Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

Spring 2017

Jackson Finds Single-Sex Schooling Boosts School Outcomes, Lowers Crime

Jackson Finds Single-Sex Schooling Boosts School Outcomes, Lowers Crime

Is single-gender schooling a no-cost way to improve academic achievement and discourage criminal activity? SESP associate professor Kirabo Jackson’s latest study found positive evidence of single-sex education improving these outcomes for teens—and how that happens.

Jackson studied the question in Trinidad and Tobago, where a 2010 pilot program converted 20 low-performing secondary schools from coed to single-sex. His results indicated that in single-gender schools, both boys and girls scored higher in academic subjects on national exams. They also were more likely to complete secondary school, and the boys had fewer arrests.

When he dug deeper, he found one “direct effect” involved peer interactions, such as students faring better when exposed to same- gender peers. This direct effect held true for girls but wasn’t documented for boys.

Joanne Kang Wins Campus Life Award

Joanne Kang Wins Campus Life Award

Joanne Kang won a Campus Life Award in social justice for contributing to the improvement of student life at Northwestern for spring quarter 2016 when she was a graduate student in the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program.

As a graduate assistant for Multicultural Student Affairs, Kang planned the JubilAsian event for Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as well as several other new events. For Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American students, she led monthly events called Solidari-Teas and partnered with Counseling and Psychological Services to help address mental health concerns within the community. Kang currently works as the new program coordinator for Asian-American student support in the Center for Multicultural Affairs at Duke University.

Northwestern Academy Celebrates Grand Opening

Northwestern Academy Celebrates Grand Opening
Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools students meet with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo By: Jim Prisching

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro attended the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art center to house the Northwestern Academy—a program to support Chicago Public School students in preparing for success at competitive colleges and universities.

They were joined by students enrolled in the Northwestern Academy and their parents. The Academy will graduate its inaugural cohort of seniors this spring.

Launched in 2013, the Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools is a multi-year college preparation and enrichment program for diverse, academically motivated students. Approximately 200 students from 40 CPS high schools are enrolled in the Academy this school year.

Learning Scientists Bring Coding Basics to Museums

Learning Scientists Bring Coding Basics to Museums

Researchers are developing an interactive tabletop experience that teaches the basics of computer coding in collaboration with Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry as part of a national effort to bring computing out of the classroom and into informal learning spaces.

The program, called TuneTable, was developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Northwestern University to help students learn what computer programming is and to increase computer programming literacy among K–12 students in the U.S.

TuneTable is a stepping stone to a software program called EarSketch, which teaches Python and Javascript and is used in nearly 200 high schools across the country. As part of the project, Northwestern’s Mike Horn is designing a tablet version of the software called TunePad so museum visitors can keep tinkering with the code once they return home.

“The tablet app is a crucial connection point between what kids experience at the museum with TuneTable and what they learn in school with EarSketch,” said Horn, associate professor of learning sciences and director of the Tangible Interaction Design and Learning Laboratory (TIDAL).

Anna-Mari Jaatinen, principal of Siltamäki Primary School in Helsinki, observes students in the FUSE studio at Goudy Technology Academy in Chicago.

Finnish Educators Call FUSE An ‘Inspiration’

Schools in Finland are adopting the FUSE Studio Program because it promotes “well-learning” and reflects the goals of the country’s new core curriculum, Finnish educators said during a visit to Northwestern and local schools to watch the FUSE program in action.

Though Finnish schools are considered among the best in the world, teachers are facing new literacy challenges related to digitalization and 21st century skills, said Kristiina Kumpulainen, a professor of education at the University of Helsinki.

“FUSE is what everyday practices in schools should look like,” Kumpulainen said. “It’s an inspiration to us. And an exploration for us.” FUSE was co-created by Reed Stevens, professor of learning sciences.

Students, Seniors Mix in Adulthood and Aging Class
Photo By: Steve Anzaldi

Students, Seniors Mix in Adulthood and Aging Class

After studying the aging process in a classroom, undergraduates visited a retirement and senior living community to meet older adults who have weathered most of life’s transitions, including retirement, grandparenting, and widowhood.

The intergenerational exchange, held twice a year, brought together young adults in professor Regina Logan’s Adulthood and Aging class with elders from The Mather Evanston. The informal conversations over coffee, tea, and cookies often benefit both sides, Logan said.

For their final exams, students interviewed an adult over the age of 70; they also had the option of submitting their work to the Great Thanksgiving Listen, where it will be preserved at the Library of Congress.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to document the voices of two generations in relationship to each other,” said Logan, research assistant professor and the director of the Foley Longitudinal Study of Adulthood. “It’s a chance to create a community of students and elders both here in SESP and nationally.”