Thursday, July 31, 2014

Digital learning survey

Some states nationwide are showing improvement in digital learning, according to a recent report. The report card, which assesses states' kindergarten through grade 12 digital-education policies awarded highest marks to Utah and Florida. Nevada, which improved to a B from a D, has worked to remove access restrictions for distance education.
Ten elements of high-quality digital learning were identified: all students are digital learners, all students have access to high-quality digital content and online courses, personal learning,  mastery learning, quality content, quality instruction, quality choices, student learning assessment, incentives, supportive infrastructure.
Foundation for Excellence in Education. (2014). Report card 2013. 

Teacher librarian-teacher collaboration survey

Teacher librarians and teachers have experienced more collaboration as school libraries become centers for research and technology-based learning. Librarians' evolving roles include 55% of librarians saying they teach students skills needed for the Common Core State Standards, and 60% of librarians reporting they recommend and/or obtain common-core-aligned instructional and resource materials. "Their role has really evolved, based on the inclusion of technology and the focus of the curriculum and the Common Core," said Kathleen Brantley, director of EdNET Insight. Shelton, CT: Market Data Retrieval.
EdNet Insight. (2014). School libraries in the digital age.  

School tech use survey

A new survey of K-12 teachers found that 88 percent of respondents said they and their students use technology in class but only 24 percent said they believe it has a strong positive effect on student achievement and a mere 13 percent said it has a strong positive effect on standardized test scores.
Digedu. (2014). Technology Use in the Classroom: Benefits and Barriers.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Library digital readiness study

Nearly 100 percent of America’s libraries offer digital readiness programs, such as workforce development programs, homework assistance, WiFi, and technology skills training, including maker spaces, website coding and social media classes. The study is the first to examine national digital trends in libraries.
American Library Association. (2014). Digital inclusion survey. Chicago: ALA.
 ALA Digital Inclusion

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This article describes a study conducted by a research team at Syracuse University’s Center for
Digital Literacy, in collaboration with the Connecticut Invention Convention, investigating the
attitudes toward innovation activities, motivational supports, and information needs of young
innovators in grade 4–8 as they progressed through the innovation process. Implications of this
initial research are that school librarians have an opportunity to (1) provide “innovation
spaces” that foster curiosity and exploration within their libraries and (2) become role models
or “innovation mentors” to all students, supporting their motivational and information needs
throughout the innovation process.Small, Ruth V. (2014).  The Motivational and Information Needs of Young Innovators: Stimulating Student Creativity and Inventive Thinking.School Library Research.

Evidence-based library practice study

Evidence-based library and information practice (EBLIP) provides school librarians a systematic means of building, assessing, and revising a library program, thus demonstrating a school library program’s worth to the larger school community. Through survey research collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, 111 public school librarians in Texas shared the extent to which they applied components of EBLIP to practice, the extent to which they shared EBLIP data and with whom, and the extent to which formal LIS education has supported their applications of EBLIP.
Findings indicate the large majority of respondents engaged in some form of EBLIP, typically
referencing professional journals, standards, and guidelines; informally collecting evidence
from stakeholders; and writing mission statements. Few respondents, however, engaged in the
complete process. With the intent of gaining, increasing, or securing something, respondents
were most likely to share goals and data with administrators and teachers than with other
stakeholders. Despite so few respondents’ engaging in the complete process, approximately half
expressed the belief that their LIS programs contributed to their understanding of EBLIP.
Richey, Jennifer, and Maria Cahill. (2014). School Librarians’ Experiences with Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice. School Library Research.

Library systems report

A leading expert on library technology. Marshall's annual report is a comprehensive guide to the latest library systems trends and news, from company consolidations and sales numbers to technical advances and industry commentary. 
Breeding, M. (2014, May). 2014 Library Systems Report. American Libraries.

Gender and academic achievement meta-analysis

On average, girls outperform boys across all subjects in school, including math and science, according to a recent meta-analysis. The largest performance gap was in language, and the smallest occurred in math, the analysis found. "This contrast in findings makes it clear that the generalized nature of the female advantage in school marks contradicts the popular stereotypes that females excel in language whereas males excel in math and science," the researchers wrote.
Voyer, D., & S. (2014). Gender differences in scholastic achievement: A meta-analysis. American Psychological Bulletin, 140(4), 1174-1204. 

State of libraries report

This annual report details library trends of the past year. Included in the report are trends associated with academic, public, and school libraries; ebooks and copyright issues; social networking; library construction; legislative issues; and intellectual freedom.
American Library Association. (2014). 2014 state of America's libraries. Chicago: ALA.

Student engagement report

Students were 30 times more likely to say they were engaged during the school day when their individual interests were a priority and educators made them feel excited about the future, according to a recent report. School leaders should not neglect the social and emotional factors that help students thrive and should empower teachers so that they are more engaged and effective in the classroom, according to the  report.
Gallup Education.  (2014). State of America’s Schools.

