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TC's Equity Research a Presence at AERA

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Published: 5/29/2007 11:44:00 AM

Teachers College made a significant contribution to the body of research on educational equity at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting this April.

The following is a partial list of presentations by Teachers College faculty, students and staff. Where possible, links are provided to the full papers or presentations.

Dawn Arno, Director, Teachers College Education Zone Partnership

"A Validation Study for the Reading Buddies Survey" (Download paper as PDF)

The Teachers College Reading Buddies program provides one-on-one tutorial for third graders attending public schools in Harlem who had previously scored in the bottom quartile of their class on the English Assessment level. The tutees receive reading remediation for 25 minutes a day, five days a week, throughout the school year. The Reading Buddies are Teachers College students who attend initial training workshops, prior to their field placement, to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively work with school children. This paper documents preliminary findings of a survey created to evaluate the tutees' literacy progression, based on the observations of the Buddies themselves. The survey addresses issues such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Gayle Allen, doctoral student, Department of Curriculum and Teaching

"Teachers and Web 2.0 Technologies: Perceptions and Transformations"

This qualitative case study focused on five K-12 teachers who use Web 2.0 technologies (Web logs, wikis, podcasts and RSS feeds) in their practice. The purpose was to examine teachers' perceptions of their experiences with these technologies by analyzing interview, email, reflective activity, Web log, wiki, podcast and RSS feed data over six months. Several teachers underwent either a sudden or gradual transformative learning experience with these tools with regard to their teacher roles in and/or out of the classroom. Several participants contended that online learning communities, via Web log or podcast, provided timely, individualized professional development. Results can inform school technology purchasing, teacher professional development, teacher education programs and qualitative research methods.

Xiaodong Lin (Associate Professor of Technology and Education; Chair, AERA Committee of International Scholarship and Research)

"Enhancing American Educational Research through International Collaboration"

This presentation was designed to focus educators from around the world on mutually beneficial opportunities for international collaborative research. It included an examination of how different countries prioritize their educational policies towards math and science education and related efforts in order to improve their teacher work forces in these areas; how different countries make use of educational research findings and international research collaboration to improve their own math and science literacy; and existing formats and channels for promoting international collaboration, as well as barriers to that process.

Matthew Pittinsky, Ph.D candidate, Sociology and Education  

"Teacher Expectations as a Classmate Effect"

This paper analyzes a specific case of "classmate effects" by using social network analysis to test whether a teacher's expectations for any given student are significantly influenced by the teacher's expectations of the student's classmates -- particularly those classmates with whom she perceives the student to be friends. Research generally assumes that a teacher develops her expectations based on each student's achieved or ascribed characteristics.  Few studies analyze the existence of a classmate effect on teacher academic expectations, above and beyond the individual student. Pittinsky tests his hypothesis by formulating both regression-based and social network evolution models, using longitudinal sociometric (objective and cognitive), social-psychological and achievement data collected in four eighth-grade science classes taught by the same teacher. 

Charles Tocci, Ed.D candidate, Curriculum and Teaching; Research Associate, NCREST

"It takes a nexus: Supporting inquiry-based instruction in small high schools (with Elizabeth Johnson)"

This paper describes a "nexus of supports" necessary to successfully initiate and sustain inquiry in small schools. It begins with an analysis of classroom-level, inquiry-based instruction. From this analysis it moves outward to understand the school-level conditions which hinder or support inquiry approaches in classrooms.  This paper draws on multiple perspectives in order to develop images of inquiry in practice and describe a nexus of school-level conditions necessary for successful sustained implementation.

"Issues of Representation in the Case Studies on Teacher Induction: Just who are These Things About?"

This paper sketches major issues in the literature on teacher induction -- that is, the underlying debate about what is actually important in understanding and improving teacher induction -- as well as in the kinds of representations made in case studies. It presents a post-structuralist critique of those representations.  Some suggestions for future investigation and writing are posed. 

Po Yang, Ph.D. candidate, Economics and Education

"Can College Transfer Close the Racial Degree Attainment Gap?"

This paper provides new evidence about the effect of four-year transfer on racial difference in college outcomes. Using data from National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 data, the paper estimates effect of four-year transfers on degree completion and time to degree, given students' observed and unobserved characteristics. The estimates suggest Black and Hispanic students are less likely than observationally equivalent White or Asian students to attend college and earn a degree. While minority transfer students are not at a substantial graduation disadvantage relative to their White counterparts, their expected degree completion rates are significantly lower, due to their frequent participation of reverse transfer. College transfer is not likely to close the racial attainment gap for all minority students.   

"Variation in Returns to College Degree by Gender and Transfer Status"

Recent state polices encourage students to attend community college and less selective institutions for lower-division education, and to transfer subsequently to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, this paper empirically tests the economic consequence of college transfer on entry-level earning. The analysis shows that community college transfer and four- to four-year transfer associate with lower post-school earning, and that the negative effect is larger for male than female students. Return to Bachelor's degree is higher at relatively low earning level and vice versa. The negative effect of transfer becomes smaller and insignificant as one move towards the upper end of earning distribution.  


Next year's AERA meeting will be held in New York City from March 24th through March 28th.

For a more in-depth look at TC presentations at AERA, visit