Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teens and sleep study

Too little sleep raises teens' risk of high blood pressure
Teenagers who get less than 6.5 hours of sleep each night have twice the risk of developing high blood pressure than those who get more rest, researchers report. Teens with troubled sleep had more than triple the risk. The survey of 238 youngsters found they got an average of 7.7 hours of sleep each night, while the recommendation for the age group is nine hours.
Redline, S. (2008, Sep. 2). Hypertension. Circulation.

Multitasking study

Multitasking may slow students down
College students' reading comprehension may not be hampered by interruptions from instant messages, but researchers found that those who try to multitask by reading an assignment and text messaging at the same time are about 15 minutes slower in working through their reading assignments versus their peers who work sequentially.
Bowman, L. (2008, Aug.). Media and Internet Psychology. American Psychological Association conference, Boston.

California Teacher Demand

A new report highlights expected demand for teachers driven by projected growth in student enrollment and looming teacher retirements over the next ten years. County-by-county analyses suggest that California's Central Valley (North and South San Joaquin Valley and Upper and Sacramento Metropolitan Valley) and Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) will face some of the highest demand for new teachers in the coming decade.
WestEd. (2008). Trends in California Teacher Demand: A County and Regional Perspective. San Francisco: Author.

College admissions tests study

School achievement should play larger role in college admissions
U.S. colleges should shift away from their reliance on using ACT and SAT scores as the bar for college acceptance and toward admissions exams that better correspond with high school coursework and achievement, asserts a yearlong study.
National Association for College Admission Counseling Commission. (2008). Report of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergrduate Admissions. Arlington, VA: Author.

Class time study

class time affects student test scores
Schools that cancel class for unscheduled purposes, such as snow days, can see a drop in student proficiency, according to findings by University of Maryland researchers. So far, however, there's been little research on whether additional class time can boost scores even though extended-learning initiatives are becoming more widespread.
Marcotte, Dave E. and Hemelt, Steven W.,Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance(July 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2923
Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1001409

Monday, September 22, 2008

Algebra report

29% of lowest-scoring students enrolled in advanced math
Some 38% of U.S. eighth-graders are now taking algebra or other advanced math classes, but many may be missing out on arithmetic fundamentals, according to a new report based on National Assessment of Educational Progress data. Some misplaced students "don't know very much math at all and yet they're taking courses in advanced math," said the report's author, Tom Loveless. "It might make everyone feel better, but the whole arrangement is counterfeit."
Loveless, T. (2008). Brookings Institute.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Online homework help study

The report of a study, conducted by Virginia Walter and library programs consultant Cindy Mediavilla, on the California State Library's Out-of-School-Time Online Homework Help program is now available on the California State Library's website at http://www.library.ca.gov/lds/lds.html. The report looks at the effectiveness of the service provided by online homework help vendors Tutor.com and Brainfuse, as well as libraries' satisfaction with the program. A chart compares the features of both vendors' services. For more information about the study, please contact Cindy Mediavilla at cmediavilla@library.ca.gov or (310) 915-8588.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Podcast survey

19% of internet users have downloaded a podcast
As gadgets with digital audio capability proliferate, podcast downloading continues to increase. Currently, 19% of all internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they could listen to it or view it later. This most recent percentage is up from 12% of internet users who reported downloading podcasts in our August 2006 survey and 7% in our February-April 2006 survey.
Still, podcasting has yet to become a fixture in the everyday lives of internet users, as very few internet users download podcasts on a typical day. Even of those who say they download podcasts, just 17% do so on a typical day.
Madden, M. (2008). Podcast Downloading. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Internet health information survey

The internet is changing the way Americans engage with information, whether they are choosing a president or making health care decisions. Two major drivers for this change are broadband adoption and personal motivation.
Between 75% and 80% of internet users have looked online for health information. This latest Pew Internet Project survey confirms that information gathering has become a habit for many Americans, particularly those in the 55% of households with broadband connections. Home broadband has now joined educational attainment, household income and age as the strongest predictors of internet activity.
Fox, S. (2008). The engaged e-patient population. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Technology in public libraries report

