K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review


Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (2010) is the latest in a series of annual reports that began in 2004 that examine the status of K-12 online education across the country. The report provides an overview of the latest policies, practices, and trends affecting online learning programs across all 50 states.

Here are some highlights of the report:

While K-12 online learning continues to grow rapidly, the shape and pace of growth is uneven. Constrained education budgets, new policy developments, and changing technologies are accelerating growth in some areas while slowing growth in other segments, but the growth trend persists. As of late 2010, online learning opportunities are available to at least some students in 48 of the 50 states, plus Washington DC. No state, however, provides the full range of potential online learning opportunities—supplemental and full-time options for all students at all grade levels.

State virtual schools, or state-led online learning initiatives, now exist in 39 states. Their size varies greatly, from many schools with fewer than 2,500 course enrollments (one student taking one semester-long course) to the Florida Virtual School, with more than 220,000 course enrollments. Together, the state virtual schools had about 450,000 course enrollments in 2009-10. This was an increase of nearly 40% over the previous year. However, two state virtual schools—in North Carolina and Florida—alone account for 96% of the net growth, meaning that the total enrollment increases and decreases in other state virtual schools amount to only a 4% increase.

State virtual schools are in flux due to funding constraints and policy changes. In 2010, a multiyear trend has accelerated as it has become clear that the role of state virtual schools is changing amid expanding online learning opportunities with new providers, business models, and products emerging and evolving rapidly. In addition, there is significant turmoil in many of the states that had supported prominent state virtual schools. The key role of the state virtual schools has evolved from being primarily a provider of supplemental online courses, to also helping states and districts build online learning expertise, and providing thought leadership around online learning issues.

Full-time online schools that draw students from across multiple districts, and often an entire state, make up a second major sector of online learning. As of fall 2010, 27 states plus Washington DC have at least one full-time online school operating statewide. The number of states that have full-time online schools is growing, as is the number of these schools, and the number of students obtaining most or all of their education online. Keeping Pace estimates 200,000 students are attending full-time online schools. Although not equal across all states, in general the growth in full-time online schools across the country has been steadier than that experienced by state virtual schools.

Individual school districts operating online programs for their own students make up the fastest growing segment of K-12 online learning. Many districts are creating blended learning programs that combine online and face-to-face instruction. Because very few reporting requirements exist for single-district online programs, the number of students in these programs is unknown. Keeping Pace research, as well as other published reports, suggests that about 50% of all districts are operating or planning online and blended learning programs. District programs account for most of the difference between the online students identified in state virtual schools and full-time online schools, and the total of 1.5 million students taking one or more online courses estimated by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.1

Ten notable developments in 2010

While new developments seem to be occurring nearly constantly in online learning, the key developments during 2010 include:

• New state virtual schools opened in Vermont and Montana, and Alaska began the process of opening a statewide online learning network.

• Michigan and Massachusetts both created their first full-time online schools, although with restrictions in each case. Michigan will start with limited enrollments in only two statewide schools. A state board of education ruling in Massachusetts requires online schools to enroll 25% of the students from within the district creating the school, but allowing for the possibility of a waiver to the 25% requirement. Online schools are also capped at 500 students.

• Many large school districts created or significantly expanded their online offerings. In fall 2010 New York City is piloting Advanced Placement,® credit recovery, and blended courses across the city, and Los Angeles opened its first full-time online school.

• Connecticut passed a law with two notable components. First, the law allows online teachers to be certified in any state, instead of requiring that teachers be certified in Connecticut. Second, the law requires districts with a dropout rate of 8% or higher to establish an online credit recovery program as of July 2010.

• State audits of online charter schools were released in Wisconsin and Idaho. The audits were more notable for what they did not say than for what they did say. In previous years, audits of online schools in Colorado, Kansas, and several other states found that state policies and the operating practices of some (not all) online schools called for improved oversight and quality assurance measures. The 2010 audits found far fewer major issues and mostly reported on the number of online students and schools, their growth rates, and similar data.

• Washington created a requirement that school boards have an online learning policy as part of a larger state certification process for multi-district online programs.

• Alabama passed a measure by which students can be granted credit based on mastery instead of seat time. While this is not a rule specific to online learning, it has significant implications for online and blended learning.

• In Idaho, Standards for Online Teachers were approved by the State Board of Education and adopted in 2010, establishing 10 core standards for online teacher competency.

• As of July 30, 2010, online teachers in Wisconsin must have completed 30 hours of professional development “designed to prepare a teacher for online teaching.” The Department of Public Instruction notes that the professional development should be based on the online teaching standards created by iNACOL.

• In August 2010, Chicago Public School officials announced a pilot program to add 90 minutes to the school day at 15 elementary schools using online courses that are not teacher-led. Despite the growth of online and blended learning, policy and access barriers still exist for many
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/k-12-online-learning-annual-review.html. Thanks!

Computer games and science learning

Computer games and simulations are worthy of future investment and investigation as a way to improve science learning, says LEARNING SCIENCE: COMPUTER GAMES, SIMULATIONS, AND EDUCATION, a new report from the National Research Council.

The study committee found promising evidence that simulations can advance conceptual understanding of science, as well as moderate evidence that they can motivate students for science learning. Research on the effectiveness of games designed for science learning is emerging, but remains inconclusive, the report says.

At a time when scientific and technological competence is vital to the nation's future, the weak performance of U.S. students in science reflects the uneven quality of current science education. Although young children come to school with innate curiosity and intuitive ideas about the world around them, science classes rarely tap this potential. Many experts have called for a new approach to science education, based on recent and ongoing research on teaching and learning. In this approach, simulations and games could play a significant role by addressing many goals and mechanisms for learning science: the motivation to learn science, conceptual understanding, science process skills, understanding of the nature of science, scientific discourse and argumentation, and identification with science and science learning.

To explore this potential, Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education, reviews the available research on learning science through interaction with digital simulations and games. It considers the potential of digital games and simulations to contribute to learning science in schools, in informal out-of-school settings, and everyday life. The book also identifies the areas in which more research and research-based development is needed to fully capitalize on this potential.

Learning Science will guide academic researchers; developers, publishers, and entrepreneurs from the digital simulation and gaming community; and education practitioners and policy makers toward the formation of research and development partnerships that will facilitate rich intellectual collaboration. Industry, government agencies and foundations will play a significant role through start-up and ongoing support to ensure that digital games and simulations will not only excite and entertain, but also motivate and educate.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/computer-games-and-science-learning.html. Thanks!

The snowball effect: Friendship moderates escalations in depressed affect among avoidant and excluded children


A three-wave longitudinal study conducted with preadolescent boys and girls (N = 231 at Time 1 [T1]) was used to assess the hypotheses that aspects of social withdrawal would be predictors of a “snowball” cascade of depressed affect, and that friendship experiences would moderate these effects. Consistent with these hypotheses, multilevel modeling showed that measures of avoidance and exclusion at T1 were associated with concurrent levels of depressed affect and were antecedent to escalating trajectories of depressed affect over time. These accelerating growth curves fit a snowball cascade model. The analyses also showed the protective effects of friendship. Specifically, the snowball effect was limited to avoidant and excluded children who were friendless. Depressed affect did not increase among avoidant and excluded children who were friended.

Related article

You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/the-snowball-effect-friendship.html. Thanks!

NCEE Studies A Reading Intervention for Adult ESL Learners


Adult ESL programs are designed to assist students in their efforts to acquire literacy and language skills by providing instruction through local education agencies, community colleges, and community-based organizations. The content of instruction within ESL classes varies widely and there is little rigorous research that identifies effective instruction.

The report, The Impact of a Reading Intervention for Low-Literate Adult ESL Learners, by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance at the Institute of Education Sciences, uses data collected from 1,137 adult ESL learners in two cohorts across ten sites in four states. Adult ESL teachers and learners were assigned by lottery to either classrooms using the basal reader Sam and Pat, Volume I , or classrooms using the site’s usual curriculum.

Because learners often do not consistently attend adult ESL programs over an extended period of time, English language and reading outcomes were assessed at the beginning and end of one semester for both cohorts of students. Classroom instruction was measured via classroom observations conducted one time in each classroom.

Key findings include:

• More reading instruction was observed in Sam and Pat classes, while more English language instruction was observed in control classes.

• Although students in both groups of classes made gains in reading and English language skills, no differences in reading and English language outcomes were found between students in the Sam and Pat group and students in the control group.

