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Recent Peabody research news releases

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013 in Research News, Summer 2013.

photo by John Russell/Vanderbilt

Do popular education reforms demoralize teachers?
Three widely implemented practices intended to strengthen teaching actually do more to undermine professionalism and demoralize teachers, according to Richard Milner, associate professor of education. In a policy brief,  Milner pinpoints evaluations of teachers based on annual gains in students’ standardized test scores, fast-track teacher preparation and licensure programs, and use of narrowly focused curricula as contributing to an ongoing drop in teacher dissatisfaction. Moreover, schools that reduce professional development and collaboration opportunities have the most dissatisfied teachers. The brief, “Policy Reforms and De-professionalization of Teaching,” was published by the National Education Policy Center.

What do children already know when they get to kindergarten?
Kindergarten teachers spend much of their math instructional time teaching students basic counting skills and how to recognize geometric shapes. But most students have already mastered these skills before ever setting foot in the kindergarten classroom, according to a new study by Mimi Engel, assistant professor of public policy and education. The study showed that the vast majority of students had mastered basic counting and shapes by the fall of kindergarten. In contrast, very few had mastered simple addition and subtraction. Engel and her collaborators reported their findings online in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

New handbook helps youth with disabilities transition to adult life
To ease high school students with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities transition into adult life, Associate Professor of Special Education Erik Carter, MEd’98, PhD’04, and Professor Emerita of Special Education and professor of human and organizational development Carolyn Hughes have developed a transition model. It combines skill development with support, including strategies they outline in The New Transition Handbook (Brookes Publishing, 2012). The handbook is available for sale at online book retailers and at the Brookes Publishing Co. website.

New report offers road map to improve Nashville public schools
Claire Smrekar, associate professor of leadership, policy and organizations, senior Hilary Knudson and Candice McQueen, dean of education at David Lipscomb University, produced a background report recommending demographic shifts, revamping school governance and improving public communication to improve the state of Metro Nashville Public Schools. It was prepared for the NashvilleNext initiative, a collaboration of Metro Nashville government, local businesses, service organizations and community members to create a countywide plan to guide the city through 2040.

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