“Obama Effect” Strongly Influences Education Attitudes

President Barack Obama has the potential to be an extremely influential opinion maker on controversial education policy issues, according to findings from the 2009 national survey on American attitudes about public education by Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at Harvard University.

The survey’s findings suggest that a well-publicized stance on an education issue taken by a popular president can shift the opinions of a substantial segment of the American public -- a surprising fact considering how stable aggregate public opinion on these issues has been over time.

The Education Next–PEPG findings also show that research evidence can exert a strong influence on public opinion -- in some cases as much as that of a popular president.

The 2009 survey was undertaken in March when President Obama’s public approval ratings were above 60 percent, providing a unique opportunity to measure his impact. Several simple experiments were embedded in poll questions on merit pay, charter schools, and school vouchers. Recognizing that attitudes on education issues are remarkably constant over time, these experiments were designed to discover what kinds of factors change public opinion. Because the public pays little attention in general to policy issues, the experiments and the timing of the survey provided an avenue for assessing how people update their views when presented with new information. This dynamic view of public opinion recognizes the importance of understanding the various forces that can push it in one direction and another.

One randomly selected group of survey respondents was told the president’s position before being asked for its own; another group was told about research on the reform’s effects on student learning that coincided with the President’s stated position. A final control group was asked its opinion without any special prompt.

The survey’s findings show that the “Obama effect” can move overall public opinion by anywhere from 11 percentage points (in the case of charters) to 13 percentage points (in the case of merit pay). This responsiveness is not uniform, however. Presidential appeals are more persuasive to fellow partisans than to those who identify with the opposition party. Research has a comparable impact, ranging from 6 percentage points (in the case of merit pay) to 10 percentage points (in the case of vouchers) to 14 percentage points (in the case of charters). Research evidence appears particularly influential among Democrats and when the general public is undecided on an issue.

Charter Schools

According to the 2009 survey, 39 percent of Americans support charter schools and 17 percent oppose them. Forty-four percent, however, remain undecided. Again, these numbers are similar to those in 2007 and 2008.

When told of President Obama’s pro-charter stance, however, support increased by 11 percentage points overall. Support increased among every subgroup polled -- African Americans, Hispanics, whites, public school teachers, Democrats and Republicans.

With 44 percent of the public undecided about charter schools, research evidence appears as influential as President Obama in persuading the public. Support increased by 14 percentage points among those who were told of research showing that charters were raising test scores. Among African Americans, the percentage that completely support charter schools rose by 23 percentage points.

Merit Pay

When asked for an opinion straight out, 43 percent of Americans support the idea of basing a teacher’s salary in part on his or her students’ academic progress on state tests; 27 percent oppose the idea; 30 percent are undecided. These numbers remain relatively unchanged since 2007 when Education Next–PEPG first began undertaking its annual national survey.

When informed of President Obama’s support for merit pay, 13 percent more of the public favor the idea.

Support increased among African Americans by 23 percentage points (to 55 percent).
Support among Democrats increased by 15 percentage points (to 56 percent).
Among teachers, support rose 19 percentage points (to 31 percent).
Notably, every subgroup in the survey except for public school teachers increased their support of merit pay to a majority of at least 55 percent.

By comparison, policy research on this topic had a relatively modest impact. Support for merit pay climbed by just 6 percent when respondents were exposed to positive research evidence on the issue. Among African Americans, however, that support jumped 28 percentage points.

School Vouchers

When asked outright, 40 percent of the public support school vouchers; 34 percent do not; and 27 percent are undecided. However, public opinion can change depending on how the survey question is posed. When informed of the President’s opposition to school vouchers, public support dropped to 24 percent.

African Americans show greater support for school vouchers (57 percent) than the population as a whole. However, their support dropped by 12 percentage points when told of the President’s opposition.
Thirty percent of Democrats oppose school vouchers. After learning Obama’s opinion, that number rose by 22 percentage points to 52 percent opposed.
When presented with research evidence that claims “students learn no more in private schools than in public schools,” support for school vouchers dropped by 10 percentage points, an impact almost as large as the President’s.

Learn what Americans think about today’s important education issues in the 2009Education Next–PEPG National Education Survey, including:

The State of American Schools –. When Americans learn the truth about the international standing of U.S. students (our 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 of the leading industrialized countries in math), the number who give their schools an “A” or “B” drops from 18 to 13 percent and those giving a “D” or “F” rises by 10 percent.
Graduation Rates – When asked to estimate the percent of 9 th graders who graduate within 4 years of entering 9 th grade, Americans on average offer a pessimistic guess of 66 percent, 9 percent below the U.S. Department of Education’s official national estimate.

National Standards – 72 percent of Americans support having the same set of educational standards and giving all students the same tests in math, science and reading.

Teacher Pay – When told how much teachers in their state earn, the number of Americans who support pay increases for teachers drops 16 percentage points. With accurate information about salaries, the majority believe teacher pay shouldn’t change.

Teacher Tenure – 51 percent of Americans support requiring teachers to demonstrate that their students are making adequate progress on state tests in order to receive tenure.

School Spending – Support for increased spending on schools drops 8 percentage points (from 46 to 38 percent) when Americans are told what is actually spent in their own district.

Virtual Schooling – 51 percent of Americans support the idea of high schoolers taking some academic courses over the internet.

Single-Sex Schools – 45 percent of public school teachers support single-sex schooling; 28 percent neither oppose not support it.

Mayoral Control – Americans remain divided on the issue with nearly equal support for (32 percent) and against (36 percent) mayors controlling public schools in their community.

Teacher Unions – As many or more Americans believe teacher unions are blocking school reform (31 percent) rather than helping it (28 percent).
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – More Americans (49 percent) believe NCLB should be renewed with little or no change than believe the law should be done away with (20 percent).

The Education Next–PEPG survey was conducted by the polling firm Knowledge Networks between February 25 and March 13, 2009. The findings are based on a nationally representative stratified sample of U.S. adults (age 18 years and older) and oversamples of Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks and public school teachers. The sample consists of 2,153 non-Hispanic whites, 434 non-Hispanic blacks, 481 Hispanics, and 183 members of other ethnic groups; 709 public school teachers and 948 residents of Florida; and 1,694 self-identified Democrats and 1,265 self-identified Republicans. With 3,200 total respondents, the margin of error for responses given by the full sample in the Education Next–PEPG survey is roughly 1 percentage point.

The survey’s authors are William G. Howell, Paul E. Peterson, and Martin R. West. Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago. Peterson is professor of government at Harvard University, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and editor-in-chief of Education Next . West is assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and executive editor of Education Next .

Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/obama-effect-strongly-influences.html. Thanks!

Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction

The report, Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Results from the Second Year of a Randomized Controlled Study, compares outcomes of teachers offered intensive induction activities with full-time mentors to those of teachers with less intensive, less structured induction activities using an experimental study design. This second report includes information from10 districts in which teachers were offered one year of comprehensive induction services ("one-year" districts) and 7 districts in which teachers were offered two years of comprehensive induction services ("two-year" districts).

In two-year districts, treatment teachers reported receiving more support than did their counterparts during their second year in the classroom. For one-year districts, treatment teachers received less support than their counterparts during their second year in the classroom. In both one-year and two-year districts, there was no impact on teacher retention rates or overall student achievement.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/impacts-of-comprehensive-teacher.html. Thanks!

Is There a de Facto National Intended Curriculum?

Evidence From State Content Standards

Andrew C. Porter and Morgan S. Polikoff
University of Pennsylvania

John Smithson
Wisconsin Center for Education Research

State content standards are the backbone of the standards-based reform movement. Content standards provide teachers with a set of guidelines for what students are expected to know and be able to do, defining the intended curriculum. And although the current 50-state system of education gives each state the task of setting content standards, there has been little empirical investigation of the similarities and differences among state content standards.

This analysis uses the content analysis procedures of the Council of Chief State School Officers/State Collaboratives on Assessment and State Standards to consider whether there exists a de facto national curriculum as defined in state content standards. Data from English/language arts and reading (ELAR), science, and mathematics for Grades 4, 8, and K–8 are used. Results suggest considerable variability among states in the content of content standards, particularly in individual grades, but also for the aggregated standards. Further analysis suggests that state standards are no more well aligned to national professional standards (i.e., National Science Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) than to other states’ standards. Still, there exists a small "core curriculum" across states in each content area. The level of focus of the state standards varies substantially across states, and the redundancy of the standards is such that alignment within state, across grades is often as high as alignment within grade, across states. Policy implications are briefly discussed.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/is-there-de-facto-national-intended.html. Thanks!

Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation

To help keep girls in school and on track for success, the National Women’s Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund went straight to the source: Latina students and the adults who work with them every day. Their new report, Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation, explores the causes of the dropout crisis for Latinas and identifies the actions needed to improve their graduation rates and get them ready for college.

Latinas are dropping out of school in alarming numbers. Forty-one percent of Latina students do not graduate with their class in four years—if they graduate at all. Many Latina students face challenges related to poverty, immigration status, limited English proficiency, and damaging gender and ethnic stereotypes. And the high teen pregnancy rate for Latinas — the highest of any ethnic group — reflects and reinforces the barriers they face.

Interventions to address the dropout crisis must be tailored to the different needs of boys and girls of all races and ethnicities, based on the distinct experiences of these students and the enhanced research and data collection recommended by the report. Policymakers, educators, students, and parents all have a role to play in ensuring that students are provided the support they need to stay in school.

Available here is a wide variety of additional reports and resources:

* Helping Latinas Succeed in School: How Schools Can Address Barriers to High School Graduation
* How to Keep Girls in School: Recommendations to Address the Dropout Crisis. NWLC offers recommendations that should be implemented by policymakers; school personnel; and students, parents, and their advocates.

A fully comprehensive dropout prevention strategy also requires:

* Combating sexual harassment in schools. Both boys and girls report that they drop out in part because they do not feel safe at school. Download a fact sheet on sexual harassment for schools or for students.
* Providing better support for pregnant and parenting students. Pregnancy and parenting responsibilities play a significant role in many girls' decisions to drop out of school.
* Ensuring equal access for girls to career and technical education classes. These classes provide training for high-skill, high-wage jobs. Offering career education programs that emphasize the link between academic work, college success, and careers has been proven to reduce dropout rates.
* Ensuring equal access for girls to after-school programs, including athletics programs. Studies have shown that participation in after-school programs improves graduation rates and academic achievement.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/latinas-barriers-to-high-school.html. Thanks!

