Social bullying prevalent in children's television

92 percent of the top 50 programs for children ages 2-11 show social bullying

Children ages 2-11 view an alarming amount of television shows that contain forms of social bullying or social aggression. Physical aggression in television for children is greatly documented, but this is the first in-depth analysis on children's exposure to behaviors like cruel gossiping and manipulation of friendship.

Nicole Martins, Indiana University, and Barbara J. Wilson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, published in the Journal of Communication a content analysis of the 50 most popular children's shows according to Nielsen Media Research. One hundred and fifty television shows were viewed and analyzed, and 92% of the programming contained some version of social aggression—approximately 14 times per hour. There was careful attention to what was portrayed in the cases of social aggression, whether the behavior was rewarded or punished, justified, or committed by an attractive perpetrator.

The findings suggested that some of the ways in which social aggression is contextualized make these depictions particularly problematic for young viewers. The study found that attractive characters who perpetrated social aggression were rarely punished for their behavior, and that socially aggressive scenes were significantly more likely than physically aggressive scenes to be presented in a humorous way. In some cases, social aggression on television may pose more of a risk than portrayals of physical aggression do.

"These findings should help parents and educators recognize that there are socially aggressive behaviors on programs children watch. Parents should not assume that a program is okay for their child to watch simply because it does not contain physical violence. Parents should be more aware of portrayals that may not be explicitly violent in a physical sense but are nonetheless antisocial in nature," Martins said.

"Martins and Wilson's research shows just how important it is to broaden our view of 'violence' beyond the physical; particularly as their findings indicate that social violence like insults and name calling occurs just as commonly in children's programming," said Amy Jordan, director of the Media and the Developing Child sector at the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Children, Adolescents and the Media Division of the International Communication Association.

"As a society, we need to acknowledge that our children are learning to be socially aggressive, and that one source of this learning may be the television shows they watch. We may not see physical manifestations of this type of violence, but children who are victims of social aggression from their peers may develop deep and lasting emotional scars."
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!


Texas’ 82nd Legislature reduced state spending on public education in 2010-2011 by $5.4 billion, including $4 billion from the Foundation School Program. Although the extent of the cuts has been widely discussed, comprehensive information is lacking on how the cuts were implemented by school districts and the impact on Texas’ schools and students.

From January to September 2012, CHILDREN AT RISK conducted a mixed methods study, including a survey with a random stratified sample of school districts, to provide an objective assessment of the impact of state budget cuts on Texas’ schools and students. Texas Public Education Cuts: Impact Assessment utilized a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods to capture the variation and scope of the cuts through uniform evaluation and measurement across districts. Research priority areas included the impact of state budget cuts on average class size, pre-k, expenditures, and staffing.

Initial research findings provide a valuable set of descriptive and inferential data that offers insight into how school districts handled the loss of state funding. Key trends and findings include the following:

1. ß Across the board, there was great diversity in the ways school districts handled the budget cuts. Many districts anticipated the shortfall and worked to smooth out cutbacks over the two years rather than making drastic, one-time cuts.

2. ß Strong leadership prevailed at the district level through responsible stewardship of taxpayer funds and smart financial management. Leaders largely worked within existing service delivery frameworks and public education in Texas did not see significant structural changes. Teachers across the state seemed to take on heavier loads and step up to make sure children were not falling through the cracks. This also raised concerns about educator fatigue.

3. ß Many districts wanted to avoid teacher layoffs at all costs. However, payroll expenses make up the bulk (80%) of school district spending. Consequently, many districts were unable to avoid a reduction in teaching staff, with most of the reduction coming through attrition. Statewide over 10,000 teaching positions were lost despite an average increase of 83,000 in new student enrollment over the last four years.

4. ß The budget cuts had a clear impact on average class size. While the relationship between class size and student learning is complicated, researchers worry that student learning will be negatively impacted. While this is especially true for high poverty, at-risk and special needs kids, students of all income levels are simultaneously experiencing larger class sizes and higher accountability standards. All students will have fewer opportunities for individualized attention and one-on-one instruction.

5. ß While the Texas Legislature routinely expresses interest in “evidence-based” and outcomes-driven programs, large cuts to the state budget required local school districts to go in the opposite direction. In many cases efforts with the strongest research base, notably pre-kindergarten, were the first to be cut. Fifteen percent of survey respondents reported cuts to pre-k programs.

6. ß Looking beyond state aid, or diversifying revenue strategies, was a top priority for school districts. Their success in doing so was largely dictated by individual circumstance therefore making a one size fits all fiscal approach difficult. Thirty-one percent of districts reported dipping into their fund balance in 2011-2012 to compensate for state shortfalls.

7. ß The budget cuts prompted many districts to examine their operations to find efficiencies. Increasingly, districts are adopting successful practices from the private sector that enable them to run leaner operations. Commonly-cited tactics included the use of cost containment strategies, increased collaboration among districts, diversified revenue streams, low administrative overhead and achieving economies of scale where possible. While every dollar counts, even the most creative districts were only able to achieve comparatively small savings from these strategies with regard to total operating budgets.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Do Teacher Rating Systems Work?

Last year, for the first time, every Michigan public school was required to measure teacher performance using four rating categories. The idea was that by expanding the range of ratings most districts use, teachers would get more individualized assessment and feedback on their strengths and weaknesses -- and appropriate professional development -- to help them improve, and in turn boost student learning.

It hasn’t worked out that way.

An Education Trust-Midwest survey of large Michigan school districts found that more than 99 percent of teachers were rated effective or highly effective on their 2011-2012 performance evaluations. Only 0.2 percent of teachers surveyed -- that's 2 in every 1000 teachers -- were rated ineffective.

The results of the Ed Trust-Midwest survey are even starker than the findings in an influential 2009 national study by The New Teacher Project called “The Widget Effect.” That study found that 94% of teachers were rated in one of the top two categories when more than two rating categories were used.

Full report
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

A Dozen Economic Facts About K-12 Education

Education is a powerful force for promoting opportunity and growth. It is not surprising that an individual’s educational attainment is highly correlated with her income: college graduates generally earn more than less-educated Americans. What might be less obvious is that education is also a significant determinant of many other very important outcomes, including whether individuals marry, whether their children grow up in households with two parents, and even how long they will live. What’s more, on all of these dimensions, the gap between highly educated and less-educated Americans is getting bigger—in some cases, much bigger.

The following facts help illustrate the state of educational attainment in the United States and the growing importance of education in determining people's well-being. On many dimensions—lifetime earnings, incarceration rates, and life expectancy, to name a few—Americans who do not graduate from high school or college are increasingly falling behind those with a college degree. This paper explores both the condition of education in the United States and the economic evidence on several promising K-12 interventions that could improve the lives of Americans.

1. Having less education can limit your earnings prospects.

2. Education benefits individuals and society in general.

3. More education increases your chance of being married and of raising a child outside of poverty.

4. More education can even be the key to a longer, healthier life.

5. The United States is no longer a world leader in high school and college completion.

6. Stubborn racial differences in educational achievement remain among Americans.

7. Education lags behind other sectors in innovation investments.

8. Parents with more education are able to invest more in their children.

9. Better teachers matter, even more than you might think.

10. Some charter schools show dramatic improvements in student achievement and may provide lessons for the broader education community.

11. Small-scale interventions also present opportunities for raising student achievement.

12. More information and greater transparency in our education system could go a long way toward improving outcomes.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools

The authors of these reports examined charter schools across the quality spectrum in order to learn which practices separate high-achieving from low-achieving schools. An expansive data collection and analysis project in New York City charter schools yielded an index of five educational practices that explains nearly half of the difference between high- and low-performing schools.

They then looked at preliminary evidence from demonstration projects in Houston and Denver and find the effects on student achievement to be strikingly similar to those of many high-performing charter schools and networks.

They assert that this preliminary evidence points to a path forward to save the 3 million students in our nation’s worst-performing schools, for a price of about $6 billion, or less than $2,000 per student.

Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools - Full Discussion Paper

Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools - Full Policy Brief
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

What measurements should be used in school-based fitness tests

Fitness testing has traditionally focused on four aspects: heart and lung function, body composition, muscular and skeletal fitness, and flexibility.A committee convened by the Institute of Medicine undertook a comprehensive review of the science and found that it supports the use of specific ways to measure three of these components -- cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, and musculoskeletal fitness -- in young people.These measurements should be used in national youth fitness surveys and school-based fitness tests, says the committee's report.

Recent events underscore the importance of evaluating the evidence base for different elements of fitness testing.Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the 2012 NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, the first nationwide survey of fitness in young people since the mid-1980s.And earlier this month, the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition announced it is adopting FITNESSGRAM, a battery of tests provided by the nonprofit Cooper Institute, as the assessment for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.This is the program under which much school-based fitness testing is conducted.

"This report's recommendations offer helpful guidance to those designing fitness batteries targeted at children and adolescents," said committee chair Russell R. Pate, professor of exercise science, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia."Collecting more data through surveys and in schools will advance our understanding about how fitness in early years translates into better health throughout a lifetime."

Studies have found cardiorespiratory endurance to be associated with risk factors for developing heart disease later in life.The progressive shuttle run -- an exercise in which participants sprint back and forth between two points -- is a good measure of cardiorespiratory endurance, the committee concluded.If space is limited and resources permit, cycle ergometer and treadmill tests are valid and reliable alternatives for the shuttle run in national surveys.

Body mass index (BMI), a calculation of body weight in relation to height, is related to young people's risk for obesity-related conditions such as diabetes.BMI measurements can easily be done in both national surveys and schools to measure body composition, the committee said.Those conducting national surveys should also measure each participant's waist circumference and skinfold thickness.

Emerging evidence from studies involving children and adolescents suggests that musculoskeletal fitness is related to bone health and body composition.Handgrip strength and the standing long jump should be used to measure musculoskeletal fitness by both national fitness surveys and schools, the report says.The committee found insufficient evidence linking flexibility to health outcomes in young people and therefore did not recommend techniques to measure flexibility.

Other techniques besides those recommended by the committee are commonly used in schools to measure fitness in youth.Schools use fitness tests to teach children and their families about the importance of physical fitness and to guide individuals on ways to maintain fitness and health.Tests such as a 1-mile run, modified pull-ups or push-ups, and sit-and-reach tests can have educational value and therefore could be used as supplementary measurements of fitness in schools, the committee said.All methods that are used should be safe, reliable, and feasible to conduct in school settings.The committee emphasized that school staff members need to take into consideration confidentiality, self-esteem, and other sensitivities surrounding physical fitness testing when they share test results with students and their families.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Aggression Among Kindergartners

Not all aggressive children are aggressive for the same reasons, according to Penn State researchers, who found that some kindergartners who are aggressive show low verbal abilities while others are more easily physiologically aroused. The findings suggest that different types of treatments may be needed to help kids with different underlying causes for problem behavior.

"Aggressive responses to being frustrated are a normal part of early childhood, but children are increasingly expected to manage their emotions and control their behavior when they enter school," said Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, assistant professor of human development and family studies. "Kids who don't do this well, who hit their classmates when they are frustrated or cause other types of disturbances in the classroom, are at especially high risk for long-term consequences including delinquency, violence, dropping out of school, abusing substances and even suicide. Research tells us that the earlier we can intervene, the better the chances of getting these children back on track."

Gatzke-Kopp and her colleagues, who include Mark Greenberg, professor of human development and family studies and of psychology, asked each of the kindergarten teachers in all 10 of the elementary schools in Pennsylvania's Harrisburg School District to rate the aggressive behaviors of their students on a six-point scale with items such as "gets in many fights" and "cruelty, bullying or meanness to others." Using these data, the team recruited a group of high-risk children (207 children) and a group of low-risk children (132 children) to undergo a range of neurobiological measures aimed at understanding how aggressive children experience and manage emotions differently than their non-aggressive classmates.

The team assessed all of the children's cognitive and academic skills using standardized tests that identified the children's developmental level of vocabulary, spatial reasoning and memory. In addition, the team asked teachers to provide ratings of each child's behaviors, including their levels of aggression, disobedience and sadness, as well as their social skills and level of self-control in the classroom.

The researchers also assessed the children's brain functioning using a mobile research laboratory they brought to the schools. Within the mobile lab, the team measured the children's heart rate and skin conductance activity during tasks designed to elicit emotional responses, including showing the children short video clips of a cartoon character in a variety of situations depicting fear, sadness, happiness and anger. The researchers wanted to understand how emotional and physical arousal to different types of emotions differed between children who engage in aggressive behavior and children who don't engage in aggressive behavior, as well as how different children who engage in aggressive behavior react.

According to Gatzke-Kopp, the assessments enabled the researchers to understand how cognitive and emotional processing may contribute to the development of aggressive tendencies. Specifically, the team found that 90 percent of the aggressive kids in the study could be characterized as either low in verbal ability or more easily physiologically aroused. The results will appear in the August 2012 issue of Development and Psychopathology.

"What we may be seeing is that there are at least two different routes through which a child may act aggressively," Gatzke-Kopp said. "Because these are very different processes, these children may need different approaches to changing their behavior."

The first group of kids was characterized by lower verbal ability, lower levels of cognitive functioning and fewer executive function skills.

According to Gatzke-Kopp, children need verbal skills to understand the feelings of others and guidance from adults, and to express feelings without hitting. They also need adequate cognitive and executive-function abilities to manipulate information and to think of alternatives to hitting and fighting.

"This group of kids may be functioning at a cognitive level that is more akin to a preschooler than a kindergartner," Gatzke-Kopp said. "They have a harder time extracting what other people are feeling. They don't have a nuanced sense of emotions; everything is either happy or sad to them. So they might not be as good at recognizing how their behavior is making another child feel. They may literally have a hard time 'using their words,' so hitting becomes an easier solution when they are frustrated."

The second group of kids had good verbal and cognitive functioning, but they were more physiologically aroused. They were more emotionally reactive, and tended to have more stressors in their lives.

"These children may be able to tell you that if somebody pushed them on the playground they would go get a teacher, but the push happens and they kind of lose it and it doesn't matter what they should do, they just act on impulse," Greenberg said. "One possibility is that the threshold for managing frustration is quite low for these kids. So what we might consider a minor annoyance to them is a major threat. When they are calm they function very well, but when they lose control of their emotions, they can't control their behavior."

In the future, the team plans to examine how these different types of children respond to an intervention delivered over the second half of kindergarten and the first half of first grade.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Personalizing Algebra Word Problems Improves Performance


Original Problem
One method for estimating the cost of new home construction is based on the proposed square footage of the home. Locally, the average cost per square foot is estimated to be $46.50.
You are working at the ticket office for a college football team. Each ticket to the first home football game costs $46.50.
You are helping to organize a concert where some local R&B artists will be performing. Each ticket to the concert costs $46.50.
You have been working for the school yearbook, taking pictures and designing pages, and now it’s time for the school to sell the yearbooks for $46.50 each.
You work for a Best Buy store that is selling the newest Rock Band game for $46.50.

Results : Students in the experimental group who received personalization had significantly higher performance.

Complete report
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age

State Leaders Stress Importance of Personalized Learning, Instructional Materials Innovation to Prepare Students for College, Careers

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age. This report highlights the sea change underway in the multi-billion dollar U.S. K-12 instructional materials market enabled by recent technology and intellectual property rights innovations. With a focus on the ultimate impact on student learning, the report provides examples of lessons learned from recent digital and open content/open educational resources (OER) initiatives by leading states and school districts. It concludes by offering comprehensive recommendations for government, industry, and educators to ensure that the inevitable shift to digital instructional materials improves student achievement and engagement and efficiently uses scarce resources.
Given existing trends and the experiences of leading states and districts, the core recommendation of the SETDA report is that states and districts commit to beginning the shift from print to digital instructional materials with the next major "textbook" adoption cycle, completing the transition within the next five years (by no later than the 2017-18 school year).

