Research summary

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WHO CONDUCTED IT: Kazuaki Uekawa, the University of Chicago; Kathryn Borman and Reginald Lee, the University of South Florida

WHAT THEY FOUND: Hispanic students were less engaged in high school math and science classes than white, black or Asian students. Hispanic students found group work to be more engaging than lecture or seatwork, while Asian students showed a preference for working alone. The engagement level of black students remained the same across all methods of instruction. Overall, group work was more engaging than seatwork or lectures.

WHO WAS STUDIED: Students at eight high schools in four cities (including Chicago) were studied for one week during their math and science classes. Students were beeped at random and then asked to answer a brief survey about what they were doing in class and how engaged they felt in the work.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Teachers should use both group work and individual work so that they reach all students.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The study, “Student Engagement in America’s Urban High School Mathematics and Science Classrooms: Findings on Social Organization, Race and Ethnicity” can be found online.