Pro-student Court Rulings Decline, Researchers Show

Many think students have more rights than courts have granted

Federal and state appellate courts have become less favorable to student claims in school discipline cases even as perceptions about students’ legal entitlements have expanded, according to new research published in the fall issue of Education Next. The number of favorable rulings for students in school discipline cases has dropped from 41 percent to 19 percent over the period from 1968 to 2007, report education researcher Richard Arum and research fellow Doreet Preiss of New York University. However, the overall number of discipline cases brought to court has continued to increase in recent years. Despite the trend in pro-school case rulings, the probability of facing a pro-student decision has not significantly diminished.

Arum and Preiss find that many students now expect formal due process protections not only for major disciplinary actions but for minor day-to-day disciplines, as well. According to findings from a national survey of educators and students undertaken by the researchers, 62 percent of public school students believe that, if faced with long-term suspension or expulsion, they are legally entitled to at least one of the following: a formal disciplinary hearing, opportunity to be represented by legal counsel, opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses bringing the charges, or opportunity to call witnesses to provide alternative versions of the incident. Approximately one-third percent of public school students believe that they are legally entitled to some form of formal due process protection when they have their grades lowered for disciplinary reasons, are suspended from extracurricular activities, or face in-school suspension.

In addition, expectations about what is required of teachers and administrators regarding student due process protections often reflect an inaccurate understanding of the law, note Arum and Preiss. For example, when asked about lowering student grades for disciplinary reasons, approximately half of public school teachers and administrators believed it was prohibited. Among those who did think it permissible, 32 percent believed that students subject to such disciplinary sanctions were entitled to formal due process protections. In fact higher courts have ordinarily not required such formal protections except in cases of long-term suspension or expulsion.

The institutionalization of student due process protections, however, goes well beyond appellate case law, having been enshrined in extensive state statutes and administrative regulations. Over the last few decades, the law has come to permeate school practices by highlighting codified disciplinary procedures. While discipline policies vary across schools, districts, and states, the scale, scope, and level of complexity of the legal regulations affecting day-to-day school practices appear quite formidable. Generally speaking, then, educators and students have developed a set of legal understandings that assumes a broad and expansive definition of student legal entitlements.

Ironically, the survey findings show that increased perceptions of student legal entitlements correlate with decreased reports of the fairness of school discipline. The survey’s findings also reveal that students in schools with predominantly white students were nearly twice as likely as those in schools with predominantly nonwhite students to report having pursued a formal legal remedy for a perceived rights violation.

The substance of the cases brought before the courts has changed over time. Since 1993, weapons and violence cases have increased to become nearly 40 percent of all K–12 public school discipline cases. Cases involving alcohol and drugs rose to a peak in the 1990s, coinciding with the nation’s “War on Drugs” while the number of cases involving protest and freedom of expression peaked in the mid-1970s (though they are again on the rise). In recent years, school discipline cases have increasingly involved student disability. From 2003 to 2007, 18 percent of cases included discussion of student disability status. Arum and Preiss specifically focused on appellate-level court cases because they define case law, generate media coverage, influence public perceptions, and can be tracked over time as an empirical indicator of the broad parameters of court climate toward school discipline.

With the increase in the number of discipline cases brought to court and the fact that these cases can include personal liability claims, even the threat of a lawsuit can cause considerable professional anxiety for teachers and administrators. Interestingly, Arum and Preiss found that many more public school teachers and administrators are threatened with lawsuits over school-related matters than are actually sued. Among the survey participants, 15 percent of teachers and 55 percent of administrators have been threatened with a legal suit (for administrators with more than 15 years of experience, the number rises to 73 percent). Only 14 percent of administrators, however, have had actual experience with being sued.

For their research, Arum and Preiss collaborated with the School Rights Project in conducting a national telephone survey of 600 high school teachers and administrators and site-based surveys of 5,490 students and 368 educators. The site-based work, which included in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, examined 24 high schools with varying legal environments in New York, North Carolina, and California. Arum and Preiss chose to focus their research on appellate-level court cases because of the significant role they play in defining case law, generating media coverage, and influencing public perceptions.

Read “Law and Disorder in the Classroom

Richard Arum is professor of sociology and education at NewYork University. Doreet Preiss is a research fellow and doctoral candidate at New York University. Arum’s and Preiss’s research will appear in the forthcoming book From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: The Judiciary's Role in American Education by Joshua Dunn and Martin R. West (Brookings Institution Press and Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2009).
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/pro-student-court-rulings-decline.html. Thanks!

Math Up, Reading Scores Down On SAT

On a long-term basis, students’ mathematics scores have experienced an upward trend and are now four points higher than a decade ago; conversely, critical reading scores have declined somewhat and are now four points below what they were 10 years ago. This year’s college-bound seniors averaged 501 in critical reading, 515 in mathematics and 493 in writing. In 2008, the average score in critical reading was 502; in mathematics, 515; and in writing, 494. The writing section of the SAT was introduced in 2005. In 2006, the first year the writing scores were reported for the college-bound seniors cohort, the average writing score was 497.

Individual State Reports Can Be Found HERE.

This year’s graduating class has the most college-bound students taking the SAT® in history, and this class also stands out as having the most diverse participation in SAT history.

More than 1.5 million students (1,530,128) in the class of 2009 took the SAT, the most widely used and researched standardized college admission test. Of those, 40.0 percent were minority students. This is an increase from 38.0 percent in 2008 and 29.2 percent in 1999, reflecting the steady growth in SAT minority participation rates.

2009 College-Bound Seniors At a Glance

The most diverse group of college-bound seniors taking the SAT on record, this year’s minority participation totaled 612,666 students.

Hispanic students represent the largest and fastest-growing minority group taking the SAT and now account for 13.5 percent of all SAT takers compared to 7.8 percent 10 years ago. The number of Hispanic testers over 10 years has more than doubled.
Females comprised 53.5 percent of the 2009 test-taking group; males comprised 46.5 percent.

More than one-third (36.1 percent) of SAT takers reported their parents’ highest level of education as high school or less.

Language diversity is increasing as more 2009 SAT takers report that English is not exclusively their first language compared to previous years — 25.2 percent versus 18.3 percent in 1999.

The Value of Preparation in SAT Performance

As in previous years, the strongest SAT performers in the class of 2009 on average had three things in common: They had completed a core curriculum, had taken their school’s most rigorous courses and had familiarized themselves with the test.

Completing a core curriculum — four or more years of English, three or more years of mathematics, three or more years of natural science, and three or more years of social science and history — remains strongly related to SAT scores. Students in the class of 2009 who took core curricula scored an average of 46 points higher on the critical reading section, 44 points higher on the mathematics section, and 45 points higher on the writing section than those who did not.

Similarly, students in the class of 2009 who had taken the most demanding honors or Advanced Placement® courses had higher SAT scores on this year’s test. For example, students who took AP® or honors English courses scored 60 points higher in critical reading and 59 points higher in writing than the average of all students. Similarly, students who took AP or honors math courses had a 79-point advantage compared to the average mathematics score.

Those students who practice more and familiarize themselves with the SAT also tend to have higher average scores than those who do not. One way to practice is to take the PSAT/NMSQT®. Among the class of 2009 SAT takers, students who had taken the PSAT/NMSQT had average scores of 513 in critical reading, 524 in mathematics and 505 in writing, compared to 470, 491 and 460, respectively, for those who did not — a combined difference of 121 points. Slightly more than 82 percent (82.4 percent) of 2009 college-bound seniors reported taking the PSAT/NMSQT.

Both College Board and independent validity studies continue to confirm that writing is the most predictive section of the SAT.

About the SAT

Designed to measure what students have learned in high school, the SAT tests students’ reading, writing and mathematics skills — the same skills they’re learning in high school and that are essential to college success. It also shows how well students can apply their skills, which is critically important to colleges when evaluating undergraduate candidates. Each year, the SAT is administered to more than two million students in more than 6,000 test centers that are located in more than 170 countries.

The College Board

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board is composed of more than 5,600 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,800 colleges through major programs and services in college readiness, college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP). The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities and concerns.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/math-up-reading-scores-down-on-sat.html. Thanks!

Strong Public Support for National Tests

41st Annual PDK Poll Reveals Strong Public Support for National Tests, Charter Schools, Teacher Performance Pay, Early Childhood Education, and President's Stimulus Package

Poll Findings Deemed Public "Permission Slip" for President Obama's Education Agenda; Public Growing Weary of No Child Left Behind Act, Report Reveals

Whether the issue is expanding charter schools or implementing merit pay for teachers, Americans appear to agree with President Barack Obama's plans for education reform, according to the 2009 annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

The President's ambitious agenda includes higher standards and more funding for early learning settings, expanding charter schools, reshaping teacher pay to reward effective teachers, and introducing common standards that could lead to a national test administered by states.

The findings indicate that Americans continue to support annual testing of students in grades three through eight by a two-to-one margin, and they favor using a single national test rather than letting each state use its own. This opinion is held by Democrats and Republicans equally.

Two out of three Americans support charter schools, although many Americans are confused about whether charter schools are public schools and whether they can charge tuition, teach religion, or select their own students. During the last five years, Americans' approval of charter schools has increased by 15 percent.

The poll, which is conducted annually by Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) in conjunction with Gallup, asked Americans about using stimulus money to save teachers' jobs, investing in early childhood education, and other public education issues. Specifically, 46 percent of Americans support the use of stimulus money earmarked for education to retain teachers slated to be laid off, and 81 percent of Americans favor making kindergarten compulsory.

The 2009 poll also reveals that almost three out of four Americans favor merit pay for teachers regardless of political affiliation. Student academic achievement, administrator evaluations, and advanced degrees are the three most favored criteria for awarding merit pay.