A new report describes technology access in public libraries.
Key findings include:
Libraries reported double-digit growth in online services: audiobooks and podcasts (up 33 percent), video (up 32 percent), homework resources (up 15 percent), e-books (up 13.5 percent) and digitized special collections (up almost 13 percent);
Funding data indicate libraries are relying more on non-tax funding sources;
66 percent of public libraries offer free wireless access, up about 12 percent over last year;
Almost two-thirds of all public libraries provide 1.5Mbps or faster Internet access speeds, with a continuing disparity between urban (90 percent) and rural libraries (51.5 percent);
74 percent of libraries report their staff helps patrons understand and use e-government services, including enrolling in Medicare and applying for unemployment;
73.4 percent of libraries provide technology training to library patrons;
Staffing levels are not keeping pace with patron demand -- both for those staff who provide training and other direct patron services, as well as those who maintain the IT infrastructure;
While the number of Internet computers available to the public climbed for the first time in several years, one in five libraries report there are consistently fewer computers than patrons who wish to use them throughout the day.
The ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Institute at Florida State University. (2008). Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2007-2008. Chicago, ALA.

TV and achievement study

Study shows how TV may be good for the brain
A look at standardized test scores from 1965 by two University of Chicago Graduate School of Business economists was able to compare the results of students based on the relative levels of television penetration in their regions. The research suggests that exposure to television in early childhood correlates with higher test scores, especially among children in homes where English was not the first language.
Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro. (2008). Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(1), 279-323.

Depression study

Depression affects one in 20 Americans
A CDC study shows more than one in 20 Americans over age 12 suffers from depression, with higher rates among women, blacks and baby boomers aged 40 to 59. Almost 80% of depressed people reported functional impairment, with 27% saying their depression makes it extremely difficult to work, get things done at home and get along with others.
Pratt, L., & Brody, D. (2008). Depression in the United States Household Population, 2005-2006. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db07.pdf Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control.

Gender and math/science study

Self-confidence feeds girls' interest in math, sciences
Girls who show little initial interest in science may still excel if their parents and teachers help them build confidence in the subjects, according to a new study. "The relationship between confidence and interest is close," says researcher Nadya Fouad. "If they feel they can do it, it feeds their interest." parent support and expectations emerged as the top support in both subjects and genders for middle- and high-school students. Also powerful for younger girls were engaging teachers and positive experiences with them. Both boys and girls perceived that teachers thought boys were stronger at math and science. For boys this represented a support, while for girls it acted as a barrier. Top barriers for all age groups and disciplines were test anxiety and subject difficulty, but these differed between boys and girls. In addition, the genders formed their perceptions of math or science based on the barriers and supports, but they often arrived at different views.
Ultimately, it's perception, more than reality, that affects the person's academic and career choices, says Fouad.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (2008, September 8). Tracking The Reasons Many Girls Avoid Science And Math. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/09/080905153807.htm

Digital preservation and copyright report

There are significant technical, financial and legal obstacles to digital preservation.
This Report focuses on the law – in particular, on copyright and related rights issues. As the laws of the countries discussed in the report demonstrate, in many cases exceptions and limitations do not accommodate the actions required for digital preservation. The copyright and related rights issues, and various strategies to address them, are discussed in detail in the report.
Library of Congress. (2008). International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation. Washington, DC: Author.

Latino students study

This study examines the increase in Hispanic/Latino public school students between 1990 and 2006 and projections for growth. It provides statistics on their grade distribution, demographics, languages, economic situations, living arrangements, and regions of residence.
Fry, R., & Gonzales, F. (2008). One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.

Whiteboard study

In a British study, English, history, mathematics and science teachers used interactive whiteboards (IWB) and data projectors in various ways. A unique strength of IWB technology is that it allows teachers and students to revisit previous sessions of saved activity, which helps to reignite and build on earlier learning. The researchers also found that using IWBs can: provide new opportunities for learners to express themselves publicly, receive critical feedback and reformulate their thoughts, stimulate discussion, and allow teachers to adapt to individual learning needs.

Economic & Social Research Council (2008, September 5). Computerized Whiteboards Improve Classroom Learning, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/09/080904082744.htm

Number sense and mathematics study

Math grades tied to primitive "number sense"
Students with good "number sense" -- the innate ability to rapidly estimate the number of items in a group -- tend to earn better math grades across their academic careers, according to new research. A study involving 64 14-year-olds found that the teenagers who did well on a test that measured their "number sense" were much more likely to have gotten good grades in math classes. The researchers discovered that a child's ability to quickly estimate how many things are in a group significantly predicts their performance in school mathematics all the way back to kindergarten. "Humans actually have two separate senses of mathematics," Halberda said. "We have this intuitive sense of numbers that you and I use when we are looking at the bus, and we have a second system, which is what we use to learn in school. It relies on language, and only humans have that."
Halberda, J., & Feigenson, L. (2008, Sep. 7). Individual differences in non-verbal number acuity correlate with maths achievement Nature.