• There were no impacts of Sam and Pat on reading and English language outcomes for five of six subgroups examined: learners whose native language is based upon a non-Roman alphabet, native Spanish speakers, learners with relatively higher levels of literacy at the start of the study, learners from the first study cohort, and learners from the second study cohort.

• For learners with relatively lower levels of literacy at the start of the study, there was some suggestive evidence of a positive impact on reading outcomes. Among this subset of learners, Sam and Pat group students scored higher on the Woodcock Johnson word attack (decoding) assessment than control group students. The effect size (.16) is estimated to be equivalent to approximately 1 1/2 to 2 months of growth, based upon norms provided by the test publisher. However, it is possible that the effect is due to chance alone.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/ncee-studies-reading-intervention-for.html. Thanks!

The Price of College


Eighty percent of all full-time undergraduates received some combination of grants, loans, work-study, or other type of aid. What Is the Price of College? Total, Net, and Out-of-Pocket Prices in 2007–08, a Statistics in Brief describes the annual price of education among undergraduates enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions in 2007–08. The data come from the most recent administration of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). Other findings include:

• In 2007–08, the average total price of attendance for full-time undergraduates (tuition plus living expenses) varied widely by the type of institution attended, ranging from $12,600 at public 2-year colleges to $18,900 at public 4-year institutions, $28,600 at for-profit institutions, and $35,500 at private nonprofit 4-year institutions.

• Students at for-profit institutions are shown to receive federal grants and student loans at considerably higher rates than those at other types of institutions. Even with such high percentages of Pell Grant and Stafford loan recipients, low-income students at for-profit schools still face the highest average out-of-pocket net prices compared to all other postsecondary institutions. The average out-of-pocket net price was $11,700 among low-income students at for-profit institutions but the average for those enrolled elsewhere ranged from $6,000 to $9,800.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/the-price-of-college.html. Thanks!

Preparation and support of new teachers


Teacher turnover in public schools, especially among new and early-career teachers, is estimated to cost more than $7 billion a year. Research on teacher quality has identified various types of support used to help keep teachers in their schools beyond their first year of teaching, including access to mentors in the same subject area and participation in induction activities, such as planning and collaboration with other teachers.

This report, How well prepared and supported are new teachers? Results for the Northwest Region from the 2003/04 Schools and Staffing Survey, summarizes responses from the 2003/04 Schools and Staffing Survey by public school teachers in the Northwest Region who began teaching sometime during 1999–2003. The report serves as a baseline for interpreting the 2007/08 Schools and Staffing Survey and focuses on questions about pre-service coursework, preparation for essential classroom roles, and perceived level of support during the first year of teaching. The Northwest responses are compared to teacher responses nationwide.

Survey findings include:

• An estimated 24 percent of teachers in the Northwest Region had no more than five years of teaching experience in 2003/04, compared with about 26 percent nationally.

• Fifty-six percent of teachers had completed 5 or more methods courses compared to 46 percent of all teachers in the United States.

• Nationally, and in all Northwest Region states, at least two-thirds of teachers reported being well prepared or very well prepared for teaching subject matter and using a variety of instructional methods.

• Nationally, less than two-thirds of teachers reported being well prepared or very well prepared for classroom management or discipline. The same was found for teachers in the Northwest Region states except for Oregon, where exactly two-thirds of teachers reported being well or very well prepared.

• Less than two-thirds of teachers describe themselves as well prepared or very well prepared for using computers for instruction both nationally and in all Northwest Region states.

• Teachers reported receiving various forms of support during their first year of teaching, including induction, reduced teaching schedule, reduced number of preparations, common planning time, classes/seminars for new teachers, classroom assistance, and supportive communication. Compared to the percent of teachers nationally, the percent of teachers in Northwest Region states who reported receiving these forms of support were 2 to 14 percentage points lower (depending on the type of support).

• As part of teacher preparation, 93 percent of teachers had completed coursework on selecting and adapting instructional materials, 97 percent had completed coursework in learning theory or psychology appropriate to the ages of their students, and 96 percent had observed other teachers and received formal feedback on their teaching. These percentages are somewhat higher than for all teachers in the United States.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/preparation-and-support-of-new-teachers.html. Thanks!

Widely Used Math Curricula in U.S. Schools Yield Significantly Different Results


Mathematica’s Second-Year Report on Mathematics Education Study

Offers Insight on How to Boost Achievement in Early Grades

Debate has long raged about which instructional approaches have the greatest impact on student learning. This has been particularly true in early math where, lacking information about effective programs, educators have waged ideological battles about instructional materials. A new report from a large-scale federal study of four early math programs shows that math achievement for the two most effective curricula was significantly higher than that for the others. The report, the second from the study, provides additional evidence to inform the debate on which instructional approaches do the most to improve learning. The four distinct programs represent some of the most widely used approaches to teaching elementary school math in the United States. (Brief descriptions of curricula.)

The report, just released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, updates and reinforces previous findings that two programs significantly outperform the others in randomized trials. Researchers from Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractor SRI International evaluated each curriculum for its effect on first- and second-grade math achievement. The main findings include:

  • Among first-graders, math achievement was significantly higher in schools assigned to Math Expressions than in schools assigned to Investigations in Number, Data, and Space (Investigations) and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics (SFAW). The effect is strong enough that an average-performing student’s percentile rank would improve by 5 points.

  • Among second-grade students, math achievement was significantly higher in schools assigned to Math Expressions and Saxon Math than in schools assigned to SFAW. The effect is equivalent to improving an average-performing student’s percentile rank by 5 to 7 points.

In addition, Math Expressions and Saxon Math improved results for several subgroups, including students in schools with low math scores and students in schools with high poverty levels.

“These findings suggest that educators should choose their elementary math curriculum wisely,” says Roberto Agodini, senior economist and associate director at Mathematica who served as the study’s director and principal investigator. “As we continue to grapple with how to boost math achievement during the critical early years, particularly among disadvantaged students, this study offers compelling evidence to inform future research and help educators make decisions about which curricula best suit their needs and environment.”

Study Design and Implementation

The Mathematica study, the largest of its kind ever to use an experimental design to study a variety of math curricula, includes a total of 110 schools. This report is based on the first cohort of 39 schools that joined the study during the 2006-2007 school year and another cohort of 71 schools that joined the study during the 2007-2008 school year.

The research team that produced the report, “Achievement Effects of Four Early Elementary School Math Curricula: Findings for First and Second Graders,” randomly assigned schools in each participating district to the four curricula. The sites are geographically dispersed in four states and three regions of the country. All teachers received training from the publishers and used the curriculum regularly throughout the school year to confirm that teachers were using the curricula as intended.

The final report will be available in summer 2011.

You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/widely-used-math-curricula-in-us.html. Thanks!

Restorative Justice' School Program Reduces Student Delinquency


A pilot program to change how teachers and administrators respond to student misbehavior at an Oakland middle school led to a dramatic drop in suspensions and expulsions, according to a new study released today. During a one-year implementation of the alternative “restorative justice” program, suspensions dropped by 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.

The study, School-Based Restorative Justice as an Alternative to Zero-Tolerance Policies, was conducted by UC Berkeley School of Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice.

Researchers spent one year observing the program at the Cole Middle School in West Oakland, California, interviewing teachers, students, and parents. It’s one of the first studies to closely examine the impact of restorative justice on an American inner-city school.

Restorative justice programs have emerged nationwide as an alternative to punitive treatment for student misbehavior. These dialogue-based programs encourage young people to take responsibility for their actions, repair harm done to victims, and improve and strengthen relationships. Zero-tolerance policies, on the other hand, typically lead to suspensions and expulsions—which heighten the risk of going to juvenile hall or jail.

Mary Louise Frampton, faculty director of the Henderson Center, said restorative justice is far superior to zero-tolerance policies in schools.

“Zero-tolerance policies fail our young people,” said Frampton. “Students are expelled or suspended for typical adolescent behavior: smoking, fighting, cursing, and acting out. Removing youngsters from school increases the risk that they will fall behind, lose faith in themselves, drop out and get into trouble. Restorative justice breaks that school-to-prison pipeline and keeps students in class—where they belong.”

A core element of most restorative justice programs involves a “circle”: students and teachers literally sit in a circle as one participant guides the conversation. Circles are typically held to discuss disciplinary problems, such as disrespectful behavior, acting out in class, bullying, and more. During the practice, students are taught to show respect, empathy, and compromise. At Cole, both students and adults asked for extra circles to help them navigate troubling issues—and to prevent conflicts from escalating.

