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October 17, 2007
We met at the newly renovated Hofstra Club for talk and buffet dinner on October 17th where we introduced the officers (Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, Esther Fusco, Andrea Libresco, Irene Plonczak, Eileen Simons, Karin Spencer, Susan Zwirn), made a presentation on a research proposal for the Long Island Education community and then had the administrators, teachers and graduate students who attended (about 45 in all) discuss the ramifications of the proposal.
Given the preponderance of test-prep instruction that often drives out thoughtful, upper level, constructivist teaching, we proposed to do an Island-wide study, "How Good Teaching Leads to Good Test Results," where we can observe and report on the thoughtful, upper level, constructivist teaching that does go on in Long Island classrooms and does lead to higher test scores, so that teachers and administrators can recognize that effective teaching is possible in the face of standardized testing and can lead to higher scores as well. Dr. Grennon-Brooks reported on the constructivist studies coming out of Washington State that indicate that constructivist teaching does, indeed, lead to higher test scores. Dr. Libresco reported on a study of fourth grade social studies teachers from one school on Long Island who did not engage in traditional test-prep and whose students did very well on the 5th grade social studies test, including going beyond the writing requirements and developing thesis statements. These teachers saw the tests as a floor not a ceiling.
In the discussion that followed, those present brainstormed about how we might conduct such a study, where we might go for grants, what kinds of research questions were worth pursuing, who might want to be involved, etc.
We welcome the ideas of those from other Phi Delta Kappa chapters as we work to organize our research project.