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Column One: Students

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African-American high school students respect fellow blacks who do well in class and they see their peers as supportive in school, according to researchers from the Educational Testing Service.

The findings appear to contrast with prior research suggesting that African-American students may exert a negative influence on the academic achievement of their black classmates.

In two related new studies, Ann Marie Senior and Bernice Taylor Anderson, research scientists from the E.T.S., examined 110 students from three predominantly black Northeastern urban high schools and identified the informal groups that existed in those schools.

They found that the "smart but popular'' and "rule-obeying students'' earned high marks for respect among their peers. Moreover, the studies found, the students said that their peer groups provided emotional support and advice.

"Among African-American students, there is respect for schoolwork and the recognition that friends can help them,'' Ms. Senior said.


A career-education program developed by Ohio vocational educators has helped 8th graders begin to focus on their future plans, a study has found.

The Individual Career Planning program, developed by the Montgomery County (Ohio) Joint Vocational School under a state education-reform law, helps 8th graders initiate a career plan. Under the program, which lasts from three weeks to a semester, students take inventories of their interests, learn about job options, and begin to develop a high school plan to match their interests.

In an evaluation of the program, researchers from the University of Dayton found that students exposed to the program showed a significant drop in the "immaturity'' of their career plans. Immature plans, according to the researchers, showed a lack of knowledge about the training or education needed for various fields or an inability to assemble a high school schedule.

The researchers plan to conduct a larger study this year and to follow up a sample of students from the 27 districts covered by the Montgomery County school throughout high school.


Students interested in military careers, meanwhile, can learn about their options in a new magazine published by the Defense Department.

"Profile: A Guide to Military Lifestyles'' contains information about enlistments, commissioning programs, educational benefits, jobs, and pay. It is being distributed to high school guidance counselors and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps units.--R.R.

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