This quasi-experimental study aims to identify the effect of attending a high quality preschool on students’ outcomes. We used a quasi-experimental design with pre-post measures and two control groups, with data from a random sample of approximately 700 4-6 year old children in 40 villages and 5 districts of Bangladesh. Controlling for demographic and baseline characteristics, we compared the emergent numeracy, emergent literacy, socio-personal skills and knowledge of health and hygiene of children who attended a high quality preschool with the outcomes of children who lived nearby, but were 1) attending a standard quality government preschool or 2) not attending preschool. We find that initial pre-test differences that significantly favored children in high quality preschools over non-preschoolers increased over time, after controlling for baseline characteristics, and that initial pre-test scores that slightly favored the children in standard quality preschools crossed-over at post-test such that children in high-quality preschools gained an advantage after the intervention. We discuss implications, threats to validity and future research.
I document the tensions that exist in the research literature among bio-evolutionary scientists, cognitive developmental psychologists and socio-constructionist researchers about our moral functioning, making explicit the assumptions of each theory, the disciplinary fields that inform their conceptual models and the empirical evidence they use to sustain their claims. I demonstrate that the divisions that exist within these scientific communities can be conceptualized in terms of different levels of analysis, which focus on different population and employ different underlying units of time and space. I use multi-level structures to illustrate how those different levels of analysis can be seen as nested within each other, and how different scientific endeavors strive to account for different sources of variability in our moral functioning. I suggest that our moral decisions are the products of complex interactions between different levels and should be approached from a dynamic, complex, multi-level perspective.
For decades, researchers and policymakers have looked to professional development (PD) as a promising tool to improve teacher practice and student learning. However, despite its promise, PD is widely perceived as being unable to realize its potential. In this conceptual paper, the author suggests that one reason for this gap between PD's potential and its perceived ineffectiveness is its alignment with a sociopolitical framework that prioritizes efficiency. Numerous past attempts to improve PD have failed to address underlying assumptions about teaching, learning, and human relationships embedded in this efficiency framework. As an alternative, the author proposes a new deliberative framework that is more compatible with learning principles and thus more likely to improve learning across contexts and at scale.
To both understand and assess how early adolescents´ use their social perspective taking (SPT) skills to consider the resolutions to social problems that involve multiple actors, we conducted a two-phase mixed methods study. During the first phase, we administered a SPT challenge to 300 students across grades four to eight. Using grounded theory, we created a functional approach based on the linguistic pragmatics of speech acts (Austin, 1955), which helped us to identify three empirically distinct types of SPT acts: a) the acknowledgment of the different actors who participate in the situation, b) the articulation of their thoughts and feelings, and c) the positioning of the roles or circumstances that may influence the way the see their social world in a specific situation. During the second phase, we built on this functional framework to develop and test the validity of a novel instrument, the Social Perspective Taking Acts Measure (SPTAM). We conducted a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) with a new sample of 459 fourth to eighth grade students and obtained a fully saturated model with factor loadings in the range of .62 and .71, and a factor determinacy of .90. As predicted, girls and older students exhibited better performance than boys and younger students. The measure exhibited a negative association with aggressive interpersonal strategies (p<.001), and positive associations with academic language, complex reasoning skills, which became weak and non-significant after including controls.
We take advantage of data from the 2009 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) (IEA, 2009; Schultz, et. al, 2009) to investigate the attitudes that young people from different socio-economic backgrounds in 22 countries from the European Union (EU) have toward equal rights for all ethnic/racial minorities and immigrants. We then use the contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954) to explore whether contact is associated with more supportive attitudes toward equal rights, and examine openness to classroom discussion and supportive student-teacher relationships as characteristics that may be necessary for contact to promote tolerance and inclusive attitudes toward others in school settings. We find that in most EU countries, students from advantaged SES backgrounds exhibit more supportive attitudes toward equal rights for ethnic/racial minorities and immigrants than students from low SES backgrounds. We also find that contact does not have an effect on students’ attitudes toward equal rights at a regional level, but country-level results are mixed and varied. Consistently across all EU countries, openness to classroom discussion and student-teacher relationship have a positive and statistically significant relationship with students' attitudes toward equal rights for ethnic/racial minorities and immigrants. We discuss implications for educators and policy-makers, limitations and future research.