PISA report

Results from the PISA report find that American 15-year-olds are just above the average of 44 countries and economies in problem-solving skills and far behind teens in Asia. On average U.S. teens earned a score of 508 on the Programme for International Student Assessment Creative Problem Solving test, between top-ranked Singapore’s 562 and bottom-ranked Colombia’s 399. The PISA results put U.S. students in the middle of the pack.
OECD. (2014).  Programme for International Student Assessment.

Gaming and speech development study

Young children who play noneducational games on touch-screen devices may present lower scores in speech development benchmarks, according to a recent study. The study from Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York found that playing games, such as "Angry Birds" or "Fruit Ninja," resulted in lower scores in speech tests for both understanding of language and speaking. "Technology can never replace a parent's interaction with his or her child," said the study's chief investigator. "Just talking to your child is the best way to encourage learning."
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. (2014, May 3). Lower verbal test score for toddlers who play non-educational games on touch screens.ScienceDaily.

Teachers's digital tools study

Standards gaps exist where digital resources are unavailable or do not meet the needs of teachers, according to a report. Regarding what they are looking for, the 3,100 educators surveyed reported a desire for digital tools that deliver instruction, diagnose student learning, increase engagement, support collaboration and foster independent practice.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers know best: What educators want from digital instructional tools. 

Big data and privacy report

The White House released a long-awaited report on how the technology industry’s collection of big data affects the online privacy of millions of Americans. The report recommends that Congress pass national data breach legislation, extend privacy protections to non-US citizens, and update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which controls how the government can access email.
Podesta, J. (2014). Big data: A technological perspective. Washington, DC: Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Khan Academy and laptops study

Schools with one-to-one laptop programs had more freedom in how they used Khan Academy's online instructional videos, according to a two-year study of 70 teachers in 20 California schools during 2011-13. The report also found that, in many cases, the online math videos and quizzes did not cause teachers to drastically alter their instruction. Among the top complaints from teachers about Khan Academy was a lack of alignment with state-mandated curriculum, the report found.
SRI International. (2014). Reserach on the use of Khan Academy in schools.

Horizon 2014 report

Ths annual report identifies key trends accelerating and impeding K12 ed tech adoption. Some ed tech developments that are likely to be adopted include: BYOD and cloud computing within the year, games/gamification and learning analytics in 2-3 years, and wearable tech in 4-5 years.
NMC. (2014). Horizon report.

Parent involvement and student outcomes research

Using national data from the 2007–08 School and Staffing Survey, researchers compared the relationships between parental involvement and school outcomes related to adequate yearly progress (AYP) in urban, suburban, and rural schools. Parent-initiated parental involvement demonstrated significantly positive relationships with both making AYP and staying off the category of schools in need of mandatory improvement across urban, suburban, and rural schools, whereas school-initiated parental involvement demonstrated significantly negative relationships with both outcomes across urban and suburban schools. Researchers tested school website as a way of communication with parents. Frequency of updates of school website was significantly positive across both outcomes but for urban schools only. They also tested school support for involvement of parents with limited English proficiency (LEP). Provision of translators to parents with LEP was not statistically significant. Provision of translated materials to parents with LEP was significantly positive only on making AYP only for urban schools.
Ma, X. et al. (2013). The relationship between parental involvement and adequate yearly progress among urban, suburban and rural schools. School Effectiveness and School Improvement. DOI: 10.1080/09243453.2013.862281

Poverty and cyberbullying

Poverty is a predictor of online bullying among students
An influx of social media has led to an increase in cyberbullying that extends beyond middle- and upper-class schools, according to a recent study of middle- and high-school students by Michigan State University. Instead, despite the perception of a "digital divide," researchers found that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood was a significant predictor of online bullying, in addition to the physical and verbal types.
Holt, T. et al. (2014).  The Impact of Self Control and Neighborhood Disorder on Bullying Victimization. Journal of Criminal Justice, 2014; 42 (4): 347 DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2014.04.004

