Universities show interest in studying D97

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At least three independent studies conducted by higher education institutions will examine District 97's achievement gap. MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are planning to conduct separate studies on the district's achievement gap and on issues of diversity.

All of the researchers contacted us," said Kevin Anderson, Dist. 97's assistant superintendent for curriculum. "They heard about our achievement gap and wanted to help."

The studies and objectives are:

MIT Achievement Gap Study A data analysis of records on ISAT and Stanford 10 testing for Dist. 97 students. The data analysis will be used to examine the differences in academic performance of Dist. 97 students across racial lines.

On-Site Analysis of Achievement Gap Issues in Dist. 97 Schools Focusing on selected fourth- and fifth-grade students, Stanford University researchers will assess classroom activities and practices that contribute most to academic success of black, Hispanic and white children. The project will last two years.

Children's Thinking about Diversity Issues Through interviews with selected Dist. 97 students in grades K through 5, the UIC project will ascertain students' beliefs about diversity, and how those beliefs shape future decisions about their education and career choices.

MIT numbers are expected by Feb. 28, said Anderson. The Stanford study, which would likely start in Fall 2007, is awaiting grant funding and the UIC study is being considered by the district's Research and Review Committee, said Anderson.

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