Column One: Research
As a result, the report states, much of the information about rural schools is not comparable.
The report, scheduled to be presented to the Congress this spring, is the first comprehensive examination of the condition of rural education. It is being prepared by the national education laboratories and the Education Department's office of educational research and improvement.
The report notes that the approximately 6.6 million students in rural schools--about 16 percent of the nation's school population-- fare better than their urban counterparts, and less well than their suburban peers, in academic achievement. Yet, the effects of poverty are severe in the rural schools, the report notes.
A new study by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles has confirmed that teachers and administrators alter classroom practices in the face of pressures to raise student test scores.
However, the study also found no evidence that gains in student test scores are a result of "teaching to the test."
The study, by Joan L. Herman, the associate director of the national center for research on evaluation, standards, and student testing at u.c.L.A., and Shari Golan, a graduate student there, was based on a survey of more than 340 teachers in 48 schools.
It found that, while teachers in nearly all schools reported that they make sure their instructional practices match test objectives and devote classroom time to test preparation, such practices are more common in schools serving disadvantaged students.
Copies of a report of the study, entitled "The Effects of Standardized Tests on Teachers and Learning--Another Look," may be obtained by calling CRESST at (310) 206-1532. Copies cost $5.50 each.
A school-improvement program started by a researcher at Stanford University has received a $75,000 boost from the Exxon Education Foundation.
The grant will enable the "accelerated schools" model, under which schools speed up instruction for disadvantaged students, to spread throughout Texas elementary schools. The grant will establish a network based at Texas A & M University.
Since its creation in 1986 by Henry M. Levin, a Stanford economist,
the accelerated-schools program has spread to 140 schools