1:1 technolog report

Eighty-two percent of districts are "highly interested" in launching or expanding a 1:1 technology initiative within the next two years, according to a new report. The number of districts reporting that at least one-quarter of their schools had deployed mobile devices had risen to 71 percent, up from 60 percent in 2013. Forty-four percent of districts surveyed said that approximately 75 percent of their schools had deployed mobile technology."The most commonly expected and sought after benefits from adopting mobile technology for student instruction," wrote the report's author, "included their potential to increase student achievement, be engaging for students, and support personalization of instruction to meet the needs of different students."
Other key findings of the report include:
  • Very few districts, only 12 percent, reported that they didn't have mobile devices in any of their schools. That's down from 21 percent in the previous year;
  • Districts reporting current adoptions were more likely to say that they were somewhat or very likely to adopt mobile tech beyond a few schools, at 72.4 percent, than schools with no current deployments, at 66.7 percent;
  • The most common mobile device deployments reported by survey participants were carts shared among classrooms at a rate of approximately 42 percent. Twenty-three percent said some or all classrooms had mobile devices for students to share, nearly 20 percent said classrooms had 1:1 deployments and 15.7 percent of respondents said some classes had a full set of mobile devices and others had none;
  • Twenty percent of districts surveyed said they had a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy currently in development and 8.7 percent said they had no BYOD policy;
  • Slightly more than a quarter, 28.9 percent, of survey participants said their policy encourages BYOD and 18.4 percent said their policy is to not permit students to bring their own devices;
  • Eleven percent of respondents said that BYOD policies were determined at the school level and 12.7 percent said they were determined at the classroom level;
  • About 71 percent of those surveyed said their district had a "High level of interest" in purchasing Chromebooks or tablets; and
  • Digital textbooks were most often cited as an app beneficial to students, at a rate of 68.9 percent. Creation tools, at 54.5 percent followed, and collaboration tools, such as Google Drive, were a close third place, at 52.1 percent. Productivity tools, such as those for storing files, taking notes and scheduling, came in fourth at 43.1 percent.
 Amplify and IESD. (2014). 2014 national survey on mobile technology for K2-12 education.

Whole child snapshot report

This report highlights how well each state is meeting the comprehensive needs of its children. The snapshots are data reports featuring indicators to measure success in each of the Whole Child tenet areas -- healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged -- and provide action steps for communities to help students become college, career, and citizenship ready. The snapshots also introduce national data highlights, including bullying and cyberbullying data and the national student-to-counselor ratio.
ASCD. (2014). Whole Child Snapshots.

Drop-out report

A report gives voice to the 20 percent of American students who do not graduate from high school on time. It finds that participants across the sixteen cities frequently mentioned 25 different factors or events that influenced their decisions about school. Survey respondents confirm the prevalence of traumatic and stressful life events among young people who disengage from school. Most participants had returned to school or re-engagement programs to complete their education. Four themes emerged: a cluster of factors, toxic environments, yearning for connectness, resilience in need of support.
America's Promise. (2014).  Don't call them dropouts.

Teaching effectiveness report

A report from the University of Pennsylvania explores how teachers’ instructional alignment is associated with student learning and teacher effectiveness as measured by composite evaluation measures including the value-added model (VAM). It finds weak associations between content alignment and student achievement and no associations with the composite measure of effective teaching.
Instructional alignment as a measure of teaching quality. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (2014, May). 0162373714531851

Leisure reading study

A new study finds that 45 percent of 17-year-olds say they read by choice only once or twice a year. In 1984, 8 percent of 13-year-olds and 9 percent of 17-year-olds said they “never” or “hardly ever” read for pleasure. In 2014, that number had almost tripled to 22 percent and 27 percent. Parents are also reading to their kids less than ever. In 1999, children ages 2 to 7 were read to for an average of 45 minutes per day. In 2013, that number had dropped to an average of just over 30 minutes per day. The decline in reading for fun is most easily explained by technological advances (i.e., kids would rather text than read), but education could have something to do with it as well. It’s no surprise that 53% of 9-year-olds read for fun every day, but only 19% of 17-year-olds do. Yes, the teenagers have more Instagrams to post, but they also have more homework to do.
Common Sense Media. (2014).  Children, teens, and reading. San Francisco: Common Sense Media.

Student achievement report

The latest scores on the  indicate that American high school seniors showed no improvement in reading and math in four years, and achievement gaps between demographic groups have not decreased. While 12th-grade math scores are slightly higher than in 2005, reading scores are lower than in 1992. In reading, 25 percent of 12th-graders in 2013 scored below basic, and just 37 percent scored at or above proficient. In 2013, 26 percent of America’s 12th-graders scored at or above “proficient” in math; just 3 percent scored “advanced." Only 39 percent of 12th graders are ready for entry-level college courses in math and 38 percent in reading.
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). (2014). 2013 Mathematics and Reading Assessments. Washington, DC: IES.

