Report Roundup

June 11, 2003 4 min read
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Same High School GPA, Different Outcomes

A summary of “The Effects of Using ACT Composite Score and High School Average on College Admission Decissions for Racial/Ethnic Groups” is available from ACT. The report can be ordered at no cost by calling (319) 337-1110.

African-American and Hispanic students are more likely to struggle in college than are their white counterparts who earned the same grade point average in high school, probably for reasons other than unequal academic preparation, according to a report by the ACT testing service.

Released last month, the study looks at students who received the same GPA in high school, and to a lesser degree, equal composite scores on the ACT college-entrance exam. It concludes that colleges and universities have to make a special effort to retain black and Hispanic students, if they want them to succeed.

—Sean Cavanagh

Teenage Sex

“National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults: Sexual Health Knowledge, Attitudes and Experiences,” based on nationally representative surveys of 1,800 people ages 13 to 24, is available from the Kaiser Family Foundation. A summary of findings is also available. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

One-third of teenage boys say they feel pressure to have sex, compared with 23 percent of girls the same age, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals.

Many teenagers and young adults are misinformed about the health risks associated with unprotected sex, according to the report released last month. For example, three-quarters of sexually active adolescents engage in oral sex, but one-fifth of adolescents don’t realize they can contract sexually transmitted diseases that way.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Condom Use

Information on how to get the report, “Condom Availability Programs in Massachusetts High Schools: Relationships With Condom Use and Sexual Behavior,” is available from the American Journal of Public Health. A free abstract is also provided.

A study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health suggests that teenagers at high schools where condoms are available are no more likely to have sex—or to begin engaging in it any earlier—than other students are.

The study is based on results from surveys of 4,166 students attending 59 randomly chosen high schools in Massachusetts. Ten percent of school districts in the state have put condom-availability programs in place to encourage sexually active teenagers to use condoms to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases as well as pregnancy.

—Debra Viadero

Kindergarten Testing

The National Center for Education Statistics provides the full report, “Schools’ Use of Assessment for Kindergarten Entrance and Placement: 1998-99.” (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Sixty-one percent of schools give an entrance or placement exam to incoming kindergartners, according to a federal report.

Schools are more likely to use the test scores “to evaluate the needs of children and to help guide instruction” than to determine whether a child is ready to enter school, the report says.

Data for the report were collected in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class, 1998-99, a project of the National Center for Education Statistics.

—David J. Hoff

Early-Childhood Risk

Poverty, transience, lack of high-quality early care, and infant and child mortality are among the factors that contribute to putting children at risk of not performing at their full potential in school before they even start kindergarten, a report concludes.

The Institute for Educational Leadership provides the report, “Leaving Too Many Children Behind: A Demographer’s View on the Neglect of America’s Youngest Children.” (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Many of those problems go unnoticed because so much of the population in the United States is aging and does not have as much contact with children as in earlier years, says the report, published by the Washington-based Institute for Educational Leadership.

Still, it says, programs such as universal preschool and full- day kindergarten can help better prepare children to succeed in school.

—Michelle Galley

Concerned Students

More information on the project and the student responses is available from Project 540.

High school students are concerned about everything from the cleanliness of school restrooms to the workloads and salaries of teachers, according to a survey of more than 135,000 students in 14 states.

While school-related issues appear to be of chief concern to many students, their worries extend to community and world problems as well, says the preliminary study of Project 540, an initiative financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The project, initiated in 2002, was intended to provide an outlet for students to speak up about issues that affect them. It features an online “dialogue” among students at some 250 high schools.

—Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Mental-Health Limitations

The full report, “Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely to Obtain Mental Heatlh Services,” is available from the General Accounting Office. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The U.S. General Accounting Office has found that thousands of parents are turning their children over to state and local officials in the hope of finding improved mental-health treatment for the youngsters.

A study published in April by the congressional watchdog agency found that in 2001, parents in 19 states and 30 counties studied placed 12,700 children into the child-welfare or juvenile-justice system so that they could receive mental- health services.

Limitations of both public and private health insurance, inadequate supplies of services, and difficulties meeting eligibility rules prompted many placements, the report says.

—Michelle R. Davis


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