In the report’s student survey, 83% of respondents said the program was “helping kids at Cole”; 83% said it was “reducing fighting at Cole”; while 91% said it was “helping relationships with other students.” As one student told an interviewer, “Normally when I get into a conflict, my instinct is to fight. But restorative justice kinda taught me to calm down a bit, taught me to talk it out.”

Teachers said the program helped students mature and gain social skills; and it compelled them to confront the consequences of their actions. “At first, I felt that I did not have time to do restorative justice,” said one teacher, “but now I feel like I don’t have time not to do it.”

A local nonprofit, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), helped develop the pilot program. Fania Davis, RJOY’s executive director, said the Berkeley Law report offers the first empirical evidence of the program’s positive impact on students, teachers, and administrators.

“The program was implemented in a school with a diverse student body located in a low-income neighborhood with a fairly high crime rate,” said Davis. “The Berkeley Law study clearly shows that a school-based restorative justice program can make a huge difference for students in low-income communities of color,” she said.

Michael Sumner, report co-author and research manager at the Berkeley Law Henderson Center for Social Justice, said the findings illustrate the dramatic impact of dialogue over retribution. “The research findings illustrate the accomplishments of this innovative approach to discipline,” he said. “Restorative justice not only offers a new way for schools to deal with discipline, but it also creates a more productive learning environment.”

Cole Middle School eventually closed after implementation of the pilot program due to years of declining enrollment. But, inspired by Cole’s success, the Oakland Unified School District’s Board of Directors passed a resolution in 2009 adopting restorative justice as a system-wide alternative to zero tolerance discipline.

Barbara McClung, an administrator with the Oakland Unified School District said, "These findings will help shape our future Restorative Justice programs, particularly in the area of parent engagement and community partnerships, as we work toward closing the school-to-prison pipeline."

For more details about how to implement a school-based restorative justice program, read the report.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/restorative-justice-school-program.html. Thanks!

Challenging students take up more of their teachers’ time—and the difference between a tougher student and an easier one appears to be genetic


Teacher Effort Is Linked to Difficult Students’ Inherited Traits

Challenging students take up more of their teachers’ time—and the difference between a tougher student and an easier one appears to be genetic, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study looked at young twins in the U.K. and asked their teachers how much of a handful they are.

“Policy-wise, there’s a lot going on, blaming teachers for what’s going on in the classrooms,” says Renate Houts of Duke University, who cowrote the study with Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt of Duke, Robert C. Pianta of the University of Virginia, and Louise Arseneault of King’s College London. Many school systems have considered paying teachers based on how much the children in their classes improve. “One of the things that seems to be missing is that teaching is more of a relationship. You have to consider both sides of that relationship, the children and the teachers,” Houts says.

To look at how students affect teachers, the researchers used data from a twin study that followed 1,102 pairs of British twins from age 5 to age 12. Twin studies are useful because comparing fraternal and identical twins shows what differences between children are inherited and which are not. The study included questionnaires for the children’s teachers about how much of their time was taken up by each child.
The researchers found that children who were more challenging at age five required more teacher effort at age 12. They also found that it’s something about the children that makes it that way—something heritable. They can’t tell what it is, but they can tell it’s there, and that their challenging behavior isn’t, for example, the teacher’s fault.

“What happens in the classroom isn’t just a function of the teacher. It’s also the kids who are in the classroom,” says Houts. And it’s possible to make life easier on teachers. It might be smart to spread the challenging students evenly between classes, for example.

Also, parents and teachers should consider working with children early on their challenging behaviors, so they don’t cause as much trouble for teachers later. “If a teacher has to take time out to give individual attention to five challenging kids in her classroom, she can’t focus on the whole classroom,” Houts says.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/challenging-students-take-up-more-of.html. Thanks!

Girls Who Start School Earlier Might Have Lower Obesity Risk

Effective strategies to fight the epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity — one-third of kids under 20 weigh more than they should — have been elusive. A new study suggests a simple step that might help cut the problem down to size: start school sooner.

“Early admission to a school environment might have a long-term protective effect in terms of adolescent girls’ propensity to obesity,” says the study appearing online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The researchers analyzed data on nearly 6,000 girls from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which included when they started school and their body mass index (BMI) from ages 12 to 18.

They found that girls who were born a month or less before the cutoff date for school enrollment — and so started school when younger than most of their classmates — were significantly less likely to be overweight during adolescence than those who were born during the month after cutoff.

Children who enrolled in school a year later than when they first became eligible similarly were more apt to be overweight than those who started on time.

The researchers did not find a comparable effect for adolescent boys.

Why school entrance age should influence weight 10 years later is not clear from the data, said lead study author Ning Zhang, Ph.D., of University of Rochester School of Medicine. One possibility is peer effect: “Within any grade, younger girls may be exposed to relatively older friends, who are more careful about their weight and physical appearance,” she said.

Physical and health education curricula in the United States are “grade specific,” Zhang added, with more detailed and sophisticated health and diet instruction offered in higher grades. Girls who are young for their grade have earlier exposure to this information and participate in more advanced physical exercise regimens as well.

Matt Longjohn, M.D., is a fellow with the Altarum Institute, a non-profit health systems research organization. Longjohn said that the study findings might reflect the cumulative impact of early childhood events years later and added that considerable research has shown that “changes in just a few small behaviors can have large and lasting effects on small bodies.”

Source: Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, is required.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/girls-who-start-school-earlier-might.html. Thanks!

Head Start Impact Study: Final Report examined the effects of offering Head Start to 3- and 4-year-olds

Head Start Impact Study: Final Report examined the effects of offering Head Start to 3- and 4-year-olds. Head Start is a federal program aimed at boosting the school readiness of low-income children by providing preschool education and health and nutrition services. The study analyzed data on about 4,700 preschool-aged children who applied for enrollment for the 2002–03 program year, at one of about 380 Head Start centers randomly selected for the study, and followed the students through first grade.

The study found that children offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds had higher scores on four of eight measures of language and literacy, the single measure of pre-writing, and one of two measures of math skills, than children not offered enrollment as 3-year-olds. In contrast, children offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 4-year-olds had higher scores on six of eight measures of language and literacy at the first follow-up than children not offered enrollment as 4-year-olds. WWC rated the first follow-up analysis as meets WWC evidence standards with reservations.

A later follow-up, the study found no significant differences between the children offered and not offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds on language and literacy, pre-writing, and math skills measured at the second, third, and fourth follow-ups. In addition, there were no significant differences between the children offered and not offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 4-year-olds on language and literacy and math skills measured at the second and third follow-ups which corresponded to the ends of kindergarten and first grade, respectively. WWC’s rating of the second, third and fourth follow-up analysis is meets WWC Evidence Standards.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/head-start-impact-study-final-report.html. Thanks!

Culture and the Interaction of Student Ethnicity with Reward Structure in Group Learning

Culture and the Interaction of Student Ethnicity with Reward Structure in Group Learning examined the effects of different reward systems used in group learning situations on the math skills of African-American and White students. The study analyzed data on 75 African-American and 57 White fourth- and fifth-grade students from urban schools in the northeastern United States. These students were randomly assigned to three different reward-system groups: reward based on individual performance; reward based on group performance; and, communal learning, no reward. The quick review includes an updated description of the communal learning intervention and its accompanying results, based on additional information provided by the study authors. The study found that African-American students who participated in the communal learning intervention scored statistically significantly higher than those offered a reward based on individual performance. WWC rated the research as meets WWC Evidence Standards.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/culture-and-interaction-of-student.html. Thanks!

The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results From the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment

The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results From the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment—This study examined whether assistance in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) increases the likelihood of filing the FAFSA, college enrollment, and financial aid receipt. The authors analyzed data on about 17,000 individuals in 156 H&R Block tax preparation offices in Ohio and North Carolina. It compares the outcomes of three research groups created through random assignment: a FAFSA treatment group; an information-only treatment group which received portions but not all of the FAFSA treatment; and a no-treatment control group. Each comparison was conducted for independent adults, both those with no previous college experience and those with some previous college experience, and dependent students – those who were high school seniors or recent high school graduates and financially dependent on their parents.

The study finds that independent adults who received assistance with the FAFSA and information about financial aid were significantly more likely to submit the aid application than students in the control group, and significantly more likely to enroll in college. The WWC rating of the analysis of independent adults meets WWC evidence standards. The WWC rating of the analysis of dependent students, FAFSA versus control comparison, meets WWC evidence standards with reservations. The WWC rating of the analysis of dependent students, information-only versus control comparison, does not meet WWC evidence standards.