“In a time of tight budgets and increasing expectations, many schools today purchase both print and digital instructional materials in a duplicative and uncoordinated fashion, with far too little attention to quality and value for money,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA executive director. “If the shift to digital instructional materials is not made immediately, major funding will continue to be directed to traditional materials that will tie the hands of students and educators to static, inflexible content for years to come. Only if education leaders act now, can they influence the reimagination of the K-12 textbook.”

Out of Print is a product of collaboration among state educational technology leaders, leading technology companies, publishers, and policy and practitioner experts committed to driving innovation in K-12 instructional materials. The numerous examples in the report of successful digital and open content initiatives highlight the dramatic opportunity before us to modernize a decades old approach to textbook adoption.

“We are proud of the work we have done in Indiana to increase technology options for schools. Increased flexibility to select digital instructional materials and new state-level grants are spreading high-quality, innovative initiatives across our state,” said Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This effort has created a thriving 21st century learning environment for Hoosier children and is helping to drive student success to an all time high.”
As the report concludes, “reimagining an integral element of the educational system within five years is a daunting task. Yet, as this report highlights, many states and districts have traveled partially down the path already – and our students are ready. If we are serious about offering a college and 21st career ready education for all students, we do not have the luxury of further delay.”
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!


Black urban teenagers from low-income families face a rate of sexually transmitted disease up to 10 times higher than their white counterparts, but recent studies at Oregon State University have identified approaches to prevention programs that might reduce this problem.

The research, based on interviews of black adolescents ages 15-17 in San Francisco and Chicago, found that information from parents, teachers and other caring adults is actually listened to, more than the adults might think. And the problem of youth getting “mixed messages” from different entities, ranging from schools to movies, churches, peer groups and medical clinics, may not be that large of an issue.

If teenagers get a wide range of medical, social, educational and personal support and information from multiple sources, they are fairly adept at separating the good sense from the nonsense, scientists said. Unfortunately, that broad range of information and communication often doesn’t exist.

And somewhat surprisingly, the research found that few youth use or trust the Internet for information on sexual health.

“The level of sexual activity at a young age and incidence of STDs, including HIV and AIDS, in low-income, urban black teenagers is high,” said Margaret Dolcini, an associate professor in the OSU School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. “We have made strides in prevention, but need to continue to deepen our understanding of the factors that contribute to unsafe sexual activity.’

The OSU studies were published in Research in Human Development, a scientific journal, with support from the National Institutes of Health. They explored the influences and pressures this group of teenagers faced, including choices to have sex, where people get information, and how that affects behavior.

“We found that young black kids who got information from varied sources tended to do pretty well in making smart choices,” Dolcini said.

The most important progress, the OSU researchers found, could be made if various educational, religious and social support organizations would make a more concerted effort to address issues collectively, within the constraints of their roles and belief systems.

“We need more collaboration between family, schools, medical clinics, churches, and other entities that traditionally may not have worked together,” Dolcini said.

“This is possible, and we should encourage more of it,” she said. “We wouldn’t necessarily expect a church to offer condom demonstrations, but a community clinic or school sex education program might do exactly that. And there’s a place for both.”

Among the findings of the studies:

- Stressing abstinence at young ages is appropriate, but could be made far more effective if youth were taught other forms of emotional interaction as an alternative to sexual intercourse.
- Sex education will be more effective if sex is treated as a healthy part of life at appropriate ages and circumstances.
- Young women benefited strongly from families who had open lines of communication, talked about sex, monitored their activities and made it clear their health and safety was important.
- Many teenagers have received surprisingly little accurate information about sex and sexual health.
- Sex education programs in schools are nearly universal and there is also strong participation in sex-related education from youth at community centers.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Three out of four young adults in Michigan lack the basic skills and qualifications to serve in the military

Investing more in high-quality early education programs is essential to our national security, two retired generals from Michigan said today. They released a report at the Kinder Care at St. Johns Lutheran Church showing that military service is now out of reach for three out of four young adults in Michigan and called on the Governor and state legislature to increase early education funding by $140 million.

“The Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in the military for three primary reasons: they have not graduated from high school, they are physically unfit, or they have a criminal record,” said General Henderson. “Because Michigan’s problems with weight are similar to the national average and the state’s problems with education are worse than the national average, it is likely that at least three out of four young adults in Michigan cannot join the military.”

According to data cited in the report released today:

• 25 percent of young people in Michigan do not graduate on time from high school.

• Among high school graduates in Michigan, 1 in 5 who try to join the military score too low on the military’s entrance exam to be able to serve.

• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria, which are broader than the military’s, 41 percent of young adults in Michigan are overweight or obese, up from 38 percent thirteen years ago.

• One in every 27 adults in Michigan was in jail, in prison, on probation or on parole in 2007. Even more have a criminal record that would keep them from serving.

The new report, entitled Michigan Youth: Ready, Willing but Unable to Serve, documents how federal and state investments in early childhood education can benefit military readiness by increasing the pool of young Americans eligible to join the military.

The report highlights research findings that show the long-term effects of high-quality early learning programs. Three long-term studies of early education programs show impressive education outcomes:

• The children who participated in the Perry Preschool project in Ypsilanti, Michigan, were 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school.

• Children not served by the Abecedarian project were 75 percent more likely to be held back in school.

• The participants in the Chicago Child-Parent Centers were 29 percent more likely to have graduated from high school.

Michigan launched its preschool program, Great Start Readiness Program, in 1985, and it has been operating long enough to see long-term strong results. Children who attended the program were:

• a third less likely than similar children to be held back in school; and

• a quarter less likely to not graduate on time from high school.

In addition, two long-term studies on early education have strong results on preventing crime and there is even new evidence showing how early learning programs can help reduce America’s rising rates of childhood obesity.

High-quality early education also saves money. The costs of failure can be very high. For example, each child who grows up to drop out, use drugs and become a career criminal costs society, on average, $2.5 million.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

SAT Minority Participation Up

The SAT® Report on College & Career Readiness: 2012 provides students and families with helpful information about the role and value of the SAT in high schools and higher education, and shines a light on educational inequities that must be overcome to guarantee that all students are ready for, and succeed in, college. When used appropriately, the SAT can be a valuable tool for high school educators, college-bound students, and higher education.

SAT Access & Equity

More than ever, the population of students taking the SAT reflects the diverse makeup of America's classrooms.

Among SAT takers in the class of 2012:

- 45 percent were minority students (up from 44 percent in the class of 2011 and 38 percent in the class of 2008) making this the most diverse class of SAT takers ever.

- Among public school SAT takers in the class of 2012, 46 percent were minority students, up from 39 percent five years ago.

- 28 percent reported that English was not exclusively their first language (up from 27 percent in the class of 2011 and 24 percent in the class of 2008).

- Among public school SAT takers in the class of 2012, 25 percent reported that English was not exclusively their first language, up from 23 percent five years ago.

- 36 percent of all students reported their parents' highest level of education as a high school diploma or less.

SAT Participation and Performance: Class of 2012

More than 1.66 million students took the SAT in the class of 2012, making it the largest class of SAT takers in history. The mean scores for the SAT class of 2012 were 496 in critical reading, 514 in mathematics and 488 in writing. Since 2008, SAT participation has increased 6 percent, while critical reading scores have declined four points, writing scores have declined five points, and mathematics scores have remained stable.

High School Course Work and SAT Performance

Academic preparedness for college is in large part dependent on the type and rigor of courses that students take in high school. Students in the class of 2012 who reported completing a core curriculum performed better on the SAT than those who did not complete a core curriculum.

More SAT Participation and Performance Data

Total Group Report and State Profile Reports: Total Group and state-level reports containing information about all SAT and SAT Subject Test takers from 1996–present are available on the College Board's Research & Development web site.

