The increasing demand for a STEM workforce and the insufficient supply produced by American educational institutions has led many researchers and policy analysts to focus on the shortage of women in these important fields. The pre-college setting is highly influential on students’ choice of college major and the majority of the students who concentrate in STEM make that choice during high school. Using longitudinal data from students who spent their academic careers in North Carolina public secondary schools and attended North Carolina public universities, this study finds that female high school STEM teachers are key to girls’ decisions to major in STEM. Larger shares of female HS STEM teachers raise girls’ odds of majoring in STEM, while boys’ odds are unaffected.
Enrichment programs in K-12 schools, such as the arts, are frequently cut to drive student performance in language arts and mathematics—the focal points of most standardized exams. However, a recent study suggests that high quality arts integration can positively influence student academic achievement. In a longitudinal study of an intensive multi-art integration model implemented in public elementary schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District, consistent and significant gains were observed in student proficiency on standardized tests of English Language Arts when compared to matched comparison sites with standalone arts programming.
Few analyses have looked at how increasing walking and cycling can reduce student transportation costs for school districts and families. Using case studies and school bus routing simulations, researchers show that it may be more cost-effective to make engineering improvements to remove hazardous conditions rather than continuing to pay for busing in perpetuity.
By John Fensterwald
The State Board of Education is seizing the chance to redefine student achievement and reframe how schools are held accountable for performance. It is in the throes of replacing the Academic Performance Index, the three-digit number that has been California’s narrow gauge of school progress for a decade and a half. The question is, what will take its place?
Recent research finds that students who participate in high school arts courses face a lower risk of dropping out compared to similar students who do not participate. While a causal relationship is difficult to isolate, policymakers should be cautious about the ramifications of cutting arts budgets in public schools.
In recent years, there has been increasing attention towards language variety as a potential explanation for lagging achievement observed among minority students and students of low socioeconomic status. A recent study summarizes recommendations for an administrative and legislative response to the educational needs of students who speak language varieties other than standard English.
The PACE Directors extend our thanks and best wishes to Bruce Fuller, who resigned as a Director of PACE at the end of 2014. Bruce joined PACE in 1996, and guided us through a pivotal decade. Under his leadership PACE’s work on school choice, pre-K education, and other topics had a profound impact on education policy debates in California and beyond. Bruce will continue as Professor of Education and Public Policy at UC-Berkeley, and as a vital contributor to the public conversation on education and other policy issues.
Conventional wisdom suggests that No Child Left Behind has increased teacher stress and undermined their feelings about the teaching profession. An analysis of four waves of nationally representative teacher survey data suggests, however, that NCLB has had little effect on attitudes such as job satisfaction and commitment to remain in teaching.
Studies on the returns to teaching experience find that, on average, teachers make rapid gains in effectiveness early in their careers, but that additional experience is associated with more modest improvements. Research from North Carolina shows there is a large amount of variation in how quickly different teachers improve and teachers who work in more supportive environments improve at much greater rates than their peers in less supportive schools.
The vast majority of research in the area of high school dropout prevention has been focused on either identifying risk factors for students likely to dropout or intensive individual student interventions. Researchers have suggested that school-wide tiered interventions may increase a school’s capacity to address intensive student needs. However, as this review shows, the current body of empirical research provides little guidance to schools or policy makers with respect to addressing student needs more effectively and efficiently.