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Research Roundup, October 24

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on October 24, 2013

Current Trends in Special Education Ed Week

The way that K-12 learners are taught is in rapid flux, particularly when it comes to students in special education programs.

Starting Early To Teach Kids Not To Bully Others KMVT

Bullying is an issue that's gained national attention over the past few years. But local children are learning how to work through their conflicts at a very young age.

How to Make Kindness The Foundation of School Culture Huffington Post

Through a robust social and emotional learning program and a planned effort to help students use empathy to improve their class, school and local New Orleans community, Lusher challenges us to rethink what "being kind" means as an educational philosophy.

Advocacy Groups Urge Arne Duncan to Get Tough on NCLB Waivers Ed Week

Thirteen education advocacy groups, including Democrats for Education Reform, StudentsFirst, and the National Council of La Raza, want U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to make the waiver renewal process far more rigorous.

We Have What We Need: The Next Steps in Education Technology Huffington Post

We have SMART boards. iPads. Laptops. Cellphones. We have learning management systems like Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle.

This Research Roundup was compiled by Chanelle Spencer, Research Fellow at NSCC

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A Somber Meditation on the “High Holy Days of Testing”

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on April 15, 2013


Schools throughout our country have entered a most special time of the academic year. An air of solemnity, severity, stricture, sobriety, and “something of profoundly great import going on” is palpable and permeating.   Why is this time different from all other times in the school year? For the vast majority of K-12 public schools throughout the land, we have begun the most important “high holy days of testing”. High stakes testing has begun in earnest and those stakes are much higher than ever before (as is evident from recent noteworthy events). The next few weeks will see well-heeled routines discarded, any sense of new content or learning put on hold, and rigor replace vigor in every facet of the school day. 

This week’s deluge of testing, as has been the case for most years since NCLB and Race to the Top made sure that standardized testing occupied a primary spot in school accountability, comes after a lengthy preparation period. Almost a Lenten-like vigil accompanies the weeks (and even months) that lead up to actual tests.  And the tradition of “giving up” things certainly occurs as well. Schools sacrifice many different “niceties” to ready themselves for testing.   Some of the things that need to be curtailed or denied might be recess, creative expression, “fun”, higher order thinking activities, social emotional growth, service-learning, the arts, civic educational opportunities and a promotion of student voice.

This vigil for the “high holy days of testing” will also include the requisite (and highly ritualized!) preparations. All bulletin boards must be shrouded. All books or classroom resources that might give an unfair advantage must be removed. Any computers or other electronic devices need to be disabled. Every potentially distracting form of stimulation (including children’s displayed artwork) has to be expunged. And we will begin hearing the almost mantric expressions in the days leading up to tests: “Get a good night’s sleep”. “Eat a healthy breakfast”. “Don’t stress”. “You can do it”.

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Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 08, 2015

Encouraging young children is important, especially those who are challenged academically.  There are four elements (expectations, value, history, and psychological situation) that should be understood about students’ motivation along with understanding the development of encouragement and discouragement.  Read on to learn four steps on how to strategically encourage students.  

No Child Left Behind was voted to limit the federal government’s role when determining education policy and to allow the states to determine how to use students’ test scores while developing academic standards. Under this revision, annual testing in math and reading for grades 3 through 8 and once in high school is featured.  Read on to find out other key features of the legislation.   

Indiana lawmakers are rewriting their state's graduation requirements. This change was prompted by lawmakers rethinking the way in which high school diplomas are typically viewed in relation  to education goals; they are no longer the ultimate end goal, but rather an essential pit stop in the path to a college degree. In order to make the path to high school diplomas more challenging, and ultimately render the diplomas more valuable in and of themselves, Indiana lawmakers plan on reevaluating graduation requirements. This change would, however, pose a challenge to special education students who may require more time to get through their classes and coursework. The question still remains whether general and special ed students should be upheld to the same or slightly different standards in terms of graduation requirements. The question still remains: would raising the bar for everyone make the high school diploma unattainable for some?

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on August 20, 2015

A randomized control study of the effects of school lessons in mindfulness in teenagers across the United Kingdom aims to reveal whether or not such training can strengthen mental resilience and in turn improve social, emotional, and mental health. Researchers will devote five years to the study with the hope of unearthing a correlation between Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and mind exercises, and a noticeable decrease in depression, anxiety, and mental illness among teenagers. Read more about Mindfulness in education at the following website :

No Child Left Behind is being updated for the first time since 2001.  The bills that aim to update NCLB address standardized testing and state “This bill would … reduce the burden of testing on classroom time” says Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  The law will still require annual testing, but will prompt states to reconsider how “testing is implemented”; a major goal of this bill is to stop over-testing and cut back on “unnecessary” assessments.  

Cultivating independent readers in our youth has certainly proven itself to be a formidable challenge. The rise of technology has contributed to what seems to be an all-too-common disinterest in books among children. However, a librarian at a Connecticut high school, Michelle Luhtala, and several colleagues have generated a list of strategies that will not only integrate our children's fascination (or obsession depending on who you ask) of technology with independent reading; their innovative ideas aim to nourish, proliferate, and sustain a genuine joy and love of reading. Check out their thoughtful list of tips and tricks for promoting independent readers.


Transitioning from elementary school to middle school can be frightening for 11 and 12 year olds.   Researchers call “the middle school plunge” a time when social and emotional struggles are the focus of middle school students and where academic achievement rates may suffer.  “We have underemphasized the potential impact of the middle school climate”, says Maurice Elias, Social-Emotional Learning Laboratory at Rutgers University. In order for kids to learn they must feel safe, first.

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on July 09, 2015

Do decisions that students make about college major depend on family income? Some researchers claim that when finances are taken care of by parents/guardians, children find other things to study, such as, history, English and performing arts; careers that may not be as high paying as other professions. Students whose parents come from lower income families seek majors that are more “useful” like computer science, math, and physics that will end up making more money than their parents. 


This article talks about “broadening the definition of success” to include things other than educational attainment, such as, “becoming aware of themselves” and “developing competencies”. The three key factors that were found in this study were: agency, which gives children a sense of control over their future outcomes; integrated identity, which speaks to children getting to “know themselves”, and lastly, competencies, which are the abilities to finish complex projects and achieve overall goals. 


The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law has been restructured and White House Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Munoz, states the bill has no “accountability to ensure that all children get the resources they need to succeed”.  Education secretary, Arne Duncan, also criticized the bill calling it “a major step backwards”. 

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