Comparing SAT Data:

Aggregate SAT data must always be considered in the context of other conditions that affect the educational system. Useful comparisons of students' performance are possible only if all students take the same test. It is not appropriate to rank or rate teachers, educational institutions, districts or states solely on the basis of aggregate scores derived from tests that are intended primarily as an individual measure.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Pre-K and Kindergarten Data Severely Lacking at Local Level

Many states are failing to collect basic information about publicly funded early education programs for young children at the school district level, according to a new report released today from the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative.

The report, Counting Kids and Tracking Funds in Pre-K and Kindergarten: Falling Short at the Local Level, which drew on data collected and displayed by the New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project, found that nearly one-third of states with publicly funded pre-K programs do not make available school district-level data on the amount of money allocated to, or the numbers of children enrolled in, those programs. Data on special education preschool grants awarded to districts were unavailable from a quarter of states.

Kindergarten, assumed to be an integral part of public schools, is also plagued by a lack of information and comparable data. District-level data are unavailable on funding specifically for kindergarten or enrollment that distinguishes between half-day and full-day programs.

Authors Lisa Guernsey and Alex Holt outline problems stemming from the lack of data and make recommendations for fixing the problem, including convening a national group of experts to examine how to create a system that captures better data on kindergarten and includes the variety of publicly funded pre-K programs children attend, including those run by both school districts and community-based organizations, such as non-profits.

The absence of comprehensive, comparable data on pre-K and kindergarten in school districts can have severe consequences.

“To close achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students, policymakers and educators desperately need these most basic data on enrollment and public funding for all young children,” said Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation. “These data will enhance the public’s understanding of how public dollars are spent, expose disparities in access to early learning, and have the potential to increase educational opportunities for young children.”

The Federal Education Budget Project— which has provided federal education data for states, K-12 school districts, and institutions of higher education since 2007 — expanded today to include data on funding and enrollment for state-funded pre-K programs, Head Start programs, and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act preschool programs at the state and school district levels. For the first time, these data are publicly and centrally available to the public, the media, and education policymakers.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Colleges imroving graduation rates for African-American, Latino students

Nationwide, college graduation rates are far too low, particularly among students of color, a fast-growing demographic in America. But two reports released by The Education Trust show that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for African-American students” and “Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students” spotlight colleges of all types that are producing better results by improving graduation rates and/or narrowing the graduation-rate gaps on their campuses.

“Colleges must do more to ensure success for all students, particularly the growing number of black and Latino students in our country. Thankfully, some institutions are showing us that the status quo is not inevitable,” said José Cruz, vice president for higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust. “The lessons are clear: What institutions of higher education do—and don’t do—for students directly and powerfully impacts student success. The schools we’ve identified provide vivid sign posts on the road to boosting graduation rates at colleges and universities across the country.”

By 2018, our nation is projected to need 22 million more college-educated workers; and by that time, more than half of jobs are projected to require a postsecondary degree. Using trend data from College Results Online — a unique Web-based tool that allows users to examine important information like graduation rates by race, ethnicity and gender for four-year colleges across the country — these two studies highlight institutions that are improving outcomes for students of color. Among them:

  • At Virginia Commonwealth University, the graduation rate for African-American students has improved by more than 15 percentage points since 2004. For Hispanic students, the rate has increased by more than 22 percentage points over the same time period. VCU points to its University College model, which is built around a cohesive core curriculum and a centralized support system for incoming freshmen.
  • Texas Tech University serves a growing Hispanic population, now about 14 percent of its student body. However, its graduation rates have also increased by more than 18 percentage points since 2004. University officials credit their improvements to creating a visible leadership presence responsible for holding the institution accountable for helping all students.
  • Stony Brook University has provided its students with intensive academic support programs designed to equip them with the tools they need to graduate. As a result, a 2004 gap of more than 11 percentage points between the outcomes for Hispanic and white students is now closed.
  • By investing resources to create a staff position responsible for focusing the institution on improving retention and graduation rates, the University of Southern California has improved outcomes among students of color. Now, the campus no longer has gaps in graduation rates between either Latino or black students and their white classmates.

“These institutions are increasing their success rates among students of color without becoming more exclusive and serving fewer of these students,” said Mary Nguyen, higher education research and policy analyst at The Education Trust.

The broad trends in these two reports demonstrate the impact that institutional efforts can have on increasing graduation rates and closing gaps. They also show that resources like high endowments are not the only way to ensure student success.

“Progress is possible for all institutions, whether their graduation rates have been continually improving or they once had large gaps,” said Jennifer Engle, director of higher education research and policy at The Education Trust. “We must keep the doors of opportunity open for all students — and the best way to make that happen is to learn from and build on the efforts of successful institutions.”

# # #

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

States Embrace Higher Standards on Exit Exams

Schools and Students Will Feel the Impact - More rigorous standards will pose challenges

After more than a decade of growing reliance on high school exit exams, states are rethinking how they use these popular assessments, a new Center on Education Policy (CEP) report finds.

New data released today show that eight of the 26 states with exit exam policies have aligned these exams to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or other college- and career-readiness standards, and 10 more states plan to do so in the near future, according to “State High School Exit Exams: A Policy in Transition,” the 11th annual report on high school exit exams by CEP at George Washington University.

Aligning exit exam policies to more rigorous standards will almost certainly impact the performance of students taking the exams, the report notes. Passing rates on exit exams already vary among states, and these rates tend to be lower for minority and poor students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.

The report also notes that despite potential concerns regarding the impact of more rigorous high school exit exams on student performance, very few postsecondary education institutions pay attention to exit exam results when making decisions about student admissions, course placement, or awarding scholarships, according to the report.

Currently, 25 states require their high school students to pass an exam to graduate, and a 26th state, Rhode Island, is phasing in an exit requirement for the class of 2014. Twenty-two of these exit exam states have adopted the CCSS in English language arts and math. But the move to the types of college- and career-readiness standards embodied by the CCSS does not mean an end to exit exams, according to CEP’s research. At least 14 CCSS-adopting states intend to maintain a requirement for high school students to pass an exam to graduate.

Reductions in education budgets have also affected state high school exit exams, according to the report. Three states have responded to budget cuts by dropping exit exams in certain subjects, and two states have reduced the number of retake opportunities for students who fail the exams.

End-of-course exams—which assess students’ mastery of the content learned in a particular course rather than the content learned in multiple subjects as of a particular grade level—have grown in popularity throughout the past decade. Nine states currently require students to pass end-of-course exams to graduate, compared with two states in 2002. Three additional states are phasing in requirements for end-of-course exit exams, and six more states currently require or will soon require students to take, but not necessarily pass, end-of-course exams to graduate. Thus, 18 states altogether have policies requiring some type of end-of-course exams.

The report also reviews lessons learned from states’ experience implementing exit exams. For example, the report notes, successful implementation of a new or revised exit exam policy often depends on states’ willingness to phase in policies over several years, provide alternate routes to graduation for students who fail exit exams, adapt policies to meet changing needs, and make a sufficient financial commitment, among other actions.

Individual profiles of states with exit exams

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Civil Rights Project Reports Deepening School Segregation

The Civil Rights Project today released three new studies showing persistent and serious increases in segregation by race and poverty, with very dramatic results in the South and West, the nation’s two largest regions where students of color now comprise the majority of public school enrollment. Nationally, the average black or Latino student now attends school with a substantial majority of children in poverty, double the level in schools of whites and Asians.

This new research by the Civil Rights Project includes an extensive report on national trends, “E Pluribus… Separation: Deepening Double Segregation for More Students,” as well as two smaller regional reports, “The Western States: Profound Diversity but Severe Segregation for Latino Students,” and “Southern Slippage: Growing School Segregation in the Most Desegregated Region of the Country.”

Together they show segregation is substantially increasing across the country for Latino students, who attend more intensely segregated and impoverished schools than they have for generations. The segregation increases for Latinos are most dramatic in the West.

In spite of declining residential segregation for black families, and their large-scale movement to the suburbs in most parts of the country, school segregation for black students remains very high and is increasing most severely in the South, which led the nation in school integration after the l960s desegregation struggles took effect.