Read the full report
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/the-role-of-simplification-and.html. Thanks!

The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Third Year Report


The study examined whether students in Milwaukee who use a voucher to attend private school have greater mathematics and reading achievement than students who attend public schools.

Designed to cover the full cost of attending one of its participating schools, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program gives government-funded vouchers of up to $6,607 to low-income students to attend the secular or religious private schools of their choice.

It currently provides vouchers to approximately 20,000 students in Milwaukee and is the largest and oldest publicly funded voucher program in the United States.

Academic achievement was measured using the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations in math and reading, the same standardized tests that are administered through Wisconsin’s accountability program.

In fall 2006, the study’s authors matched a sample of 1,926 voucher participants in grades 3–8 with comparison students from Milwaukee Public Schools, resulting in an initial sample of 3,852 matched students.3 This report analyzed the fall 2008 math and reading scores of about 2,230 of these matched students.

Analyses controlled for student demographic characteristics and student test scores from before the study’s first year. The study was not designed to ascertain the full impact of the voucher program; instead, it analyzes effects of the program over a two-year period.

The authors found no significant differences between math and reading achievement of students who used a voucher to attend private school and comparison students from Milwaukee Public Schools.

Strengths: Voucher participants were matched with comparison students in the Milwaukee Public Schools on a number of observable characteristics, including baseline test scores and demographics, using a sophisticated matching procedure.

Cautions: Although the study matched students based on several observable characteristics, it is possible that there were other differences between the two groups that were not accounted for in the analysis; these differences could have influenced student achievement.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/the-milwaukee-parental-choice-program.html. Thanks!

Teach For Amrica Beats Education Programs in Preparing Teachers in Tennessee

The results aren't even close:

Full report
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/teach-for-amrica-beats-education.html. Thanks!

Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Preliminary Findings Research Report


Full report

Policy Brief

What We’re Learning So Far:

• In every grade and subject, a teacher’s past track record of value-added is among the strongest predictors of their students’ achievement gains in other classes and academic years. A teacher’s value-added fluctuates from year-to-year and from class-to-class, as succeeding cohorts of students move through their classrooms. However, that volatility is not so large as to undercut the usefulness of value-added as an indicator (imperfect, but still informative) of future performance.

• The teachers who lead students to achievement gains in one year or in one class tend to do so in other years and other classes.

• Teachers with high value-added on state tests tend to promote deeper conceptual understanding as well.

• Many are concerned that high value-added teachers are simply coaching children to do well on state tests. In the long run, it would do students little good to score well on state tests if they fail to understand key concepts. However, in our analysis so far, that does not seem to be the case. Indeed, the teachers who are producing gains on the state tests are generally also promoting deeper conceptual understanding among their students. In mathematics, for instance, after adjusting for measurement error, the correlation between teacher effects on the state math test and on the Balanced Assessment in Mathematics was moderately large, .54.

• Teachers have larger effects on math achievement than on achievement in reading or English Language Arts, at least as measured on state assessments.

• Many researchers have reported a similar result: teachers seem to have a larger influence on math performance than English Language Arts performance. A common interpretation is that families have more pro-found effects on children’s reading and verbal performance than teachers. However, the finding may also be due to limitations of the current state ELA tests (which typically consist of multiple-choice questions of reading comprehension). When using the Stanford 9 Open-Ended assessment (which requires youth to provide written responses), we find teacher effects comparable to those found in mathematics. We will be studying this question further in the coming months, by studying teacher effects on different types of test items. However, if future work confirms our initial findings with the open-ended assessment, it would imply that the new literacy assessments, which are being designed to assess the new common core standards, may be more sensitive to instructional effects than current state ELA tests.

• Student perceptions of a given teacher’s strengths and weaknesses are consistent across the different groups of students they teach. Moreover, students seem to know effective teaching when they experience it: student perceptions in one class are related to the achievement gains in other classes taught by the same teacher. Most important are students’ perception of a teacher’s ability to control a classroom and to challenge students with rigorous work.

• While student feedback is widely used in higher education, it is rare for elementary and secondary schools to ask youth about their experiences in the classroom. Nevertheless, soliciting student feedback is poten-tially attractive for a number of reasons: the questions themselves enjoy immediate legitimacy with teachers, school leaders and parents; it is an inexpensive way to supplement other more costly indicators, such as classroom observations; and the questionnaires can be extended to non-tested grades and subjects quickly. Our preliminary results suggest that the student questionnaires would be a valuable complement to other performance measures.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/measures-of-effective-teaching-met.html. Thanks!

Relationship Among ADHD, Reading, Math


Children with ADHD can sometimes have more difficulties on math and reading tests compared to their peers. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, used identical and fraternal twins to look at the genetic and environmental influences underlying ADHD behaviors, reading, and math skills in children in an attempt to better understand the relationship among them.

Sara Hart, of the Florida State University, and her colleagues used twins enrolled in a long-term study of reading and math. Hart says by focusing on twins specifically, psychological scientists are able to tease out the difference between nature and nurture.

To do this, scientists compare identical twins, who have nearly the same DNA, with fraternal twins, who generally only share about half of their DNA. If identical twins are generally more alike on a trait -- say, their eye color or reading ability -- and fraternal twins are much less alike on the same trait, you can presume the trait is inherited. On the other hand, if pairs of identical twins are alike on a trait to the same extent that pairs of fraternal twins are alike on that trait -- like how outgoing they are -- you know the trait is probably influenced by their environment. Most traits fall somewhere in between, and twin studies can show that, too.

In this case, Hart and her colleagues were interested in how twins matched up on symptoms of ADHD, reading achievement, and math achievement. At about age 10, every pair of twins was tested on their reading and math ability. Their mothers also filled out surveys on any problems the children have with attention or hyperactivity.

The researchers found that ADHD behaviors, reading achievement, and math achievement were all influenced by the same genetic influences; this doesn't prove anything about what causes what, but some psychological scientists think that all three might be linked through the working memory system.

Although common genetic influences is a typical result from twin studies, the exciting aspect of this work was that that ADHD behaviors, reading achievement, and math achievement are also associated by common environmental influences.

Although it is not known what the actual environmental influences are, Hart and her colleagues suggest that it could be related to aspects of the classroom and homework environment. If researchers can figure out what these environmental influences really are, they may be able to help children with ADHD do better in school.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/relationship-among-adhd-reading-math.html. Thanks!

Exposure to more diverse objects speeds word learning in tots


Two toddlers are learning the word "cup." One sees three nearly identical cups; the other sees a tea cup, a sippy cup and a Styrofoam cup. Chances are, the second child will have a better sense of what a cup is and -- according to a new University of Iowa study -- may even have an advantage as he learns new words.

Published this month in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the research showed that 18-month-olds who played with a broader array of objects named by shape – for example, groups of bowls or buckets that were less similar in material, size or features – learned new words twice as fast as those who played with more similar objects.

Outside the lab, one month after the training, tots who had been exposed to the diverse objects were learning an average of nearly 10 new words per week. Kids in the other group were picking up four a week – typical for children that age without any special training. Researchers aren't sure how long the accelerated learning continued for the variable group, but they can explain why it may have occurred.

All of the children given extra training with words figured out that shape was the most important distinguishing feature when learning to name solid objects. This attention to shape, called a "shape bias," is not typically seen until later in development. However, the researchers believe that kids exposed to more variety took the knowledge a step further, also learning when not to attend to shape. Tots in the variable group learned, for example, to focus on material rather than shape when hearing names for non-solid substances.

"Knowing where to direct their attention helps them learn words more quickly overall," said lead author Lynn Perry (left), a UI doctoral student in psychology. "The shape bias enhances vocabulary development because most of the words young kids learn early on are names of categories organized by similarity in shape. And, developing the ability to disregard shape for non-solids helps them learn words like pudding, Jell-O or milk."

Perry conducted the study with psychologist Larissa Samuelson (right) of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and UI alumni Lisa Malloy and Ryan Schiffer. The study involved 16 children who knew about 17 object names when the study began. Half of the kids were taught names of objects by playing with groups of toys that were nearly identical; the other half used toys that differed significantly – for example, a small, cloth, jack-o-lantern bucket; a trash bucket with no handle; and a traditional plastic bucket.

