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Published in Print: January 14, 2004, as Report Roundup

Report Roundup

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Cleveland Voucher Pupils Analyzed in Final Report

The final report from a longitudinal evaluation of Cleveland's school voucher program suggests that students who used the vouchers to attend private schools performed about the same on standardized tests as youngsters in the city's public schools.

From 1998 through 2002, researchers from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., followed a sample of students in the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, as the voucher initiative is called, and compared them with various groups of their public school peers as they all moved from the 1st through 4th grades.

"When students' academic-achievement measures are adjusted to account for the influence of minority status and family income, there are virtually no differences in performance between students who use a scholarship and students who attend public school," says the report, which is the last in a series from an evaluation commissioned by the Ohio education department.

Among the study's other findings is that some low-income families—the program's primary intended beneficiaries—were unable to use the vouchers because of the scarce supply of available slots in private schools and the difficulty of coming up with the 10 percent of tuition not covered by the scholarships. Both religious and secular private schools are eligible to take part in the program.

—Caroline Hendrie

Money for Technology

Technology spending by schools for the 2002-03 academic year is estimated to be about $4.2 billion, a 25 percent drop from the previous school year, a report says.

For More Info
Highlights from the report, "Technology in Education 2003," are available online from Market Data Retrieval.

Still, the report—conducted by Market Data Retrieval, a Shelton, Conn.- based market-research firm that tracks the educational technology market—found that the number of schools with DVD drives, laptop computers, wireless networks, and high-speed Internet access increased significantly between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years. For instance, the number of schools with DVD drives increased 67 percent during that period.

—Kevin Bushweller

International Obesity

Obesity in teenagers is more prevalent in the United States than in Israel and 13 European countries, a new study has found.

For More Info
An abstract of the report, "Body Mass Index and Overweight in Adolescents in 13 European Countries, Israel, and the United States," is available online from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Published in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the study collected data on 29,242 13- and 15-year-olds in the participating countries. It found that obesity was most common among teenagers in the United States and least common in Lithuania. Other countries with high obesity rates were Ireland, Greece, and Portugal.

—Catherine A. Carroll

Vocational Experience

Students who participated in a Junior Achievement "job shadowing" program generally reported that their experiences helped them develop a better understanding of the relationship between education and getting a good job, the complexities of how businesses operate, and what it takes to be successful in a job, according to a report.

The study was conducted for the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Junior Achievement Inc. by the Worldwide Institute for Research and Evaluation, a research organization based at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. The study collected data on 1,516 students in grades 5-12 participating in Junior Achievement job-shadowing programs in 15 U.S. cities.

—Kevin Bushweller

Online Learning

Web-based courses can offer a valuable supplement to high school students who would otherwise be shut out of certain types of academic pursuits, either because their schools do not offer such classes or because scheduling conflicts make it impossible to take them, a research brief concludes.

The brief—recently released by WestEd, a San Francisco-based nonprofit research, development, and service agency—reviews a number of issues related to online coursetaking. They include the quality of online curricula, technical support, student assessment, and the funding of online programs.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 18, Page 11

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