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Survey Finds Wide Use Of Technology by Students

When students spoke about technology last fall in a national, online survey, they said: No matter the grade level, they enjoy using technology, like learning to use it better, and think it helps with their schoolwork. The results from "NetDay Speak Up Day 2003" were released last month by the nonprofit NetDay Inc. ("Students' Technology Views Solicited," Oct. 15, 2003.)

The 33-page report on the surveys, which were completed by about 210,000 students from 3,000 schools between Oct. 25 and Nov. 3, concludes that youths approach their lives and their daily activities in ways ways different from past generations because of technology. As students get older, their use of technology becomes more sophisticated, but even younger students swiftly become skilled users and advocates of technology, it says.

The U.S. Department of Education has said the survey will be a resource in drafting the next National Education Technology Plan.

—Andrew Trotter

Math and Science

A report from the National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science focuses on how to develop innovative classroom practices in new settings.

From 1995 to 2003, researchers at the center, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, collaborated with teachers to help develop students’ understanding of central concepts in the two disciplines.

—Natasha N. Smith

High-Achieving Schools

Students from low-income neighborhoods can do well in math—if their schools make teaching and learning the main priority, according to an evaluation of nine schools across the nation.

The evaluation of the High Achieving Schools Initiative, financed by the Hewlett-Packard Co., was conducted by researchers at the University of New Mexico. They examined nine schools serving low-income areas that had demonstrated significant academic success over three to five years.

The study identifies seven characteristics common to highly effective schools, including changes in school culture and a committed, supportive administration.

—Natasha N. Smith

English Fluency

Children who start school with little or no knowledge of English can learn the basic skills of word recognition within two years, but achieving the fluency necessary for long-term academic success is harder, says a new research brief.

The Winter 2004 edition of Research Points, a newsletter published by the American Educational Research Association, offers policymakers suggestions for addressing the needs of the increasing number of U.S. children who enter school without knowledge of English.

Such children, for example, need extra time and instruction in literacy, the brief says, including lessons in recognizing words and comprehending meaning.

—Natasha N. Smith

Attitudes Toward Teachers

Attitudes about teachers and teaching over the past decade reveal both common ground and "big gaps," according to survey data from Public Agenda.

For More Info

The New York City-based research organization analyzed more than a decade of research from a variety of sources for the Teaching Commission, founded by the former chairman of IBM to try to improve the nation’s teaching force.

Issues examined include teacher quality, tenure, pay-for-performance plans, and unions.

—Natasha N. Smith

Arts Education

The federal No Child Left Behind Act can be used to secure funding for arts education, a guide for state and local leaders says.

For More Info

Published by the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Arts Education Partnership, the guide provides detailed guidance on the implications of the law for arts education. It includes information about where to find references to the arts in the law and descriptions of programs with arts-specific examples that have received federal funding.

—Natasha N. Smith

U.S. History

Most young adults report that the history and social studies courses they took in middle and high school emphasized the foundations of U.S. government, according to a survey of 15- to 25-year-olds.

The results, released last month, could temper charges that social studies courses tend to be light on facts and to present U.S. history too critically.

Forty-five percent of the respondents said that the U.S. Constitution and democratic principles were emphasized most in their social studies classes, and 30 percent reported that American heroes were a key topic. Just 11 percent said their classes focused on current problems, and 9 percent noted that injustices in the American system of government were featured most prominently in the curriculum.

The survey of 1,000 people ages 15 to 25 was conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government and the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, or CIRCLE.

—Kathleeen Kennedy Manzo

Preparing Teachers

A study of teacher education programs in the California State University system suggests that their new graduates are being well prepared to teach a standards- based curriculum.

Conducted by the university system’s teacher education, evaluation, and assurance division in the office of the chancellor, the study was based on feedback from more than 2,300 experienced principals who had supervised the new teachers for more than a year.

From 1999 through 2002, according to the study, almost 32,500 teacher education students graduated from the CSU system. Ninety-five percent of them taught for a year or longer. Three percent did not teach the first year after graduation, and 2 percent taught for less than a full school year.

—Linda B. Jacobson

Vol. 23, Issue 30, Page 13

Published in Print: April 7, 2004, as Report Roundup
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