When tested on unfamiliar objects that fit into the categories they'd been taught – such as a bucket they'd never seen before – kids in the variable group performed better. This showed an ability to generalize the knowledge.

"We believe the variable training gave them a better idea of what a bucket was. They discovered that the buckets were all alike in general shape, but that having a handle or being a particular texture didn't matter," Perry said. "In contrast, the children exposed to a tightly organized group of objects developed such strict criteria for what constitutes a bucket that they were reluctant to call it a bucket if it was different from what they'd learned."

In additional tests, researchers looked at whether the tots learned names of new objects by focusing on substance or shape. The variable group tuned into shape for solids but material for non-solids, a distinction children aren't typically capable of making until the age of 3, when their vocabulary reaches 150 nouns.

Further investigation is necessary to pinpoint exactly why the variable group had more success in this area, but the researchers say their study is the first to show that variability at the local level can help children learn something more global about the importance of particular object features for different categories of things.

"What children learn about one category sets the stage for their future learning," Samuelson said. "Similar exemplars help children learn specific names for specific objects. But variable exemplars teach them more about the whole category, which helps them learn names of other new things faster. That's why kids in the variable group learned more outside the lab – they learned more about naming in general, not just specific examples of the specific categories they'd seen in the lab."
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/exposure-to-more-diverse-objects-speeds.html. Thanks!

School-based program helps adolescents cope with asthma


A school-based intervention program designed for adolescents with asthma significantly improves asthma management and quality of life for the students who participate, and reduces asthma morbidity, according to researchers in New York City, who studied the effect of the program aimed at urban youth and their medical providers. The Asthma Self-Management for Adolescents (ASMA) program is an eight-week intervention geared toward helping adolescents learn more effective ways of managing their symptoms and controlling their asthma.

The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"We found that, relative to controls, ASMA students reported significantly more confidence in managing their asthma, greater use of their controller medication and written treatment plans, fewer days with asthma-related activity restrictions and fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations, as well as an improved quality of life," said Jean-Marie Bruzzese, PhD, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. "Our findings indicate ASMA is effective in improving asthma self-management and in reducing asthma morbidity and urgent health-care use in low-income, urban minority adolescents."

Collaborating with Robert B. Mellins, MD and David Evans, PhD of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the NYC Department of Education, the researchers enrolled 9th and 10th graders from five New York City high schools. To aid in selection, students in these grades were asked to complete a case detection survey, which asked students if they had been diagnosed asthma and gathered information about the frequency of symptoms and the use of prescribed asthma medication. Following parental consent, researchers enlisted 345 students who reported an asthma diagnosis, symptoms of moderate to severe persistent asthma and asthma medication use in the previous 12 months, and randomized them to ASMA or a wait-list control group. Of the enrolled students, 46 percent identified themselves as Latino and 31 percent identified themselves as African-American.

During the study period, trained staff performed assessments of the students every two months over a 12-month period, in addition to the more detailed interviews that occurred at the start of the study and at 6 and 12 months following enrollment. Comprehensive surveys assessed self-management and medical management of asthma, including symptom management and use of written management plans and controllers; health outcomes, including symptom days and asthma-related school absences; and urgent health-care use, including medical visits and hospitalizations.

Those randomized to participate in the ASMA program underwent an eight-week, intensive program aimed at helping students manage their symptoms through three educational group sessions and individual coaching sessions, held at least one each week for five weeks. Students received coaching about medical visits and how to work with their medical provider to more effectively control their asthma. In addition, the students' medical providers were contacted to inform them of the study, and were given written materials and telephone consultations with pediatric pulmonologists or adolescent medicine specialists about the program's concepts and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines for treatment of asthma. Providers were encouraged to give students written treatment plans and to prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines for students with persistent asthma. Students without medical providers were given a referral to a primary care provider in their neighborhood, or to a school-based health center, when available.

"Research has shown adolescents are less likely to receive regular medical care compared to younger children, and minority adolescents are less likely to use preventive medicine than white, non-Hispanic youth," Dr. Bruzzese said. "The ASMA program helps teach these children, and inform their caregivers, of the steps they can take to gain control of their symptoms and their treatment program. The cognitive and psychosocial developments of adolescence make this period an ideal time to teach these skills."

The researchers found that, at each follow-up interview, students enrolled in ASMA took significantly more steps to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring and had improved self-confidence in managing their asthma compared to the control group. In addition, at six months, the odds of appropriately using a controller medication were twice as high in the ASMA group, compared to the control group.

Morbidity was also decreased in the ASMA group compared to control. ASMA participants reported a 31 percent reduction in night awakenings and a 42 percent reduction in activity restriction due to asthma, as well as a 28 percent reduction in acute medical visits, a 49 percent reduction in emergency department visits and a 76 percent reduction in hospitalizations compared with controls.

"ASMA addresses an illness with high public health significance and, as such, can serve as a model for other populations of adolescents, including those in rural and suburban communities, or for adolescents with other chronic illnesses," said Dr. Bruzzese.

Schools or districts that lack resources to implement the program may consider partnerships with insurance providers or local medical schools with pediatric pulmonologists or allergists on staff, the researchers noted.

"Adoption of ASMA by schools would contribute to reducing the burden of asthma on adolescents, as well decreasing the health-care burden of the community at large," said Dr. Bruzzese.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/school-based-program-helps-adolescents.html. Thanks!

Widening our perceptions of reading and writing difficulties


2 new studies shed light on different types of dyslexia and dysgraphia

Learning to read and write are complex processes, which can be disrupted in various ways, leading to disorders known as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Two new studies, published in a recent special issue of Elsevier's Cortex (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00109452) provide evidence of this variety, suggesting that effective treatment needs to take it into account.

A group of researchers from the Universities of Bari and Rome in Italy studied the reading and writing abilities of 33 Italian dyslexic children, comparing their performance with that of children with normal reading ability. Italian is an "orthographically transparent" language, meaning that letters tend to correspond to the same sounds, whereas many letters in the English alphabet change their sound from word to word (like the "c" in car and city). However, the new study showed that even in Italian, in which it is relatively straightforward to convert sounds into letters, children still have difficulties in spelling. Younger children with dyslexia generally performed worse than proficient readers; however, the older ones showed a more selective impairment when spelling words, suggesting that knowledge of vocabulary may be more important in spelling than previously thought.

The other study, from Tel Aviv University, Israel, provided the first systematic description of a type of reading disorder called "attentional dyslexia" in which children identify letters correctly, but the letters jump between words on the page, e.g., "kind wing" is read as "wind king". Teachers and neuropsychologists often notice that children substitute letters when reading, but in this type of dyslexia the substitutions are not caused by inability to identify letters or convert them to sounds; they result from migrations of letters between words. The findings showed that letters would mostly migrate to the same position in another word, so the first letter of one word would switch places with the first letter of another word. Awareness to the existence of this type of dyslexia is important, because it suggests a straightforward way to assist these children in reading - by presenting a ‎single word at a time, e.g., with the help of a word-sized window cut in a piece of cardboard.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/widening-our-perceptions-of-reading-and.html. Thanks!

Feeling included -- kids with disabilities have their say in landmark study


Gaining entry to play, feeling like a legitimate participant and having friends cited as key to feeling included for kids with disabilities

The playground can be a daunting place for any kid trying to join in and be one of the gang. For kids with disabilities it's just as important to feel included, be accepted and valued – particularly by their peers.

In a study to understand the perspectives of children with disabilities around inclusion in physical activities during free play, recreational sports and recess, Dr. Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere, an adapted physical activity expert, in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, interviewed children with a range of disabilities about their thoughts on what made them feel included or rejected during these activities.

"Children were asked to theorize about other fictional children who are like them, so they didn't have to pour their hearts out initially if they didn't want to. So I'd start by saying, 'Imagine if you were…'

"I found that as children theorized, they would float in and out of (describing things in the) first, second and third person. They wove their own experiences into those of the fictional child they were theorizing about. Final questions would ask, 'How about you? How would you feel?'"

Three themes emerged from the data: gaining entry to play; feeling like a legitimate participant, and having friends.

"Many children spoke about initiating play," says Spencer-Cavaliere, "and either being invited to play or asking to play and being rejected or not being invited or not being allowed. Making that initial step into a play environment is really a critical step for children."

One of the children gave an example of wanting to play freeze-tag, a game he enjoyed. "He asked to play and was rejected. He asked the teacher to help and the teacher did nothing. Eventually he walked away. 'It feels like you're treated like an insect,' he said.' So a major part of being included was being asked to take part, or another child saying, "Yes, you can play."

