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CREDO Study Finds Urban Charter Schools Outperform Traditional School Peers

April 1, 2015 Comments off

CREDO Study Finds Urban Charter Schools Outperform Traditional School Peers
Source: Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Stanford University

Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), the nation’s foremost independent analyst of charter school effectiveness, released today a comprehensive Urban Charter Schools Report and 22 state-specific reports that combine to offer policymakers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of charter schools.

Across 41 regions, urban charter schools on average achieve significantly greater student success in both math and reading, which amounts to 40 additional days of learning growth in math and 28 days of additional growth in reading. Compared to the national profile of charter school performance, urban charters produce more positive results. CREDO’s National Charter School Study results in 2013 found that charter schools provided seven additional days of learning per year in reading and no significant difference in math.

Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth

March 31, 2015 Comments off

Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant YouthImmigrat (PDF)
Source: Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Immigration issues are tricky. There are many ways in which your immigration status—whether you’re a green card holder or undocumented—can impact your ability to get a job, go to college, or even remain in the United States. That’s why we created this resource especially for immigrant youth. We hope you find it useful.

An Examination of Risky Drinking Behaviors and Motivations for Alcohol Use in a College Sample

March 30, 2015 Comments off

An Examination of Risky Drinking Behaviors and Motivations for Alcohol Use in a College Sample
Source: Journal of American College Health

Objective:
The current study examined (1) drinking motives as a mediator of risky drinking behaviors (ie, pregaming and drinking games) and alcohol-related problems and (2) whether gender moderates the association between risky drinking behaviors and negative consequences. Participants: Participants (N = 368; 68% female) were drinkers aged 18 to 25. Data were collected from September to November 2010 and January to May 2011.

Methods:
Participants completed measures regarding typical pregaming and drinking game alcohol consumption, drinking motives, and alcohol-related consequences.

Results:
Social, coping, and enhancement motives partially explained relationships, with enhancement motives explaining the most variance for pregaming (31%) and drinking games (44%). Relationships between risky drinking and consequences were not moderated by gender.

Conclusions:
Drinking to enhance positive affect may be the most salient motivation for drinking related to pregaming and drinking games for college drinkers. Findings have implications for interventions tailored to students engaging in various heavy drinking practices.

2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report

March 30, 2015 Comments off

2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The County Health Rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot of the health of nearly every county in the nation. The Rankings make it clear that good health includes many factors beyond medical care, including education, jobs, smoking, access to healthy foods and parks, and more. Now in its sixth year, the Rankings use factors that communities have the ability to do something about.

Key Findings

  • For 60 percent of the nation’s counties, rates of premature death (death before age 75) have declined, some dramatically; for 40 percent no progress has been made.
  • One out of four children in the United States lives in poverty; rates of poverty are more than twice as high in the unhealthiest counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • Unemployment rates are 1.5 times higher in the least healthy counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • The healthiest counties have higher college attendance rates, fewer preventable hospital stays, and better access to exercise opportunities. The least healthy counties have more smokers, more teen births, and more alcohol-related car accidents.

In Defense of Snow Days

March 27, 2015 Comments off

In Defense of Snow Days
Source: Education Next

This study provides a fresh look at the impact of instructional time lost due to weather-related student absences, as well as to school closings. Using student-level data from Massachusetts, I find that each one-day increase in the student absence rate driven by bad weather reduces math achievement by up to 5 percent of a standard deviation, suggesting that differences in average student attendance may account for as much as one-quarter of the income-based achievement gap in the state. Conversely, instructional time lost to weather-related school closings has no impact on student test scores.

What could explain these apparently conflicting results? It appears that teachers and schools are well prepared to deal with coordinated disruptions of instructional time like snow days but not with absences of different students at different times. In short, individual absences and not school closings are responsible for the achievement impacts of bad weather.

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap
Source: Boston Consulting Group/World Economic Forum

Today’s fast-changing world requires students who not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, math, and science but must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, persistence, collaboration, and curiosity. The requisite twenty-first-century skills fall into three broad categories: foundational literacies, competencies, and character qualities.

All too often, however, students in many countries are not acquiring these skills. A study that included nearly 100 countries reveals large gaps in selected indicators for many of these skills. For example, the U.S. performs relatively well on many skills when compared with the entire world. But when compared with high-performing peers such as Japan, Finland, or South Korea, the U.S. shows significant skills gaps in numeracy and scientific literacy. Some countries display gaps between our broad categories of skills. For example, relative to other OECD countries, Poland and Ireland perform well on a range of indicators representing foundational literacies but lag behind other OECD countries in areas such as critical thinking and curiosity. Gaps such as these are clear signs that too many students are not getting the education they must have to prosper in the twenty-first century, and countries are not finding adequate numbers of the skilled workers they need to compete.

Numerous innovations in the education technology space are beginning to show potential for helping address skills gaps. These technologies could both lower the cost and improve the quality of education.

A new report by the World Economic Forum, written in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and titled New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology, examines ways that education technology can enhance learning as one tool in a portfolio.

2015 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?

March 25, 2015 Comments off

2015 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?
Source: Brookings Institution

The 2015 Brown Center Report (BCR) represents the 14th edition of the series since the first issue was published in 2000. It includes three studies. Like all previous BCRs, the studies explore independent topics but share two characteristics: they are empirical and based on the best evidence available. The studies in this edition are on the gender gap in reading, the impact of the Common Core State Standards — English Language Arts on reading achievement, and student engagement.

Part one examines the gender gap in reading. Girls outscore boys on practically every reading test given to a large population. And they have for a long time. A 1942 Iowa study found girls performing better than boys on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, and basic language skills. Girls have outscored boys on every reading test ever given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—the first long term trend test was administered in 1971—at ages nine, 13, and 17. The gap is not confined to the U.S.

Part two is about reading achievement, too. More specifically, it’s about reading and the English Language Arts standards of the Common Core (CCSS-ELA). It’s also about an important decision that policy analysts must make when evaluating public policies—the determination of when a policy begins. How can CCSS be properly evaluated?

Part three is on student engagement. PISA tests fifteen-year-olds on three subjects—reading, math, and science—every three years. It also collects a wealth of background information from students, including their attitudes toward school and learning.

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