Monday, November 23, 2009

Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind : the case of New York City

Online Overview
Many states and school districts are implementing test-based requirements for promotion at key transitional points in students' schooling careers, thus ending the practice of “social promotion” — promoting students who have failed to meet academic standards and requirements for that grade. In 2003–2004, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), which oversees the largest public school system in the country, implemented a new test-based promotion policy for 3rd-grade students and later extended it to 5th, 7th, and 8th graders. The policy emphasized early identification of children at risk of being retained in grade and provision of instructional support services to these students. NYCDOE asked RAND to conduct an independent longitudinal evaluation of the 5th-grade promotion policy and to examine the outcomes for two cohorts of 3rd-grade students. The findings of that study, conducted between March 2006 and August 2009, provide a comprehensive picture of how the policy was implemented and factors affecting implementation; the impact of the policy on student academic and socioemotional outcomes; and the links between the policy's implementation and the outcomes of at-risk students. Two other publications in this series provide a review of the prevailing literature on retention and lessons learned about policy design from top-level administrators across the country.

Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf Summary | Link to Rand Record

Thursday, November 19, 2009

APA Exposed : Everything you always wanted to know about the APA format but were afraid to ask

Developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the online tutorial reflects 6th edition changes to APA's Publication Manual. The online tutorial is presented in the following short sections:

Introduction (7:08)

* Tutorial Features
* Tutorial Outline
* Why Use the APA format

Module 1: APA Formatting Basics (6:58)

* Spacing
* Margins
* Typeface and Font
* Unbiased Language
* Five-Heading System

Module 2: Citing Sources (10:49)

* Author-Date Method
* Direct Quotes
* Quotes from Electronic Sources
* Block Quotes

Module 3: Reference Citations in the Text (7:27)

* The Paragraph
* Two Authors
* Three to Five Authors
* Six or More Authors
* Studies I Didn't Read
* Lectures

Module 4: References (18:34)
* Two Entries by the Same Author
* APA Reference Style: Periodical (Journal)
* DOIs
* APA Reference Style: Book
* APA Reference Style: Book Chapter
* Online Documents
* PowerPoint Presentations

Source: Harvard School of Education

Link to tutorial site

United Nations Rule of Law Website

From About page:

The United Nations Rule of Law Website is a promotional and educational tool for practitioners and the general public. It seeks to inform users about the UN’s work in the field of rule of law, and its efforts to coordinate and strengthen system-wide approaches in this field. It is the central UN rule of law web-based resource, serving as a gateway to the rest of the UN’s related sites, and making information more widely accessible about UN rule of law issues and activities, and the various tools, documents and materials on the subject. The website is also an avenue for users to access other web resources on or related to rule of law, developed by the UN or external organizations.

The website features focus articles that describe UN rule of law engagement in countries, and major developments in the rule of law field. The UN’s approach to the emerging and critical rule of law issues that span the work of the Organization are explained in the crosscutting themes section. The interactive map provides highlights of current UN rule of law activities by region.

A key component of the website is the knowledge resources section. Its main feature is the United Nations Rule of Law Document Repository. The repository comprises core official and unofficial UN rule of law tools and materials: including UN norms and standards, resolutions, reports, guidance materials, training materials, and programming materials, lessons learned and evaluation. Users are also able to access additional practical rule of law resources, such as other databases, jobs, trainings, and practitioner networks.

Source: United Nations Rule of Law Resource and Coordination Group

Link to U.N. Rule of Law Website

2009 State of the World Population Report : Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climates

From the introduction:

Climate—the average of weather over time—is always changing, but never in known human experience more dramatically than it is likely to change in the coming century. For millennia, since civilizations arose from ancient farming societies, the earth's climate as a whole was relatively stable, with temperatures and patterns of rainfall that have supported human life and its expansion around the globe.

A growing body of evidence shows that recent climate change is primarily the result of human activity. The influence of human activity on climate change is complex. It is about what we consume, the types of energy we produce and use, whether we live in a city or on a farm, whether we live in a rich or poor country, whether we are young or old, what we eat, and even the extent to which women and men enjoy equal rights and opportunities. It is also about our growing numbers—approaching 7 billion.

As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme—and conceivably catastrophic. Population dynamics tell one part of a larger, more intricate story about the way some countries and people have pursued development and defined progress and about how others have had little say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Source: United Nations

Download full pdf report
| Link to UNFPA Online Overview

Diabetes Awareness and Knowledge Among Latinos: Does a Usual Source of Healthcare Matter?