Children frequently expressed the need to feel valued, evolving the second major theme: feeling like a legitimate participant. Says Spencer-Cavaliere, "For the children this meant that once within a physical activity or play environment, taking on roles that were meaningful, feeling a part of the game: feeling important, as though you had a valued role."

One boy talked about being sent onto the field during the closing minutes of a soccer match when the team was losing badly. "The child was told to go in," says Spencer-Cavaliere, "but with little time left and the team about to lose anyway, he said, 'I know it's being 'included' but you just don't feel like you're included.' Being in the game isn't the same as feeling as though you're part of it."

In the third theme, having friends, children stressed the value of true friendships, having someone they could depend on and trust. "That allowed children to be less concerned about their performance and more invested in being part of the game and having a good time because they were in a safe place with people who accepted and valued them."

One surprise for Spencer-Cavaliere: "Children were given a broad spectrum of things they could talk about but they never mentioned physical education when discussing feeling included," she says. "This may mean they don't consider physical education as inclusive because it's very structured by adults. It seems that other children and their behaviour make the distinction between feeling included or belonging that could arise in other play settings where children could direct and make decisions about who takes part.

"With that said, the free play setting is a major challenge for children with disability," says Spencer-Cavaliere, "simply because you're really dependent on other children who are not always mature, or understand or appreciate difference and value that."

So what's a teacher, coach, parent to do to help kids with disability feel included? "When in doubt, ask the child," says Spencer Cavaliere. "You get valuable information and it gives them a say."

Spencer-Cavaliere cautions there is no one solution. "All children need to be in places where they feel included, whether they experience disability or not," she says. "This could mean specialized or integrated settings. Children need to have legitimate choices to have meaningful experiences in a variety of physical activity settings, and we should not be limiting the type of setting."
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/feeling-included-kids-with-disabilities.html. Thanks!

High school graduates and dropouts focus of new NCES report


Approximately 3 million 16- through 24-year-olds were not enrolled in high school and had not earned a high school diploma or alternative credential as of October 2008, according to a new report. These dropouts represented 8 percent of the 38 million non-institutionalized, civilian individuals in this age group living in the United States, according to Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008.

The report, released by the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, builds upon a series of reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. It includes national and regional population estimates for the percentage of students who dropped out of high school between 2007 and 2008, the percentage of young people who were dropouts in 2008, and the percentage of young people who were not in high school and had some form of high school credential in 2008. Data are presented by a number of characteristics including race/ethnicity, sex, and age. Annual data for these population estimates are provided for the 1972-2008 period.

Other findings include:

• Of first-time freshmen in public schools four years earlier, 74.9 percent had graduated with a regular diploma by the end of the 2007-08 school year. The lowest state-level rate was Nevada’s 51.3 percent and the highest was Wisconsin’s 89.6 percent.

• About 3.5 percent of students who were enrolled in grades 10-12 in public or private high schools in October 2007 left school before October 2008 without completing a high school program. While there have been fluctuations in the rate since 1990, the 2008 rate is not measurably different from the 1990 rate.

• The percentage of 16- through 24-year olds who were not enrolled in high school and who lacked a high school credential varied by race and ethnicity in 2008. The rate for Hispanics (18.3 percent) was the highest followed by the rate for Blacks (9.9 percent). Rates for Whites (4.8 percent), Asian/Pacific Islanders (4.4 percent), and persons of two or more races (4.2 percent) were the lowest among racial/ethnic groups.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/high-school-graduates-and-dropouts.html. Thanks!

PISA 2009 - Performance of U. S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context

The performance of U.S. 15-year-old students improved in science, regained lost ground in mathematics, and held steady in reading, according to the results of an international assessment released today by the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education.

The report, Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U. S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context, compares the performance of U.S. 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science literacy to the performance of their peers internationally.

PISA, or the Program for International Student Assessment, is designed to assess what students have learned – both inside and outside of school – as they near the end of compulsory schooling, and how well they apply that knowledge in real-world contexts. Some 69 percent of the U.S. students sampled for PISA are tenth-graders. PISA is coordinated by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization made up of 34 mostly industrialized member countries such as the United States, Japan, Germany, Korea, and the United Kingdom. Some non-OECD member countries, such as Brazil, as well as non-national education systems like Shanghai and Dubai, also participated in the administration of PISA 2009.

Other key findings from PISA 2009 include the following:

• In reading literacy, the U.S. average score (500) was not measurably different from the OECD average (493) or scores from previous PISA assessments. Among the 33 other OECD countries, 6 had higher average scores than the United States, 13 had lower average scores, and 14 had average scores not measurably different from the U.S. average.

• U.S. students performed higher than the OECD average on reading items that required them to reflect and evaluate, but not measurably different on items requiring that they access and retrieve information or integrate and interpret what they had read.

• Across all countries, female students scored higher than male students in reading literacy. In the United States, the gender difference was smaller than that for OECD countries on average.

• In mathematics literacy in 2009, the U.S. average score (487) was lower than the OECD average score (496). Among the 33 other OECD countries, 17 had higher average scores than the United States, 5 had lower average scores, and 11 had average scores not measurably different from the U.S. average.
• A lower percentage of U.S. students scored at or above higher-order proficiency benchmarks in mathematics literacy than the OECD average. Math scores improved from 2006 but were not measurably different from scores on the 2003 assessment.

• In science literacy in 2009, the U.S. average score (502) was not measurably different from the OECD average (501). Among the 33 other OECD countries, 12 had higher average scores than the United States, 9 had lower average scores, and 12 had average scores that were not measurably different.

• For science, the U.S. average score in 2009 was higher than the U.S. average score in 2006, the only time point to which PISA 2009 performance can be compared in science literacy. The gain means that the U.S. science performance is no longer below the OECD average.

NCES’s PISA 2009 report provides international comparisons of average performance in reading literacy and three reading literacy subscales and in mathematics literacy and science literacy; average scores by gender for the United States and other countries, and by student race/ethnicity and school socioeconomic contexts within the United States; the percentages of students reaching PISA proficiency levels, for the United States and the OECD countries on average; and trends in U.S. performance over time.

Supplemental tables on the NCES website include additional data from PISA 2009, including the percentages of students in all PISA countries reaching the PISA proficiency levels and information on trends in performance around the world in reading, mathematics, and science.

The International Data Explorer also now includes PISA 2009 data for the 65 participating countries and education systems and PISA 2000 reading literacy data.

For more information about PISA 2009 results and about PISA
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/pisa-2009-performance-of-u-s-15-year.html. Thanks!

Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens singled out for punishment


Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents are about 40 percent more likely than other teens to be punished by school authorities, police and the courts, according to a study by Yale University researchers. Published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Pediatrics, the study is the first to document excessive punishment of LGB youth nationwide.

"We found that virtually all types of punishment—including school expulsions, arrests, juvenile convictions, adult convictions and especially police stops—were more frequently meted out to LGB youth," said lead author Kathryn Himmelstein, who initiated the study while she was a Yale undergraduate. The research was supervised by Hannah Brueckner, professor of sociology and co-director of the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course at Yale.

The study was based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and included about 15,000 middle and high school students who were followed for seven years into early adulthood. The study collected details on participants' sexuality, including feelings of sexual attraction, sexual relationships and self-labeling as LGB. Add Health also surveyed participants about how frequently they engaged in a variety of misbehaviors, ranging in severity from lying to parents, to using a weapon. Add Health included detailed questions about school expulsions and contacts with the criminal justice system.

Himmelstein, who now teaches math at a public high school in New York City, said that adolescents who identified themselves as LGB were about 50 percent more likely to be stopped by police than other teenagers. Teens who reported feelings of attraction to members of the same sex, regardless of their self-identification, were more likely than other teens to be expelled from school or convicted of crimes as adults.

"Girls who labeled themselves as lesbian or bisexual were especially at risk for unequal treatment," said Himmelstein. "They reported experiencing twice as many police stops, arrests and convictions as other girls who had engaged in similar behavior. Although we did not explore the experiences of transgender youth, anecdotal reports suggest that they are similarly at risk for excessive punishment."

The study showed that these disparities in punishments are not explained by differences in the rates of misbehavior. In fact, the study showed that adolescents who identified themselves as LGB actually engaged in less violence than their peers.

