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Column One: Research

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To help researchers learn how to "recycle" data gathered by other investigators, the Henry A. Murray Research Center at Radcliffe College is holding a conference on the use of longitudinal data sets.

At the conference, scheduled to be held late last week, several social-science researchers, such as the University of North Carolina sociologist Glen H. Elder Jr., were expected to discuss ways they used archival data for their work.

In addition, faculty members of the center were expected to analyze data from the Terman Study of Gifted Children to show how old data sets can be used to ask new questions. That study examined over time children from California identified as gifted in the 1920's.

The conference is the second on the subject held by the center, which has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct studies on mental health. The center has also received a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and may hold an additional conference on longitudinal data next year, according to Nancy Kressin, the conference's administrator.

Oregon's experiment in site-based decisionmaking provides an excellent laboratory for studying the promise and pitfalls in that restructuring strategy, a University of Oregon researcher concludes.

Under the "2020" program, enacted in 1987, schools can apply for grants of $1,000 per staff member by agreeing to form building-site committees to draw up school-improvement plans.

Analyzing the 51 schools that received grants in the 1990-91 school year, David T. Conley, associate professor of educational policy and management, found that they pursued a wide range of reforms, and that they were generally successful in granting more authority to teachers.

However, he notes, "these initial attempts at restructuring still have a long way to go to prove themselves and to change education in fundamental, pervasive, and long-term ways."

Copies of Mr. Conley's report, "Lessons From Laboratories in School Restructuring," are available for $6 each from the Oregon School Study Council, 1787 Agate St., University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore. 97403-5207.

More than 54,000 students this spring field-tested questions for the revised Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The new test, scheduled to be unveiled in 1994, is expected to include a greater emphasis on verbal and mathematical reasoning. The field tests, which will continue this fall, are aimed at helping researchers analyze proposed items and students' performance.--rr

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