Research News Archive

Grant Funds New Network for Public Science Education and Outreach

Grant Funds New Network for Public Science Education and Outreach

Northwestern University is part of a new multi-institutional initiative to encourage education and outreach efforts that extend the impact of federal scientific research. The National Science Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to a five-year initiative called the Broader Impacts and Outreach Network for Institutional Collaboration (BIONIC).

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Sunshine State News: David Figlio's Report Shows Tax Scholarship Students Keep Up with Peers Nationally

<em>Sunshine State News:</em> David Figlio's Report Shows Tax Scholarship Students Keep Up with Peers Nationally

Professor David Figlio's new study shows low-income students participating in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program are performing at the same level as their peers nationally, according to Sunshine State News.

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How Children Categorize Living Things

How Children Categorize Living Things

Linguistic and cultural forces shape children's understanding of the natural world. In a study conducted by Andrea Taverna with professors Sandra Waxman and Douglas Medin, the responses of children from three different cultural communities in Argentina to what is living differed, offering a glimpse of how linguistic, cultural and experiential forces shape understanding of the natural world.

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Kirabo Jackson Finds Increased School Spending Helps Poor Kids

Kirabo Jackson Finds Increased School Spending Helps Poor Kids

New research by SESP associate professor Kirabo Jackson shows that increases in K-12 school spending lead to better outcomes for children living in poverty. His exhaustive research investigated four decades’ worth of data on the impact of court-mandated changes in school finance.

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Northwestern Partners on New Center to Study Education Leaders' Use of Research

Northwestern Partners on New Center to Study Education Leaders' Use of Research

The Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education has awarded nearly $5 million to the University of Colorado Boulder, the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University to create a new center that will study how educational leaders — including school district supervisors and principals — use research when making decisions and what can be done to make research findings more useful and relevant for those leaders.

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Doctoral Student Elizabeth Dyer Awarded NAE/Spencer Fellowship

Doctoral Student Elizabeth Dyer Awarded NAE/Spencer Fellowship

Elizabeth Dyer, a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences program at SESP, was awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for the coming academic year. Only 30 fellows were chosen from more than 600 applications from students at about 100 graduate institutions.

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Cynthia Coburn Relays Education Policy Research in Chile

Cynthia Coburn Relays Education Policy Research in Chile

“New policies should focus on educating teachers,” stated the headline of an interview with SESP professor Cynthia Coburn in El Mercurio, the primary newspaper of Santiago, Chile. Coburn was in Chile last week to give a public lecture as the Chair of Educational Change at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago.

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Doug Medin Study Contrasts Native American and Non-Native Storybooks

Doug Medin Study Contrasts Native American and Non-Native Storybooks

Culture shapes U.S. classroom learning in many ways, with the primary but often unnoticed influence being European-American culture, according to professor Douglas Medin. He and his co-researchers shone a light on one example of culture influencing science thinking by comparing children’s stories written by both Native American and non-Native authors.

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Washington Post: Diane Schanzenbach's Study Shows Class Size Matters a Lot

<em>Washington Post:</em> Diane Schanzenbach's Study Shows Class Size Matters a Lot

A blog by Washington Post education reporter states that a new review by SESP associate professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of the major research conducted on class size "makes clear that class size matters, and it matters a lot." Schanzenbach's report was recently published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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David Figlio's Research Finds Infant Health Has Long-Term Impact on Education

David Figlio's Research Finds Infant Health Has Long-Term Impact on Education

In a recently published study, professor David Figlio and his colleagues discovered that poor infant health, as indicated by low birth weight, reduces a child’s educational attainment. When the researchers compared the progress from birth through middle school of 1.3 million children, including 14,000 twin pairs, they found that low birth weight had a consistent impact.

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Brian Reiser Co-Authors National Report for New K-12 Science Assessments

Brian Reiser Co-Authors National Report for New K-12 Science Assessments

As a member of a National Research Council committee reviewing U.S. science education for grades K-12, professor Brian Reiser co-authored a report recommending new types of assessments for science. These assessments will be needed to measure student learning once the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are implemented, the report says.

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Cynthia Coburn Discusses Research-Practice Partnerships at Youth Policy Forum

Cynthia Coburn Discusses Research-Practice Partnerships at Youth Policy Forum

Professor Cynthia Coburn discussed research-practice partnerships during an American Youth Policy Forum webinar entitled “Research, Policy and Practice: The Role of Intermediaries in Promoting Evidence-Based Decisions” on December 5. Listen to the webinar here.