"The poll results appear to be a permission slip for the President's education agenda," said William Bushaw, executive director of PDK International and co-director of the PDK/Gallup poll. "It provides a ringing endorsement for many of the Administration's planned changes that will be taken up in Congress next year as lawmakers debate what to do with the No Child Left Behind Act."

Other Key Findings:

• NCLB Fatigue?
Americans are also growing weary of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In fact, support for NCLB, which was passed in 2002, continues to decline as almost half of Americans view it unfavorably and only one in four Americans believe that it has helped schools in their communities.

• Split Views on Teacher Tenure.
American views are split on teacher tenure depending on how the question is phrased. They disapprove of teachers having a "lifetime contract" but agree that teachers should have a formal legal review before being terminated.
• Dropout Rate of Top Importance. Almost nine out of 10 Americans believe that the U.S. high school dropout rate is either the most important or one of the most important problems facing high schools today. Offering more interesting classes was the suggestion offered most when asked what could help reduce the dropout rate.

• Support for Required Kindergarten.
Americans strongly endorse making either halfday or full-day kindergarten compulsory for all children. Five out of 10 Americans believe preschool programs should be housed in public schools, with parents even more supportive of that idea. This is a significant change from 18 years ago when Americans were evenly divided between public schools, parent's workplace, and special preschool facilities. Almost six out of 10 Americans would be willing to pay more taxes to fund free preschool programs for children whose parents are unable to pay.

• Americans Well-Informed by Newspapers.
Almost 75 percent of Americans say they are either well-informed or fairly well-informed about their schools, citing newspapers as their primary source of information about schools, despite the declines in the newspaper industry, and school employees as their secondary source.

• Support for Higher Teacher Salaries.
Overall, Americans demonstrate a deep respect for public school teachers, stating that beginning teachers with a bachelor's degree and teaching certificate should earn an average starting salary of approximately $43,000, a substantial increase over the current average starting salary of $35,300. Additionally, seven out of 10 would like a child of theirs to become a public school teacher, the highest favorable rating in three decades.

PDK is a global association of education professionals and has conducted this poll with Gallup annually since 1969. The poll serves as an opportunity for parents, educators, and legislators to assess public opinion about public schools. The 2009 findings are based on telephone interviews conducted in June 2009 with a national sample of 1,003 American adults.

More poll data is available here.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/strong-public-support-for-national-tests.html. Thanks!

No Time To Play In Kindergarten

Time for play in most public kindergartens has dwindled to the vanishing point, replaced by lengthy lessons and standardized testing, according to three new studies released today by the Alliance for Childhood. Classic play materials like blocks, sand and water tables, and props for dramatic play have largely disappeared from the 268 full-day kindergarten classrooms studied.

The studies were conducted by researchers from U.C.L.A., Long Island University, and Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

The researchers found that
• On a typical day, kindergartners in Los Angeles and New York City spend four to six times as long being instructed and tested in literacy and math (two to three hours per day) as in free play or “choice time” (30 minutes or less).
• Standardized testing and preparation for tests are now a daily activity in most of the kindergartens studied, despite the fact that the use of most such tests with children under age eight is scientifically invalid and often harmful.
• In many kindergarten classrooms there is no playtime at all. Teachers say the curriculum does not incorporate play, there isn’t time for it, and many school administrators do not value it.

Child development experts have been raising alarms about the increasingly didactic, test-driven, and joyless course of early childhood education. “These practices, which are not well grounded in research, violate long-established principles of child development and good teaching,” states the Alliance’s report. “It is increasingly clear that they are compromising both children’s health and their long-term prospects for success in school.”

The three studies break new ground by examining the use of time and materials in public kindergarten classrooms and the factors that affect children’s access to play. Independent research teams received funding from the nonprofit Maryland-based Alliance.

Numerous studies have shown that children who engage in complex socio-dramatic play develop higher levels of thinking, stronger language skills, better social skills, more empathy, and more imagination than children who do not play in this way. They are also less aggressive and show more self-control. Play also lowers stress levels in children.

Nevertheless, child-driven play has fallen out of favor in the U.S. Many people believe that kindergartners need to settle down and engage in serious learning. They see play as a waste of time, or worse, a descent into chaos.

Crisis in the Kindergarten argues that the superficial, chaotic play in “anything-goes, laissez-faire” kindergartens is as unacceptable as the highly regimented, didactic classroom that is devoid of play. The report also describes scripted teaching, which has gained momentum in schools across the country in the past decade, as “a vast experiment with virtually no basis in valid research.”

Psychologist David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play, calls the new research findings “heartbreaking.” In a foreword, he writes, “We have had a politically and commercially driven effort to make kindergarten a one-size-smaller first grade. Why in the world are we trying to teach the elementary curriculum at the early childhood level?”

The authors of Crisis in the Kindergarten, Alliance directors Edward Miller and Joan Almon, argue that the disappearance of kindergarten play is part of a larger societal problem. “Play is one of the vital signs of health in children,” they write. “We do not know the long-term consequences of the loss of play in early childhood, but this has become a concern for pediatricians and psychologists.”

They report evidence of significant increases in behavioral problems and school failure among kindergartners. They question unrealistic standards that are developmentally beyond many young children, forcing teachers to spend long hours trying to meet them, and leading to the wrongful labeling of normal child behavior and learning patterns as “misbehavior, attention disorders, or learning disabilities.”

The authors note that children in China and Japan, which are envied for their success in teaching science, technology, engineering, and math, enjoy a play-based, experiential approach to schooling until second grade. Finnish children similarly have a lengthy and playful childhood, not beginning formal schooling until age 7. Yet Finland consistently gets the highest scores on international exams.

Synthesizing a range of recent national and international research, including the three studies reported here for the first time, Crisis in the Kindergarten describes the current state of public kindergartens in the U.S. as “a national disgrace.” It calls for a refocusing of early education on well-designed play-based approaches, warning that the nation is “blindly pursuing educational policies that could well damage the intellectual, social, and physical development of an entire generation.”

* * *

Crisis in the Kindergarten makes six recommendations for education policymakers, school administrators, teachers, and parents. For more details see Chapter 8 of the report at www.allianceforchildhood.org:

1. Restore child-initiated play and experiential learning with the active support of teachers to their rightful place at the heart of kindergarten education.
2. Reassess kindergarten standards to ensure that they promote developmentally appropriate practices, and eliminate those that do not.
3. End the inappropriate use in kindergarten of standardized tests, which are prone to serious error especially when given to children under age eight.
4. Expand the early childhood research agenda to examine the long-term impact of current preschool and kindergarten practices on the development of children from diverse backgrounds.
5. Give teachers of young children first-rate preparation that emphasizes the full development of the child and the importance of play, nurtures children’s innate love of learning, and supports teachers’ own capacities for creativity, autonomy, and integrity.
6. Use the crisis of play’s disappearance from kindergarten to rally organizations and individuals to create a national movement for play in schools and communities.

The complete report is here.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/no-time-to-play-in-kindergarten.html. Thanks!

Early Childhood Special Education Populations Analysis

Analysis of the Developmental Functioning of Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education Populations in Oregon

This study reports on the developmental functioning levels of children from birth through age 2 in early intervention services and children ages 3–5 in early childhood special education services at the time of entry into services, using data from the Oregon Early Childhood Assessment System.

Full report here.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/early-childhood-special-education.html. Thanks!

Parents OK with homework load

Today's youngsters are buried under homework, which gobbles up free time that could be spent with family or friends. Parents, puzzled whether to help their children dig out from a pile of books or allow them to carry on alone, are frustrated by the take-home workload. And they're angry at the stress the immense amounts of homework can put on their whole family.

Sound familiar?

That's the current conventional wisdom about homework, which is often perpetuated in the popular press through stories of stressed-out schoolchildren and perplexed parents.

But, a new study from University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers actually shows parents see homework in a much more positive light.

While students are spending considerable time completing homework, parents are generally supportive of homework practices, the study shows. They're also involved in homework -- usually in minimal but supportive ways, said Ken Kiewra, UNL professor of educational psychology and an expert on learning strategies, homework, and study methods.

"Our findings should squelch the sentiments that homework is robbing children of free time and that parents are opposed to homework practices," Kiewra said. "Parents generally report that children spend ample time playing and socializing and report that homework workloads are reasonable."

Published in the latest issue of ScholarlyPartnershipsEdu, the study examined four key issues: how long it takes students to complete their daily homework, how parents feel about their child's amount of homework, how much parents are involved in it, and how well schools communicate with parents about homework levels and expectations.

The results of the study, which involved nearly 400 parents of middle schoolers, gave details to a number of contemporary questions about homework, Kiewra said. Among them:

Are students overburdened by too much homework and robbed of free time? No, the UNL study found. While most middle schoolers spend 60 to 90 minutes a day with homework -- slightly higher than what previous research in the area had shown -- parents in the study did not believe it interfered with their children's recreational or social activities.

Does daily homework create family stress and infringe on family life as a whole? No, the UNL study found. Most parents said they thought their kids' amount of daily homework was appropriate and did not encroach upon family activities. In fact, most parents surveyed were either indifferent about or thankful for homework.

Are parents unsure how to help their children with homework? No, the UNL study found: Most parents said they were involved in their child's homework, but in general their involvement was minimal but positive. They focused on motivating their children or checking their answers.

Do schools and parents communicate about homework levels and expectations? Not really -- the UNL study confirmed prior research that there is scarcely any discussion about homework levels initiated by the school or parents.

Kiewra said the study unearths three main issues that merit further attention and repair.

"First, although findings cast a softer light on the homework battle that has raged between families and schools, it does not extinguish it," he said. "Twenty-five percent of parents still contend that excessive homework practices infringe on family life."

Second, although most parents help children with homework in positive ways, about one-quarter sometimes completes assignments for their children who are sometimes overburdened, he said.

Third, "homework communication between schools and parents is a dead-end street. With better communication, homework loads are more likely to be manageable and parental assistance more likely positive."

Involved in the study from UNL were Kiewra; Douglas Kaufmann, assistant professor of educational psychology; and several educators.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/parents-ok-with-homework-load.html. Thanks!

