If this article in Friday's issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education is correct, attendance is going to be down at next month's meeting of the American Educational Research Association. The Washington-based group typically draws between 12,000 and 16,000 researchers to its yearly conventions. And this year's meeting is scheduled to take place April 13-17 in sunny San Diego, a not unattractive destination. But the association is anticipating a dip in attendance because of the current economic climate. Budget constraints, in fact, have prompted some state university systems to limit convention travel to professors or other faculty members ...


Remedial courses are intended to provide an academic leg up to students who come to college lacking the academic skills they need to survive in higher education. But the courses can be expensive, costing colleges across the nation an estimated $1 billion a year. And students don't get academic credit for remedial coursework, which can lengthen the time it takes for them to earn a degree and start a career. So are remedial courses worth all that expense and time? Possibly not, according to a new study that's in the publishing pipeline. Paco Martorell of the RAND Corp. and Isaac ...


We're going to have to stop calling the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse the "nothing works" clearinghouse. Set up in 2002 to vet research on educational programs and practices, the clearinghouse got that unfortunate nickname because so few of its early reviews turned up educational interventions that were any more effective than what educators were already doing. This new statistic from Mathematica Policy Research Inc., the Princeton, N.J., company that operates the clearinghouse, suggests that times have changed: Of the 100-plus reports now posted on the clearinghouse Web site, 62 percent have at least one outcome ...


A hat tip to the NYT for this article, which was published in today's paper. It reports on research that found that 9th graders whose schools are within a block of a fast-food outlet are more likely to be obese than students whose schools are a quarter of a mile or more away from one. The researchers studied a sample population that included millions of students over a decade and took into account differences among the students in income, education, and race. Bottom line: They found that obesity rates in schools within one-tenth of a mile of a pizza, burger, ...


Borrowing from the Teach For America concept, Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, guest bloggers over at the NYT's The Wild Side, have proposed an intriguing way to spend some of the $8.2 billion in federal stimulus funds set aside for research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Their idea is to recruit college graduates to spend a few years working, TFA-style, in research laboratories. The recruits would spend a few weeks in the summer at a lab skills boot camp and then dive into the laboratory workforce in the fall. The hope is that the experience, besides providing ...


In education, encouraging parents to be involved in their children's schooling is like motherhood and apple pie. Everyone likes it, and who would argue against it? But a study published last month in the American Journal of Education suggests that parent involvement can have a downside, too. Researchers Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick of the University of Chicago and Barbara Schneider of Michigan State University spent more than 200 hours observing classrooms and interviewing parents and teachers at an unnamed charter elementary school in a large city. The school's 100 percent African-American enrollment included families from a range of income levels, from ...


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