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Jim Spillane Initiates Common Core Research Conferences

Jim Spillane Initiates Common Core Research Conferences

Professor James Spillane received a grant from the American Education Research Association (AERA) to plan two conferences on “Policy and Politics of the Common Core.” Conferences will be planned for February and November of 2014.

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Diane Schanzenbach Discusses Long-Term Payoff of Food Stamps on NPR

Diane Schanzenbach Discusses Long-Term Payoff of Food Stamps on NPR

Associate professor Diane Schanzenbach tells Philadelphia station WHYY about her study of the long-term impact of food stamps. As adults, people exposed to food stamps as children are healthier and less likely to rely on the safety network.

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Claudia Haase's New Study: Wives Matter More in Calming Marital Conflict

Claudia Haase's New Study: Wives Matter More in Calming Marital Conflict

A new study co-authored by SESP assistant professor Claudia Haase found that, when it comes to keeping the peace, it’s more important for wives than for husbands to calm down after a heated argument. The husbands’ emotional regulation had little or no bearing on long-term marital satisfaction.

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Kirabo Jackson's Study Shows Teachers Learn from Peers in Important Ways

Kirabo Jackson's Study Shows Teachers Learn from Peers in Important Ways

Teachers who have more effective colleagues in their school are more effective teachers themselves, a study by associate professor Kirabo Jackson shows. Peer learning is the reason, according to Jackson.

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Lindsay Chase-Lansdale’s Newest Two-Generation Project Focuses on Head Start

Lindsay Chase-Lansdale’s Newest Two-Generation Project Focuses on Head Start

Professor Lindsay Chase-Lansdale’s research has shown that two-generation education — an approach targeting parents and children simultaneously — is a promising anti-poverty strategy for families. With a new federal grant, Chase-Lansdale will investigate the impact of a dual-generation education program that involves Head Start.

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Claudia Haase’s New Study Links DNA to Marital Happiness

Claudia Haase’s New Study Links DNA to Marital Happiness

A new study by SESP assistant professor Claudia Haase and her fellow researchers found a genetic link to marital happiness. A gene involved in the regulation of serotonin can predict how much our emotions affect our relationships, according to this study.

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David Figlio Presents Child Development Research in Colombia

David Figlio Presents Child Development Research in Colombia

The School of Education and Social Policy will reach out to a new country when professor David Figlio addresses the International Research Seminar on Educational Quality in Colombia next month. Figlio will discuss his new child development research in a talk in Bogota entitled “The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children's Cognitive Development.”

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Michael Wolf's New Study: Overhauling Confusing Prescription Drug Instructions

Michael Wolf's New Study: Overhauling Confusing Prescription Drug Instructions

Associate professor Michael Wolf is collaborating with Walgreens, Alliance of Chicago community health centers and Merck on a study to provide standard, clear instructions on prescription medicine labels so patients don’t make mistakes taking their daily medications. His earlier research shows patients are confused by medication instructions.

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Good News about Reducing the Achievement Gap

Good News about Reducing the Achievement Gap

Working paper by associate professor Jonathan Guryan and his colleagues describes the success of an intensive dual-pronged intervention The report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) challenges the conventional wisdom that it is too late to improve the academic outcomes of at-risk students once they have reached adolescence.

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Emma Adam Zeroes In on Teen Stress with Better Measures

Emma Adam Zeroes In on Teen Stress with Better Measures

Parents and teachers know that stress affects kids, but how does it become toxic? To zero in on exactly how daily and long-term stress affect children and teens, professor Emma Adam is developing comprehensive measures of adolescent stress.

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David Figlio, Morton Schapiro Find Learning Edge for Lecturers

David Figlio, Morton Schapiro Find Learning Edge for Lecturers

A new study by School of Education and Social Policy professor David Figlio and Northwestern president Morton Schapiro finds that non-tenure-track faculty boost student learning gains. The study compares the effects of lecturers with faculty who are tenured or on a tenure track on student interest and learning in a subject.

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Diane Schanzenbach Finds Universal Preschool Provides Gains for Disadvantaged Children

Diane Schanzenbach Finds Universal Preschool Provides Gains for Disadvantaged Children

A new study by SESP associate professor Diane Schanzenbach finds that when states have universal public preschools, low-income children are more likely to enroll in preschool, spend quality time with their mothers and perform better on tests as late as eighth grade. In higher-income families, children are likely to shift from private to public preschools.