ACT Results: College Readiness Increases Slightly

The percentage of U.S. high school graduates meeting all four of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks increased slightly in 2009 as the pool of students taking the ACT® continued to expand, according to the not-for-profit ACT’s annual grad class report on college readiness, which was released today. Nevertheless, the findings suggest continued effort to improve college readiness is needed on the part of states and school districts.

The percentage of graduates ready to earn at least a “C” or higher in first-year college courses in all four subject areas tested on the ACT—English, math, reading and science—increased from 22 percent in 2008 to 23 percent in 2009. This percentage meeting all four benchmarks remains higher than in 2005 and 2006 and is the same as in 2007, when the pool of test-takers was likely less diverse in terms of academic preparation. A record nearly 1.5 million 2009 graduates took the ACT college admission and placement exam, up from 1.42 million in 2008.

Based on the actual performance of successful students in college, the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks specify the minimum scores needed on each ACT subject-area test to indicate a student is ready to succeed (50 percent chance of earning a “B” or higher or about a 75 percent chance of earning a “C” or higher) in a typical first-year, credit-bearing college course in that subject area. Years of empirical ACT data indicate that students who meet or surpass the College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely than those who don’t to go to college, stay in school and graduate with a college degree.

While the slight increase in students meeting all four benchmarks is encouraging, ACT’s report makes clear there is still substantial room for improvement in college readiness. The large majority of U.S. high school graduates continue to lack at least some of the academic skills they will need to earn at least a “C” or higher in first-year, for-credit college coursework. These findings underscore the need for school districts and states to focus their attention on the essential knowledge and skills needed for college and career readiness by all students.

“While there are certainly encouraging signs, the data overwhelmingly point to the need for continued improvement in our education system,” said Cynthia B. Schmeiser, president and chief operating officer of ACT’s education division. “Collectively, we all have an obligation and a responsibility to do everything within our power to make sure our nation’s students are better prepared for college and work upon graduation. Our students, schools, districts, states and nation cannot afford otherwise.”

“President Obama and I are committed to building excellent schools from cradle to career,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “For more and more Americans, completing college is a prerequisite for success in their careers. We need to increase the number of high school graduates who are prepared to succeed in college. The recent increase in college preparedness on the ACT is good news. But our students need to do dramatically better to guarantee their future economic success.”

Lack of college readiness is again most evident in the areas of science and math. The findings show that only 28 percent of ACT-tested 2009 graduates (unchanged from 2008, up 2 percentage points from 2005) are ready for college-level biology, and just 42 percent (down 1 percentage point from 2008, up 1 percentage point from 2005) are ready for college-level algebra. In comparison, 67 percent (down 1 percentage point from 2008 and 2005) are ready for college-level English composition, while 53 percent (unchanged from 2008, up 1 percentage point from 2005) are ready for college-level social science.

These findings are critical in view of the growing importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers in the expanding and increasingly competitive global economy. It has been widely argued that greater numbers of students need to gain advanced math and science knowledge to keep the U.S. labor force competitive. Reading skills are also critical, as ACT research has shown that being college ready in reading is a necessary precondition to students being ready for college-level math and science.
Average ACT Scores

The national average ACT composite score for 2009 graduates was 21.1, unchanged from 2008 and 0.2 point higher than in 2005. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

The average scores on the four subject-area tests were as follows: English—20.6 (unchanged from 2008); mathematics—21.0 (unchanged); reading—21.4 (unchanged); science—20.9 (up 0.1 point). The average scores in English, math and reading are all higher than in 2005, while the average score in science is the same as it was in 2005.
ACT Scores Linked to Standards

ACT’s College Readiness Benchmark scores are directly linked to ACT’s College Readiness Standards, which define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college-entry courses based on empirical evidence. College and career readiness standards are vital to ensuring that U.S. students are taught the rigorous skills they need to compete with their peers in other states and, particularly, in high-performing countries around the world. ACT research shows that students who have attained the essential college and career readiness skills are more likely to succeed in postsecondary education than those who have not. ACT’s College Readiness Standards are directly measured by the test, making the ACT unique among college readiness exams.

ACT’s results reveal that still too many high school graduates cannot adequately perform some of the essential college-ready skills in English, writing, reading, mathematics, and/or science.

In writing, for example, approximately 40 percent of 2009 ACT-tested graduates were not able to use the correct adverb or adjective form in a sentence, use the correct preposition in a phrase, or make sure that the subject and verb agree in a sentence. In reading, 30 percent of the graduates were unable to evaluate the contribution that significant details make to the text as a whole. In math, nearly 40 percent of the 2009 graduates could not solve multistep problems involving fractions and percentages. And in science, 40 percent could not predict the results of an additional trial of a scientific experiment. ACT’s research shows these types of skills are needed for students to be ready for college and work.

These essential skills in writing, reading and math are illustrative of the standards that are likely to be included in the Common Core State Standards Initiative currently underway under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). ACT is a partner in this effort along with Achieve and the College Board.

“The results reported by ACT today demonstrate the key reason CCSSO and NGA began our work on the Common Core Standards Initiative—better preparing today’s students for the realities of college and career is the goal,” said Gene Wilhoit, executive director of CCSSO. “We applaud ACT for showing where we need to elevate state standards.”

Forty-nine states and U.S. territories have signed the memorandum of agreement and thereby are committed to a state-led process to develop a common core of standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades K-12.
Recommendations for Improvement

As schools, states and national groups consider initiatives for improving student readiness, ACT offers the following recommendations on steps that states and school districts can take to better prepare students for college and career, based on hard evidence from the millions of students who have taken the ACT test in the past few decades:

* Adopt fewer—but essential—college and career readiness standards as their new high school graduation standards.
* Adopt a rigorous core curriculum for all high school graduates, whether they are bound for college or work.
* Define “how good is good enough” for college and career readiness.
* Strengthen the rigor of their courses.
* Begin monitoring academic achievement early to make sure younger students are on target to be ready for college and career.
* Establish longitudinal P-16 (preschool through college) data systems.

“ACT data continue to demonstrate the importance of giving educators the necessary tools to predict, prepare for, and achieve success for their students,” said Schmeiser. “ACT is committed to working with our educational state partners to impact this success and advance futures, one student at a time.”
Growing Number of Test-Takers

Over the past several years, the population of ACT test-takers has grown substantially, reflecting greater diversity and increased awareness of the importance of post-high school preparation. The total number of ACT-tested graduates has grown by 25 percent since 2005, increasing by 4 percent this year compared to last year even as the total number of U.S. graduates declined slightly (from 3.34 million in 2008 to 3.32 million in 2009, based on Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education projections).

Contributing to the increase in participation has been the movement among states and districts to eliminate barriers to college access and to increase student preparation and college attendance. This year’s pool of ACT test-takers includes virtually all high school graduates in five states—Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Wyoming—which administer the ACT to all 11th graders as part of statewide assessment programs. This is the first year that Kentucky and Wyoming have been included in this group, adding thousands of students to the testing base who would likely not have been included in the past.

States that have adopted the ACT as a required assessment for 11th graders have seen their average ACT scores and college readiness levels drop initially as a result of the expanded pool of test-takers. This year, for example, Kentucky’s average ACT composite score was 1.5 points lower than last year’s average, while Wyoming’s average score dropped 1.1 points compared to last year.

Both Colorado and Illinois also saw their average scores decline in 2002 after they began administering the ACT to all students. Since that time, however, ACT score averages in both states have improved at twice the rate seen nationally.

In addition to the statewide assessment programs, nearly all 2009 graduates—approximately nine out of ten or more—took the ACT in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Another factor contributing to the rise in participation is ACT’s commitment to increasing access among low-income students through fee waivers. This past year, more than 400,000 fee waivers for the ACT exam were issued, an increase of more than 100,000 from the year before. This resulted in substantially increased opportunities for students from low-income households to take the ACT and use their scores to apply to colleges.
About the ACT

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam designed to measure the academic skills that are taught in schools and deemed important for success in first-year college courses. ACT scores are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities across the country. ACT scores are also used to make appropriate course placement decisions by the majority of four-year schools in the U.S. The ACT is administered in all 50 states and is taken by a majority of high school graduates in 27 states.

Complete report.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/act-results-college-readiness-increases.html. Thanks!

Hispanic ACT Test-Takers up 16%

The number of Hispanic high school graduates who took the ACT college admissions and placement exam in 2009 increased to an all-time high of nearly 134,000 graduates—a 16 percent increase over 2008 and a dramatic 60 percent increase since 2005—but for the third year in a row, only 1 in 10 met all four of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks, according to ACT’s 2009 College Readiness Report released by the not-for-profit organization.

Growing Numbers of Hispanic Test-takers

The increase comes, in part, from nearly universal ACT statewide testing in five states—Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and Wyoming—which recorded a 10.8 percent increase in Hispanic ACT-tested graduates over the past year. More substantial increases came in states with traditionally higher Hispanic populations—Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texas—which experienced a 19.4 percent increase in the number of tested 2009 Hispanic graduates. In 2008 more than 114,000 Hispanic high school graduates took the ACT.

Over the past several years, the total population of ACT test-takers has grown substantially. Nearly 1.5 million high school graduates in 2009—45 percent of the national graduating class, up from 43 percent last year—took the ACT, another all-time record number. The total number of ACT-tested graduates has grown by 25 percent since 2005, increasing by 4 percent this year, compared to last, even as the total number of graduates declined nationally.

Average ACT Scores

While the national average ACT composite score for all 2009 graduates was 21.1—unchanged from 2008 and 0.2 point higher than in 2005—the national average ACT composite score for Hispanic 2009 graduates was 18.7, unchanged from 2008. This score remains at the record high first reached in 2007. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

Average scores of Hispanic students on the four subject-area tests were: English—17.7; mathematics—19.1; reading—18.9; and science—18.8. The average math and science scores were 0.1 point higher than in 2008, while the other two scores remained unchanged from last year.

College Readiness of Hispanic Students

The findings show that among Hispanic ACT-tested 2009 graduates, only 48 percent (down 1% from 2008) met or exceeded the ACT benchmark score in English; 27 percent (up 1% from 2008) for college-level math; 35 percent (unchanged from 2008) in reading; and just 13 percent (unchanged) are ready for college-level science. Just 10 percent of Hispanic test-takers are college ready in all four subjects.

