36 research outputs found

    Complicated Choices: Struggling to Meet NCLB Requirements AND Remain Faithful to a School's Educational Vision and Practice

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    In an era of high-stakes accountability, school leaders often face contradictory pressures as they strive to improve student performance. They must meet the federal mandate of NCLB for student achievement; at the same time, many believe that NCLB constrains their professional judgment about how to best teach and assess students in the context of their own schools. The case of Baker, a K-8 school in Philadelphia, is illustrative. The case study discusses the complicated choices school leaders made as they attempted to meet the needs of all students. As Baker implemented the school district's highly prescriptive approach to curriculum and instruction, using a Managed Instruction System, it struggled to maintain its progressive educational philosophy and 'best' practices. The school's pedagogical goals included: student-centered and project-based learning, teaching for life-long learning, performance-based assessments, and an emphasis on higher order thinking. Baker was a successful learning community for students and adults, whose significant accomplishments were obscured by the fact that it never had made AYP. If the U.S. Department of Education had permitted the state to use its valued-added growth model, the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment, as an alternative to the status achievement metric that focused on the percentage of proficient students, Baker would have made AYP in 2006-07, the last year of this research

    Once & For All: Placing a Highly Qualified Teacher in Every Philadelphia Classroom

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    Quality teaching matters - particularly for low-income, inner-city students who perform below grade level. But these students are often taught by the least-qualified and least-experienced teachers. Philadelphia schools will not be able to improve student performance dramatically without more teachers who have the skills, experience, and rich content knowledge needed to help every student achieve high standards.Once & For All: Placing a Highly Qualified Teacher in Every Philadelphia Classroom examines the current status of teacher quality in the city and what the School District of Philadelphia is now doing to ensure that all classrooms have highly trained, motivated, and knowledgeable teachers ready to boost the achievement of the district's 188,000 students.For the first time, thanks to information provided by the School District of Philadelphia, researchers have been able to identify what we know about the qualifications, experience, and school assignment patterns of Philadelphia's 11,700-member teaching force. The study was conducted by a group of scholars who have launched Learning from Philadelphia's School Reform, a three-year research project designed to measure and help the public understand the impact of the 2001 state takeover of the Philadelphia schools, the school management partnerships undertaken with external for-profit and non-profit organizations, and the reforms initiated by the state and city-appointed School Reform Commission (SRC) members and School District of Philadelphia CEO Paul Vallas.Led by Research for Action (RFA), a Philadelphia non-profit, the research team includes investigators from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and the Wharton School, the Philadelphia Education Fund, Swarthmore College, Rutgers University, the Consortium on Chicago School Research, and other organization

    Making the Most of Interim Assessment Data: Lessons from Philadelphia

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    Under No Child Left Behind, urban school districts have increasingly turned to interim assessments, administered at regular intervals, to help gauge student progress in advance of annual state exams. These assessments have spawned growing debate among educators, assessment experts, and the testing industry: are they worth the significant investment of money and time? In Making the Most of Interim Assessment Data: Lessons from Philadelphia, Research for Action (RFA) weighs in on this issue. The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) was an early adopter of interim assessments, implementing the exams in 2003. Unlike teachers in some other regions, Philadelphia elementary and middle grades teachers rated these 'Benchmark' assessments highly. However, the study found that enthusiasm did not necessarily correlate with higher rates of student achievement. What did predict student success were three factors -- instructional leadership, collective responsibility, and use of the SDP's Core Curriculum. The report underscores the value of investment in ongoing data interpretation that emphasizes teachers' learning within formal instructional communities, such as grade groups of teachers. This research was funded by the Spencer Foundation and the William Penn Foundation

    New genetic loci link adipose and insulin biology to body fat distribution.

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    Body fat distribution is a heritable trait and a well-established predictor of adverse metabolic outcomes, independent of overall adiposity. To increase our understanding of the genetic basis of body fat distribution and its molecular links to cardiometabolic traits, here we conduct genome-wide association meta-analyses of traits related to waist and hip circumferences in up to 224,459 individuals. We identify 49 loci (33 new) associated with waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (BMI), and an additional 19 loci newly associated with related waist and hip circumference measures (P < 5 × 10(-8)). In total, 20 of the 49 waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI loci show significant sexual dimorphism, 19 of which display a stronger effect in women. The identified loci were enriched for genes expressed in adipose tissue and for putative regulatory elements in adipocytes. Pathway analyses implicated adipogenesis, angiogenesis, transcriptional regulation and insulin resistance as processes affecting fat distribution, providing insight into potential pathophysiological mechanisms

    Genome-wide association identifies nine common variants associated with fasting proinsulin levels and provides new insights into the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.

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    OBJECTIVE: Proinsulin is a precursor of mature insulin and C-peptide. Higher circulating proinsulin levels are associated with impaired ÎČ-cell function, raised glucose levels, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies of the insulin processing pathway could provide new insights about T2D pathophysiology. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We have conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association tests of ∌2.5 million genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and fasting proinsulin levels in 10,701 nondiabetic adults of European ancestry, with follow-up of 23 loci in up to 16,378 individuals, using additive genetic models adjusted for age, sex, fasting insulin, and study-specific covariates. RESULTS: Nine SNPs at eight loci were associated with proinsulin levels (P < 5 × 10(-8)). Two loci (LARP6 and SGSM2) have not been previously related to metabolic traits, one (MADD) has been associated with fasting glucose, one (PCSK1) has been implicated in obesity, and four (TCF7L2, SLC30A8, VPS13C/C2CD4A/B, and ARAP1, formerly CENTD2) increase T2D risk. The proinsulin-raising allele of ARAP1 was associated with a lower fasting glucose (P = 1.7 × 10(-4)), improved ÎČ-cell function (P = 1.1 × 10(-5)), and lower risk of T2D (odds ratio 0.88; P = 7.8 × 10(-6)). Notably, PCSK1 encodes the protein prohormone convertase 1/3, the first enzyme in the insulin processing pathway. A genotype score composed of the nine proinsulin-raising alleles was not associated with coronary disease in two large case-control datasets. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified nine genetic variants associated with fasting proinsulin. Our findings illuminate the biology underlying glucose homeostasis and T2D development in humans and argue against a direct role of proinsulin in coronary artery disease pathogenesis

    Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome