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Abstracts of ACCORD Projects



How is educational quality and access to college distributed across California’s diverse population of young people? Is the state making progress toward a more equitable educational system?

UC ACCORD Indicators Project

Graduation rates, test scores, teacher quality, availability of high-level math courses and diversity on campus are just a few examples of information that can indicate the quality of educational opportunities in the state. These indicators can also reveal how opportunities to learn from kindergarten to college are distributed to students across the state. The Indicators Project is developing a comprehensive database of these and other indicators. Beginning in 2002, UC ACCORD will synthesize the data into a report of the state’s progress toward a more equitable education system and equal access to higher education.

Walter Allen and Robert Teranishi
UCLA/sociology and education

Title: The Educational Experiences and Postsecondary Opportunities of Southeast Asian Students

This study examines the educational experiences and postsecondary opportunities of Southeast Asian (i.e. Laotians, Hmong, Cambodians, and Vietnamese) students in California. Using interviews and surveys along with state and national data bases, the study explores students’ educational preparation and aspirations for education beyond high school.


How do the different circumstances that students face in California’s diverse schools and communities influence educational opportunities and college going?

Dianna Gutierrez
UC Davis/education

Title: The Process of Social Capital Formation: One Rural High School’s Response to Educate Mexican Immigrant Students

This ethnographic study examines the experiences of working-class recent Mexican immigrant and limited English speaking youth in an impoverished rural high school. It seeks to illuminate how the structure and culture of rural high schools enable and constrain the social relationships that these high-risk students form with peers and adults. These relationships are critically important since peers and educators can provide various types of institutional resources and support (known as social capital) that are linked to higher academic achievement levels and access to higher education that families with little formal education are able to provide.

Patricia Baquedano-Lopez
UC Berkeley/education

Title: Language and Literacy Practices of Latinos across Community Settings

This ethnographic study looks at the language, literacy, and schooling practices of diverse immigrant Latino students outside their school settings. It examines how and whether these experiences match their academic experiences in school. Of specific interest will be Latino students who receive Sunday religious instruction in Spanish and English. These students’ progress will then be followed in their local public schools.

Jabari Mahiri and Jeannie Oakes
UC Berkeley/education and UCLA/education

Title: Increasing College Access for Students Attending "Bi-modal" High Schools

Researchers from UCB and UCLA will study pathways of college access for low-income, underrepresented students at two culturally diverse high schools. This research will describe and measure students’ different trajectories through high school and assess why and how these trajectories limit or enhance students’ access to college. The project will guide the research and professional development of UCB and UCLA graduate students as well as stimulate and train teachers and administrators at the school sites to use research to identify and transform practices that result in inequitable outcomes for underrepresented students. And the collaboration will also investigate the creation of school cultures that engage in reciprocal study and critique among university faculty, graduate students, and teacher researchers.

Helen Duffy
UC Berkeley/education

Title: Increasing College-Going Rates of Underrepresented Populations
This study seeks to understand how professional development activities for teachers can help increase the college and university attendance rates of underrepresented populations. Using surveys and observational data, the study examines the High School Puente Project’s professional development.

Jean Yonemura Wing
UC Berkeley/education

Title: The Conditions Contributing to Racial Disparities in Student Achievement

Much research on multi-racial high schools suggests that school structures and cultures contribute to racial disparities in student achievement. To learn more about the conditions that contribute to these disparities, this study analyzes the experiences and academic performance over four years of high school for students at a diverse, urban high school. Students include those who conform to the typical patterns (i.e.,low-performing African American and Latino students and high-performing white and Asian American students) and those who do not conform (i.e., high performing African American and Latino students and low performing white and Asian American students.)



How do state policies and trends outside of the field of education affect the ability of California’s public schools to provide equitable, high-quality education and college access?

Paul M. Ong, Jordan Rickles & Douglas Houston
UCLA/public policy

Title: School Integration and Residential Segregation in California

This study uses US Census 2000 and California Department of Education data to investigate whether schools play a role in integrating segregated neighborhoods. The project has three primary objectives: (1) measure school and residential segregation in California metropolitan areas; (2) profile metropolitan areas based on their relative measure of school segregation; and (3) investigate, at a micro-level, whether schools play a role in integrating segregated neighborhoods.

Barbara Tobolowsky

Title: The Influence of Television on the College Aspirations

This study employs in-depth interviews to explore the potential effect of prime-time television on the college aspirations and expectations of 60 African American, Asian American, and white tenth-grade girls. Findings from this study may be able to inform interventions that seek to improve students' college-going expectations and prospects.