STEM research

Present federal education policies promote learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the participation of minority students in these fields. Using longitudinal data on students in Florida and North Carolina, value-added estimates in mathematics and science are generated to categorize schools into performance levels and identify differences in school STEM measures by performance levels. Several STEM-relevant variables show a significant association with effectiveness in mathematics and science, including STEM teacher turnover, calculus and early algebra participation, and mathematics and science instructional indices created from survey items in the data. Surprisingly, a negative association between students’ STEM course participation and success in STEM is consistently documented across both states, in addition to low participation of underrepresented minority students in successful schools in STEM.
Hansen, M. (2014). Characteristics of schools successful in STEM: Evidence fomr two states' longitudnal data. The Journal of Educational Research. DOI: 10.1080/00220671.2013.823364

Cloud tech decisions report

Decisions about cloud-based education technology should be made at the district level, at least at this point in time, advise three researchers from the Student Privacy Initiative at  Harvard University. That was one of three recommendations from a report called "," released by the initiative.
Solow-Niederman, A. (2014). Framing the Law and Policy Picture: A Snapshot of K-12 Cloud-Based Ed Tech and Student Privacy in Early 2014. Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Student discipline report

Suspending students should be a last resort, according to a recent report. In what is being billed as a first-of-its-kind road map to help schools improve discipline policies and practices, the organization's 460-page report suggests helping individual students with behavioral issues and training on-campus police officers.
Council of State Governments Justice Center. (2014). The school discipline consensus report. 

Immigrants' barriers in early childhood education research

Immigrant parents face significant barriers as they try to engage with their children's early educational experiences, including greatly restricted access for many due to limited English proficiency and functional literacy. Parental engagement is critical for young children's early cognitive and socioemotional development, and for their participation in programs that are designed to support early learning. Reducing the barriers to parent engagement in early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs would encourage school success, and help many young children of immigrants close the gaps in kindergarten readiness with their native peers.
McHugh, M., & Park, M. (2014). Immigrant parents and early childhood programs. Migration Policy Institute.

Reflective learning study

When we take the time to think about what we've learned, we learn much more effectively, according to a new report. Researchers found that reflecting directly after a lesson increases individuals' performance the next time they return to the material. While most research on learning focuses on doing, the authors say, this is the first study to test the effects of reflecting on learning.
Stefano, G., et al.  (2014). Learning by thinking: How reflection aids performance. Social Science Research Network.

Online courses report

Only 17 percent of high schools do not currently offer any online classes and more than 40 percent are offering online courses in English language arts, history, math or science, according to a recent  report. Teachers who teach online classes, in particular, see a strong correlation between the use of technology and students’ college and career ready skill development. Around 60 percent of all parents said they would like their children to be in a class where using one’s own mobile device was allowed.
Speak Up. (2014).The New Digital Learning Playbook: Advancing College and Career Skill Development in K-12 Schools. Project Tomorrow.

Video gaming benefits studies

The researchers identified four types of positive impact that video games have on the kids who play them: cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social. Gameplay has cognitive benefit because games have been shown to improve attention, focus, and reaction time. Games have motivational benefit because they encourage an incremental, rather than an entity theory of intelligence. Games have emotional benefit because they induce positive mood states; in addition, there is speculative evidence that games may help kids develop adaptive emotion regulation. Games have social benefit because gamers are able to translate the prosocial skills that they learn from co-playing or multiplayer gameplay to “peer and family relations outside the gaming environment.”
Thinking about cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social skills reminds us that educators are not just responsible for the transmission of content and facts. Of course, this is one of the reasons that there is so much controversy over testing. Standardized tests measure only quantifiable outcomes. Educators, however, are also responsible for the non-quantifiable well-being of our students. Some of these skills are taken into account in some schools when folks talk about “character education.” But mostly, there is little curricular systematization in these areas. Still, teachers are accountable for conflict resolution and other interpersonal skills. Video games can help.

Granic, I. et al. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78.

Kids who play multi-player games online are more likely to have a positive attitude toward people from another country: 62 percent of online gamers hold a favorable view of people from different cultures compared to 50 percent of non-gamers. Unlike school, where the diversity of the institution is rarely reflected by individuals’ peer groups, interactive online gaming correlates with a more diverse group of friends.
Forde, K., & Kenny, C. (2014). Online gaming and youth cultural perceptions. Integration Centre.

Sexting survey

Sexting among youth is more prevalent than previously thought, according to a new study from Drexel University that was based on a survey of undergraduate students at a large northeastern university. More than 50 percent of those surveyed reported that they had exchanged sexually explicit text messages, with or without photographic images, as minors. The study also found that the majority of young people are not aware of the legal ramifications of underage sexting. In fact, most respondents were unaware that many jurisdictions consider sexting among minors -- particularly when it involves harassment or other aggravating factors -- to be child pornography, a prosecutable offense.
DeMatteo, J. (2014). Youth Sexting: Prevalence Rates, Driving Motivations, and the Deterrent Effect of Legal Consequences. Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Classtime Internet use research

Even top students can be distracted by Internet browsing during class, according to a  study that finds that students who spent the most time surfing the Internet during class had the lowest exam scores. That includes visiting social media sites, such as Facebook, online shopping, playing games and more.
Ragan, E. et al. (2014). Unregulated use of laptops over time in large lecture classes.  Computers & Education, 87, 78-86.

Social media use research

A recent survey of high-school students finds that they text more often than they use other forms of social media, such as Facebook and YouTube. Data from 7,000 graduating high-school seniors show that 87% report texting daily, while 61% say they use Facebook daily. Results show that LinkedIn is getting the fewest visits by teens.