For decades, the Civil Rights Project has monitored the success of American schools in reaching the goals of integrating schools and equalizing opportunity in a changing society. Segregation is directly linked to severe problems, such as high dropout rates, lack of experienced teachers, and fewer resources. E Pluribus… Separation summarizes the most rigorous research to date showing that segregated schools are systematically linked to these and other unequal educational opportunities.

Using data from the National Center on Education Statistics, the researchers explore enrollment shifts and segregation trends playing out nationally, as well as in regions, states and metropolitan areas.

The reports contain data on all states and the nation's 25 largest metropolitan regions, making it possible for citizens and local officials to compare patterns in their areas to national and regional trends. In the reports, the authors underscore the fact that simply sitting next to a white student does not guarantee better educational outcomes for students of color. Instead, the resources including expert and experienced teachers and advanced courses that are consistently linked to predominately white and/or wealthy schools help foster real and serious educational advantages over minority segregated settings.

The Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration before it, has taken no significant action to increase school integration or to help stabilize diverse schools undergoing racial change due to changes in the housing market. Small positive steps in civil rights enforcement by the current administration have, however, been undermined by the strong pressure it used to expand charter schools, the most segregated sector of schools for African American students.

Though segregation is powerfully related to many dimensions of unequal education, neither political party has discussed it in the current presidential race.

“These trends threaten the nation’s success as a multiracial society,” commented Professor Gary Orfield, Civil Rights Project co-director. “We are disappointed to have heard nothing in the campaign about this issue from neither President Obama, who is the product of excellent integrated schools and colleges, nor from Governor Romney, whose father gave up his job in the Nixon Cabinet because of his fight for fair housing, which directly impacts school make-up.”

E Pluribus… Separation suggests a number of ways to reverse the trends toward deepening resegregation without implementing mandatory busing. These recommendations include: giving priority in competing for funds to pro-integration policies; changing the operation of choice plans and charter policies so that they foster rather than undermine integration; supporting diverse communities facing resegregation with housing and education policies; helping communities undergoing racial change to create voluntary desegregation plans, and training for administrators and teachers’ to achieve successful and lasting integration.

About the Civil Rights Project

Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley, Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA. Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law, on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It has commissioned more than 450 studies, published 14 books, including five on access to higher education, and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision upholding affirmative action, cited the Civil Rights Project’s research. ####
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

America’s Education System Neglects Almost Half of the Nation’s Black and Latino Male Students

A new report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, The Urgency of Now: Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, finds that only 52 percent of Black male and 58 percent of Latino male ninth-graders graduate from high school four years later, while 78 percent of White, non-Latino male ninth-graders graduate four years later. The report suggests that without a policy framework that creates opportunity for all students, strengthens supports for the teaching profession and strikes the right balance between support-based reforms and standards-driven reforms, the U.S. will become increasingly unequal and less competitive in the global economy.

According to The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, the national graduation rate for Black males has increased by ten percentage points since 2001-02, with 2010-11 being the first year that more than half of the nation’s ninth-grade Black males graduated with a regular diploma four years later. Yet, this progress has closed the graduation gap between Black male and White, non-Latino males by only three percentage points. At this rate, it would take nearly 50 years for Black males to achieve the same high school graduation rates as their White male counterparts.

“We have a responsibility to provide future generations of Americans with the education and the skills needed to thrive in communities, the job market and the global economy. Yet, too many Black and Latino young boys and men are being pushed out and locked out of the U.S. education system or find themselves unable to compete in a 21st Century economy upon graduating,” said John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. “These graduation rates are not indicative of a character flaw in the young men, but rather evidence of an unconscionable level of willful neglect, unequal resource allocation by federal, state and local entities and the indifference of too many elected and community leaders. It’s time for a support-based reform movement.”

Among the states with the largest Black enrollments, North Carolina (58%), Maryland (57%), and California (56%) have the highest graduation rates for Black males, while New York (37%), Illinois (47%) and Florida (47%) have the lowest. Arizona (84%) and Minnesota (65%) were the only states within the top ten ranked states, in graduation rates, with over 10,000 Black males enrolled. Among the states with the highest enrollments of Latinos, Arizona (68%), New Jersey (66%) and California (64%) have the highest graduation rates for Latino males, while New York (37%), Colorado (46%) and Georgia (52%) have the lowest.

Three of the four states with the highest graduation rates for Black males were states with a relatively small number of Black males enrolled in the state’s schools: Maine (97%), Vermont (82%), Utah (76%). This seems to indicate that Black males, on average, perform better in places and spaces where they are not relegated to under-resourced districts or schools. When provided similar opportunities they are more likely to produce similar or better outcomes as their White male peers.

The report cites the need to address what the Schott Foundation calls a “pushout” and “lockout” crisis in our education system, in part by reducing and reclaiming the number of students who are no longer in schools receiving critical educational services and improving the learning and transition opportunities for students who remain engaged. Blacks and Latinos face disproportionate rates of out-of-school suspensions and are not consistently receiving sufficient learning time – effectively being pushed out of opportunities to succeed. Many who remain in schools are locked out of systems with well-resourced schools and where teachers have the training, mentoring, administrative support, supplies and the facilities they need to provide our children with a substantive opportunity to learn.

In the foreword to the report, Andrés A. Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools, described his city’s efforts to keep kids in schools: “We could not have made these strides without asserting unequivocally that we had no disposable children, and that we needed everyone’s help to make things right.” Alonso concludes, “I am confident that we as a nation will rally and we will succeed. The cost of continued failure is around us, a disservice to our best hopes. The cost of continued failure should be abhorrent to contemplate.”

To cut down the alarming “pushout” rate, the Schott Foundation is supporting the recently launched Solutions Not Suspensions initiative, a grassroots effort of students, educators, parents and community leaders calling for a nationwide moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. The initiative, supported by The Opportunity to Learn Campaign and the Dignity in Schools Campaign, promotes proven programs that equip teachers and school administrators with effective alternatives to suspensions that keep young people in school and learning.

Schott also calls for students who are performing below grade level to receive “Personal Opportunity Plans” to prevent them from being locked out of receiving the resources needed to succeed. The report highlights the need to pivot from a standards-driven reform agenda to a supports-based reform agenda that provides all students equitable access to the resources critical to successfully achieving high standards.

The Urgency of Now also provides the following recommendations for improving graduation rates for young Black and Latino men:

*End the rampant use of out-of-school suspensions as a default disciplinary action, as it decreases valuable learning time for the most vulnerable students and increases dropouts.
*Expand learning time and increase opportunities for a well-rounded education including the arts, music, physical education, robotics, foreign language, and apprenticeships.
*States and cities should conduct a redlining analysis of school funding, both between and within districts, and work with the community and educators to develop a support-based reform plan with equitable resource distribution to implement sound community school models.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Catchy vegetable names increase affinity for greens

Would you rather eat “carrots” or “crunchy yummy carrots”? Or, if you’re a youngster, “X-Ray Vision Carrots”? Kids seem to have an aversion to eating vegetables, but can this be changed? Previous work conducted by Wansink et al., in 2005 revealed that sensory perceptions of descriptive foods are better than plain dishes with no fancy descriptors. But can children be influenced to prefer vegetables using this same approach? To find out, researchers Brian Wansink, David Just, Collin Payne, and Matthew Klinger conducted a couple of studies to explore whether a simple change such as using attractive names would influence kid’s consumption of vegetables.

Name that food!

In the first study, plain old carrots were transformed into “X-ray Vision Carrots.” 147 students ranging from 8-11 years old from 5 ethnically and economically diverse schools participated in tasting the cool new foods. Lunchroom menus were the same except that carrots were added on three consecutive days. On the first and last days, carrots remained unnamed. On the second day, the carrots were served as either “X-ray Vision Carrots” or “Food of the Day.” Although the amount of carrots selected was not impacted by the 3 different naming conditions the amount eaten was very much so. By changing the carrots to “X-ray vision carrots”, a whopping 66% were eaten, far greater than the 32% eaten when labeled “Food of the Day” and 35% eaten when unnamed. The success of the changes is stupendous, and the fun, low cost nature of the change makes it all the more enticing.