Chart schools report

This fifth annual report by Education Week examines the leadership challenges facing the nation's rapidly growing charter school sector. It includes new research on the characteristics of charter school principals, and the pressing issues they face.
Education Week. (2008). Leading for learning.

Reading coach study

This study traces the implementation of a reading coach program to provide on-site support to teachers in Florida middle schools and its impact on teachers, principals, school climate, and student achievement. Includes literature review and recommended models.

Marsh, J. et al. (2008). Supporting Literacy Across the Sunshine State: A Study of Florida Middle School Reading Coaches. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Teen survey

This annual report is based on a survey conducted with U.S. teens, ages 14-18. The publication analyzes the students' responses and provides insights about their opinions and attitudes. This year’s report reveals some not-so-subtle shifts. While in 2003, 75 percent of teenagers felt hopeful and optimistic about the future of their country, only 53 percent felt that way this April, when the telephone survey of 1006 students fairly equally divided by gender and age level was conducted. Another interesting fact – 79 percent of high school students indicated that the pressure for good grades creates problems, though 67 percent of them say they have mostly B’s or better on their report cards. Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. (2008). State of Our Nation’s Youth . Alexandria, VA: Author.

Latinos and public libraries report

In partnership with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, WebJunction surveyed more than 2,860 Latinos in six U.S. states about their library use and perceptions of libraries. The results indicate that 54% of the Latino population visited libraries in the past year, and that Latinos hold positive perceptions of libraries.
Edward Flores and Harry Pachon. (2008). Latinos and Public Library Perceptions. Dublin, OH: OCLC.

Academic profess reoprt

Elementary, Middle School Kids Make Gains
U. S. students are doing better in elementary school and middle school, but key indicators show little progress among high school and college students, according to a recent report. Last year, tests showed 33% could read and do math at grade level, compared with 25% in 2000, according to Education Department data. Minority students are doing better, too. The percentage of black and Hispanic students who could read and do math at grade level was 35% that of white children last year, the department found. But that has increased from 23% in 2000.
U. S. Dept. of Education. (2008). Indicators to Track Nation's Education Progress. Washington, DC: Author.

Video gaming reports

About 97% of U. S. teens play video games, a recent report asserts. The survey found that while young Americans don't necessarily play the same thing, nearly all of them — girls included — play video games of one kind or another. Nearly two-thirds play video games to socialize face-to-face with friends and family, while just over a quarter said they play with Internet friends.

Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2008). Teens, video games, and civics. Washington, DC: Author.

Another case for gaming in libraries
A Mills College report makes a very strong case for gaming in libraries, even though it doesn’t mention libraries at all. Gaming as part of civic engagement can be listed as another benefit. “These results suggest that the frequent concerns in the media and elsewhere about the ennui and disconnection among those who play video games for long periods of time may be misplaced…. Teens who play games socially (a majority of teens) are more likely to be civically and politically engaged than teens who play games primarily alone. Interestingly, this relationship only holds when teens play alongside others in the same room.”
Mills College Civic Engagement Research Group. (2008). The Civic Potential of Video Games. Chicago: MacArthur Foundation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Skills and global competition report

US must revamp education to be globally competitive
A new report finds that the United States, in order to be globally competitive and for states to attract growth industries and create jobs, requires a fresh approach to education that recognizes the importance 21st-century skills play in the workplace. The report notes that as the world continues to shift from an industrial economy to a service economy driven by information, knowledge, and innovation, cultivating 21st-century skills is vital to economic success.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2008). 21st Century Skills, Education, and Competitiveness

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Social skills tudy

High-school cliques may foretell future social skills
Teens' high-school niche and their understanding of how to leverage their own popularity may predict how well they navigate complex social structures later in life, as well as their own feelings of well-being in adulthood, according to new findings.
Prinstein, M. (2008).
McElhaney, K. , Antonishak, J., & Allen, J. (2008). "They Like Me, They Like Me Not": Popularity and Adolescents' Perceptions of Acceptance Predicting Social Functioning Over Time. Child Development, 79(3), 720-731.