ACT Benchmarks specify the minimum scores needed on each ACT subject-area test to indicate a student is ready to succeed. In terms of college readiness, success is defined as having a 50 percent chance of earning a "B" or higher, or about a 75 percent chance of earning a "C" or higher in a typical first-year, credit-bearing college course in that subject area. The College Readiness Benchmarks are based on the actual performance of successful students in college.

Years of empirical ACT data indicate that students who meet or surpass the College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely than those who don’t to go to college, stay in school and graduate with a college degree.


While the significant increase of Hispanic students who take the ACT is encouraging, ACT findings suggest there is still considerable room for improvement. Despite the record growth in Hispanic test-takers, college readiness skills among Hispanics remained the same for the third year in a row.

The large majority of Hispanic high school graduates continue to lack at least some of the academic skills they will need to succeed in first-year college coursework. ACT’s report reaffirms the need for school districts and states to focus more attention on college and career readiness for the nation’s Hispanic students.

"While there are certainly encouraging signs, the data overwhelmingly point to the need for continued improvement in our education system," said Cynthia B. Schmeiser, president and chief operating officer of ACT’s education division. "Collectively, we all have an obligation and a responsibility to do everything within our power to make sure our nation’s students are better prepared for college and work upon graduation. Our students, schools, districts, states and nation cannot afford otherwise."
ACT Scores Linked to Standards

ACT’s College Readiness Benchmark scores are directly linked to ACT’s College Readiness Standards, which define the knowledge and skills students need in college-entry courses. College and career readiness standards are vital to ensuring that U.S. students are taught the rigorous skills they need to compete with their peers in other states and, particularly, in high-performing countries around the world. ACT research shows that students who have attained the essential college and career readiness skills are more likely to succeed in postsecondary education than those who have not. ACT’s College Readiness Standards are directly measured by the test, making the ACT unique among college readiness exams.

As schools, states and national groups consider initiatives for improving student readiness, ACT offers the following recommendations on steps that states and school districts can take to better prepare students for college and career, based on hard evidence from the millions of students who have taken the ACT test in the past few decades:

* Adopt fewer—but essential—college and career readiness standards as their new high school graduation standards.
* Adopt a rigorous core curriculum for all high school graduates, whether they are bound for college or work.
* Define "how good is good enough" for college and career readiness.
* Strengthen the rigor of their courses.
* Begin monitoring academic achievement early to make sure younger students are on target to be ready for college and career.
* Establish longitudinal P-16 (preschool through college) data systems.

Fee Waivers

ACT issued more than 400,000 fee waivers for the ACT, an increase of more than 100,000 from the year before. This resulted in substantially increased opportunities for students from low-income households to take the ACT and use their scores to apply to colleges.

Complete report.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/hispanic-act-test-takers-up-16.html. Thanks!

Teens Have Less Sex After Middle-School Program

A new program that urges middle-school students to figure out their values regarding sex appears to reduce the likelihood that they will engage in early sexual activity, a study finds.

Students who took part in the "It's Your Game: Keep It Real" program "” which attempts to encourage abstinence, but includes information about contraceptives "” were less likely to have sex by ninth grade than those who did not.

The computer-based sex-education program, which will be free to schools, could become an alternative to the handful of programs that also are effective, said Susan Tortolero, lead study author.

The new program, whose development the federal government funded, allows students to play animated computer games and engage in classroom activities in 24 lessons, each 45 minutes long.

The program encourages school children to choose their values "” or "rules" "” about sex and then "protect their rules" when they're challenged, said Tortolero, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center.

"Teaching kids decision-making skills and having them practice them and role play "”that's part of what makes this program successful," Tortolero said.

In 2004, the researchers assigned seventh-grade students randomly in a southeastern Texas school district to take part in the "It's Your Game" program or the standard health education program.

The researchers then surveyed 907 of the children about sexual issues when they reached ninth grade.

The study findings appear online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Nearly 30 percent of those who did not take part in the program had sex by ninth grade, but the number was 23 percent among those who did take part.

After researchers adjusted their figures to account for the effects of factors like gender and ethnicity, they found that those who did not take part in the program were 1.29 times more likely to have sex by ninth grade.

Janet Rosenbaum, a postdoctoral fellow who studies teen sexuality at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the program sounds promising. Its tenets, she said, fit with previous research suggesting that teens are more likely to stick with abstinence pledges when they make the decisions themselves and do not feel pressured to do so.

"It's Your Game: Keep It Real" will be available free to the public later this fall.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/teens-have-less-sex-after-middle-school.html. Thanks!

In History Classes, the Play is the Thing

This fall, Jeffrey Hyson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, will transform his freshman Western Civilization I classes into fascinating games. Hyson will use an innovative pedagogy developed at Barnard College called Reacting to the Past (RTTP).

“Most history courses teach what happened,” Hyson says. “What is often missing is the importance of individuals – their actions and decisions. An RTTP class immerses students in the historical record through extended role-playing games that presume individuals play a significant role in history.”

During the semester, students will enter two radically different worlds: the Athenian Assembly, circa 403 B.C., and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, circa 1637. They will role-play characters from a rabble of Athenian democrats and oligarchs, and will later portray Puritans involved in the trial of Anne Hutchinson.

In both instances, students will study the forces shaping the historical moment by studying primary sources, and will speak, discuss and write in character for weeks at a time, forging alliances and strategies to achieve objectives.

“Student evaluations indicate that they become deeply invested in the games, studying texts and contexts more intently than they would in traditional lecture classes," says Hyson.

Hyson is not the only SJU professor enthusiastic about RTTP. Roger Martinez, Ph.D., a teaching postdoctoral fellow in history will use the trial of Galileo for an upper level course “that will require students to bring critical thinking, emotional intelligence and intellectual creativity into play,” notes Martinez.
Katie Oxx, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of theology, will use RTTP for a seminar in African theologies. “It really does bring history alive in a richer and deeper context than I have been able to recreate in other classes.”
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/in-history-classes-play-is-thing.html. Thanks!

How schools + parents can work for successful kids

It is widely understood that, ideally, schools and parents should work together to ensure that children can succeed as students and citizens. But what is the right balance? And how much do teachers want parents involved in the classroom? A new study from North Carolina State University identifies ways that schools and communities can work with parents to give children the greatest chance of success.

Researchers at NC State say that the formation of "child and family teams" (CFTs) may be extremely useful in helping young people who are having difficulty with grades or behavior become more engaged and do well in school and life. Dr. Jocelyn Taliaferro, an associate professor of social work at NC State and co-author of the study, explains that a CFT "takes a 'village' approach. A child and his or her family decide who would be on the team – such as teachers, social workers, pastors or other community members – and then work with the team to develop a plan for helping the child succeed both in school and in the broader community. One advantage of this approach is that it removes the 'us versus them' mentality, by bringing in a broad support group and giving the child and family some control over the situation."

However, the researchers found in their study that some school personnel and community members are ambivalent about the prospect of involving family members in the decision-making process at their schools. For example, Taliaferro says, teachers think parental involvement is important, but they also are often concerned that the parents may be contributing to a child's problem rather than being part of the solution.

Addressing this ambivalence is essential, Taliaferro says, "because if school and community members, such as teachers and mentors, do not buy in to the CFT concept it is not going to work."

One way that school administrators and other leaders can address this concern is to "encourage parents to be involved and provide parents with opportunities to interact with the school," Taliaferro says. "You cannot change the feelings of people who may be skeptical, but you can change behaviors. And if there is more interaction, and you begin to see some success with the CFT approach, you will get more buy-in from those who may have been doubtful of the process."

Taliaferro says that another factor that can make the CFT approach more productive is for school leaders to accept broad participation in the program by extended family and friends of the children involved. "The involvement of extended family and friends can supplement parental involvement in supporting the kids and moving them in the right direction. It can also help school personnel better understand a child's background," she says.

Taliaferro notes that it is important for schools to take steps to give parents and children an active role in making decisions that affect them. "We say it is a parental right and responsibility to be involved in their child's education, but we have historically limited opportunities for their involvement."

The study, "'I can see parents being reluctant': perceptions of parental involvement using child and family teams in schools," and is being published online in the August issue of the journal Child and Family Social Work
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-schools-parents-can-work-for.html. Thanks!

U.S. Performance on International Assessments

On the most recent international tests, students in a number of countries consistently outperformed their U.S. peers across the board in reading, math, and science, according to U.S. Performance Across International Assessments of Student Achievement: Special Supplement to The Condition of Education 2009, a report released today by the Institute of Education Sciences' National Center for Education Statistics.

This report, for the first time, pulls together the evidence from the most recent international assessments taken by nearly a million students from 85 countries worldwide. This includes three internationally benchmarked exams -- the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). While the mathematics scores of U.S. students have improved since 1995, there have been no gains in science or reading.

Results from these international tests already have been released separately. However, this special analysis brings the results altogether to reveal how the United States compares with other countries across all three core subjects and at the elementary, middle and high school level in terms of students' average scores and the percentage of students reaching internationally benchmarked performance levels. It also examines trends in U.S. student performance and the range of performance for the highest- and lowest-scoring students in each country. Although the tests differ somewhat by content, grades tested and countries participating, several trends emerge.

Findings include:

* In reading, the average scores of U.S. students are the same or higher than their peers in roughly three-quarters of the other countries that have participated in PIRLS and PISA assessments. Moreover, the number of countries that outperformed the United States on PIRLS increased from three in 2001 to seven in 2006 among the 28 countries that participated in both tests.

* In mathematics, results from the 2007 TIMSS assessment show that U.S. students have improved at both grades 4 and 8 since the first administration of TIMSS in 1995.

* The most recent PISA results suggests that U.S. 15-year-olds are not as successful in applying mathematics knowledge and skills to real-world tasks as their peers in many other developed nations. The mathematics average score placed U.S. 15-year-olds in the bottom quarter of participating developed nations, a position unchanged from 2003.

