Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy



Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Community Action Project of Tulsa, "CareerAdvance," $1,080,000.

Jeannette Colyvas, William T. Grant Foundation, "The Role of Developmental Research Evidence in the Juvenile Justice System,"

David Figlio, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," $348,112.

Jonathan Guryan, Smith Richardson Foundation, "Reducing Juvenile Delinquency by Building Non-Cognitive Skills," $50,000.

Larry Hedges, Institute of Education Sciences, "Continuing Support for Development of Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness," $571,487.

Kemi Jona, Hewlett-Packard, "Science Lab Server Farms," $150,000.

Jelani Mandara, National Institutes of Health, "Parenting Prevention- Intervention for Mothers of African American Adolescent Males, $398,407.

Brian Reiser, National Science Foundation, "Supporting Scientific Practices in Elementary and Middle School Classrooms," $3,481,430.

Rosemary Russ, National Academy of Education, "Examining Discourse Interactions in Clinical Interviews about Students' Intuitive Science Knowledge," $55,000.

Diane Schanzenbach, Smith Richardson Foundation, "Assessing the Impacts on Students of Closing Persistently Failing Schools," $54,788.

Miriam Sherin, Rosemary Russ and Penelope Peterson, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, "Developing a Video Club Curriculum," $200,000.

Uri Wilensky and David Figlio, National Science Foundation, "Enabling Modeling and Simulation- Based Science in the Classroom," $2,795,042.


Lindsay Chase-Lansdale won the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children award for 2011 given by the Society for Research in Child Development.

Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon made presentations at Fudan University, East China Normal University and Shanghai Normal University, all in Shanghai.

Jody Kretzmann received an honorary doctoral degree from Valparaiso University, where he delivered the commencement address.

David Rapp was named a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He also won the Tom Trabasso Young Investigator Award from the Society for Text and Discourse.

James Spillane gave the keynote address, "Challenges in Educational Leadership," for the 11th Annual Congreso Internacional Universitario de Organizacion de Instituciones Educativas via videolink to Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.

Carol Lee Named Tarry Professor

Carol Lee Photo by Andrew Campbell

Learning sciences professor Carol Lee, an internationally known education researcher, was named the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy. Northwestern President Morton Schapiro awarded Lee a medal at her investiture ceremony on December 9, where she delivered a talk on "An Ecological and Cultural Framework for Understanding Human Learning and Development: My Border Crossing Journey in SESP."

As a leading scholar and teacher, Lee has made important contributions to education focusing on the cultural contexts affecting learning. "She developed a theory of cultural modeling that draws on prior knowledge that children from underserved neighborhoods have," Dean Penelope Peterson notes. Lee taught in both public and private schools before assuming a university career, and she co-founded African-centered charter schools in Chicago.

She is the past president of the American Educational Research Association, a member of the National Academy of Education, and a fellow of the National Conference of Research on Language and Literacy. She is also the author of Culture, Literacy and Learning and Signifying as a Scaffold for Literary Interpretation.

Diane Schanzenbach
Photo by Ray Carson

Diane Schanzenbach Sees Long-Term Impact of Class Size, Kindergarten

By tracking students from kindergarten through age 30, associate professor Diane Schanzenbach learned the long-term worth of small classes and good kindergarten teachers. She and her fellow researchers followed up a major research project from the 1980s that tracked 11,500 students in 79 schools from kindergarten to third grade.

Now that the children in the study are nearly 30 years old, Schanzenbach and her colleagues found that the students who were in smaller classes of 13 to 17, compared with classes of 22 to 25, show better academic and personal outcomes throughout their schooling and beyond. For example, they are more likely to go to college, get married and buy houses, notes Schanzenbach.

Likewise, Schanzenbach and her colleagues at Harvard University and California-Berkeley found that students who learned more in kindergarten earned more as young adults. For every percentile their test scores increased during kindergarten, students earned about an extra $100 a year more at age 27. Students who learned more in kindergarten were also more likely to go to college and save for retirement.

"These findings demonstrate the lifelong impact of having a high-quality early childhood education," says Schanzenbach.

David Figlio
Photo by Leslie Nordby

David Figlio's Study Links Accountability to Teachers Quitting

How do changes in school ratings affect teachers' job changes? In the first study to trace the impact of school accountability on teachers, professor David Figlio found that a higher-than-average number of teachers fled schools that experienced a drop in state ratings.

Examining the accountability system for Florida schools, he found that in 60 schools labeled failing 30 percent of the teachers left — frequently for higher-rated schools close by. This percentage contrasts with the usual 15 percent turnover rate. Moreover, the best teachers in the school were among those likely to leave.


Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon and Megan Laverty (Eds.), "Listening: An Exploration of Philosophical Traditions," special issue of Educational Theory (2011).

J. Wilt, K. S. Cox and Dan McAdams, "Exploring the Relationships between Eriksonian Developmental Scripts and Interpersonal Adjustment," Journal of Adult Development (2010); K. J. Hanek, B. Olson and McAdams, "Political Orientation and the Psychology of Christian Prayer," International Journal for the Psychology of Religion (2011).

The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Family and Communities

John McKnight and Peter Block, The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Family and Communities (2010).

J. R. Sparks and David Rapp, "Discourse Processing — Examining Our Everyday Language Experiences," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science (2010).

Mathematics Teacher Noticing: Seeing through Teachers’ Eyes

Miriam Sherin, V. R. Jacobs and R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics Teacher Noticing: Seeing through Teachers' Eyes (2011).

James Spillane and K. Healey, "Conceptualizing School Leadership and Management from a Distributed Perspective," The Elementary School Journal (2010).

David Uttal, "Learning Fine-Grained and Category Information in Navigable Real-World Space,"Memory and Cognition (2010).