"The painful, even lethal bullying that LGB youth suffer at the hands of their peers has been highlighted by recent tragic events," Himmelstein notes. "Our numbers suggest that school officials, police and judges, who should be protecting LGB youth, are instead singling them out for punishment based on their sexual orientation. LGB teens can't thrive if adults single them out for punishment because of their sexual orientation."

Brueckner added, "The study provides the first and only national estimates for over-representation of LGB youth in the criminal justice system. We simply did not have any good numbers on this before. We need more research on the processes that lead to this to help us identify ways to make our institutions more equitable with respect to policing all youth, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation."
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/lesbian-gay-and-bisexual-teens-singled.html. Thanks!

Report finds K-12 computer science education declining


Most schools teach how to use computers, but nothing deeper

Computer-related technology is increasingly driving the U.S. economy, yet computer science education is scant in most American elementary and secondary school classrooms and the number of introductory and Advanced Placement courses in computer science has actually declined in the last five years, according to a report released this fall.

"Some states and some schools are offering some really excellent courses," said Mark Stehlik, co-author of the report, "Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age." "But overall, the picture is pretty bleak," added Stehlik, assistant dean for undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science.

The report by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) found that most schools focus on teaching students how to use a computer and run available applications, rather than also teaching deeper concepts, such as computational problem-solving, that lay the foundation for innovation. Fourteen states have adopted no standards at all for upper-level computer science education.

The report's findings are sobering as educators observe Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-11, http://www.csedweek.org, which focuses on the critical role of computer science in preparing students for 21st century careers. Carnegie Mellon will host Computer Science Education Day on Dec. 8, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/csed/.

Recent federal initiatives such as No Child Left Behind and various programs designed to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education have had the unintended consequence of undermining computer science lessons, the report noted. Those initiatives have focused lessons on traditional science and math courses that are covered by achievement tests or are core requirements for high school graduation. Only nine states count computer science credits toward graduation requirements.

The point is not that every student needs to become a computer scientist, but that all students have the basic knowledge they need to understand an increasingly technological world, said Leigh Ann Sudol, a PhD student in Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department and another study co-author.

"Just like understanding a cell in biology class, understanding how a computer works is a fundamental skill for competing in the 21st century global marketplace," she said.

The ACM and CSTA issued a model K-12 curriculum for computer science in 2006. Though no state has a set of standards addressing computer science specifically, the Running on Empty authors set out two years ago to assess the degree to which state school standards for science, math and other subjects included the 55 standards outlined in the model curriculum. In addition to Sudol and Stehlik, the report's authors included Chris Stephenson, CSTA executive director, and Cameron Wilson, ACM director of public policy.

"Many studies have looked at what computer science teachers are doing in the classroom and much of that is fantastic," Sudol said. "These teachers are enthusiastic and often generate their own class materials. But that's never going to do more than create bubbles of excellence in the country as a whole. So we needed to take a look at what was happening from the top down."

Sudol found that 14 states, including Georgia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Oregon and Florida, have adopted between 50 and 100 percent of the model standards. But that left two-thirds of the states with few, if any, computer science standards at the secondary level. Pennsylvania, Michigan and 12 other states, along with the District of Columbia, have no secondary computer science standards.

The number of secondary schools offering introductory computer science courses dropped 17 percent from 2005 to 2009 and the number offering Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses dropped 35 percent in that time period. Stehlik noted that the low demand caused the College Board, which administers AP curricula, to eliminate the AP Computer Science AB test that examined advanced computer science topics such as algorithms and data structures. The AP Computer Science A test, which deals mostly with programming, remains available.

Scientific organizations and non-profits such as the ACM, CSTA and the Computing Research Association, along with corporations such as Microsoft and Google, have formed a non-partisan advocacy coalition, Computing in the Core, www.computinginthecore.org, to work for stronger K-12 computer science education. Among the policy initiatives it supports is the Computer Science Education Act, which was introduced this year by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and would provide federal grants to states to improve computer science programs and support computer science teachers.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/report-finds-k-12-computer-science.html. Thanks!

Student Data Privacy Issues Explored in New Technical Brief


Basic Concepts and Definitions for Privacy and Confidentiality in Student Education Records discusses basic concepts and definitions that establish a common set of terms related to the protection of personally identifiable information, especially in education records in the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS). This Brief also outlines a privacy framework that is tied to Fair Information Practice Principles that have been disseminated in both the United States and international privacy work.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/student-data-privacy-issues-explored-in.html. Thanks!

You’re Leaving? Sustainability and Succession in Charter Schools


Seventy-one percent of charter school leaders surveyed for this study say they expect to leave their schools within five years. For the nation’s 5,000 charter schools, this raises important questions. Who will be ready to take over? How will the school maintain its instructional program and culture from leader to leader? How does a school survive founder transitions? Where will new leaders come from and how can they be ready to lead existing schools?

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington spent four years studying charter school teachers and leaders: CRPE’s survey of 400 charter school leader respondents and fieldwork in 24 charter schools in California, Hawaii, and Texas has yielded important insights into these questions and the future of maturing charter schools.

CRPE’s research finds that many charter schools are unprepared when it comes to leadership turnover. Only half of the charter school leaders surveyed for this study reported having succession plans in place, and many of those plans are weak. Though most school leaders affiliated with charter management organizations (CMOs) reported that their school had a succession plan, there was some confusion as to who would make final decisions—school leaders or CMO leaders. For the few schools with strong plans, two elements were common: the school leaders (all with prior business experience) had taken charge of future plans, and these schools were not in the midst of crisis.

This report concludes with important steps charter schools can take to stabilize a school and better position it to choose the best possible leader. Specifically:

* Charter schools can learn about effective succession management strategies from the nonprofit sector.
* Governing boards need to own one of their most important duties: recruiting and selecting school leaders.
* Authorizers should request strategic plans and emergency leadership replacement plans as part of the application and renewal process.
* Current school leaders need to mentor next-in-line leaders and leadership team members.
* Leaders should consider succession management—an emergency replacement plan, a strategic plan, and strategic development of leadership capacities organization-wide.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/youre-leaving-sustainability-and.html. Thanks!

Ignoring value-added typically lowers the reliability of personnel decisions about teachers


The evaluation of teachers based on the contribution they make to the learning of their students, value-added, is an increasingly popular but controversial education reform policy. In this report, Brookings Institution highlights and tries to clarify four areas of confusion about value-added.

The first is between value-added information and the uses to which it can be put. One can, for example, be in favor of an evaluation system that includes value-added information without endorsing the release to the public of value-added data on individual teachers.

The second is between the consequences for teachers vs. those for students of classifying and misclassifying teachers as effective or ineffective — the interests of students are not always perfectly congruent with those of teachers.

The third is between the reliability of value-added measures of teacher performance and the standards for evaluations in other fields — value-added scores for individual teachers turn out to be about as reliable as performance assessments used elsewhere for high stakes decisions.

The fourth is between the reliability of teacher evaluation systems that include value-added vs. those that do not — ignoring value-added typically lowers the reliability of personnel decisions about teachers.

Brookings concludes that value-added data has an important role to play in teacher evaluation systems, but that there is much to be learned about how best to use value-added information in human resource decisions.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/ignoring-value-added-typically-lowers.html. Thanks!

How the world's most improved school systems keep getting better


How does a school system with poor performance become good? And how does one with good performance become excellent?

McKinsey’s latest education report
is the follow-up to the 2007 publication "How the world's best performing school systems come out on top," in which McKinsey examined the common attributes of high-performing school systems.

McKinsey compiled what they believe is the most comprehensive analysis of global school system reform ever assembled. This report identifies the reform elements that are replicable for school systems everywhere as well as what it really takes to achieve significant, sustained, and widespread gains in student outcomes.

This new report, "How the world's most improved school systems keep getting better," analyzed twenty systems from around the world, all with improving but differing levels of performance, examining how each has achieved significant, sustained, and widespread gains in student outcomes, as measured by international and national assessments.

Based on over 200 interviews with system stakeholders and analysis of some 600 interventions carried out by these systems this report identifies the reform elements that are replicable for school systems elsewhere as they move from poor to fair to good to great to excellent performance.

The systems studied were: Armenia, Aspire (a US charter school system), Boston (Massachusetts), Chile, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Long Beach (California), Madhya Pradesh (India), Minas Gerais (Brazil), Ontario (Canada), Poland, Saxony (Germany), Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, and Western Cape (South Africa).
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-world-most-improved-school-systems.html. Thanks!

