Report Roundup

June 19, 2002 4 min read
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Barriers to College Examined in Study

Read “The Access Challenge: Rethinking the Causes of the New Inequality,” from Indiana Education Policy Center. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Education have put too much emphasis on high school students’ academic preparation and not enough on their financial burdens in analyzing the disparities between rich and poor, and between whites and minorities seeking to attend college, a recent report concludes.

The report, “The Access Challenge: Rethinking the Causes of the New Inequality,” asserts that the National Center for Education Statistics has overlooked the importance of federal need-based grants in analyzing opportunities at colleges and universities.

—Sean Cavanagh

Latino Boys and Girls

Read the first chapter of Latinos: Remaking America, from the University of California Press. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.) Order online, or by calling (800) 822-6657.

Mexican-American girls are more likely than Mexican-American boys to select high schools in New York City that will support their academic success. They are also more likely than their male counterparts to be upwardly mobile in the workplace because they land jobs that require “soft” skills, such as communication and team-building, that they acquire through being helpers for various family tasks.

Those are some of the findings of Barnard College sociology professor Robert C. Smith, whose study appears in Latinos: Remaking America, a book about the impact of Latinos on politics, health, language, and education in the United States.

—Mary Ann Zehr

Elite Teachers

Read the summary of the “California Teachers’ Perceptions of National Board Certification,” or the full report, from the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

About 85 percent of the nearly 800 teachers in California who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are women, a proportion well above the roughly 70 percent of the state’s teaching force that is made up of women.

That was just one of the findings of a survey of board- certified teachers in California commissioned by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, a nonprofit group based in Santa Cruz, Calif.

The survey also asked those teachers why they had pursued national board certification, what impact it has had on their teaching, who they believe benefits most when teachers pursue the voluntary certification, and how much their involvement in school has changed as a result of their new status.

—Kevin Bushweller

Online Learning

Read “Multimedia Comprehension Skill Predicts Differential Outcomes of Web-Based and Lecture Courses,” from the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

College students who are skilled at using and understanding multimedia tend to get higher grades in courses taught over the Internet than in regular classes, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

At Texas Tech University in Lubbock, researchers William and Ruth Maki evaluated the academic performance of 143 women and 55 men in introductory psychology courses that were offered online or in a regular classroom format. The two psychology professors assessed subject- matter knowledge before and after the courses and examined grades from midterm exams. The exam questions were the same for regular and Web-based courses.

Academic performance did not, however, predict course satisfaction: The researchers found that most students preferred regular lecture courses to Web- based classes.

—Kevin Bushweller

Civic Engagement:

Read the executive summary and key findings of the survey “Short-Term Impacts, Long- Term Opportunities,” commissioned by the Council for Excellence in Government. (The documents are also available as PDFs.) (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Large percentages of 15- to 25-year-olds in the United States have ambivalent feelings about the nation’s political process and their role in it, and believe they can do little or nothing to solve problems in their communities, according to a survey commissioned by the Washington-based Council for Excellence in Government.

Nearly half, 49 percent, of the 1,500 people surveyed said that voting was only a little important or not important at all to them. And 52 percent said they believed they could make little to no difference in solving community problems.

But the survey did find that 67 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat more likely to participate in politics and vote as a result of the increased feelings of patriotism in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

—Kevin Bushweller

Condition of Childhood

Read the 2002 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Significant progress was made in the 1990s toward improving the lives of children, according to a recent report.

The report, which features 10 measures of child well-being, provides data on education, health, and the economic condition of families. Of the 10 measures, seven improved, two got worse, and one did not change. The report notes wide disparities, however, between states on rates for child deaths, teenage deaths, and births to teenagers.

—Kevin Bushweller

A version of this article appeared in the June 19, 2002 edition of Education Week as Report Roundup

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