Report Roundup

April 30, 2003 4 min read
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Tracking Opinions About Education

A report released last week outlines 12 major findings about education based on opinion polls of educators, policymakers, parents, corporate leaders, and the general public.

The report, “Where We Are Now: 12 Things You Need to Know About Public Opinion and Public Schools,” is available from Public Agenda Online. (Requires free registration.)

For instance, there is a “dramatic gap” between how employers and college professors rate the quality of high school graduates compared with how parents and teachers see them, according to the report by Public Agenda, based in New York City. Also, teachers believe policymakers largely ignore their wishes; and superintendents and principals say the biggest troubles they face stem from politics and bureaucratic problems.

—Kevin Bushweller

Improving Schools

Read the report, “California’s Lowest Performing Schools: Who They Are, the Challenges They Face, and How They’re Improving,” from EdSource Online.

Some of California’s lowest-performing schools have made exemplary progress in recent years, but the state budget crisis threatens the possibility of continued improvement, according to a report by EdSource. The independent research group is based in Palo Alto, Calif.

The report examines 111 of the state’s lowest-achieving schools—those that fell in the bottom 20th percentile based on 1999 state assessment scores. The authors found that some of those schools had made large strides on subsequent tests.

—Joetta L. Sack

Managing Knowledge

The report, “Knowledge Management in Education: Defining the Landscape,” is available from the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

A school organization that both uses information effectively and has sophisticated technological systems will get better administrative results and student outcomes than one that lacks that balance, according to a monograph.

The 30-page paper describes new theories about the interrelationships of data, information, and knowledge in school districts and colleges and universities.

The paper was written by Lisa A. Petrides, the president of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, based in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Thad R. Nodine, a senior writer and editor at the institute.

Andrew Trotter

College Success

The report, “Understanding University Success,” will be distributed to U.S. high schools. It can also be ordered from Standards for Success.

A booklet released last week seeks to smooth the transition between high school and college by providing high school students with knowledge and skill standards they will need to succeed at some of the nation’s top universities.

The booklet contains a listing of what university professors expect from students in entry-level college courses. Standards for Success, a project administered by the Eugene, Ore.-based Center for Educational Policy Research, is mailing single copies of the booklet to each of the nearly 20,000 public high schools in the nation and to all state education departments.

—Kevin Bushweller

Online Education

“Status of Online Testing in SREB States” and “Es sential Principles of High-Quality Online Teaching: Guidelines for Evaluating K-12 Online Teachers,” are available online from the Southern Regional Education Board. (Both reports require Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The Atlanta-based Southern Regional Education Board recently released two reports about online learning: The first one describes the status of online testing programs in Southern states; the second examines what it takes to be a good online teacher.

—Kevin Bushweller

Pesticide Policies

Read the report, “Safer Schools: Achieving a Healthy Learning Environment Through Integrated Pest Management,” from Beyond Pesticides. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The strategies schools are now using to decrease pesticide use while still managing pest problems on campus are documented in a recent report.

The report examines pesticide-use policies from 27 school districts in 19 states, including the three largest systems: New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

—Kevin Bushweller

Evaluating E-Textbooks

The report is available by calling the district’s office of instructional technology and media support services at (305) 995-7616.

Students in the Miami-Dade County school district who had access to electronic versions of assigned textbooks reported a greater interest in and understanding of the material in the virtual format compared with traditional textbooks, according to survey results from a pilot program in the Florida district.

Teachers in six classrooms in grades 7, 9, and 11 in the 366,000- student system used the e-textbooks in spring 2002. The students were later asked about the experience. The electronic versions of the state-adopted texts in English/language arts and science included interactive features such as video clips, animated simulations, and links to supplemental resources.

— Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

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