Research and Reports
Middle schools do a better job of addressing the needs of adolescents than do other schools, according to a study by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
The a.s.c.d. found that middle schools, which serve the 6th through 8th grades, were the most likely of all organizational structures to use approaches "that attempt to respond to the particularly stressful physical, intellectual, and social needs" of 10- to 14-year-olds.
The results of the survey of 672 schools were reported in the November issue of the a.s.c.d.'s Curriculum Update.
The study found that middle schools were more prone than other schools to use interdisciplinary team-teaching methods and to offer guidance programs that assign teachers a group of students who use their classroom as a home base.
Regardless of how they are organized, however, most schools serving 10- to 14-year-olds "do not address all the program characteristics recommended for this age group," the study concluded.
Other "essential features" of middle schools include ensuring a smooth transition from elementary to high school and offering a wide range of electives to help students develop their interests, the study suggested.
A Corpus Christi, Tex., elementary school is serving as a laboratory for a study of the effects of giving students unstructured recess time.
The study, by students at Corpus Christi State University, will compare students at the Montclair Elementary School, who are getting a daily 15-minute recess break this fall, with students at other schools, where a 45-minute period of calisthenics is scheduled each day.
The college students are observing the children's behavior during recess, and teachers are watching their students afterward to see if the break has any effect on their classroom behavior.
The study, which began in September and will continue through December, could determine whether administrators recommend a return to recess in the district's schools, after more than a decade without it.
School districts need effective policies to overcome the many obstacles to parental involvement in education, according to a report by the National School Boards Association.
Citing studies detailing the benefits of parental participation in the schools, the report analyzes the demographic and economic changes--such as the growth of single-parent and two-earner families--that make participation difficult.
The report concludes with examples of successful parental-involvement programs around the country.
Copies of the report, "First Teachers: Parental Involvement in the Public Schools," are available for $15 each from the Research and Information Services Dept., nsba, 1680 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; (703) 838-6722.