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Volume 115, Number 6, 2013

Featured Articles
by Amy Claessens & Mimi Engel
This article examines the importance of early mathematics skills for later school outcomes including mathematics, reading, and science achievement and grade retention.

by Jacob Neumann
This paper addresses the still-contested understanding of the relationship between teaching and mandated accountability testing. Based on two years of fieldwork and grounded in the narrative inquiry tradition, this paper presents a fine-grained analysis of the influence testing has on teaching in one social studies teacher’s classroom. Contrary to the position that mandated testing breeds “multiple-choice teaching” and a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to social studies, this study finds that deep and authentic teaching and learning are not incommensurable with mandated testing.

by Eran Tamir
This comparative, longitudinal study of 30 beginning teachers from three mission-driven, teacher education programs explores career commitments among beginning teachers and how school environments shape them. The study confirms the importance of administration support and professional community even for elite college graduates who are highly motivated to teach and make a difference in the lives of children.

by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
This article explores the ways in which district boundary lines and school desegregation policy impact metropolitan patterns of school and housing segregation. Results indicate that efforts to overcome the divisive nature of district boundary lines, in conjunction with comprehensive school desegregation policy, are related to unambiguous progress in combating school and housing segregation.

by Daniel Battey, Silvia Llamas-Flores, Meg Burke, Paula Guerra, Hyun Jung Kang & Seong Hee Kim
This paper presents two years of analysis of a professional development effort in an urban district in Arizona in the wake of policy requirements to track students by language proficiency level, mandate four hours of English Language Development each day, and focus on teaching grammatical structures. The professional development focused on Cognitively Guided Instruction, which centers mathematics instruction on the informal knowledge students bring with them to schooling to build meaning, sophistication, and understanding of the mathematics. Results indicate that before the policy, professional development produced more teacher experimentation than after.

by Korina Jocson & Elizabeth Thorne-Wallington
In this article, the authors borrow the term literacy rich environment (LRE) from childhood literacy to account for the changing nature of physical environments that embody a range of information and communication technologies. Different factors such as race and income are considered to situate LREs in relation to schools and neighborhoods. The confluence of factors is illustrated through the use of geographic information systems (GIS) where geospatial relationships between LREs and educational and cultural institutions are made explicit.

by Michael Gottfried
This study examines the effect of school absences on student achievement using a unique, comprehensive dataset of elementary school students in a large urban district. All findings indicate statistically significant, negative relationships between absences and achievement. Indeed, as the models become increasingly rigorous in an effort to derive causality, the negative effect of absences becomes more pronounced.

by Bethany Rogers & Megan Blumenreich
This research uses oral history narratives to examine the professional choices and trajectories of Teach for America participants over a twenty-year period, attending especially to individuals’ perceptions of their urban teaching experiences, their beliefs, and their reasons for staying in or leaving the urban classroom, with the aim of better understanding the experiences of such teachers and the implications for staffing urban schools.

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