Afterschool Program Reduces Mobility Among Some Families
An afterschool program for children and families was found to substantially reduce the school mobility of Black students who otherwise were especially likely to change schools. Improved relationships among families help explain this finding.
High rates of student mobility pose serious problems for students and for schools. Students who move from school to school often have lower test score gains in reading and mathematics, lower self-esteem, trouble fitting into school, and higher dropout rates. High student turnover also can result in problems within the family and hinder school reform efforts, as it is difficult to sustain progress with transient students.
Black and Hispanic students are more likely to change schools than White and Asian American students, due in part to economic disadvantage. Their frequent moves lead to an increased risk of underachievement in school. Immigrant students and English language learners have above-average mobility rates as well, which results in it taking longer for them to achieve English proficiency. Read more.
Quantifying Uncertainty: David Kaplan Explains the Usefulness of Bayesian Statistics
To most academics, and even many statisticians, the world of Bayesian statistics remains a dark and dangerous realm, rarely visited and greatly feared.
To David Kaplan, Bayesian statistics are enlightening, capable of bringing clarity to difficult problems. But as much as Kaplan, a professor of quantitative methods and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at UW–Madison, advocates for the increased use of Bayesian methods in quantitative research, he warns that researchers should make their initial forays with caution.
“Thanks to greater computing power, Bayesian calculations can now be completed even on a tablet, which can give researchers a powerful tool for gaining new insights from their data analyses,” Kaplan said. “However, there are major differences in paradigms and methodologies that need to be understood before just plugging data into that fancy new software on your iPad and putting the results in a research paper.” Read more.
Department Chairs Become Instructional Leaders
Distributed throughout a high school, department chairs are ideally positioned to help increase student learning, and yet they receive little or no formal training, and there is no universally accepted job description. Due to the ambiguities and multifaceted responsibilities of the role, the department chair is considered one of the most stressful positions in a high school.
The principal of a high school is in a position to help department chairs exert a positive influence on instruction and student learning, and yet this rarely occurs. As a consequence, the role of department chair has been called “the most underutilized leadership position” in high schools today (L. David Weller, University of Georgia). Read more.