would benefit most from strong preschools are actually enrolled in the best programs. The results of the study show that (1) use of center-based early care and education (ECE) is the norm for these children; (2) Latinos and socioeconomically disadvantaged children use it least; (3) these programs fall short on key quality benchmarks, especially those linked to early learning; (4) groups with lower levels of school readiness and later school achievement are least likely to participate in the programs that most promote school success; and (5) there is room for improvement in quality across the board and in raising participation for targeted groups.
Karoly, L., et al. (2008). Prepared to learn. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Youth and reading report

Kids still go for paper
A new study by Scholastic finds that 75% of kids age 5–17 agree with the statement, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper,” and 62% say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device. Thhis national survey of children and their parents, also found that kids who go online to extend the reading experience—by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers—are more likely to read books for fun every day.
Scholastic & TSC. (2008).2008 Kids and Family Reading Report. New York: Scholastic.