New Research, Reports and Journals

New Research, Reports and Journals

Can Cross-Sector Collaborations Learn from Experience? In a new essay on the Collective Impact blog, Geoff Mulgan from the UK funder Nesta challenges cross-sector collaborators to become much more intentional about learning from the successes and challenges of past efforts. He points out two such lessons:

  • in moving cross-sector efforts forward: “structures help, but are less important than processes, and that these in turn are less important than cultures.”
  • “Organisers of collaboration often want the participants to get back to first principles, and then move logically on to actions. A great deal of experience, and political science, shows that this is mistaken. It is much harder to get a disparate group to agree on underlying principles and values than it is to get them to agree on actions.”

Read more here.

New Tools for Systems Thinkers: FSG is “working to identify, codify, and design a framework and a set of tools that can support social change practitioners in improving their awareness and fluency around how to build systems thinking into their work.” Hallie Preskill and Srik Gopal provide an overview of their new framework and the upcoming blog series. Read here. Marcie Parkhurst provides more explanation and an overview of the Systems Matrix tool. Read here.


State Policies Impacting CTE: 2015 Year in Review: This report by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) takes a state-by-state look at CTE-related policies passed in 2015, while drawing out major themes and trends from the year. Read the report here.

Advancing Deeper Learning Under ESSA: Seven Priorities: This paper by Jobs for the Future. This brief recommends seven ways for supporters of deeper learning to take advantage of the changing education policy landscape, as authority shifts from the federal government to states and local districts. The authors outline priorities to help the nation’s high schools move from a largely inequitable system to one that prepares all students for college and careers, with the full range of academic, personal, and social skills needed for life success. Read here.

Citizen Science – New Resources

  • New Fed Gov. Citizen Science Website Launched: Last month, the federal government launched gov, a new website designed to accelerate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. government. The site provides a portal to three key assets for federal practitioners: a searchable catalog of federally supported citizen science projects, a toolkit to assist with designing and maintaining projects, and a gateway to a federal community of practice to share best practices.
  • In March, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) released a Scientific Citizenship-themed issue of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. Articles address research, data collection, curricula, outcomes, non-traditional outreach, resources and more. Read any of the articles

Integrating 21st Century Competencies – Lessons from Global Cities  Most countries agree that educational success in the 21st century must include achievement on a broad set of outcomes beyond academics. Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network – which includes the American cities of New York, Denver and Seattle, as well as the Asian cities of Singapore, Hiroshima, Shanghai and Seoul – is designed to share strategies and challenges to integrating 21st century skills into school districts, and lessons learned from pilots.

Nominations Sought for STEM Mentoring Awards  Sponsored by US 2020, the second annual STEM Mentoring Awards will celebrate and encourage exceptional work in the STEM mentoring field and raise awareness of STEM mentoring as an important tool for education reform. This year’s awards include Excellence in Volunteer Experience, Excellence in Corporate Culture, and Excellence in Public-Private Partnership. Find out more and register for informational webinars about the awards here.

How to Improve Science Teaching  The authors of a recent National Academies report, Science Teachers’ Learning found “no evidence that elementary, middle, and high school science teachers have adequately rigorous opportunities to learn content related to the courses they teach, the new vision of science education, or how to teach to that new vision in challenging and effective ways.” Among other recommendations, the authors call for school districts to partner with professional networks, institutions of higher education, cultural institutions, and the broader scientific community” to create professional development opportunities for teachers. Read the full report here.

States’ Teacher Mentoring and Induction Programs Fall Short  Approximately one in five U.S. teachers is in the first three years of teaching; and yet most states still provide insufficient mentoring and induction support for beginning educators, according to a new report from New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization committed to new teacher induction. The report, Support from the Start: A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring, evaluates state educator induction policies for: mentor quality; time available for mentors and new teachers to interact; funding for induction; and overall program quality, standards, and accountability. Policy changes to boost the effectiveness and impact of new teacher support programs could have a significant impact on schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, which typically have higher concentrations of new educators. Read the full report here.

The Science (and Art) of Youth “Readiness”  The Forum for Youth Investment’s Readiness Project defines “readiness” as the “dynamic combination of being prepared and willing to take advantage of life’s opportunities while managing life’s challenges.” Their new paper, The Science (and Art) of Youth Readiness (PDF),  synthesizes research backing up the concept of readiness and defines the skills, abilities and mindsets that make up readiness. It also defines practices to shape the behavior of adults and systems to support youth readiness, and barriers – or ‘traps and gaps’ that prevent youth from achieving readiness. The goal of the paper is to facilitate cross-system and youth-focused policy and practice discussions everywhere youth spend their time. Read or download the full paper.

Helping Youth Overcome Math Anxiety  An article in the Spring 2016 issue of the Afterschool Matters Journal, “Math is Like a Scary Movie: Helping Young People Overcome Math Anxiety,” academic support specialist Margaret Kulkin suggests that afterschool educators “appreciate the role of emotions in learning. The point is not just to present students with fun activities. We have to address their anxiety to help them find their inner mathematicians. Using real-world experiences to teach math concepts will help them shift their focus away from anxiety about their performance so they can engage in learning.” Read here.

How to Communicate About Chemistry  Chemistry plays a critical role in daily life, impacting areas such as medicine and health, consumer products, energy production, the ecosystem, and many other areas. Yet most people do not understand chemistry at all.  The new National Academy report Effective Chemistry Communication in Informal Environments aims to improve general understanding of chemistry by offering a guide to creating effective engagement and learning activities in informal settings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and funded by NSF. Read here.

New Afterschool Alliance Report Highlights Rural Communities: A recent report by the Afterschool Alliance focused on afterschool in rural communities found that rural afterschool AA3-rural-demandprograms are less likely to offer STEM programming and technology learning opportunities than programs outside of rural communities. Download new infographics to share findings from the report.

A March report from the National Center for Education Statisticsentitled Skills of U.S. Unemployed, Young, and Older Adults in Sharper Focus: Results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012/2014 found that U.S. adults’ literacy skills are on par with international peers but math and technology skills lag. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study includes data collected in 2012 from a representative sample of 16-65 year olds in 24 countries. The U.S. performed additional data collection in 2014 focused on the nation’s unemployed adults, which showed that smaller percentages of African American and Latino young adults scored at the highest proficiency level while larger percentages of the same subgroups scored in the lowest two proficiency levels than white young adults.