Actions necessary by state policy makers to ensure a high quality digital education for all students

Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise have released Digital Learning Now, a blueprint for the future of education. The report was the result of a rapid virtual policy development process involving 100 advisors, experts, educators and thought leaders in weekly web conferences. The 10 recommendations specifically outline actions necessary by state policy makers to ensure a high quality digital education for all students.


1. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to all students.

• State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to students in K-12 at any time in their academic career.

2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses with policies such as class size ratios and caps on enrollment or budget.

• State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses based on geography, such as school district, county, or state.

• State requires students take high quality online college-or career-prep courses to earn a high school diploma.

3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State allows students to take online classes full-time, part-time or by individual course.

• State allows students to enroll with multiple providers and blend online courses with onsite learning.

• State allows rolling enrollment year round.

• State does not limit the number credits earned online.

• State does not limit provider options for delivering instruction.

4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State requires matriculation based on demonstrated competency.

• State does not have a seat-time requirement for matriculation.

• State provides assessments when students are ready to complete the course or unit.

5. Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State requires digital content and online and blended learning courses to be aligned with state standards or common core standards where applicable.

6. Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State provides alternative certification routes, including online instruction and performance-based certification.

• State provides certification reciprocity for online instructors certified by another state.

• State creates the opportunity for multi-location instruction.

• State encourages post-secondary institutions with teacher preparation programs to offer targeted digital instruction training.

• State ensures that teachers have professional development or training to better utilize technology and before teaching an online or blended learning course.

7. Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State has an open, transparent, expeditious approval process for digital learning providers.

• State provides students with access to multiple approved providers including public, private and nonprofit.

• States treat all approved education providers- public, chartered and private – equally.

• State provides all students with access to all approved providers.

• State has no administrative requirements that would unnecessarily limit participation of high quality providers (e.g. office location).

• State provides easy-to-understand information about digital learning, including programs, content, courses, tutors, and other digital resources, to students.

8. Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State administers assessments digitally.

• State ensures a digital formative assessment system.

• State evaluates the quality of content and courses predominately based on student learning data.

• State evaluates the effectiveness of teachers based, in part, on student learning data.

• State holds schools and providers accountable for achievement and growth.

9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State funding model pays providers in installments that incentivize completion and achievement.

• State allows for digital content to be acquired through instructional material budgets and does not discourage digital content with print adoption practices.

• State funding allows customization of education including choice of providers.

10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.

Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:

• State is replacing textbooks with digital content, including interactive and adaptive multimedia.

• State ensures high-speed broadband Internet access for public school teachers and students.

• State ensures all public school students and teachers have Internet access devices.

• State uses purchasing power to negotiate lower cost licenses and contracts for digital content and online courses.

• State ensures local and state data systems and related applications are updated and robust to inform longitudinal management decisions, accountability and instruction.

You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/actions-necessary-by-state-policy.html. Thanks!

A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness

ACT's first-of-its-kind research report, entitled A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness, provides an estimate of current student performance on the Common Core State Standards, using ACT college- and career-readiness data.

The report offers both instructional and curricular support recommendations, as well as policy considerations for state and federal policymakers that can support teaching and learning of the Common Core.

A First Look at Common Core ELA & Literacy:

Too few students are able to understand complex text. Relative to the
Common Core, only 31% of students are performing at a college- and career-ready
level with respect to successfully understanding complex text. The
Common Core State Standards define a “staircase” of increasing text complexity
designed to move all students to college- and career-ready levels of reading by
no later than the end of high school.

Increased focus is needed on some key aspects of language. Two areas of
emphasis in the Common Core State Standards for Language are (1) students’
knowledge of language varieties and ability to use language skillfully and
(2) students’ ability to acquire and use a rich vocabulary. Relative to the Common
Core, only 35% of students are performing at college- and career-ready levels
with respect to these skills.

ACT Recommendations:

• Students should master the grade-specific standards for Common Core
Language Standard 3, which, beginning formally in grade 2 and building
throughout the grades, focuses on such areas as recognizing differences
between formal and informal English and between spoken and written
English, using language precisely and concisely, and maintaining
consistency in style and tone.
• Students would also benefit from greater and more systematic attention to
vocabulary development. This can include direct vocabulary instruction and
a steadily increasing emphasis on helping students acquire vocabulary
through reading. Particularly important is that students gain what the Standards
refer to as general academic vocabulary: words and phrases that are often
encountered in written texts in a variety of subjects but that are rarely heard in
spoken language.
Content-area reading needs strengthening. Students struggle when reading
texts in content areas, especially in science, where only 24% of students are able
to work with science materials at a level that would make them college and
career ready. To help all students achieve sufficient literacy skills in history/social
studies and in science and technical subjects, as well as in English language
arts, states must ensure that teachers in these subject areas use their
unique content knowledge to foster students’ ability to read, write, and
communicate in the various disciplines.
• Specifically, English language arts teachers in middle and upper grades
should incorporate a particular type of informational text—literary
nonfiction—into the traditional curriculum of stories, dramas, and poems.
• Teachers in other subject areas should use their own subject-area expertise
to help students learn to read, write, and communicate effectively in their
specific field.
• The Common Core State Standards in reading are explicitly modeled on the
idea of shared responsibility for students’ literacy development. States and
districts should therefore prepare middle and high school content-area
teachers for this role by providing professional development opportunities
that build the reading instruction capacity of content-area specialists.

A First Look at Common Core Mathematics

Increased focus is needed on the foundations of mathematics. The low
performance by students on Number & Quantity (34%) in the Common Core is
of particular concern because these skills are the foundation for success in the
other Common Core mathematics conceptual categories (e.g., Algebra,
Functions, Modeling, Geometry, and Statistics & Probability).

ACT Recommendations:

• In the early grades, students will benefit from problem solving in novel contexts
and hands-on experiences with increasingly sophisticated quantities and their
• In middle school and high school, teachers should lead students to see
connections between Number & Quantity and other Common Core
mathematics conceptual categories, particularly Algebra.
Math interventions are needed for students who are falling behind at the
earliest grades. Across the board, Hispanic and African American students
performed well below their Caucasian counterparts in all Common Core math
domains. States must ensure that teachers and students have the resources
necessary to identify struggling math students as early as possible (K–4)
so that proper interventions are made. Providing teachers and students with
adequate opportunities to collect achievement data that function diagnostically—
data collected frequently and from both formative and summative
assessments—is crucial to supporting students’ learning progressions and for
optimal growth to occur.
Greater understanding of mathematical processes and practices is needed.
For each of the Common Core Mathematical Practices standards, only about
one-third of students reached the college- and career-ready level. States and
districts must ensure that conceptual understanding is emphasized for all
students in mathematics. More specifically, students at all grade levels need
to be:
• working and solving challenging nonroutine problems;
• explaining methods and justifying conclusions;
• predicting and conjecturing about things like unknown numbers,
measurements, quantitative relations, the behavior of functions, how well a
model fits reality, the effectiveness of different solution methods, and the way
probabilistic events occur; and
• looking for patterns and structure in places like diagrams, equations, number
systems, proofs, problems, tables, graphs, and real-world objects.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/a-first-look-at-common-core-and-college.html. Thanks!

Are 11th Graders Prepared for College-Level Reading?


Current rates of enrollment in remedial college courses indicate that many graduating high school students are unprepared for college-level work or the workforce. REL Southwest’s study, How Prepared are Students for College-Level Reading? Applying a Lexile®-Based Approach, develops a methodology that can be applied in a real-world context and provides policymakers and educators with information to help them evaluate and understand the effectiveness of efforts to prepare students for postsecondary success.

This study develops and documents this new methodology that determines what proportion of 11th graders in Texas public schools are prepared to read college textbooks. The methodology utilizes the Lexile Framework® for Reading. This framework measures the reading difficulty of prose texts and the reading capacity of students. The Lexile measure uses sentence length and word frequency to assign reading difficulty values to passages of text.

This study links student scores on an exit-level Texas English language arts and reading assessment with college English textbooks to gauge students’ ability to read and comprehend textbooks used in entry-level English courses in the University of Texas system. The students’ reading comprehension test scores are used to determine a specific Lexile, which is a measure of the text the student is likely to read at a 75 percent comprehension level.

The findings for Texas show that:

• About half of students can read 95 percent of first-year English textbooks used in entry-level classes in the University of Texas system.
• Some 80 percent can read 50 percent of all English textbooks.
• About 9 percent can read no more than 5 percent of all English textbooks.
You have read this article with the title December 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2010/12/are-11th-graders-prepared-for-college.html. Thanks!