20/20 Interview Clip

In the second study, carrots became “X-Ray vision carrots,” broccoli did a hulk like morph into “Power Punch Broccoli” along with “Tiny Tasty Tree Tops” and “Silly Dilly Green Beans” replaced regular old green beans to give them more pizzazz. Researchers looked at food sales over two months in two neighboring NYC suburban schools. For the first month, both schools offered unnamed food items, while on the second month carrots, broccoli and green beans were given the more attractive names, only in one of the schools (the treatment school.) Of the 1,552 students involved 47.8% attended the treatment school. The results were outstanding: vegetable purchases went up by 99% in the treatment school, while in the other school vegetable sales declined by 16%!

These results demonstrate that using attractive names for healthy foods increases kid’s selection and consumption of these foods and that an attractive name intervention is robust, effective and scalable at little or no cost. Very importantly, these studies confirm that using attractive names to make foods sound more appealing works on individuals across all age levels!

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

One in Three Victims of Teen Dating Violence Has Had More than One Abuser

More than one-third of young adults who reported being victims of dating violence as teenagers had two or more abusive partners, a new study suggests.

The study involved 271 college students who recalled dating violence - including physical, sexual and psychological abuse - from ages 13 to 19.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of both men and women reported some type of abuse during their teenage years, which falls in line with other studies.

But it was surprising how many teen victims had two or more abusive partners, said Amy Bonomi, lead author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

“For about one in three teens who were abused, it wasn’t just one bad boyfriend or girlfriend. It may have been at least the start of a trend,” Bonomi said.

The same patterns were not seen in similar population-based studies of adults, who tend to report abuse by a single partner, she said.

Well more than half of all teen victims reported multiple occurrences of abuse, with roughly 15 percent reporting 20 or more instances of some types of abuse.

“For most teens, dating violence is rarely reported as an isolated incident,” said Bonomi, who is also an affiliate with the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

The study appears online in the journal BMC Public Health.

Among both males and females, psychological abuse - such as yelling, swearing, insults, controlling behavior, put-downs and name-calling - was the most common type of abuse.

One argument that violence researchers often hear is that behaviors like name-calling and insults aren’t serious enough to be called abuse. But that’s not true, Bonomi said.

“Studies in adults have shown that psychological abuse alone can be damaging to health,” she said. She is currently studying whether the same is true for adolescents.

For this study, 271 students aged 21 and under at Ohio State completed a web-based survey about their dating history between ages 13 and 19.

The researchers used a method similar to what is called the timeline follow-back interview, which has been extensively used by researchers to study at-risk behavior such as substance abuse and risky sexual practices. However, this is the first time this type of interview technique has been used to study teen dating violence.

The technique involves asking participants to remember their most recent dating partner and asks questions about that relationship, and then works backward to the previous two relationships. This technique uses memory prompts, such as asking participants to remember the year they were in high school to facilitate recall of the age when a relationship began and ended.

The result showing that more than one-third of teen victims had more than one abusive partner was unexpected, Bonomi said.

“Our studies of adults showed that most women and men had only one abusive partner, so it was startling to find the number of teens who had two or more,” she said.

For example, about 43 percent of women said two or more partners had pressured them into sex during their teenage years. About 60 percent of men said they had two or more partners who had sent unwanted calls or text messages.

“For most teens, dating violence is rarely reported as an isolated incident.”

Psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse reported in the study. The category of “yelling, swearing and insults” was the most frequently reported type of psychological abuse, noted by 43 percent of female victims and 44 percent of males.

Nearly 25 percent of females experienced sexual pressure due to a partner’s persistent begging, compared to 11 percent of males. Fewer than 5 percent of women said they were hit or physically harmed, compared to 13 percent of men.

Some types of dating violence tended to occur at earlier ages than others, the study found. For females reporting dating violence, controlling behavior tended to occur early, with 44 percent reporting it between the ages of 13 and 15. For males, 13 to 15 was the most common age range for the first occurrence of put-downs and name-calling (60 percent).

Pressure to have sex was more likely to start at later ages, from 16 to 17 for women.

Bonomi said it was significant that college students were reporting this level of abuse as teens.

“There’s a common belief in our society that dating violence only affects low-income and disadvantaged teens. But these results show that even relatively privileged kids, who are on their way to college, can be victims.”

The results also call for better education in our elementary schools.

“Many of these kids are getting in relationships early, by the age of 13,” Bonomi said. “We need to help them learn about healthy relationships and how to set sexual boundaries. It shouldn’t just be one class session - it needs to be a routine discussion in school.”
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

8 out of 10 LGBT Students Experience Harassment, But Things Are Improving

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has released The 2011 National School Climate Survey, the only national study that for over a decade has consistently examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in America's
schools. The 2011 survey found for the first time both decreased levels of biased language and victimization and increased levels of student access to LGBT-related school resources and support.

The 2011 survey demonstrates a continued decline in anti-LGBT language over the years, and for the first time the 2011 survey shows a significant decrease in victimization based on sexual orientation. The survey has also consistently indicated that a safer school climate directly relates to the availability of LGBT school-based resources and support, including Gay-Straight Alliances, inclusive curriculum, supportive school staff and comprehensive anti-bullying policies. The 2011 survey had 8,584 student respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"GLSEN has worked tirelessly for more than two decades to address endemic bias and violence directed at LGBT students in our schools," said GLSEN's Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "With this report, we are beginning to be able to discern real impact of our efforts. Much work remains to be done to turn promising change into a concrete, sustainable reality, but those schools and districts that are taking action are beginning to make a real difference in improving the lives of students and providing better educational opportunity for all."

Despite signs of progress, the survey found that the majority of LGBT students are faced with many obstacles in school affecting their academic performance and personal well-being. Results indicated that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, three fifths (63.5%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly a third (29.8%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

"The 2011 survey marks a possible turning point in the school experiences of LGBT youth," said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN's Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives. "But an alarming number of LGBT youth still face barriers that inhibit their ability to receive an education. And although we have seen an increase in school supports that can improve school climate for these youth, many of these young people reported being unable to access these supports in their schools."

Key Findings of the 2011 National School Climate Survey

Hostile School Climate and its Effects on Educational Outcomes and Psychological Well-Being

  • 81.9% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 38.3% reported being physically harassed and 18.3% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 63.9% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.1% reported being physically harassed and 12.4% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
  • 84.9% of LGBT students heard "gay" used in a negative way (e.g., "that's so gay") and 71.3% heard homophobic remarks (e.g., "dyke" or "faggot") frequently or often at school.
  • 6 in 10 LGBT students (63.5%) reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and 4 in 10 (43.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • LGBT students reported feeling unsafe in specific school spaces, most commonly locker rooms (39.0%), bathrooms (38.8%) and physical education/gym class (32.5%).
  • Transgender students experienced more hostile school climates than their non-transgender peers %96 80% of transgender students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression.
  • Nearly one third of LGBT students (29.8%) reported skipping a class at least once and 31.8% missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.
  • The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.9 vs. 3.2).
  • Increased levels of victimization were related to increased levels of depression and anxiety and decreased levels of self-esteem.
  • 60.4% of LGBT students never reported an incident of harassment or assault to school personnel.
  • A considerable number of students reported discriminatory policies or practices against LGBT people by their school or school personnel. Students indicated the most common discriminatory policy or practice was related to treatment of LGBT relationships (e.g., related to dates for school dances and public display of affection).
  • Being out in school had positive and negative repercussions for LGBT students - outness was related to higher levels of victimization, but also higher levels of psychological well-being.

