Investing in at-risk middle-school students can be profitable, showing a return in students interest in school, their grades and even their attendance. The investment that paid off for eight Maryland schools is a supplementary curriculum, Stocks in the Future, developed in partnership with the Stocks in the Future Foundation at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at The Johns Hopkins University.
The impact of this three-year course in the stock market and investing - with an incentive program that allows students to actually buy shares of stock - will be released Wednesday during a session of the 2005 American Education Researchers Association annual meeting in Montreal. "The Stocks in the Future program represents a new approach to helping middle school students who are reluctant to read, do math, or attend school," said Douglas J. MacIver, a principal researcher at the Johns Hopkins center.
MacIver studied 195 sixth- and seventh-graders in eight Maryland schools during the 2003-2004 school year. A group of 221 students in those same schools, who did not take the course, were used as a control group. The Stocks in the Future students attended school an average of 3.2 days more per year than students in the control group. That means that over the three years of middle school, Stocks in the Future students will attend two weeks more of classes than the control students, MacIver noted. That much improvement is statistically significant and "educationally important," he said.
Among other CSOS researchers presenting their research and findings at the Montreal meeting, are:
Jeffrey Wayman, whose work focuses on the use of student data to help educators determine appropriate instruction for their students. He will present the findings of a case study of three schools that involve all of their teachers in using data to improve instruction. "Were finding that with proper support, teachers embrace such an initiative," Wayman said.
Joyce Epstein, a leader in family and community involvement in schools, will look at how well schools and school districts are meeting the requirements for parental involvement in the No Child Left Behind Act.
Steven Sheldon will also look at how schools are implementing the No Child Left Behind requirements for parental involvement, showing what factors over two years influence a schools ability to set up the kind of partnerships the law requires. These factors include strong support from the principal and school district leaders, and the existence of a team of teachers, parents and community leaders that meets regularly and set goals for improving their school.
AERA is a prominent international professional organization focusing on the advancement of educational research and its practical applications. More than 12,000 researchers, educators and students are attending the Montreal meeting through April 15.
To arrange an interview or hear about other presentations by Johns Hopkins researchers, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960 or Mary Maushard at 410-516-8810. Stocks in the Future is online at http://www.stocksinthefuture.org. AERA press contact: Helaine Patterson, Montreal Marriott Chatueau Champlain, 514-878-9000.
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