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Jon Guryan Studies How to Prevent Juvenile Delinquency

Jon Guryan Studies How to Prevent Juvenile Delinquency

Associate professor Jonathan Guryan is exploring the underlying problems behind youth delinquency and violence. His current study of delinquency has found that training in cognitive behavioral therapy helps to prevent repeat offenses.

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Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Receives Grant for Evanston Two-Generation Project

Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Receives Grant for Evanston Two-Generation Project

A $100,000 grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute will jump-start an innovative two-generation education initiative for low-income parents and their young children. It draws upon award-winning research by Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and from the EvanstonComm

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David Figlio Leads National Network for Harnessing Large Data Sets

David Figlio Leads National Network for Harnessing Large Data Sets

SESP professor David Figlio, director of the Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research, is leading a project to launch a major national network of scholars, policymakers and administrators to build and use large data sets for education research. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Brian Reiser Co-Heads Innovative Project for Next-Generation Science Teaching Models

Brian Reiser Co-Heads Innovative Project for Next-Generation Science Teaching Models

Professor Brian Reiser, a leader in the effort to improve science teaching in schools, is helping to develop an innovative research-based teacher learning resource for K-12 science education called the Next Generation Science Exemplar.

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Opening Life Opportunities with Two-Generation Education

Opening Life Opportunities with Two-Generation Education

Two-generation programs have taken the spotlight recently as an innovative way to meet the educational needs of low-income parents and their children. These twin-focus programs simultaneously provide children with high-quality early education and parents with job training. The overall goal is to help families build greater stability in their economic circumstances and family life. Professor P. Lindsay Chase- Lansdale is leading the charge.

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James Rosenbaum’s Research Helps Steer Colleges

James Rosenbaum’s Research Helps Steer Colleges

Research by professor James Rosenbaum is having impact well beyond the confines of academia. His work is evident in a new community college in New York, as well as a nationwide movement to increase college completion rates.

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Simone Ispa-Landa’s Study Shows Urban Teens Affirming Their Parents’ Rules

Simone Ispa-Landa’s Study Shows Urban Teens Affirming Their Parents’ Rules

In a study of parental monitoring, assistant professor Simone Ispa-Landa interviewed urban African American teenagers to learn how they make sense of their parents’ rules. In contrast to earlier studies of adolescents, the teenagers in her study affirmed their parents’ rules as reasonable.

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Cynthia Coburn Backs Research-Practice Partnerships as ‘Game-Changers’ for Schools

Cynthia Coburn Backs Research-Practice Partnerships as ‘Game-Changers’ for Schools

“Research-practice partnerships are a promising strategy for improving schools and districts,” SESP professor Cynthia Coburn says. In a new policy paper she and her co-authors describe these new types of relationships between researchers and school districts that can strengthen schools.

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Kirabo Jackson Finds Non-Cognitive Skills Add to Teachers’ Impact

Kirabo Jackson Finds Non-Cognitive Skills Add to Teachers’ Impact

Many experts question the value of tests alone to assess a teacher’s impact. A new study by assistant professor Kirabo Jackson adds weight to that view by showing that teachers influence important non-cognitive skills linked to adult success.

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Uri Wilensky Wins New Grants for Science Learning Technology Projects

Uri Wilensky Wins New Grants for Science Learning Technology Projects

Professor Uri Wilensky has received National Science Foundation grants for two major new projects aimed at helping students learn science better with cutting-edge technologies. One project, called InquirySpace, will develop a web-based platform for middle and high school students to experience scientific inquiry in a deep and authentic way. A second project will design and study computer models for high school students to learn evolutionary biology and computational thinking.

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Doing Research to Help Solve School Problems

Doing Research to Help Solve School Problems

Associate professor Jonathan Guryan and a team of investigators are providing hundreds of elementary and middle school students with adult mentors, with the goal of increasing attendance and student engagement at school. The idea is to transform low graduation rates into new commitments to learning.

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Mapping How Young People Learn

Mapping How Young People Learn

It's no secret that when young children play, it's often serious business for them, helping them comprehend how the adult world works. What may be surprising is exactly how learning takes hold before kids ever enter a classroom. David Uttal, professor of education and psychology, is known for inventive research on how young children acquire knowledge. Spatial learning is a prime area of research for Uttal.