A 2013 survey of 325,279 K-12 students across the U.S., which found that just 30% of middle school students and 39% of high school students said they are maintaining a profile on a social networking site. That’s a decrease of approximately 40% since 2009. The drop in social network use has been accompanied by a rise in social apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine, which are now used by 44% of students in grades 6-12. 
Speak Up. (2013).  From chalkboards to tablets. Project Tomorrow.

The results of a poll of 7,500 teenagers, which found that 30% of teens ranked Instagram their most important social platform, ahead of Twitter at 27% and Facebook at 23%. Those were big changes from the results of a survey conducted a year before, when 33% of teen respondents chose Facebook as their most important social network, compared to 30% for Twitter and just 17% for Instagram.
Jaffrey, P. (2014). Taking stock with teens.

Drawing on data from Facebook’s social advertising platform, a study found that the number of Americans ages 13-17 using Facebook declined 25.3% from 13.1 million in January 2011 to 9.8 million in January 2014, while the number of users ages 18-24 declined 7.5% from 45.4 million to 42 million over the same period.
iStrategyLabs. (2014).  Facebook demographic report.

Another recent survey found that roughly one in three (30%) Facebook users believe they will be using the service less within the next five years. Within this group, 40% say they use Twitter, while Instagram is also growing fast, especially among millennials.
USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, Inc. (2014).

Mobile devices benefit report

A new report finds educators, students and parents generally agree that mobile devices are useful tools in preparing students for college and careers. The findings show that the favorable consensus exists despite challenges such as connectivity and budget constraints.
(2014). The New Digital Learning Playbook: Advancing College- and Career-Ready Skill Development in K-12 Schools. Project Tomorrow.

Technology impact on education research.

This ongoing research initiative is "designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in education." According to the report, "rethinking the role of teachers" and a "shift to deeper learning approaches" are fast-moving trends that will accelerate K-12 Technology adoption in the next one to two years. Mid-range trends likely to accelerate classroom technology used in the next three to five years identified by the report were "increasing focus on open educational resources" and "increasing use of hybrid learning designs." Defined as those more than five years away, long-range trends identified by the report were "rapid acceleration of intuitive technology" and "rethinking how schools work."
Consortium for School Networking and the New Media Consortium. (2014).  MNC Horizon Project.

Technology impact on education report

A new report suggests that the cumulative weight of changing consumer habits, enabling technologies like MOOCs and mobile, and the high cost of postsecondary education are resetting expectations and bringing permanent changes to education and lifelong learning. .
OCLC. (2014). At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning, and Libraries 

Teachers' working conditions international survey

Teachers in the U.S. work more hours each week than their international peers -- 45 hours, compared with 38 hours, according to a recent survey. Data from 100,000 teachers in 34 countries also show that women comprise 68% of professionals in the field.
OECD. (2014).  Teaching and Learning International Survey.

Social media use research

The phenomenal growth in the use of social media in the past 10 years has dramatically and irreversibly changed the way individuals communicate and interact with one another. While there are undoubtedly many positives arising out of the use of social media, irresponsible or inappropriate use can have significant negative consequences. In the university setting, comments posted on widely accessible forums such as Facebook, and seen by other students or staff, can damage reputations, create personal distress and compromise academic integrity. So how should universities deal with this problem? This article describes the findings of a research project undertaken in 2011 to address this question. Given that many students would regard their Facebook pages and Facebook groups as their own private space, one of the key goals of the project was to establish appropriate limits for university interference in these matters. Another was to develop a categorisation model for dealing with inappropriate or irresponsible comments that have been detected or reported.

Rowe, J. (2014). Student use of social media: When should the university intervene? Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 36(3).

Media research

A 2013 encyclopedia entry provides an overview of research on media, which is both comprehensive and thorough. The essay reviews research on media literacy programs (usually called "interventions") on a wide variety of topics including sexual objectification in advertising, media violence, tobacco and alcohol prevention, body image and advertising awareness.
Banerjee, S., Kubey, T. (2013). Boom or Boomerang: A Critical Review of Evidence Documenting Media Literacy Efficacy.The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies (pp. 1-24). New York: Wiley.

Library perceptions studies

The Pew Research Center’s studies about libraries and where they fit in the lives of their communities and patrons have uncovered some surprising facts about what Americans think of libraries and the way they use them.
- Those ages 65 and older are less likely to have visited a library in the past 12 months than those under that age.
- Although 10% of Americans have never used a library, they think libraries are good for their communities.
- E-book reading is rising but just 4% of Americans are “e-book only” readers.
- Those who read both e-books and printed books prefer reading in the different formats under different circumstances.
-  Those who use libraries are more likely than others to be book buyers and actually prefer to buy books, rather than borrow them.
- Many patrons are comfortable with the idea of getting recommendations from librarians based on their previous book-reading habits.
Rainie, L. (2014). 7 surprises about libraries in our surveys. Pew Research Center.

