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Undergraduate James Scholar students present research at poster presentation

by The College of Education / Dec 18, 2012

Professor Adam Poetzel and his EDUC 102 honors students hosted a poster session on December 13, 2012, at the College of Education. Faculty, staff, and peers interacted with the James Scholar Education students as they shared their research findings and answered questions related to student academic achievement, poverty, race, disability, native language, teacher quality, and school reform.

Elementary Education major and freshman Kristy Salerno presented her findings on "Evaluating Teacher Evaluation." Salerno said she was eager to share her findings and that she was passionate about her area of research.

"As a student, you can tell which (teachers) are the good ones and which are bad," Salerno said. "But it was really interesting to see how principals view the teacher evaluation process, how teachers view it, and how students view it."

Salerno interviewed a past principal; her mother, who is a teacher; and seventh grade students. "It was interesting to see how the process is changing," adding that she noticed flaws in the evaluation system as well. She said she was surprised to learn that the seventh graders she interviewed agreed with the belief that students' test scores should be reflected in a teacher's evaluation, and that they didn't just think a teacher should be evaluated merely on how long they have been a teacher or how well-liked they are by students.

Education student and freshman Jazmin Landa examined school funding inequities in her research by comparing Chicago's Gage Park High School to Winnetka's New Trier Township High School, two schools with varying poverty levels.

She said that a few things in her overall research surprised her, including how some schools in lower poverty areas had high performance and achievement rates, while other schools in similar demographics scored much lower. That planted seeds of thought for additional research: "Where are the variables, then," Landa asked. "Is it the teachers, is it how many AP classes are offered, is it the attendance rate?"

About the event as a whole, Landa said it's a great way to showcase all of the students' interests, which range from school funding to classroom structure.

Poetzel is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

- Photos by Allie Pitcher, '16 JOURN