Stay abreast of the latest education research with the monthly "Mining the Research" online-only column.
Competitive Food Sales in Schools and Childhood Obesity: A Longitudinal Study. Sociology of Education. (January 2012). Though many middle schools sell "competitive foods" (e.g., soft drinks, candy, snacks), this study concludes that the selling of these types of foods may not affect obesity in students. One theory is that food preference is established long before students enter middle and high schools. Researchers say, "children's weight gain between 5th and 8th grades was not associated with the introduction or the duration of exposure to competitive food sales in middle school." The study suggests that many children's food preferences and dietary patterns have already been firmly established by the time they reach middle school.
The Long-Term Impact of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. National Bureau of Economic Research. (December 2011). Researchers from Harvard and Columbia Universities followed students from 4th grade into adulthood and found that high-quality educators influence students' graduation rates, future income, and career paths. The researchers used the "value-added" approach, which looks at teacher's effect on student test scores, to determine a teacher's quality.
Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City's Small Public High Schools of Choice. MDRC. (January 2012). This report looks at how students were affected by the closing of 23 large, failing schools and the opening of 216 smaller high schools. The researchers found that graduation rates had risen across subgroups (race, class, and gender) and that the students were more college- and career-ready after leaving the schools that had been designated as failing.
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