Graduation rates and spending study

Increased Spending Reaps Benefits in Graduation Levels
In districts that substantially increased education spending as the result of court orders, low-income children were significantly more likely to graduate from high school, earn livable wages, and avoid poverty in adulthood. Between 1971 and 2010, supreme courts in 28 states responded to large gaps between richer and poorer districts by reforming school-finance systems. Although the changes had limited consequences for higher-income children, for low-income students who spent all 12 years of school in districts that increased spending by 20 percent, graduation rates rose 23 percentage points.
Jackson, C., et al. (2014). The effect of school finance reforms on the distribution of spending, academic achievement, and adult outcomes. National Bureau of Economic Research.

School board study

Schools are more likely to excel if school boards are focused on academics, according to a recent study. Among other things, the study focused on the effect of school board members’ political leanings, education, background and stance on key education topics. “The boost associated with academic focus is the highest of any school board characteristic that we tested,” the researchers said.
Shober, A., & Hartney, M.  (2014). Does school board leadership matter?  Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Graduation rate report

U.S. Graduation Rate Reaches 80% for the First Time
According to a recent report, the high school graduation rate for the class of 2011 was 79 percent, while the graduation rate for the class of 2012 was 80 percent. The public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both school year 2010–11 and school year 2011–12. Students with limited English proficiency had a significantly lower average adjusted cohort graduation rate at 59%.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). Public high school four-year on-time graduation rates and event dropout rates. Washington, DC: Author.

Classroom digital games report

78% of Teachers Use Digital Games in the Classroom
Digital and traditional games play a significant role motivating, rewarding and engaging students in the classroom, according to a survey of 694 K-8 teachers. It reports that 78% of educators use digital games in class, up from 50% two years ago. Many use them more often for motivation than instruction, and 47% say low-performing students benefit the most from digital game-play. In addition, 26% use nondigital games for classroom connections and interactions.
Takeuchi, L, & Vaala, S. (2014). Teachers surveyed on using digital games in class.  Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Immigrants and reading study

Immigrant Families Read Together Less
In a poll of nearly 15,000 parents in California, researchers found that Hispanic and Asian immigrant parents were less likely than non-Hispanic white parents to read or look at picture books with their children. Low levels of parental education and household income were associated with reduced rates of daily book sharing.
Festa, N. et al. (2014). Disparities in early exposure to book sharing within immigrant families. Pediatrics. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3710)

Filtering harm report

Over-Filtering in Schools and Libraries Harms Education
Schools and libraries nationwide are routinely filtering Internet content far more than what the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires, according to a recent report. CIPA requires public libraries and K-12 schools to employ Internet-filtering software to receive certain federal funding. Schools that over-filter restrict students from learning key digital readiness skills that are vital for the rest of their lives. Over-blocking in schools hampers students from developing their online presence and fully understanding the extent and permanence of their digital footprint.
American Library Association. (2014).  Fencing out knowledge: Impacts of the Children's Protectoin Act 10 years later. Chicago: ALA.

Digital aided learning survey

Results from a recent survey find that school librarians far outpace administrators, teachers, and students regarding their desire for digital content and educational mobile apps. The survey finds that 56 percent of librarians say they are helping teachers find digital content such as games and animations to use within their lessons. Eighty-six percent of school and district administrators said mobile learning improves student engagement. School leaders also indicated that mobile learning is helping prepare students for college and career.
Project Tomorrow. (2014). Speak Up 2013. Washington, DC: Project Tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BVOD report

More schools nationwide are adopting bring-your-own-device programs, and a majority of districts plan to allow mobile devices in schools over the next five years, according to the recently released Software & Information Industry Association's 2014 Vision K-20 report. However, as schools make way for an influx of new devices, many officials are concerned that they do not have enough bandwidth to support them, the report found.

School librarian cuts survey

School districts nationwide are cutting back on librarians while their job description is expanding, with a new focus on digital literacy and on closing the divide for students who do not have access to technology at home, according to the American Association of School Librarians. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show one-third of public schools do not employ a full-time, state-certified librarian, and 20% of public-school libraries don't have a full- or part-time certified librarian.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Public library report and database

The Public Library Data Service (PLDS) FY2013 data is now available with a special section on outcome measures. This valuable data from more than 1,100 North American libraries can be exclusively accessed and customized through the online data portal PLAmetrics. PLDS captures valuable data (voluntarily submitted annually) on staffing, operating finances, output measures, interlibrary loans, and technology provisions from public libraries.

Nearly 100% of America’s public libraries offer workforce development training programs, online job resources, and technology skills training, according to a new ALA study. Overall, libraries report technology improvements—including nearly ubiquitous public Wi-Fi, growing mobile resources, and a leap in ebook access. The study also documents digital differences among states and an urban/rural divide.
American Library Association. (2014).  2014 Digital Inclusion Survey

Children in poverty report

Data from this annual report showed 23% of U.S. children in 2012 were living in families below the poverty line, a slight increase from last year. The report on child wellness found teen births hit a record low, child and teen death rates fell, more children were enrolled in preschool, and a higher number of students were proficient at math and reading.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014). Kids count.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Preschooler problem solving

A recent study finds that preschoolers are better at operating gadgets than college students -- findings attributed to the way young children approach problem solving. Exploratory learning, characterized by a tendency to test unusual theories, comes naturally to young children, researchers say.
Children learn causal relationships quickly and make far-reaching causal inferences from what they observe. Acquiring abstract causal principles that allow generalization across different causal relationships could support these abilities. We examine children's ability to acquire abstract knowledge about the forms of causal relationships and show that in some cases they learn better than adults. Adults and 4- and 5-year-old children saw events suggesting that a causal relationship took one of two different forms, and their generalization to a new set of objects was then tested. One form was a more typical disjunctive relationship; the other was a more unusual conjunctive relationship. Participants were asked to both judge the causal efficacy of the objects and to design actions to generate or prevent an effect. Our results show that children can learn the abstract properties of causal relationships using only a handful of events. Moreover, children were more likely than adults to generalize the unusual conjunctive relationship, suggesting that they are less biased by prior assumptions and pay more attention to current evidence. These results are consistent with the predictions of a hierarchical Bayesian model.
Gopnik, A.,  Bridges, S., Griffiths, T., Lucas, C. (2014). When children are better (or at least more open-minded) learners than adults: developmental differences in learning the forms of causal relationships.Cognition, 131(2):284-99.

Multitasking impact research

Contrary to what students might like to think, when they multi-task in class on non-academic activities, their test scores go down. And that's true for even the smartest students. Those are the initial results of a study by a Michigan State University research project underwritten by NSF.
Ravizza, S. et al. (2014, Sept.). Non-academic Internet use in the classroom is negatively related to classroom learning regardless of intellectual ability. Computers & Education, 78, 109-114.

Teen financial literacy report

The U.S. ranked ninth in financial-literacy skills among 15-year-olds in a recent study of 18 countries and economies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Shanghai, China, topped the list. Other countries posting strong financial-literacy skills among students include the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2014). Measuring financial literacy.

Erate program survey

The FCC is in the process of reforming the E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries pay for Internet access, and this survey is intended to give administrators and school technology leaders a voice in the E-rate reforms. "The data serves to inform debate over the direction of the program and involve those who haven’t had an opportunity for their voices to be heard," according to Funds for Learning. Key findings from the survey include:
  • 92 percent of respondents said the E-rate program is critical to their success;
  • 58 percent expect their budget for telecommunications and Internet access to increase over the next five years;
  • 43 percent said their technology infrastructure is lagging;
  • 51 percent said their telephone infrastructure is lagging; and
  • 48 percent feel that their Internet access is not adequate for their current needs.
  • The most popular E-rate changes are raising the funding cap, multi-year funding commitments and simplified application paperwork.
Funds for Learning. (2014). E-rate 2.0.

Technology for summative survey

This annual survey reveals K-12 institutions lack technology needed for online, summative assessments, but schools are making improvements in the use of tech tools for decision-making and student access to digital content online.
SIIA. (2014). Vision K-20 survey.

Online safety instruction survey

Who's responsible for making sure students get an education in online safety? According to four out of five teachers, parents are relying on the schools too much in this regard.
Two-thirds of respondents said that schools should provide better training on using the Internet as an educational tool; only 28 percent reported that they've had formal training. Seventy-seven percent added that Internet safety should show up in the syllabus. Those numbers are fairly consistent with findings among American teachers specifically. Seventy-five percent said they feel that parents are too dependent on teachers to teach Internet safety; 39 percent said they believe that parents lack an understanding about the subject; 68 percent said they think schools should do a better job of training on Internet use; and 70 percent suggested that Internet safety be part of the school syllabus.
Nearly three-quarters of teachers in the United States reported that they have never had formal Internet safety training themselves, even though 86 percent use Web content in the classroom and 40 percent assign online homework assignments.

AVG. (2014). Teachers Struggle Under the Weight of Parents’ Expectations for Child Online Safety Education in Schools.

School spending priority report

Some school districts may be misplacing their spending priorities, investing in efforts that do not boost student achievement in math and reading, according to this annual report, which looks at spending in more than 7,000 school districts nationwide. The findings of that first report were worrisome and underscored the fact that the nation suffers from a productivity crisis. The data suggested that low productivity might cost the nation’s school system billions of dollars a year. What’s more, too few states and districts tracked the bang that they received for their education buck.
Center for American Progress. (2014). Return on Investment 2014.

YA status report

The indicators presented in this report provide a rich snapshot of the health, education, and well-being of America?s young adults. Report findings include:
- In 2013, 84 percent of young adult women and 81 percent of young adult men had completed at least a high school education. These percentages were up from 79 and 75 percent, respectively, in 1980.
-  The overall college enrollment rate for 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 26 percent in 1980 to 41 percent in 2012. Among Hispanics in this age group, college enrollment during this time increased from 22 to 37 percent, the largest increase among all racial and ethnic groups.
-  In 2011-12, about 68 percent of young adult undergraduates in their fourth year of college or above had received federal loans, non-federal loans, or Parent Loans for Undergraduates (PLUS, received by parents), compared with 50 percent in 1989?90.

- The mean cumulative debt per fourth-year student in 2011?12 was $25,400, up from $14,700 in 1989?90, after adjusting for inflation.
- A higher percentage of young adults ages 20-24 was neither enrolled in school nor working in 2013 (19 percent) than in 1990 (17 percent). This percentage also increased for young adults at various levels of educational attainment.
- The labor force participation rate for young adults was 65 percent in 2012, compared with the peak rate of 75 percent in 1986 and 74 percent in 2000.

 Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2014). America's Young Adults: Special Issue.

Common Core and exit exams report

The Common Core State Standards and high-school exit exams are at odds, according to a report by the New America Foundation. Researchers recommend that states take action steps such as aligning exit exams with college- and career-readiness standards or considering alternatives to exit exams.
Hysloop, A. (2014). The case against exit exams.  New American Foundation.
Children with developmental disabilities were 1.7 times more likely to be abused than their typically developing peers, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. Parents of children with disabilities had higher expectations and showed less empathy toward their children compared with other parents.

Common Core and parent support survey

Sixty-two percent of parents with school-aged children support the Common Core State Standards, according to a new survey. Only 22 percent of parents who responded to the survey told researchers they were opposed and 17 percent said they had no opinion.
The most commonly cited reason for supporting the standards, at 34 percent, was that they ensure all children learn from a uniform curriculum. Those in opposition were most likely to say, at a rate of 33 percent, that they opposed the standards because they "do not address all student needs or allow students to learn at different rates,"
Carman, B. (2014). Who supports the Common Core, Part Two. School Improvement Network.

Primary math instruction research

First-grade students who are struggling with math may need to drill the basics instead of engaging in hands-on or more creative projects, according to new research. "Routine practice is the strongest educational practice that teachers can use in their classroom to promote achievement gains," said lead researcher Paul L. Morgan of Pennsylvania State University, who studied data from the Department of Education.
Morgan, P. et al. (2014). Which Instructional Practices Most Help First-Grade Students With and Without Mathematics Difficulties?, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1-22.

Teacher attrition research

Nationally, schools lose between $1 billion and $2.2 billion in attrition costs each year through teachers moving or leaving the profession, according to new research. The result is a spiral of loss that affects high-poverty schools disproportionately.
Alliance for Excellent Education. (2014). On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Internet Filtering Report

In some cases, schools may be overfiltering Internet content due to a misinterpretation of the Children's Internet Protection Act, according to a report that looks at the effects of the law 10 years after its implementation. The report highlights filtering trends in schools and offers some best practices.
ALA. (2014).Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Status of YAs in US report

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) published America's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014, a one-time report on young adults in the United States, ages 18–24. Findings highlight data trends and snapshots of the education, health and well-being of this population as they transition to adulthood.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Reading study

This article examines the need for early literacy. The following excerpt focuses on recovered dyslexics: 

Fink (1996/6, JAAL) studied 12 people who were considered dyslexic when they were young, who all became “skilled readers."  Out of the 12, nine published creative scholarly works and one was a Nobel laureate. Eleven of the 12 reported that they finally learned to read between the ages of 10 and 12 (p. 273), and one did not learn to read until the 12th grade. According to Fink, these readers had a lot in common:
“As children, each had a passionate personal interest, a burning desire to know more about a discipline that required reading. Spurred by this passionate interest, all read voraciously, seeking and reading everything they could get their hands on about a single intriguing topic" (pp. 274-275).

Krashen, S. 2014. Literacy education: Need we start early? Language and Language Teaching, 3,2 (6): 1-7.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing benefits and practice

Research is consistent with the view that writing does not contribute directly to language acquisition. But
writing, in addition to communicating our ideas, is a powerful means of helping to solve programs. Acquisition of the special language of writing comes from reading,and  our ability to use writing to solve problems comes from knowledge of the composing process. This paper reviews the “classic” components of the composing process,and suggests more components.
Krashen, S. ()2014). Tee composing process. Research Journal: Ecolintg Institute of Teaching and Learning Internati0nal School of Geneva, 2, 20.