Positive Interventions and Support

  • Having a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in school was related to more positive experiences for LGBT students, including: hearing fewer homophobic remarks, experiencing less victimization because of sexual orientation and gender expression, being less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation (54.9% of students with a GSA vs. 70.6% of other students) and having a greater sense of belonging to their school community.
  • Students in schools with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum, i.e. one that included positive representations of LGBT people, history and events, heard fewer homophobic remarks, were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation (43.4% of students with an inclusive curriculum vs. 63.6% of other students), were more likely to report that their peers were accepting of LGBT people (67.0% vs. 33.0%) and felt more connected to their school.
  • The presence of school personnel who are supportive of LGBT students contributed to a range of positive indicators, including higher grade point averages (3.2 vs. 2.9), greater likelihood of pursuing higher education, lower likelihood of missing school and lower likelihood of feeling unsafe in school (53.1% of students with supportive school personnel vs. 76.9% of other students).
  • Compared to students at school with a generic policy that did not include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, students attending schools with a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that included specific protections heard fewer homophobic remarks, experienced lower levels of victimization related to their sexual orientation, were more likely to report that staff intervened when hearing homophobic remarks and were more likely to report incidents of harassment and assault to school staff.
  • Despite the positive benefits of these interventions, less than half of LGBT students (45.7%) reported having a Gay-Straight Alliance at school; few (16.8%) were taught positive representations about LGBT people, history or events in their school; only about half (54.6%) could identify six or more supportive educators; and less than a tenth (7.4%) attended a school that had a comprehensive anti-bullying policy.

Changes in School Climate for LGBT Youth over Time

  • The percentage of students hearing homophobic remarks, such as "dyke" or "faggot" frequently or often has seen a major decline since 2001.
  • In 2011, there was a significant decrease in harassment and assault based on sexual orientation compared to findings released from previous years.
  • There was a small increase in portion of students who reported having a Gay-Straight Alliance at school.
  • Students reported a significant increase of positive representations of LGBT-related topics in their curriculum.
  • There was a small increase in portion of students who reported having access to LGBT-related Internet resources through their school computers.

GLSEN's biennial National School Climate Survey, first conducted by GLSEN in 1999, remains the only study to consistently document the school experiences of LGBT students nationwide. The 2011 survey includes responses from 8,584 students between the ages of 13 and 20. Students were from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and from 3,224 unique school districts. Data collection was conducted through national and community-based organizations and targeted online advertising on the social networking site Facebook.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Higher Education Gaps Report

A recent congressionally mandated report released by the National Center for Education Statistics documents the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement, as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic.

The Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study, also called the Higher Ed: GAPS report, presents 46 indicators grouped under 7 main topics: demographic context; characteristics of schools; student behaviors and afterschool activities; academic preparation and achievement; college knowledge; postsecondary education; and postsecondary outcomes and employment.

The indicators include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The indicators provide a range of data that are relevant to a variety of policy issues surrounding gaps in postsecondary access and persistence. In addition, the report contains descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations.

Among other findings, the report found that

* In 2010, the percentage of young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's or higher degree was lower for males than for females overall (27 vs. 35 percent) as well as for Whites (33 vs. 42 percent), Blacks (15 vs. 23 percent), Hispanics (11 vs. 16 percent), and persons of two or more races (30 vs. 35 percent).
* Among beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates in 2004, after controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other student, family, high school, and postsecondary institutional characteristics, the odds of attaining either an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 for males were 32 percent lower than the odds of degree attainment for females. Compared with White students, Black students had 43 percent lower odds and Hispanic students had 25 percent lower odds of attaining an associate's or bachelor's degree, after accounting for these factors.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Poll: China is Ahead of the U.S. and Germany in Use of Technology in Learning

# Chinese students in major cities say they spend more time using technology in school than American and German students

# Global poll respondents believe that technology gives students a more personalized experience that they value, but technology needs are not being met in schools today

# Teachers feel less comfortable using new technologies and social media than their students and want more professional development

Students, teachers and parents say that technology needs are not being met in school today, according to an opinion poll commissioned by Dell. Supporting respondents believe technology makes learning easier, makes teachers more accessible and can give students a personalized learning experience.

In nearly 1,600 interviews with students, teachers and parents in China,
Germany and the U.S., 71 percent of students said they have access to
more advanced technology at home than they do at school. Parents said
they would be willing to provide the technology their kids use at
school, but believe they should have a stipend for the purchase. Despite
this, a majority of students surveyed (51 percent) feel technology can
serve as more of a distraction rather than an enabler. But they also
said the benefits of technology to learning outweigh the potential
distractions. This stands in contrast to parents and teachers who
believe there should be more technology in the classroom, even though a
majority of teachers, including 63 percent in the U.S., say their
students know how to use technology better than they do.

Respondents view a personalized
approach to learning
as the most effective approach to education.
Eighty-three percent said technology allows them to create a more
personalized learning experience. However, most students in the U.S. and
Germany indicate they spend two hours per day or less using technology
at school, highlighting an opportunity to integrate technology into more
curriculum areas and provide professional learning for teachers to
achieve truly differentiated instruction.

Highlights from the Dell Education Poll

Who is using technology at school most and for what? Chinese
students in major cities say they spend more time using technology in
school than American and German students. In China cities, respondents
say technology is integrated into more curriculum areas than in the
U.S. or Germany where respondents say technology is most often used
for research. Without this integration, technology in the classroom
can be a distraction. According to Dell, this highlights an
opportunity to more effectively and broadly integrate technology into
learning in the U.S. and Germany.

Are teachers knowledgeable about technology? Many teachers in
the U.S. and Germany said they don’t receive enough professional
development opportunities focused on technology. Their students agree.
Only 40 percent of students in the U.S. and 26 percent in Germany say
their teachers know how to use technology better than they do. This
suggests an opportunity for increasing and improving professional
development opportunities for teachers to more effectively use
technology in learning in and out of the classroom.

Is there a place for social media in the classroom? Social
media is playing an increasing role in the classroom according to
respondents. One in four students say they access social media in the
classroom on a daily basis. However, most teachers in the U.S. and
Germany say they never access social media in the classroom. Chinese
respondents are the most positive about the prospect of using social
media in the classroom. Approximately six in 10 U.S. respondents say
they disapprove of students using social media in the classroom to
share what they are learning, while most respondents in China say they
would approve of social media for this purpose. This demonstrates a
growing need to find a role for social media in learning.

How is technology bridging between home, school and life? Just
half of students say they interact with their school online outside of
school. Most students in Germany indicate they do not interact with
their school online, while a majority of Chinese students say they do.
However, students report that they use technology at home for school
work more than any other activity, indicating an opportunity for more
collaboration between home and school.

Are parents willing to pay more so their children can have access
to technology?
Most respondents said parents should receive
stipends to ensure their children have up to date technology for
educational purposes. Additionally, parents across Germany, China and
the U.S. said they would be willing to pay for the technology their
children use in the classroom.

You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

5 Alternative Routes To Middle Class Jobs

There are 29 million jobs that pay middle-class wages (between $35,000 and $75,000 annually). Nearly 40 percent pay more than $50,000 a year, according to the new study released jointly by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and Civic Enterprises.

There are five pathways that provide career and technical training that lead to these jobs. Altogether, these Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways account for $524 billion of investment in postsecondary education and training each year.

The study examines each of these five CTE pathways in major detail:

• Associate’s degrees account for 800,000 awards each year. Half of associate’s degrees are related to career-oriented fields, such as nursing, business, and information technology.

• Postsecondary certificates have eclipsed associate’s and master’s degrees as the second most common postsecondary award after the bachelor’s degree—about 1 million are awarded each year.

• Registered apprenticeships account for $6 billion in spending and reach roughly 400,000 Americans. Nine out of 10 apprentices are men and over half of apprenticeships are in construction.

• Industry-based certifications such as Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA certifications are test-based postsecondary credentials awarded by employers and account for $25 billion of spending on human capital development.

• Employer-based training represents the largest pathway at $454 billion of spending—$313 in informal training and $141 billion in formal training.

At a time when four out of five postsecondary students are working, these pathways provide students with good jobs that can pay the way to further education. The CTE system is the missing middle ground in American education and workforce preparation. Among students who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 2008, 28 percent started at a community college. Twenty-three percent of postsecondary certificate-holders go on to earn at least a two-year degree, the study finds.

