The Weekly Connect 10/2/17

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

The link between academic performance and food stamps.

Many States focusing on chronic absenteeism and college/career readiness in their ESSA plans (for the Every Student Succeeds Act).

Trends in home schooling.

Disconnect between parents’ expectations about educational attainment and what students actually achieve.

To read more, click on the following links.

Research & Practice

Measuring Social-Emotional Skills: Designs Show Current State of Assessment
Education Dive: One assessment uses puzzles to measure qualities such as persistence and challenge-seeking. An online calendar system tests students’ organizational and time-management skills. Those are just a few of the assessments used to measure social-emotional learning among students that were submitted as part of a design challenge held by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Leaning. Over a three-year period, the work group hopes to develop and refine design principles for creating assessments that support instruction as well as positive student development.

Examining Links Between Academic Performance and Food Stamps
NPR: Poor families who rely on food stamps often find themselves caught in a familiar cycle. In the days after they receive the benefit each month, there’s plenty of food on the table. But as the weeks tick away, food becomes scarce. South Carolina researchers have drawn a connection between low-income students’ poor performance on math tests and the time of month when their families run low on food stamps.

Sending Parents Useful Information About Attendance, Course Progress Has Big Effects, Social Scientists Find
The Hechinger Report: When Todd Rogers, director of the Student Social Support R&D Lab at Harvard University, started doing research in schools, he found focusing on parents could offer big returns. Rogers has completed a number of experiments measuring the impressive effects of simply mailing parents information about how important school attendance is. And, perhaps most importantly for schools, it doesn’t cost very much to give parents useful information, and they can be powerful partners in changing student behavior.

Who Benefits from Head Start? Kids Who Attend — And Their Kids, Too
Chalkbeat: A new study of Head Start, the large federally funded pre-kindergarten initiative that started in the 1960s, found that the children of kids who participated were substantially more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and less likely to commit crime and become a teen parent. “Our findings indicate that societal investments in early childhood education can disrupt the intergenerational transmission of the effects of poverty,” write researchers Andrew Barr and Chloe Gibbs. See related article: Ed Week Early Years Blog “Head Start May Offer Next-Generation Benefits, Researchers Say.”

Too Little Sleep Tied to Weight Gain in Kids
Reuters: Children who don’t get enough sleep may be more likely to become overweight or obese than kids who typically get enough rest, a Danish study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests. The children who got the least amount of nighttime sleep on average were more likely to become overweight during the following 1.3 years, the study found. See related articles: UPI “Children Suffer With TV, Video Games In The Bedroom” and Education Week “Children’s Sleep Problems Linked to Attention Disorders.”

Policy

Inside ESSA Plans: How Are States Looking Beyond Test Scores?
Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog: School officials: Get ready to figure out whether your students have a problem with chronic absenteeism. And while you’re at it, see if you’re getting them ready for college and the workplace. Attendance—particularly chronic absenteeism—and college-and-career readiness are by far the most popular new areas of focus for accountability among the 40-plus states that have filed their plans to implement the Every Student Success Act, an Education Week review shows. See related article: Ed Week Politics K-12 Blog “Inside ESSA Plans: What Are States Doing About Goals and Timelines? 

Trump Directs Ed Secretary to Prioritize Computer Science
Associated Press: President Donald Trump directed his education secretary to prioritize science and technology education and spend at least $200 million annually on competitive grants so schools can broaden access to computer science education in particular.

Around the Nation

The Development and Home Environments of Low-Income Hispanic Children: Kindergarten to Third Grade
National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families: A new brief from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families looks at the home and school environment of low-income Latino kids and finds that they have the social skills needed to succeed in their early elementary years, yet struggle to overcome other challenges to develop academic skills on par with their white peers. In today’s climate of limited resources, this new research helps pinpoint where interventions might effectively promote academic success.

Home Schooling Was Once a Rising Trend. New Data Show Something Different.
The Washington Post: Home schooling was once a rising trend in the United States, with the percentage of students from kindergarten through high school learning at home going from 1.7% in 1999 to 3.4% in 2012. New data just released by the Department of Education show that enrollment has stopped growing since then. A report released by the department’s National Center for Education Statistics says that for the year 2015-16, 3.3% of students ages 5 to 17 were home-schooled.

There’s a Disconnect Between Parent Expectations and Student Realities
Ed Week Inside School Research Blog: Virtually no parent believes his child will drop out of high school, and nearly 70% expect their children to earn a bachelor’s or professional degree in college. Those results are part of data released from the 2016 federal Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey. The data show only 1% of middle or high school parents didn’t think their student would graduate high school, and 39% of parents thought their children would earn a master’s degree or more. Those expectations are jarring, considering the national high school graduation rate hovers just above 83% and little more than 1 in 10 American adults earns a master’s or other advanced postsecondary degree.

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