Science & Tech

What students know best

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Pathways research relies heavily on insight from its subjects

A research project called Pathways for Student Success has taken a unique approach to finding ways to help high school students achieve at a high rate. Rather than focusing on conclusions established by researchers, high school students themselves bore the responsibility of defining academic, demographic, and social factors that challenge their ultimate levels of achievement in school. The project has worked with students in 10 Boston and Cambridge area schools When asked about the challenges they face while seeking a complete and balanced educational experience, current student participants in Dimon Professor Pedro Noguera’s research cite the MCAS exam, teacher inexperience, lack of student involvement in decision-making, poor student-teacher relationships, limited teacher knowledge, arbitrary rules, and narrow graduation requirements. According to Noguera, these challenges lead to poorly utilized class time and a high level of student disengagement and boredom. In July 2002, Noguera and his colleagues emphasized that these findings are partial, however, pending their completion of the analysis of the data they have obtained.