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School Conditions to Support Successfully Teaching Challenging Coursework

Presenters: Elaine Allensworth
This session provides an overview of studies from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research that suggest cautionary tales about narrow strategies for school improvement, particularly as they relate to STEM education. It describes the classroom and school conditions that make it possible for increasing curricular rigor and improving the teacher workforce to lead to improvements in students’ grades and test scores. The more that students are expected to do difficult work, the more that teachers need strategies to maintain effort and engagement, and plans to monitor and support those who struggle. School structures can help teachers through collaboration and collective work on school climate and student support.


About the Presenter:
Elaine Allensworth, Interim Director, University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
Elaine Allensworth is interim director at the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Currently, through a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, she is examining what it means to be on a path to be ready for college during the middle grades, and how students’ achievement in the middle grades interacts with their experiences in high school to affect post-secondary success. She is also conducting a study of online algebra credit recovery funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. Allensworth, a former high school Spanish and science teacher, is best known for her research on early indicators of high school graduation, college readiness, and the transition from middle to high school. Her work on early indicators of high school graduation has been adopted for tracking systems used in Chicago and other districts across the country, and is the basis for a tool developed by the National High School Center. She is one of the authors of the book, Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, which provides a detailed analysis of school practices and community conditions that promote school improvement. Allensworth has received a number of awards from the American Educational Research Association for outstanding publications, including the Palmer O. Johnson award and Division H awards for Outstanding Instructional Research and Planning, Policy and Management Research. She has served on several committees for the National Academies, is a standing member of the Scientific Review Panel of the U.S. Department of Education, and was on the board of the Illinois Education Research Council. Allensworth holds a PhD in Sociology, and an MA in Urban Studies/Sociology from Michigan State University.