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Published in Print: February 4, 2004, as Report Roundup

Report Roundup

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Special Education Pupils' Test-Taking Increases

An increasing number of students with disabilities are taking part in statewide testing and being included in state accountability systems, according to a report released last week.

Conducted by the Minneapolis-based National Center on Educational Outcomes, the study surveyed state directors of special education. It also found that a majority of those directors said students with disabilities were showing improvements on state tests.

In addition, nearly all state directors reported increased participation of special education teachers and administrators in training on state standards and testing.

—Kevin Bushweller

Risky Behavior

Suburban public high school students have sex, drink, smoke, use illegal drugs, and engage in delinquent behavior as often as urban public high school students.

That conclusion comes from an analysis of federal data on U.S. adolescents by the Manhattan Institute, a New York City think tank. Urban and suburban high schools "are virtually identical in terms of widespread sexual activity," the study found. Two-thirds of all suburban and urban 12th graders have had sex, according to the report. Similarly, the study found that about four out of 10 students in 12th grade in both urban and suburban schools had used illegal drugs.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Charter Districts

A new report reviews the major challenges that arise when school district and teachers' union leaders consider changing collective bargaining agreements to support the creation of charter school districts.

The report—produced by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States— examines how issues such as work rules, compensation, job security, and benefits are affected when a system becomes a charter district.

A charter district is basically a system of autonomous schools that are given regulatory freedom in exchange for meeting performance standards specified either in contracts or charters.

—Kevin Bushweller

High School Graduates

Applications for admission to colleges and universities have surged in recent years, forcing more-selective institutions to reject high numbers of qualified applicants, a report suggests.

But the report, which provides K-12 and higher education enrollment statistics and projections, from 1988 to 2018, questions whether that enrollment trend will continue. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the College Board, and the ACT testing organization published the 228-page report.

—Kevin Bushweller

Science Learning

Students understand scientific concepts better through hands-on activities, use of multimedia tools, and a multidisciplinary approach to science learning used in the JASON science curriculum, concludes a study by the New York City-based Center for Children & Technology.

The findings are part of a multiyear evaluation of JASON, a program created by the Needham, Mass.-based nonprofit JASON Foundation for Education. The program provides experience-based science and math curricula for grades 4-9.

— Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 21, Page 12

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