Research News Archive

Claudia Haase's Research Highlights the Bright Side of Aging

Claudia Haase's Research Highlights the Bright Side of Aging

As spouses age, they show more positive emotional behaviors, such as humor, and fewer negative ones, such as defensiveness, SESP assistant professor Claudia Haase's studies show. She also finds that as people grow older, their social and emotional lives improve. Some age particularly well, and DNA provides an explanation.

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Jon Guryan Finds Prize Payments Induce Savings Behavior

Jon Guryan Finds Prize Payments Induce Savings Behavior

Americans are more likely to save if they have the option of winning a prize when they make a deposit. That’s what SESP associate professor Jon Guryan found when he compared the use of prize-linked savings accounts with standard interest-bearing accounts.

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Cynthia Coburn Works to Expand Research in Early Math Education

Cynthia Coburn Works to Expand Research in Early Math Education

Because scientific-based research on the topic is lacking, SESP professor Cynthia Coburn is assisting in an effort to develop new researchers and foster research on young children’s math learning. The DREME network will conduct innovative research and lead key projects on important early math topics

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Atlantic Quotes Jim Rosenbaum, SESP Alums in 'Will Ending Segregation End Poverty?'

<em>Atlantic</em> Quotes Jim Rosenbaum, SESP Alums in 'Will Ending Segregation End Poverty?'

An Atlantic article on "Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty?" includes interviews about housing policy with professor James Rosenbaum and HDSP alumni Ruby Mendenhall, Stephanie DeLuca and Susan Popkin. Rosenbaum comments on his study showing the successes of relocating African American families to white suburbs.

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David Uttal Discusses Program That Improves Students' Spatial Skills

David Uttal Discusses Program That Improves Students' Spatial Skills

Northwestern University’s David H. Uttal discussed a program that has enhanced students’ learning at a variety of levels, from basic spatial reasoning to solving complex problems involving the coordination of numerous variables, such as those involved in climate change, as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Jose, California.

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New York Times on Jon Guryan's Study: Tutoring to Close Math Gap 'Never Too Late'

<em>New York Times</em> on Jon Guryan's Study: Tutoring to Close Math Gap 'Never Too Late'

Study by SESP professor Jon Guryan and his colleagues shows disadvantaged boys who received intensive tutoring performed substantially better on standardized math tests, reducing the usual black-white test score gap by a third, and improved a host of other school outcomes too.

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Education Week Features Jim Rosenbaum's Research on Community College Success

<em>Education Week</em> Features Jim Rosenbaum's Research on Community College Success

Education Week reports professor James Rosenbaum's recent research on community colleges. It shows access is no longer a major problem, but helping students complete is the challenge. Many students are dropping out before getting any credential.

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Hearing Human Speech Promotes Babies' Learning in Many Ways

Hearing Human Speech Promotes Babies' Learning in Many Ways

A new study by Northwestern professor Sandra Waxman reveals that listening to human speech has consequences for infants that go beyond learning words.

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Heavier Newborns Show Academic Edge in School

Heavier Newborns Show Academic Edge in School

Birth weight makes a difference to a child’s future academic performance, according to new research that found heavier newborns do better in elementary and middle school than infants with lower birth weights. Led by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy, the study raises an intriguing question: Does a fetus benefit from a longer stay in the mother’s womb?

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FiveThirtyEight Reports Jon Guryan's New Research on Summer Reading

FiveThirtyEight Reports Jon Guryan's New Research on Summer Reading

Associated professor Jonathan Guryan conducted a randomized experiment of a summer reading program with second and third graders. It found that sustained, focused reading — the kind which girls did more often — accelerated reading skills more than the number of books read.

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German Scholars Collaborate on Human Development Research with Claudia Haase

German Scholars Collaborate on Human Development Research with Claudia Haase

The questions of how nature and nurture interact and how to promote new learning among older adults spark wide interest. Assistant professor Claudia M. Haase is exploring both these questions through international research, working with two scholars from Germany, Nina Alexander of the University of Dresden and Martina Reitmeier of Technical University Munich.

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Doug Medin's New Study Explores Cultural Side of Science Communication

Doug Medin's New Study Explores Cultural Side of Science Communication

Professor Douglas Medin's new study explores the cultural side of science communication and how to present science information to diverse groups without polarization. Medin suggests communicating science in a culturally neutral way.

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New York Times: David Figlio's Study Shows Heavier Babies Do Better in School

<em>New York Times:</em> David Figlio's Study Shows Heavier Babies Do Better in School

The New York Times features a study by professors David Figlio and Jon Guryan showing that babies who were heavier at birth scored higher on math and reading tests from third to eighth grades. The study calls into question medical interventions that time births earlier for the convenience of the parents.

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Increasing Teacher Effort: Kirabo Jackson's Study Compares Managerial Control with Performance Pay

Increasing Teacher Effort: Kirabo Jackson's Study Compares Managerial Control with Performance Pay

Paying teachers according to student test-score improvements is gaining traction, but is there a better way to boost teacher effort? In a new working paper SESP associate professor Kirabo Jackson and Henry Schneider of Cornell University tackle the issue by being among the first to evaluate the role of managerial control in improving employee performance and comparing it with performance pay.

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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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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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Pathways to Health and Well-Being across the Life Span

Pathways to Health and Well-Being across the Life Span

Research on human development shows that how you live your life now can have enormous consequences for how you will fare decades later. Human development researchers at SESP investigate development with the goal of promoting health, happiness and success across the life span.

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A Better Prescription ... Improving Health Literacy for All Patients

A Better Prescription ... Improving Health Literacy for All Patients

Today, patients must read challenging information, make sense of numbers, do calculations, master varied technologies and confront complex drug labels. Together with SESP associate professor of learning sciences David Rapp, Wolf is researching practical solutions to help patients manage everyday health care challenges.

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Kids' Health and Food Stamps: Is There a Connection?

Kids' Health and Food Stamps: Is There a Connection?

Associate professor Diane Schanzenbach is determined to track down the policies that are most effective for keeping kids healthy. Food stamps are the nation’s primary weapon for fighting hunger and poor nutrition, and her research answers the question “Is spending on food stamps a cost-effective policy for health?”

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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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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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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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