To provide national prevalence estimates of usual source of healthcare (USHC), and examine the relationship between USHC and diabetes awareness and knowledge among Latinos using a modified Andersen model of healthcare access. Three thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine Latino (18-years or older) participants of the Pew Hispanic Center/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Hispanic/Latino Health survey from the 48 contiguous United States. Cross- sectional, stratified, random sample telephone interviews. Self-reported healthcare service use was examined in regression models that included a past-year USHC as the main predictor of diabetes awareness and knowledge. Anderson model predisposing and enabling factors were included in additional statistical models. Significant differences in USHC between Latino groups
were found with Mexican Americans having the lowest rates (59.7%). USHC was associated with significantly higher diabetes awareness and knowledge (OR=1.24; 95%CI=1.05-1.46) after accounting for important healthcare access factors. Men were significantly(OR=0.64; 95%CI=0.52-0.75) less informed about diabetes than women. We found important and previously unreported differences between Latinos with a current USHC provider, where the predominant group, Mexican Americans, are the least likely to have access to a USHC. USHC was associated with Latinos being better informed about diabetes; however, socioeconomic barriers limit the availability of this potentially valuable tool for reducing the risks and burden of diabetes, which is a major public health problem facing Latinos.

Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine [via eScholarship repository]

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| Link to eScholarship repository record

Who Benefits From Student Aid? The Economic Incidence of Tax-Based Federal Student Aid.

Federal student aid is designed to lower the costs of postsecondary attendance, working to ensure that higher education is widely accessible. The effectiveness of these programs depends crucially on the existence of offsetting price changes. Contrary to the intention of policymakers, I find that schools fully counteract the cost reduction of tax-based aid by lowering institutional aid dollar-for-dollar. This finding implies that colleges and universities capture the financial benefits of tax-based aid at the expense of eligible students and families.

Author: Nick Turner
Source: U.C. San Diego, Department of Economics [via eScholarship repository]

Download full pdf publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

Noncitizen Eligibility and Verification Issues in the Health Care Reform Legislation

From the Summary:

Health care reform legislation raises a significant set of complex issues, and among the thornier for policy makers are the noncitizen eligibility and verification issues. That the treatment of foreign nationals complicates health care reform legislation is not surprising given that reform of immigration policy poses its own constellation of controversial policy options. This report focuses on this nexus of immigration law and health care reform in the major health care reform bills that have received committee action.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Social Isolation and New Technology

From the online description:
This report adds new insights to an ongoing debate about the extent of social isolation in America. A widely-reported 2006 study argued that since 1985 Americans have become more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased. In particular, the study found that Americans have fewer close ties to those from their neighborhoods and from voluntary associations. Sociologists Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears suggest that new technologies, such as the internet and mobile phone, may play a role in advancing this trend. Specifically, they argue that the type of social ties supported by these technologies are relatively weak and geographically dispersed, not the strong, often locally-based ties that tend to be a part of peoples’ core discussion network. They depicted the rise of internet and mobile phones as one of the major trends that pulls people away from traditional social settings, neighborhoods, voluntary associations, and public spaces that have been associated with large and diverse core networks.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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| Link to online description

Religious Landscape Survey Data Release

From the Press Release:
Data files from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, are now available to the public.

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey included interviews with a representative sample of more than 35,000 U.S. adults. The survey examined religious affiliation, beliefs and practices as well as basic social and political attitudes. The large sample presents scholars and analysts with opportunities to analyze small population groups that most smaller surveys do not afford.

Source: Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life

Link to Pew data site

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2008-09

This First Look presents data from the Winter 2008-09 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), including data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2008 by primary function/occupational activity, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, salary class interval, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to online overview

Monday, November 02, 2009

Preliminary Analysis of the Affordable Health Care for America Act As Introduced in the House of Representatives on October 29

From the Congressional Budget office Director's blog:
Among other things, H.R. 3962 would establish a mandate for most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance; set up insurance “exchanges” through which certain individuals and families could receive federal subsidies to substantially reduce the cost of purchasing that coverage; significantly expand eligibility for Medicaid; substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services (relative to the growth rates projected under current law); impose an income tax surcharge on high-income individuals; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs.

Download full pdf report | Link to CBO

Equality in higher education: statistical report 2009

ECU's second annual report into equality across the higher education sector presents a selection of statistics relating to the gender, ethnicity, disability status and age of all staff and students in higher education. In a time of economic difficulties, it has never been more important for higher education institutions to be clear about ongoing, and in some cases growing, patterns of disadvantage across the sector.

The report reveals that much progress has been made with equality over the past five years, but there are still significant challenges ahead.

Building on last year's publication, this report provides further analysis of the challenges facing the sector, including combinations of equality characteristics, analysis of key trends over the past five years and pay gaps. The report aims to enable individual institutions to compare themselves against national trends to assess their own progress on equality.