* In science, results from TIMSS 2007 assessment show that U.S. 4th graders have fallen behind their peers in several countries, even though their average scores in science have not declined since the first administration of TIMSS in 1995. Among the other 15 countries that participated in the 1995 and 2007 TIMSS at grade 4, the average science score increased in seven countries and decreased in five countries; at grade 8, the average science score increased in five countries and decreased in three countries among the other 18 countries that participated in both 1995 and 2007.

The full text of "U.S. Performance Across International Assessments of Student Achievement"
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/us-performance-on-international.html. Thanks!

Developmental language disorders at preschool

No proof of benefit from screening

Lack of reliable diagnostic instruments – Benefit of early detection cannot be proven due to lack of data

Language is a central element of social life. It is not only a prerequisite for personal relationships, but also for employment prospects. If a child's language development is impaired, this can have far-reaching negative consequences. Thus, it would be beneficial if those children who would benefit from targeted help could be identified at a very early stage.

However, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) could not find any proof of benefit from language screening before their 6th birthday for children with a specific developmental disorder of speech and language. At present, there is a lack of screening studies and also of reliable diagnostic instruments. This is the conclusion in the final report, which IQWiG published on 17 August 2009.

No study exists on screening for specific developmental language disorders

Out of the studies that IQWiG identified on early detection of language disorders, there were none that investigated in particular the effects of language screening on children of preschool age with specific developmental disorders in speech and language. IQWiG therefore included in its investigation an assessment of existing diagnostic instruments and interventions in order to answer the question of whether the necessary requirements for a screening programme are met in Germany.

Diagnostic instruments not adequately validated

Out of 17 German-language tests, there was none where the diagnostic quality was adequately investigated in relation to the indication of specific developmental language disorders. Diagnostic instruments would have to be more comprehensively validated - including, for instance, clarification of how many follow-up examinations and/or treatments would be expected after screening. A particular challenge of diagnosing lies in distinguishing between a potential disorder and normal course of development in very young children.

Few indications of short-term positive effects from therapy

In addition to the diagnostic instruments, the report also investigates the benefit of potential therapies, for which IQWiG was able to identify a total of 16 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). However, it was difficult to interpret the trial results: almost all trials were susceptible to bias. In addition, they were very heterogeneous as regards the type of therapy, the selection criteria, the degree of disorder, the intensity and duration of measure.

Children who received speech therapy displayed predominantly positive, short-term effects with regard to language development. The children who participated in intervention programmes improved their grammar, formed more complex sentences, expanded their vocabulary and sound and syllable repertoire, or were more articulate, for example. _However, there is very little research on whether these effects continue long-term, and whether the therapies also have a positive effect on the quality of life of the children, their psychosocial and emotional development, and school performance. The studies did not investigate whether the treatment might also have adverse consequences.

There are also no indications or proof that the therapies have a greater benefit in younger children than in older children. None of the therapy studies analysed investigated the effects of an early start to therapy, for example at 3 years of age, as opposed to starting therapy at 6 years of age. Thus, no conclusion can be drawn from the identified studies on the optimal timing for speech therapy treatment.

Requirements for the introduction of a screening programme are not met

According to IQWiG, there is currently a lack of methodological fundament in Germany necessary to introduce universal screening for specific developmental disorders of speech and language. Extensive scientific research therefore needs to be carried out. There is firstly a need for research into validating a screening test (including subsequent diagnosis). Only then would it be possible to investigate the effects of this type of screening and to compare that with the procedure used up till now in child development check-ups.

In addition, the question whether potential therapeutic effects continue in the longer term has to be investigated. Not only the potential benefit of screening but also its potential harm must be considered here. For example, if a child was falsely diagnosed as having a language disorder, this would constitute a harm. This could have a negative impact on the parent-child relationship or involve a time-consuming therapy that produces no benefit to the child.

Report preparation procedure

IQWiG published the preliminary results in the form of the preliminary report in November 2008 and interested parties were invited to submit comments. When the comments stage ended, the preliminary report was revised and sent as a final report to the contracting agency, the Federal Joint Committee, in mid-June 2009. Documentation of the written comments and minutes of the oral debate are published in a separate document simultaneously with the final report. The report was produced in collaboration with external experts.

An overview of the background, methods and further results of the final report is provided in the following.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/developmental-language-disorders-at.html. Thanks!

Historical movies help students learn,

but separating fact from fiction can be challenge

Students who learn history by watching historically based blockbuster movies may be doomed to repeat the historical mistakes portrayed within them, suggests a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

The study, forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that showing popular history movies in a classroom setting can be a double-edged sword when it comes to helping students learn and retain factual information in associated textbooks
"We found that when information in the film was consistent with information in the text, watching the film clips increased correct recall by about 50 percent relative to reading the text alone," explains Andrew Butler, a psychology doctoral student in Arts & Sciences.

"In contrast, when information in the film directly contradicted the text, people often falsely recalled the misinformation portrayed in the film, sometimes as much as 50 percent of the time."

Butler, whose research focuses on how cognitive psychology can be applied to enhance educational practice, notes that teachers can guard against the adverse impact of movies that play fast and loose with historical fact, although a general admonition may not be sufficient.

"The misleading effect occurred even when people were reminded of the potentially inaccurate nature of popular films right before viewing the film," Butler says. "However, the effect was completely negated when a specific warning about the particular inaccuracy was provided before the film."

Butler conducted the study with colleagues in the Department of Psychology's Memory Lab. Co-authors include fellow doctoral student Franklin M. Zaromb, postdoctoral researcher Keith B. Lyle and Henry L. "Roddy" Roediger III, the Lab's principal investigator and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology.

"These results have implications for the common educational practice of using popular films as an instructional aid," Butler concludes.

"Although films may increase learning and interest in the classroom, educators should be aware that students might learn inaccurate information, too, even if the correct information has been presented in a text. More broadly, these same positive and negative effects apply to the consumption of popular history films by the general public."

Full report:
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/historical-movies-help-students-learn.html. Thanks!

On-Line Learning Research

Policy and Funding Frameworks for Online Learning

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) has released a new report, Policy and Funding Frameworks for Online Learning. The report guides policymakers toward effective choices to support the high-quality online and blended learning environments.

Last year, there were more than 1,000,000 students enrolled in online courses, but the access to online schools and courses is still not keeping pace with the demand from students and parents. More than 40% of middle and high school students want to enroll in online courses – which equates to more than 20 million students interested in online courses.

About iNACOL

iNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit association that believes online learning is a powerful innovation that expands education opportunities (www.inacol.org). iNACOL supports access to high-quality online learning for all students. iNACOL hosts the annual Virtual School Symposium (VSS); VSS 2009 will be held Nov. 15 – 17, 2009 in Austin, TX (www.virtualschoolsymposium.org). Policy and Funding Frameworks for Online Learning is the fifth in a six-part series published by iNACOL titled Promising Practices in Online Learning, supported by K12 Inc., Apex Learning, Connections Academy, and Florida Virtual School.

Full report

New Study Determines Students in Full-Time Online Public Schools Possess Strong Social Skills

A new study concludes that the social skills of students enrolled in full-time, online public schools are superior to or not significantly different than students enrolled in traditional public schools. _

The independent study was completed by Interactive Education Systems Design (IESD), Inc., in collaboration with The Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis. It represents the first significant research effort on the social skills of students in full-time, online public schools.

"Online public schools are experiencing rapid growth across the country," said Dr. Jay Sivin-Kachala, Vice-President of IESD, who led the research project. "Yet some concerns have been expressed that students enrolled in online public schools may suffer from a lack of opportunities for socialization, and consequently may fail to develop important social skills. The results of this study provide substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that typical, mainstream students enrolled in full-time, online public schools are at least as well socialized as equivalent students enrolled in traditional public schools."

Full report

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, U.S. Department of Education

Full report
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-line-learning-research.html. Thanks!

Tradeoff Teacher Wages vs Layoffs to Meet Budgets

School districts faced with large budget gaps could avoid some or all teacher layoffs by rolling back salaries. While this option may not work for all districts, a new analysis shows that district officials--and teachers unions--could both serve students and teachers by trimming classroom pay.

Marguerite Roza based her analysis on the fact that 93 percent of school districts in the U.S. negotiate and structure teacher-pay according to a fixed salary schedule, consisting of annual as well as step increases. Step increases average 3.16 percent a year. The annual increase for the salary schedules she calculated at the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the 1997--2007 period at 2.87 percent. The total for the two, at 6.03 percent, may not make sense this year, says Roza.

In a simple chart, she provides five possible decision-options showing how, if salaries are rolled back, fewer teachers get laid off and class sizes increase by fewer students.

In a fifth option, Roza indicates no layoffs would be needed and class sizes would not increase were the district to achieve the 5 percent cut in teaching costs by rolling back salaries 8.16 percent—a move that still would allow the teachers to get their annual salary step increase.

Full report.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/tradeoff-teacher-wages-vs-layoffs-to.html. Thanks!

Evolution in state science education

A new study forthcoming in the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach reports "The treatment of biological evolution in state science standards has improved dramatically over the last ten years." Forty states received satisfactory grades for the treatment of evolution in their state science standards in the study, as opposed to only thirty-one in Lawrence S. Lerner's 2000 study Good Science, Bad Science, conducted for the Fordham Foundation.

But the news is not all rosy. Five states — Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia — received the grade of F, and a further six states — Alaska, Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming — receive the grade of D.

Moreover, the treatment of human evolution is abysmal. Only seven states (and the District of Columbia) providing a comprehensive treatment. Many states "do not reference the Big Bang as the current scientific theory for the origin of the universe," they add, and only 17 states provide a comprehensive treatment of the connections among biological, geological, and cosmological systems.

A few states that furnish "excellent examples of the successes and failures of the standards-setting process." The grades for Florida and Kansas have vaulted from F to A, although not without controversy: "the Kansas standards have seesawed between abysmal and excellent no fewer than four times in the last decade." In Louisiana, however, the passage of the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act undermined the treatment of evolution in the standards, which now receive the grade of F. And in Texas, the state board of education's revisions in March 2009 served to undermine the treatment of evolution in the standards to the point where they, too, receive a failing grade.

Full report:
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/evolution-in-state-science-education.html. Thanks!

Financial health of new GA charter schools falters

Charter schools in Georgia, the majority of which are in metro Atlanta, may be outscoring their public school peers on testing but many are not making the grade when it comes to financial health, according to a new Georgia State University study.

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Professor Cynthia S. Searcy, co-author of the study, said that more than 40 percent of start-up charter schools in Georgia operated with deficits or in the red during the 2006-2007 school year, the latest dates the data was available at the time of the study. During the timeframe of the study, two charter schools closed, including one for financial difficulties.

“If we don’t know how these start-ups are faring financially, how can we detect financial stress early to help keep their doors open,” said Searcy. “Given the budget crisis all schools are facing, we need to have more conversations on how to help charter schools reduce costs or enhance revenues if we expect to use them as vehicles for educational innovation.”

Among the other findings: few opportunities exist for economies of size for these small, independent schools and size directly correlates to charter school financial health.

“Small enrollments can put schools at risk of closure because they have less per-pupil revenue to spread over their fixed costs,” Searcy said. “Since charter start-ups spend $1 of every $8 on management and administration costs, they might benefit from shared services with their local school district or other charter schools.”

Additionally, because there are no uniform practices of reporting financial information or specific deadlines, it closes the opportunity to develop any meaningful financial indicator system to detect financial stress early in a school’s operation, the study found.

Searcy, along with the study’s co-author William D. Duncombe, a professor at Syracuse University, studied audited financial statements from 25 Georgia start-up schools in the 2006-2007 school year. Since 1998, 34 start-up charter schools have opened and dozens of others have been authorized. Up to 2007, a total of five had closed.

Recent legislation authorized the creation of entire charter school districts and a total of 115 charter schools are or will be open this school year.

“Georgia is on the cusp of expanding the number of charter schools,” Searcy said. “Understanding their financial health is more important than ever.”

Complete study here.
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/financial-health-of-new-ga-charter.html. Thanks!

States Close the Achievement Gap in AP Courses

Six States in NGA Center Pilot Project See Rise in Number of Students Taking and Succeeding on AP Exams

To maintain the competitiveness of America’s workforce and ensure that U.S. students are prepared to succeed in college, states increasingly are recognizing the importance of offering a rigorous, common education curriculum that includes Advancement Placement (AP) courses. A new report from the NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) titled Raising Rigor, Getting Results: Lessons Learned from AP Expansion, has demonstrated that it is possible for states to raise rigor and get results at scale by increasing student access to AP courses.

The report looks at the efforts of six states—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada and Wisconsin—that received funding as part of the NGA Center’s Advanced Placement Expansion project toincrease the participation of minority and low-income students in AP courses at 51 pilot high schools in rural and urban school districts.

“Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of smart, ambitious students have the ability, but lack the opportunity, to get a head start on college through AP courses,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “With nearly two-thirds of jobs in 2014 expected to require at least some college, this report demonstrates that increasing students’ participation in challenging coursework bolsters their ability to compete in a highly skilled, 21st century workforce.”

As part of the Expansion project, the NGA Center provided six states with a framework for approaching program and policy changes needed to improve AP course enrollment and success. According to the report, the states achieved some striking results:

* The number of students taking AP courses rose 65 percent over two years, and the number of minority and low-income students taking AP exams more than doubled.
* Performance on the AP exam, as measured by the percentage scoring “at mastery”—defined as scoring a 3 or higher on the exam—accelerated at a faster rate than the national average. The percentage scoring at mastery in the pilot sites increased from 6.6 percent in 2005–2006 to 8.3 percent in 2007–2008. During this same period, the national average rose from 14.8 percent to 15.2 percent.
* With 55,000 students, together the 51 pilot high schools are large enough to be thought of as a “state.” If taken as a “state,” the NGA Center pilot schools outperformed similarly sized states, which only saw performance grow from 6.2 percent at mastery to 6.5 percent at mastery during the same period.

The report also recommends that governors interested in expanding college-level learning opportunities set goals for how much they want to grow AP course enrollment and success during the next five years and that they enact comprehensive policies that expand student access to AP classes; build capacity and offer extra support so teachers and students are prepared for the rigors of AP; and create incentives for students, such as tying state scholarship money to taking an AP course.

Full report: http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0908APREPORT.PDF
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/states-close-achievement-gap-in-ap.html. Thanks!

August ERR #2

National Study on Alternate Assessments

Two reports have been released from the National Study on Alternate Assessments (NSAA). NSAA was mandated by Section 664(c) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) to examine alternate assessment systems in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The first report is the National Study on Alternate Assessments: State Profiles on Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards. This report describes individual state approaches to designing and administering alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards, key features of individual state alternate assessments, and student participation and performance data for each state for the 2006-2007 school year. The second report is the National Study on Alternate Assessments: National Profile on Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards. This report summarizes state data for the 2006-2007 school year.

Selected findings from the reports include:

- One hundred percent of states included reading/language arts and mathematics in their alternate assessment system; 57 percent of states included science; 25 percent of states included social studies; and 4 percent of states included functional skills.

- One hundred percent of states reported that they assessed students in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades using the alternate assessment. Ninety-eight percent of states reported that they assessed students in the eighth grade using the alternate assessment. One hundred percent of states assessed students at least once in ninth through twelfth grades using the alternate assessment.

- Sixty-five percent of states reported that the determination of whether an alternate assessment was appropriate for a student was not based on the student's disability category. Ninety-two percent of states used the criterion "student had a severe cognitive disability" to make this determination; 92 percent of states used the criterion "student required modified instruction;" 86 percent of states used the criterion "student required extensive support for skill generalization;" and 90 percent of states used the criterion "student required modified curriculum."

National Profile on Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards. A Report From the National Study on Alternate Assessments

State Profiles on Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards. A Report From the National Study on Alternate Assessments

Research examines coping strategies of African-American students in predominantly white schools

A new study examining the interactions of black and white high-achieving students in elite, private high schools reveals how today's millennial generation is negotiating race, identity and academic success. In a paper presented Aug. 8 at the 104th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in San Francisco, Michelle Burstion-Young, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in sociology, says she is breaking new ground in sociological research – exploring culture and race in the leadership class of the millennial generation – in academically competitive environments where an achievement gap does not exist.

Burstion-Young's study focused on a survey and follow-up interviews with approximately 20 students representing three private prep high schools in the Midwest, including an all-male, all-female and co-ed school.

"Schools are one of the most important sites to study if we are to gain an understanding of how racial interaction is shaped," Burstion-Young writes in the study. "Schools are important not only because they perform the function of education, but also because they are key to how children and young adults become socialized."

"Little is known about how students negotiate the social world of school or how being labeled black (by others and/or self) may influence their social decisions, either by removing options (such as being purposefully excluded or not being included) or creating other options (such as a black social world)," she writes.

Burstion-Young's study examined what she called four coping strategies used by minority students in predominantly white schools

Assimilation – "Acting white" or "acting black" in this environment was not a question of academics, but identity. According to Burstion-Young, both black and white students were dedicated to academic excellence and there were no differences in academic standards. Contrary to previous studies which state that high achieving blacks are viewed as "acting white," Burstion-Young says the black students identified with black culture through association with consumer culture, such as fashion and music, as well as slang and social circles. The students who did not connect to black culture on these levels were viewed as "acting white" – academic achievement (or lack thereof) had little to do with it. In at least one case in this study, an African-American student became so integrated into the white community that she lost her connectedness to her own family and culture, greatly upsetting the family and, Burstion-Young says, eliminating the spirit of integration in creating a generation of bridge-builders across cultures, identifying with each other but accepting and respecting cultural differences.

Integration – Burstion-Young says she found that most of the students actually strived to be bi-cultural or integrated in their dealings with people. Almost all of them placed a great deal of value on being connected with their own black culture and also with the majority (white) culture. She states that they felt that the former was necessary in order for them to have a support system, and that the latter was necessary in order to learn how to be successful in "the real world." Because the students valued being bicultural, associating with white students was not enough to be considered "acting white." Exclusive association with whites was the determining factor.

Separation – During school visits, separation between the races was particularly noted during time spent in the school cafeteria. "Separation is an important strategy for cultivating and maintaining a sense of black culture and while many school officials and white students discourage it on principle," writes Burstion-Young, "most of the black students realize that by not engaging with the black group, they risk being completely ostracized in the long run."

Marginalization – An example would be a shy student representing the only African-American in an AP class. Yet, the same student could be included in extracurricular activities or join African-American friends for lunch in the school cafeteria.

In conclusion, Burstion-Young states that separation seems to be the most popular coping strategy for the social space of students outside of their prep school environments. "The black students in this study were very interested in spending their 'free time' with family, friends and neighbors outside of school," states Bastion-Young. "Because our most intimate connections with people tend to happen intra-racially, the family, friends and neighbors they sought during their free time were overwhelmingly of the same race as themselves."

During school hours, the study revealed that social separation was more likely to occur due to lack of access to the majority/minority, such as not being invited to parties; a lack of interest in the social majority/minority, such as displaying no interest in attending a party or event that crossed racial lines; or preoccupation with one's own culture so that students were not purposefully excluding the other race, but not actively including them.

"For all of these reasons, the terms of most of the school life of blacks seem to be dictated by the dominant culture," writes Burstion-Young. "Therefore many of the students feel they must be instrumental in seeking a black cultural space. When they do, the black students themselves are often accused of being the sole cause of racial separation which I refer to as the 'self segregation paradox,' because it obscures the role the dominant group has in maintaining social separation."

"One of the most important findings of this study," writes Burstion-Young, "is that most students simultaneously use a variety of different coping strategies, but they do so in somewhat different combinations for somewhat different reasons. At the center of their negotiations, however, is an overall concern with identity; more specifically, their coping strategies are geared towards reconciling different, and sometimes contradictory, expectations on identity."

Epidemic of student cheating can be cured with changes in classroom goals

Schools have the ability to drastically reduce cheating among their students – all they need to do is follow the relatively simple and inexpensive solutions suggested by research.