Prior research suggests that summer learning loss among low-income children contributes to income-based gaps in achievement and educational attainment. We present results from a randomized experiment of a summer mathematics program conducted in a large, high-poverty urban public school district. Children in the third to ninth grade (N = 263) were randomly assigned to an offer of an online summer mathematics program, the same program plus a free laptop computer, or the control group. Being randomly assigned to the program plus laptop condition caused children to experience significantly higher reported levels of summer home mathematics engagement relative to their peers in the control group. Treatment and control children performed similarly on distal measures of academic achievement. We discuss implications for future research.
Looking back on the tenure of Andrés Alonso as CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools and Michael Sarbanes as executive director of the district's new Office of Engagement, this teaching case examines the district's unique approach to family and community engagement. By drawing on an organizing frame that viewed community groups and families as partners rather than clients, City Schools was able to successfully pair community groups with schools, position schools as neighborhood hubs for reinvestment, and leverage a coalition of community groups to pass a $1.1 billion bond bill aimed at overhauling school facilities in varying states of disrepair. Using interviews and primary source data, the case reviews key milestones in the development and deployment of the strategy and poses questions about the sustainability of a community organizing approach within a bureaucratic system.
Schools are increasingly seen as having a promising role to play in reducing adverse health and wellness outcomes among young people. This paper uses a collaborative action research approach to examine the effects of one school’s efforts to change its students eating habits by implementing a “junk food free campus.” By engaging school administrators and students in a six-month long process of joint research design and analysis, the author found that students understood but did not necessarily support the policy. Despite students’ uneven support of the policy, however, there was some evidence that some students were developing healthier eating habits. Moreover, student researchers reported developing greater perspective and respect for the policy as a result of studying it.
In Colombia, reducing levels of interpersonal and community violence is a key component of the country’s approach to citizenship education. In this study, we use data collected during the 2005 Saber test of Citizenship Competencies to examine the relationship of school environments and individual students’ supportive attitudes toward violence among 97,971 students in 1,649 schools. Using multi-level Tobit analysis with school random intercepts and regional fixed effects, we find that children taught in safe and participatory climates endorse attitudes less supportive of violence, with the effect of participatory climates almost double that of safe climates. Constructing a typology of four classroom environments, by crossing the two dimensions of safety and participation, we conclude that school environments that are safe and participatory lead to the least supportive attitudes toward violence, more than one standard deviation lower than unsafe and non-participatory school environments. Implications, limitations and areas for future research are discussed.
The authors of this article, Silvia Diazgranados Ferráns and Robert Selman, use an emergent framework to explore how the rules of the school culture at different perceived school climates affect early adolescents' decisions to upstand, bystand, or join the perpetrators when they witness peer aggression and bullying. Through a grounded theory approach, they revisit interview data with twenty-three eighth graders in four middle schools with the aim of building on previous research and refining their theoretical framework to guide future research on bullying. The authors identify four school-level indicators that are salient in students’ perceptions of their school climate: safety, order, care, and empowerment—and examine how these indicators combine to configure three types of perceived school climates: negligent, authoritarian, and cohesive. They explore how these perceived school climates influence students' choice of strategy when they witness bullying in school and document a set of student recommendations about what schools can do to promote safety and prevent bullying.
Social media have dramatically altered the communication landscape, offering novel contexts for individual expression. But how do youth who are civically engaged off-line manage opportunities for civic expression on social media? Interviews with 70 U.S.-based civic youth aged 15 to 25 revealed three main patterns characterizing the relationship between off-line participation and online expression: blended, bounded, and differentiated. Five sets of empirically derived considerations influencing expression patterns emerged: organizational policies, personal image and privacy, perceived alignment with civic goals, attitudes toward the platform(s), and perceptions of their audience(s). Most civic youth express the civic online, yet a minority highlight tensions that lead them to refrain from sharing in certain or all online contexts.
In this article, James Noonan uses the methodology of portraiture to examine how the administrative team and the teachers at a small, urban middle school approach school improvement. He illustrates the ways in which the pressures associated with attempting school reform in our current high-accountability environment make it difficult for school personnel to engage in the deep learning that transformative change requires. Using observational data and semi-structured interviews, Noonan finds that at Fields Middle School district-initiated redesign is built around an expansive view of learning that embraces uncertainty, collaboration, and reflection as catalysts for broad and sustained school improvement. He illuminates school transformation efforts that hinge on the learning of adults and an understanding of schools as learning organizations, in contrast to reform efforts that adopt linear and hierarchical views of teaching and learning.