Cover of Catalyst issue on student retention, April 1998.

CPS weighs an end to student retention

District officials have been meeting with community groups to discuss two proposals: One would completely eliminate retention, the second would severely limit its use. Either change would mean a complete overhaul of a CPS policy that gained national attention nearly two decades ago.

Potholes swallow seniors

Tripped up along the road to college, many CPS grads never apply or wind up going to schools beneath their qualifications. A new report by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research follows a 2006 study that showed low grades and less-than-rigorous classes led to only 35 percent of CPS graduates getting a college degree within six years of leaving high school.

Jeanine Pelican

Less stress, higher performance

A research project on school readiness tests a theory: Addressing young children’s—and their teachers’—social and emotional needs would pay off down the road in higher academic performance.

What makes a good teacher?

Which teacher credentials make a difference in the classroom? It’s a research question with significance for districts who recruit teachers, for the principals who hire them and for a public concerned with teacher quality. Here is a round-up of local and national research on the characteristics that make a difference to student achievement.

WebExtra: Poor kids in Chicago, elsewhere likely to get least qualified teachers

A new study of teacher quality validates a well-known fact: That poor and minority children are more likely to be taught by teachers who lack experience, are uncertified or have flunked basic skills tests. States and districts have a long way to go to meet a No Child Left Behind deadline next month to submit plans for ensuring that their low-income and minority students have equal access to qualified teachers.

A research consensus on teaching reading

Spurred by conservative lawmakers supporting the “skills” approach to teaching reading, Congress convened a group of experts in 1997 to study the effectiveness of different instructional approaches. Called the National Reading Panel, the group found that the most effective way combines explicit instruction in a variety of areas, including phonics and the “higher-order” skill of comprehension.