"We know when kids cheat, why kids cheat and how kids cheat," said Eric Anderman, a recognized expert on student cheating and professor of educational policy and leadership at Ohio State University.

"We know how to motivate kids so that they are much less likely to cheat. The only problem is that what we know about reducing cheating often isn't put into practice in schools," Anderman said.

Anderman discussed the latest research on cheating in schools and how to eliminate it during his presidential address August 8 at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Toronto.

Anderman is ending his term as president of APA's Division of Educational Psychology.

There's no doubt that cheating among students is widespread and has been growing. In some studies, up to 80 percent of high-achieving high school students and 75 percent of college students admit to cheating, a percentage that has been rising the past 50 years.

In one study, Anderman and his colleagues found that 21 percent of students who say that cheating is "unacceptable" still engage in cheating behaviors.

"What we know for sure is that students cheat a lot," Anderman said. "Parents don't think their kids will do it, but many do. I've seen that in my research, and also in the time I spent as a teacher."

Studies have shown that boys cheat more than girls. Students with high-driving "Type-A" personalities are more likely to cheat. And there is little relationship between cheating and moral development, research shows.

New research by Anderman and his colleagues finds that students with impulsive tendencies are more likely cheat.

In two studies from 2004, Anderman and his colleagues found that cheating also tends to increase when students make the transition from elementary school to middle school, and then again from middle school to high school.

That's not surprising, he said.

"During those transitions, teachers start changing how they talk to students. While earlier in school, teachers emphasize how learning is fun, as students get older teachers begin saying things like 'Now it's serious. Your grades matter.' That's directly related to cheating," Anderman said.

Anderman said how teachers present the goals of learning in class is the key to reducing cheating. But this is the knowledge that is rarely put into practice in classrooms.

Research has consistently shown that cheating is more likely to occur in classrooms that focus on performance – getting the best possible grades, doing the best on tests.

Cheating is less likely to occur when the goal for students is "personal mastery" of the material – in other words, learning and understanding what is being taught.

Federal mandates under "No Child Left Behind," with its emphasis on test scores, send exactly the wrong message to students and teachers and actually encourage cheating, Anderman said.

"These standardized tests aren't going to go away, but we don't have to talk about them in the classroom as the ultimate outcome and goal," he said.

"This produces anxiety and stress in both teachers and students, and that's what leads to cheating."

Ironically, students may actually do better if the focus in classrooms was on personal mastery and not on the tests. Students will learn better, remember the material longer, cheat less, and still do just as well, if not better, when they do standardized testing, according to Anderman.

Schools should work to help teachers change the goals in classrooms from test-taking to mastering the materials, and help them communicate effectively to their students.

"It doesn't help when teachers always talk about 'the test' and reminding students that something 'will be on the test.' The goal should be learning, and not test-taking," Anderman said.

"You can change the goal structure in classrooms. If you change that, you will likely reduce cheating."

Teaching Resilience, Sense of Purpose in Schools Can Prevent Depression, Anxiety and Improve Grades

Teaching children how to be more resilient along with regular classroom instruction can improve children’s outlook on life, curb depression and boost grades, according to a researcher who spoke at the American Psychological Association’s convention Saturday.

“In the last 50 years, the U.S. population has seen an increase in their standard of living, such as having more money, owning more homes and cars and living longer. But our sense of meaning, purpose and satisfaction with life have not gone up, they have gone down,” said psychologist Martin Seligman, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “This has been especially detrimental to children. Nearly 20 percent of young people experience depression.”

The effects can carry over to adulthood and cause early death, more health problems, less satisfaction with jobs and relationships and higher rates of depression, he added.

Speaking at the APA’s 117th annual convention, Seligman showed how teaching resilience, positive emotion, and a sense of purpose in school can protect children against depression, increase their life satisfaction and improve their learning power.

The researchers looked at two evidence-based programs, the Penn Resiliency Program (PRP) and the Positive Psychology Program (PPP). The PRP sought to increase students’ ability to handle day-to-day stressors and problems that are common for adolescents. This program was designed to prevent depression.

The PRP promotes optimism by teaching students to think more realistically and flexibly about the problems they encounter. PRP also teaches assertiveness, creative brainstorming, decision-making, relaxation and other coping and problem-solving skills.

Seligman and his co-authors reviewed 19 studies from the past 20 years that used PRP. These included more than 2,000 8- to 15-year-olds. All the studies used adolescents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and community settings. The group leaders who taught the skill were all from professional backgrounds.

Based on the students’ assessments of their own feelings, the researchers found that PRP increased optimism and reduced depressive symptoms for up to a year. The program also reduced hopelessness and clinical levels of depression and anxiety. Additionally, the PRP worked equally well for children from different racial/ethnic backgrounds.

The program’s effects were strongest when the group leaders were members of the PRP team or trained by them. Some of the group leaders only read the PRP material and were not trained directly by the PRP team.

The second program, the PPP, sought to help students identify their signature character strengths (e.g., kindness, courage, wisdom and perseverance) and incorporate these strengths in day-to-day life. The program consisted of 20 to 25 80-minute sessions delivered during ninth grade. The students wrote in journals about the activity.

One exercise involved the students’ writing down three good things that happened each day for a week. Examples were: “I answered a really hard question in Spanish class,” “I helped my mom shop for groceries” or, “The guy I’ve liked for months asked me out.” Next to each positive event, the students answered the following questions: “What does this mean to you?” and “How can you increase the likelihood of having more of this good thing in the future?”

To determine the program’s effectiveness, 347 high school students rated their love of learning, kindness, behavioral problems, enjoyment of school and grades. The students were randomly assigned to a class with the program or to one without. The teachers and parents also rated the students but were not told who took the program.

The students who took the program reported more enjoyment and engagement in school. The teachers reported those students were more curious about what they were doing, loved learning and showed more creativity.

Effects were particularly strong for students in regular, non-honors classes. According to mothers’ and teachers’ reports, the students in the PPP had more empathy, self-control and desire to cooperate and assert themselves.

Teaching children how to foster their own resiliency, purpose in life and positive feelings can bring “new prosperity” to people’s lives, Seligman said. “It is important to start in the formative school years, so positive thinking and resilience are instilled and available to handle future challenges.”

Alabama School Bus Seat Belt Study Enters Final Research Year

The pilot study assessing the impact of the installation of lap/shoulder seat belts on a limited number of Alabama school buses is entering the final research year. The study, conducted through UA’s University Transportation Center for Alabama, will provide information about school buses with seat belts for possible adoption throughout the nation.

With 12 new school buses from 10 local school systems equipped with various types of three-point seat belts, the project involves four areas of research: review of national experiences and trends, alterations needed in the Alabama bus fleet if seat belt use is adopted, analysis of Alabama school bus crash data, and a cost-benefit analysis.

Each of the new school buses is outfitted with four ceiling-mounted video cameras allowing the research team to gather data on the level of restraint use, review the percentage of students using the belts and the percentage of students using the belts properly, and to investigate if using the belts keeps students from moving into the aisle and out of the protective compartment provided by the seats. The camera data will also reveal the benefit of having a bus aide to monitor students and will monitor time devoted to buckling at each stop.

“The first two years of our study have given us insight into the basic pattern of school bus seat belt use by Alabama’s schoolchildren. The third and final year will allow us to vary some of the basic parameters of the study to see how that affects results,” explained Dr. Jay Lindly, director of the University Transportation Center for Alabama. “For example, does changing the bus driver on a route affect seat belt usage, or does adding an aide to a route affect seat belt usage? That is what we will be testing this next year.”

Dr. Dan Turner, professor of civil engineering and the principal investigator of the research team, explained that the detailed results will not be released until the study is completed, so that the seatbelt use does not arbitrarily change as the result of a news article. That would make it impossible to measure the effectiveness of experimental safety treatments. The research team plans to change research protocol to make seat belt use even safer on Alabama school buses, and is excited about the anticipated progress of the project.

“There is a genuine excitement in trying different safety ideas to improve the use of belts in school buses,” said Turner. “Even though we cannot release actual findings at this time, we are looking to the future and anxious to reach the goals we set for ourselves two years ago.”

During the past year, student researchers have made 65,000 observations of pupils to determine whether they are wearing their seat belts. UTCA is pleased that the number of students wearing the belts properly has risen during the last year. In addition, there has been an increase in positive public perception concerning the installation of the belts.

“We consider it progress that more children are wearing the seat belts properly,” said Turner. “It is also worth noting that media clippings and articles reveal that the public is much more supportive of this research. In addition, we have been able to confirm many of the trends that we initially suspected, contributing to further progress of the project.”

UA is the first institution to carry out comprehensive research of this kind as there have been no previous large-scale, scientific studies conducted to assess the benefits of installing seat belts in school buses. Because of this, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Highway Safety Administration and other national agencies have contacted UA’s research team and are awaiting the results of the study to determine whether or not the adoption of seat belts in school buses should be a nationwide trend.

“Every researcher dreams of working on a project of such significance, and this is UA’s opportunity to contribute on a national level,” said Turner. “Many federal and state agencies are awaiting our results because it will determine whether seat belts are required in school buses throughout the nation, which makes this study incredibly rewarding and exciting.”

In addition to using the results generated by UTCA’s research, national transportation agencies, including the National Association for Pupil Transportation, an organization aimed at supporting world-class professionals who provide safe and efficient pupil transportation for the nation’s children, has commended UA’s initiative and the action the state of Alabama has taken to ensure the safety of its students.

“‘NAPT issued a statement applauding Alabama on the launch of its study of the practical aspects of lap-shoulder belts in large school buses…’” read School Bus Fleet magazine. “‘This, along with crash tests and data analysis, is critical and long overdue to help put to rest the question of whether school buses should have lap-shoulder belts.’”

Turner is also pleased with the work ethic and dedication the students working with the study have shown. They are productive and determined in everything they do because they are aware that their work will make a difference in the lives of children.

“The students working on this project do everything right because they know that this study has to be done perfectly for the nation to be able to use our data,” said Turner. “Their dedication is inspirational as they work hard not only because this is a project of national significance, but more importantly because this is a project that will directly impact our nation’s children.”
You have read this article with the title August 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-err-2.html. Thanks!