The study also finds that, in the postindustrial economy, CTE jobs have shifted from blue-collar jobs to white-collar office jobs and healthcare (one-third of CTE jobs are blue collar, half are white-collar office jobs and another 15 percent are in healthcare). Despite this fact, men still hold 18 out of the 29 million middle-class jobs. For both men and women, the best jobs are in sub-baccalaureate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and healthcare, where over 80 percent of jobs pay middle-class wages.

“Compared to other advanced economies, the United States underinvests in sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center’s Director and the report’s lead author.

While the U.S. ranks second internationally in the share of workers with a Bachelor’s degree, it ranks 16th in subbaccalaureate attainment. In addition, the U.S. hasn’t increased its sub-baccalaureate attainment since the Baby Boom
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Measurement of Literacy Growth in Save the Children's Rural Literacy Programs

At the request of Save the Children, U.S. Programs, POLICY STUDIES ASSOCIATES, INC. is evaluating the participation and literacy achievement of targeted children in the organization's literacy programs, which Save the Children implements in rural communities across the country. POLICY STUDIES ASSOCIATES, INC. has collected and reported on participation and outcome data in each of the first eight years of program operation.

The evaluation found that the literacy programs served a population of children whose average reading skills were significantly below grade level and that those served received Save the Children literacy services on a frequent, consistent basis. It also found that participants improved their literacy skills significantly over the course of the program period, moving closer to grade-level performance and to a greater extent than did similar students in the same schools who did not participate in the program.

The report of the evaluation of programs in the 2010-11 school year is now available here.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Evaluation of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Scholars Program

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that administers the Scholars Program. The SEO Scholars Program is an academic after-school counseling service that aims to help low-income public high school students gain admission to and graduate from competitive colleges.

In the first evaluation of the program, POLICY STUDIES ASSOCIATES, INC. compared the high school academic outcomes and college enrollment of SEO Scholars to the corresponding high school academic outcomes and college enrollment of a group of similar students. The evaluation found that SEO Scholars outperformed matched comparison students by statistically significant margins on most outcome measures used in the evaluation, including students’ grade-point average, type of high school diploma earned, SAT scores, and the selectivity of the colleges they attended. You'll find the report here.
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

State and District Receipt of Recovery Act K-12 Education Funds

This report uses Department of Education and publicly-available data sources to examine the distribution of Recovery Act K-12 education funds. In particular, data from (a new cross-agency website developed to gather and make public reporting on the receipt and use of Recovery Act funds) made it possible to examine both grant and sub-grant award amounts and to track funds at the state and district levels.

Specifically, the report examines (1) how much states and districts received from the Recovery Act and its different programs and (2) whether and how the distribution of funds varied by key characteristics (e.g., child poverty rates) of the recipient states and districts. Findings lay the groundwork for ED's multi-year evaluation "Charting the Progress of Education Reform: An Evaluation of the Recovery Act's Role", which examines the implementation of Recovery Act promoted K-12 education reforms.

Findings reveal:

1. The Recovery Act K–12 education funding provided an average of $1,396 per pupil to individual states, with amounts ranging from $1,063 to $3,632 per pupil.

2. On average, 81 percent of Recovery Act K–12 funding was awarded to local education agencies (LEAs), either through sub-grants from states or through direct grants from ED. In total, 93% of all districts in the nation received Recovery Act funds from at least one program.

3. When states were grouped according to key characteristics, some variations in funding amounts were found. In particular, states with the largest budget shortfalls and states with the highest student achievement received more per pupil ($143 and $159 respectively) than did states with the smallest budget shortfalls and lowest student achievement, even though neither funding formulas nor award criteria emphasized these variables. In contrast, there was less variation when states were grouped by child poverty rates or the percentage of students in persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) schools.

4. Districts with the highest child poverty rates received, on average, twice as much per pupil ($1,369) as did districts with the lowest child poverty rates ($684). Similarly, districts with the highest percent of PLA schools received considerably more ($867) than did districts with no PLA schools ($867).
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Big Gaps in Earnings for College Grads

Study Shows Wage Disparities Between Degree Programs and Schools

A new study of the first-year earning power of students graduating from public colleges and universities in Tennessee finds that the school you attend and the major you select can make a big difference in what you earn. In some cases, an associate's degree pays more than a four-year diploma.

The report is the result of a partnership involving the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and College Measures, a nonpartisan organization that provides data and analysis on higher education. College Measures is a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group. The study was funded by the Lumina Foundation.

The findings, which draw upon data not previously available to the public, examine the average first-year earnings of recent graduates from two-year and four-year institutions across Tennessee. The study also compares earnings for graduates from individual degree programs at individual colleges. The report is available on the AIR website. Tools to examine the data can be found on the College Measures and THEC websites.

“This partnership between the Higher Education Commission, the Department of Labor, and College Measures represents a national model of collaboration to provide real-time data that benefits students and their families,” said Richard Rhoda, Executive Director of THEC.

“Students who use the dashboard will be in a stronger position to make an informed decision about their program of study, regardless of their area of interest. In the current economy, this kind of information is a necessity, not a luxury,” Rhoda said.

Mark Schneider, a vice president at AIR and president of College Measures, said, “The goal of this report is to provide information that helps everyone involved in higher education – students and their parents, those who run the institutions, and the policymakers serving the citizens of the state.”

The report found that for all nine Tennessee four-year public campuses, the average wage for graduates with a bachelor’s degree is $37,567. For graduates of the 13 community colleges, the average wage is $38,948, more than $1,300 higher than graduates at four-year institutions. There is a wide range between the highest and lowest incomes of those earning bachelors, associates, and certificates.

Colleges and Universities

Among four-year institutions:

* University of Memphis graduates earned the most, $40,401, while University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grads earned the least, $35,650.
* The average earnings vary widely among the degree programs. Health profession majors were paid an average of $51,000; psychology majors, just under $30,000.
* The bachelor’s degree programs with the highest first-year earnings were health professions from the University of Memphis (almost $60,000) and from UT-Martin (about $59,000). Graduates of these programs earned $5,000 to $10,000 more than graduates with the same degree at other Tennessee campuses. The state’s lowest earning health profession graduates came from Tennessee State University ($46,000).
* The lowest paying degrees were philosophy and religious studies at Austin Peay State University, with a first-year wage of $20,500, and foreign languages at East Tennessee State University, which paid $25,000. Earnings for graduates with the same philosophy and religious studies degree at UT-Martin earned almost $7,000 more than those from Austin Peay State University.

Community Colleges

* Wide disparities in earnings were found among graduates in Tennessee’s community colleges, depending upon the degree and certificate programs taken.
* The average first-year earnings of a graduate with an associate’s degree from Jackson State Community College, almost $43,000, is more than $10,000 higher than the average earnings of a graduate of Pellissippi State Community College.
* There are sharp differences – ranging from $5,000 to $21,000 – between graduates with different degrees. Career and technically oriented associate’s degrees offer higher starting salaries. Tennessee community college graduates with a degree in health professions earned nearly $47,000, while those with education degrees made less than $26,000.
* Depending on the program and school, some certificate-program graduates enjoy initial earnings of more than $40,000. Graduates with a certificate in construction trades from Nashville State Community College earned more than $66,000 during their first year in the workforce, and certificate holders who studied health professions at Columbia State Community College earned more than $50,000.

The study links student records with unemployment insurance data and focuses on the first-year earnings of students who graduated from a Tennessee institution from 2006-2010. The study addresses only graduates employed in Tennessee and their initial wages, which may not indicate long-term earning potential. However, as the authors note, “a state can see which campuses and programs are contributing the most toward building the state’s economy.”

Similar data showing how recent graduates of Arkansas colleges and universities have fared in the labor market are now publicly available on the website, a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group. The data includes detailed information on the average first year earnings of graduates, broken down by the institution attended and the degree or certificate earned.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit
You have read this article with the title September 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!