Teens Get an Early Start in Research Techniques
Byline: Wallace & Smith
Doing intensive research is a skill that many students don't begin to learn until they reach college.
But Palatine High School teacher Robert Gilbert and 16 of his students took on the task of producing a how-to book of sorts about doing research for social science courses. The book is called, fittingly, "Doing Survey Research in the Introductory Social Science Course."
The students wrote papers for the book on such weighty topics as "The Effect of Dating Relationships on Stress," "Closeness of Male High School Students to Same Sex Parent and Effect on Dating Relationships," "The Effect of Work Status of Mother on GPA of Children" and "Caught in a 'Mosh': Parental Marital Status and Heavy Metal Music."
Gilbert said the goal of the papers was to help students learn what causes what and help them develop critical and logical thinking skills.
All of the papers required the students to do college-level research, develop a hypothesis, administer a survey and collect, analyze and make conclusions from their original data.
Gilbert said methods of research are not commonly known by high school students.
Published on Aug. 20, the book sold quickly to members of the American Sociological Society.
"It does what they wanted it to do - put the science back into social science," Gilbert said.
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The ACT and you: State and national ACT scores are on the rise, which educators say is good news for schools because it shows that they're getting better at preparing students for college.
But it can also be bad news for the students who are trying to get into college because, as students across the board get higher scores, that can push up the requirements for getting into the college of one's choice.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, a student's class rank and ACT score weigh against each other, so that if you have a lower ACT score, you can make up for that with a higher class rank, and vice versa. For example, if you were in the top quarter of your class, you would need a 31 to get in. If you're in the top 15 percent, you'd need a 26.
But these standards have shifted upward because of a larger number of applicants who are scoring better.
Acting Director of Admissions Tammie Bouseman explained that the school isn't trying to create undue competition among its applicants but that, because the school can only accept so many students, the standards are naturally pushed up as the number of applicants rises.
"It's not easy, but we have to deny some really good students," Bouseman said. …