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Research by David Uttal Underscores Impact of Training in Spatial Thinking

Research by David Uttal Underscores Impact of Training in Spatial Thinking

Training is effective for improving spatial skills, Northwestern researchers found through the first comprehensive analysis of studies on such interventions. Improving spatial skills is important because children who do well at spatial tasks are likely to achieve highly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Mike Horn: Designing Interactive Games for Museums

Mike Horn: Designing Interactive Games for Museums

Assistant professor Michael Horn is known for the interactive exhibits he designs for museums. In his quest to determine what makes a museum exhibit engaging and educational, he and his colleagues designed and tested a tabletop touchscreen game to help museum visitors understand evolution and the diversity of life.

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'Ghetto,' 'Thug,' 'Aggie': How Gender Influences School Experiences

'Ghetto,' 'Thug,' 'Aggie': How Gender Influences School Experiences

Assistant professor Simone Ispa-Landa studies inequality in education from a variety of perspectives. She was not surprised, therefore, when her research found that inner-city African American students who were bused to affluent suburban schools faced bias and stereotyping.

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Do Single-Sex Schools Improve Learning?

Do Single-Sex Schools Improve Learning?

Since little solid evidence exists on how single-sex schooling affects achievement, assistant professor Kirabo Jackson set out to study the question. He used unique data from Trinidad and Tobago, , where in contrast to the United States almost all single-sex schools are public.

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Adding Women to the Engineering Equation

Adding Women to the Engineering Equation

Research by professor Lois Trautvetter documents that experiences with a positive learning community support the academic growth of female scientists. In particular, Trautvetter is focused on increasing the number of female and historically underrepresented engineering students at undergraduate institutions nationwide.

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Kirabo Jackson Finds College-Prep Incentive Programs Have Long-Term Effects

Kirabo Jackson Finds College-Prep Incentive Programs Have Long-Term Effects

Research by assistant professor Kirabo Jackson shows the effectiveness of incentive-based college preparatory programs for disadvantaged students. He found that a cash rewards program for high school students and teachers in inner-city schools boosted the students’ college attendance and employment.

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Reed Stevens Clarifies How Kids and Adults Learn Together with Media

Reed Stevens Clarifies How Kids and Adults Learn Together with Media

In a new report entitled “The New Co-Viewing,” professor Reed Stevens describes the kind of shared engagement with media that is most productive for adults and kids. The report identifies seven principles for fostering the ideal type of joint experiences with media.

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From High to Lower Poverty

From High to Lower Poverty

Disadvantaged community environments contribute to extreme obesity and diabetes, according to a new study by associate professor Emma Adam and Thom McDade.

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Fay Lomax Cook's Survey Sheds Light on Richest 1%

Fay Lomax Cook's Survey Sheds Light on Richest 1%

A Northwestern University pilot study by professor Fay Lomax Cook and Benjamin Page sheds light on philanthropic and political behaviors of the so-called one percent.

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James Rosenbaum’s Studies Find Ways to Help Disadvantaged Students Access College

James Rosenbaum’s Studies Find Ways to Help Disadvantaged Students Access College

Recent studies by professor James Rosenbaum help to chart ways to assist disadvantaged students with access to college. His research identifies the cultural barriers in the college process that give low-income students trouble and the ways that new types of counseling can assist them.

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Positive Teens Become Healthy Adults, Study Finds

Positive Teens Become Healthy Adults, Study Finds

Teenagers who remain happy and positive during the tumultuous teenage years report better general health when they are adults, according to a new study by Lindsay Hoyt Till, Emma Adam, Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Thomas McDade.

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Jonathan Guryan Assesses Summer Reading to Close Skills Gap

Jonathan Guryan Assesses Summer Reading to Close Skills Gap

In an effort to investigate how to narrow the achievement gap between students of high and low socioeconomic status, SESP associate professor Jonathan Guryan is helping to lead a new study of the effectiveness of a summer reading program.

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Kirabo Jackson Finds Teacher Match, Student Pay Spur Achievement

Kirabo Jackson Finds Teacher Match, Student Pay Spur Achievement

Looking at the impact on student achievement, new research by assistant professor Kirabo Jackson investigates the importance of the match between teachers and schools, as well as the effect of financial incentives such as paying students for high test scores.

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Brian Reiser on National Panel That Issues New Research-Based Science Education Framework

Brian Reiser on National Panel That Issues New Research-Based Science Education Framework

SESP professor Brian Reiser is a member of the committee that prepared the National Research Council framework to guide new national standards for science education.

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