Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

CRS — Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues (September 2, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Over the last two decades, there has been interest in developing federal policies that focus on student outcomes in elementary and secondary education. Perhaps most prominently, the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), which amended and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), marked a dramatic expansion of the federal government’s role in supporting standards-based instruction and test-based accountability, thereby increasing the federal government’s involvement in decisions that directly affect teaching and learning.

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Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

A national health objective is to reduce average U.S. sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily to help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Identifying common contributors to sodium intake among children can help reduction efforts.
Methods: Average sodium intake, sodium consumed per calorie, and proportions of sodium from food categories, place obtained, and eating occasion were estimated among 2,266 school-aged (6–18 years) participants in What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010.

U.S. school-aged children consumed an estimated 3,279 mg of sodium daily with the highest total intake (3,672 mg/d) and intake per 1,000 kcal (1,681 mg) among high school–aged children. Forty-three percent of sodium came from 10 food categories: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups. Sixty-five percent of sodium intake came from store foods, 13% from fast food/pizza restaurants, 5% from other restaurants, and 9% from school cafeteria foods. Among children aged 14–18 years, 16% of total sodium intake came from fast food/pizza restaurants versus 11% among those aged 6–10 years or 11–13 years (p<0.05). Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26% of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods. Thirty-nine percent of sodium was consumed at dinner, followed by lunch (29%), snacks (16%), and breakfast (15%).

Implications for Public Health Practice:
Sodium intake among school-aged children is much higher than recommended. Multiple food categories, venues, meals, and snacks contribute to sodium intake among school-aged children supporting the importance of populationwide strategies to reduce sodium intake. New national nutrition standards are projected to reduce the sodium content of school meals by approximately 25%–50% by 2022. Based on this analysis, if there is no replacement from other sources, sodium intake among U.S. school-aged children will be reduced by an average of about 75–150 mg per day and about 220–440 mg on days children consume school meals.

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students?

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students? (PDF)
Source: UC Berkeley and University of Miami

Education policy makers have struggled for decades with the question of how to best serve high ability “gifted” students. A key issue of contention is whether eligibility for gifted programs should be based mainly on IQ, or on broader measures that take better account of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Using data from a large urban school district, we study the impacts of an intensive gifted education program that provides the same treatment to three distinct groups of fourth grade students: non-disadvantaged students with IQ scores of 130 or more; subsidized lunch participants and English language learners with IQ scores of 116 or more; and high-achieving students who do not meet the above IQ cutoffs, but qualify through high scores on state achievement tests. Regression discontinuity (RD) estimates based on the IQ thresholds for the first two groups show no effects on reading or math achievement. In contrast, RD estimates based on test score ranks for the high-achieving group show significant gains in reading and math, with treatment-on-the treated effects of 0.2 to 0.3 standard deviation units. Our results suggest that programs for high-potential students may be more effective for students selected on the basis of achievement than for those selected on the basis of IQ alone.

State Mandated Financial Education and the Credit Behavior of Young Adults

September 8, 2014 Comments off

State Mandated Financial Education and the Credit Behavior of Young Adults
Source: Federal Reserve Board

In the U.S., a number of states have mandated personal finance classes in public school curricula to address perceived deficiencies in financial decision-making competency. Despite the growth of financial and economic education provided in public schools, little is known about the effect of these programs on the credit behaviors of young adults. Using a panel of credit report data, we examine young adults in three states where personal financial education mandates were implemented in 2007: Georgia, Idaho, and Texas. We compare the credit scores and delinquency rates of young adults in each of these states pre- and post-implementation of the education to those of students in a synthetic control state and then bordering states without financial education. We find that young people who are in school after the implementation of a financial education requirement have higher relative credit scores and lower relative delinquency rates than those in control states.

How college and career ready are the 2014 ACT-tested high school graduates?

September 5, 2014 Comments off

How college and career ready are the 2014 ACT-tested high school graduates?
Source: ACT
From press release:

Interest in attending college continues to grow among U.S. high school graduates, according to ACT’s annual Condition of College & Career Readiness report. The report, which focuses on 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT® college readiness assessment, points to increased participation and high aspirations among the nation’s graduates, potentially leading to greater college access.

More than 1.84 million 2014 graduates—a record 57 percent of the national graduating class—took the ACT. This is a 3 percent increase from 2013 (despite a smaller total number of U.S. graduates nationally) and an 18 percent increase compared to 2010. This was the 10th consecutive year that the number of ACT-tested graduates reached a new record total.

Categories: ACT, education, K-12, postsecondary

America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom

September 3, 2014 Comments off

America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom
Source: Center for American Progress

If you spend time in almost any major school district in America today, you will notice that the students often do not look much like the teachers. In fact, in some areas, the students don’t look anything like their teachers. There is a significant demographic gap in the largely white teaching profession and an increasingly diverse student population.

To prepare American students for lives of high achievement, America’s schools need a teaching corps that is not only highly effective but also racially and ethnically diverse. Progress has been made in recent decades in attracting people of color to the teaching profession. But major barriers—including a scarcity of high-quality, teacher-training programs targeted at teachers of color; the educational debt students of color must shoulder; and the general lack of esteem in our society for teaching—stand in the way of producing an optimal pool of teachers. Without vigorous policy innovations and public investment, the demographic gap will only widen to the detriment of children’s education.

This report will describe how the shortcomings of today’s education system and the underachievement of many of today’s students of color shrink the future supply of teachers of color. Furthermore, it will offer policy recommendations through which federal and state education agencies and local school districts can address this critical problem.

Perceived Reactions of Elementary School Students to Changes in School Lunches after Implementation of the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Meals Standards: Minimal Backlash, but Rural and Socioeconomic Disparities Exist

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Perceived Reactions of Elementary School Students to Changes in School Lunches after Implementation of the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Meals Standards: Minimal Backlash, but Rural and Socioeconomic Disparities Exist
Source: Childhood Obesity

Updated standards for meals sold through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program took effect at the beginning of the 2012–2013 school year. The current study assessed the perceptions of school staff regarding student reactions to these changes in school lunches and how perceptions varied across schools.

Mailback surveys were gathered from administrators and food service staff at a nationally representative sample of 557 US public elementary schools in the second half of the 2012–2013 school year.

Half of the respondents (56.4%) agreed that students complained about the meals at first, but 70% agreed that students like the new lunches. Perceived student complaints were significantly higher among respondents from rural schools (n=184) than from urban (n=127) or suburban (n=171) schools. Respondents at rural schools also were more likely to report that they perceived that fewer students were purchasing the meals and that students were consuming less of the meals than during the previous year. Perceived student complaints were higher at schools not offering regular (i.e., higher-fat) pizza. Respondents at socioeconomically disadvantaged schools (>66% of students eligible for free/reduced-priced meals) perceived that more students were buying lunch and that students were eating more of the meal than in the previous year.

Perceptions of school personnel suggest reasonable acceptance of school lunches subsequent to revisions. Given the importance of offering healthful foods at school, the revised USDA meals standards are a promising strategy to improve the diets of children.


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