Source: Equality Challenge Unit

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| Link to online abstract

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2009 : Trade-led Recovery and Beyond

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report is an annual publication prepared by staff of the Trade and Investment Division as a full in-house publication. The Report replaces the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review with its first issue in 2009. The theme of APTIR 2009 is: "trade-led recovery and beyond". This issue analyses the impact of the global economic crisis on trade and investment flows in and to the region and implications for trade policy. It provides a conceptual framework for trade policy which should contribute to achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It makes a case for the multilateral trading system as the prime international trade governance system and gives an overview of the latest developments in the Doha Round. This issue of the Report also calls for an expansion of intraregional trade and deeper regional integration for that purpose and discusses the role of regional trade agreements in that regard. The Report also emphasizes the role of trade facilitation and needs for trade finance and explores issues related to business survival and development in time of crisis and beyond, including the development of regional value chains and the need for business to adopt principles related to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

From the summary:

Although recent data indicate the large industrialized economies may have reached bottom and are beginning to recover, for the most part, unemployment is still rising. Numerous small banks and households still face huge problems in restoring their balance sheets, and unemployment has combined with sub-prime loans to keep home foreclosures at a high rate. Nearly all industrialized countries and many emerging and developing nations have announced economic stimulus and/or financial sector rescue packages, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). Several countries have resorted to borrowing from the International Monetary Fund as a last resort. The crisis has exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, demonstrated how interconnected and interdependent economies are today, and has posed vexing policy dilemmas.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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| Link to online abstract.

The Impact of Inequality for Same-Sex Partners in Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans.

From Executive Summary:
This report analyzes the impact of unequal treatment of same-sex partners in the context of retirement plans and estimates the cost for employers of adopting a policy of equal treatment. The focus of this report is retirement income rather than health care provision for retirees and their families. Our goal is to address several key issues for same-sex couples as they plan for retirement. We find that same-sex couples face inequalities when it comes to their ability to accumulate wealth, plan for their futures, and pass on wealth.

Source: UC Los Angeles: The Williams Institute. Retrieved from:

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Social Movements and the Journalistic Field: A Multi-Institutional Approach to Tactical Dominance in the LGBT Movement

Social movements typically consist of several diverse organizations, with each using subtly different tactics to advance a similar, but not equivalent, vision of social change. The landscape of powerful social institutions in which a movement is situated affects which tactics become dominant among these organizations (and thus, within the movement) and which tactics are sidelined, discredited, or not even considered. The mainstream media is one example of a social institution that may have such a constitutive effect on social movements. When the mainstream news media – conceptualized here as a journalistic field – produce more substantial coverage of a given movement tactic, they may increase the tactic’s legitimacy, permitting organizations that perform the tactic to occupy a more dominant position within the movement. In this paper, I analyze media coverage of LGBT movement activity in a sample of mainstream newspapers from 1985-2008 to examine whether, in its coverage of the movement for LGBT rights, the mainstream media have focused on the LGBT movement’s legal tactics, organizations, and framing, and have downplayed other types of movement tactics and framing. This paper expands upon empirical studies from the communications and sociolegal literatures, which find that litigation oftenattracts publicity,
whereas protest activity rarely receives any substantive news coverage. The data presented here will likely have implications for the new, multi-institutional approach to social movement theory. They should help to clarify the ways in which tactics, when amplified by media coverage, influence the ascendancy of specific strategies and organizations within a social movement.

Source: Institute for Social Change, UC Berkeley

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Divided Fates: The State, Race, and Adaptation of Korean Immigrants in Japan and the United States

From the Introduction:

The content of this paper is based on a book manuscript that I am currently completing, which compares Korean diasporic groups in Japan and the United States. In my book project, I highlight the contrasting adaptation of Koreans in Japan and the United States, and illuminate how the destinies of immigrants who originally belonged to the same national collectivity diverged, depending upon destinations and how they were received in a certain state and society within particular historical contexts.

Source: Institute of Advanced Study| Kazuko Suzuki

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Incentives and Creativity: Evidence from the Academic Life Sciences

Despite its presumed role as an engine of economic growth, we know surprisingly little about the drivers of scientific creativity. In this paper, we exploit key differences across funding streams within the academic life sciences to estimate the impact of incentives on the rate and direction of scientific exploration. Specifically, we study the careers of investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which tolerates early failure, rewards long-term success, and gives its appointees great freedom to experiment; and grantees from the National Institute of Health, which are subject to short review cycles, pre-defined deliverables, and renewal policies unforgiving of failure. Using a combination of propensity-score weighting and difference-in-differences estimation strategies, we find that HHMI investigators produce high-impact papers at a much higher rate than two control groups of similarly-accomplished NIH-funded scientists. Moreover, the direction of their research changes in ways that suggest the program induces them to explore novel lines of inquiry.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Moral Freaks: Lawyers' Ethics in Academic Perspective

Much recent academic discussion exaggerates the distance between plausible legal ethics and ordinary morality. This essay criticizes three prominent strands of discussion: one drawing on the moral philosophy of personal virtue, one drawing on legal philosophy, and a third drawing on utilitarianism of the law-and-economics variety. The discussion uses as a central reference point the “Mistake-of-Law” scenario in which a lawyer must decide whether to rescue an opposing party from the unjust consequences of his own lawyer’s error. I argue that academic efforts to shore up the professional inclination against rescue are not plausible. I conclude by recommending an older jurisprudential tradition in which legal ethics is more convergent with ordinary morality.

Source: Forthcoming Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (2010) [via nellco legal scholarship repository]

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| Link to online abstract