How do California's school and university policies and practices help or hinder different student populations? What new policies and practices could promote greater college preparation, college access, and college retention for diverse groups of students?

Kris Gutierrez

Title: Studying Effective Bilingual/Biliteracy Programs in a Post 227 Context

This study examines how 25 high achieving elementary schools and teachers create effective learning communities that utilize primary language instruction in a high stakes assessment context. Using qualitative methods of inquiry and sociocultural perspectives of learning and development, the study will document the school and instructional practices that build on students’ linguistic knowledge and practices, promote learning, and meet or surpass state achievement goals.

Carl A. Lager

Title: Improving Algebra Instruction for English Language Learners

Children who are learning English often struggle in their math classes because they find it difficult to understand the teacher's explanations or the written language of mathematics textbooks, and they may have further problems communicating their understandings to others. This study uses information about students collected from tasks, surveys, and interviews to identify and further investigate specific language obstacles that hinder Spanish-speaking middle school students as they attempt to learn algebra.

Mark Warschauer
UC Irvine/education

Title: Technology, Academic Achievement, and Diversity in California High Schools

This project uses case study methods to compare the availability of, access to, and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in low SES (socio-economic status) and high SES secondary schools. The findings will help clarify the degree to which ICT policies and practices serve to enhance critical and analytic thinking among students in under-served communities and to further these students' academic competencies and aspirations.

Gregory Palardy
UC Santa Barbara/education

Title: Equitable Evaluation of School Performance

Using national longitudinal data, this study will examine how differences in student background characteristics along with segregation influence academic outcomes and create inequitable learning environments. The findings will inform school district and state policy makers about how school factors such as organization, resources, and climate can increase student achievement. Finally, this study will illustrate how a promising new statistical method can be used to study school effectiveness.

Shane R. Jimerson, Ph.D.
UC Santa Barbara/education

Title: Early Reading Assessment

This study examines the validity of an early reading fluency assessment methodology through analyses of longitudinal data about Latino and Anglo students’ reading performance across 1st through 4th grade. This research has implications for educational decision-making for language minority students that cumulatively benefits those students’ long-term achievement and ultimately enhances their educational opportunities.

Robert Cooper

Title: Promoting College Access for Poor and Minority Youth Through Comprehensive Schoolwide Reform

This study examines the micro-political processes that can impede or promote school reform designed to increase college access and opportunity for African American and Latino students, with an up-close account of efforts to create a college going culture in a large urban high school in Southern California. The analysis pays particular attention to how the political ideologies of teachers, administrators, and students shape and influence the ability and willingness of educators to increase college access for Black and Latino students. It will also illuminate the "strains and tensions" that stem from diverse sources of power, rival interests, and intractable conflicts within around the school.



How do beliefs and attitudes of students, families, educators, and society affect the distribution of opportunities for high-quality schooling and successful college going?

Margaret A. Gibson
UC Santa Cruz/education

Title: Invitational Book Conference: Peer Influences on the School Performance of Mexican-Descent Adolescents

This invitational conference will bring together a small group of UC and other researchers who study how peers and peer groups influence the school engagement and academic achievement of high-school age youth of Mexican descent. The conference papers also consider the schools’ role in structuring relations with different groups of youth. Research findings are drawn both from large-scale longitudinal research projects, and from smaller projects. Most of the school sites are in California, with comparative data included from Texas and Florida.

Evellyn Elizondo
UC Santa Cruz/psychology

Title: Factors Influencing the College Decision-Making Process of High School Youth

For some students the decision to go to college is a clear and relatively easy choice to make while for others, the opposite is true. In particular, students who have family members that have gone on to college are often seen as having a "college-bound identity," and are better informed, prepared, and guided in their college decision making than students with no family college history. This study seeks to learn more about the processes by which advantaged and disadvantaged students decide to attend college. The information gained will help researchers better understand students' core beliefs about college and more systematically probe college-bound identity as an important dimension of college decision making.

Derek Spencer Mitchell

Title: Teacher Beliefs and Placement Practices

This study investigates how teacher beliefs and biases impact academic placement decisions for students of differing ethnic, gender and racial characteristics. The research examines the effects of educator background on placement decisions by providing teachers with an on–line opportunity to examine student photographs and data pairs and choose some students to enroll in rigorous instruction. The simulation of actual decision making explores whether or not (and under what circumstances) participants base their decisions on data about the students or if, instead, their selections appear more subject to personal biases.

Miguel Ceja
UC Davis

Title: Chicanas in Pursuit of the Ph.D.: An examination of the graduate school choice process

Factors such as leaving home, familial influences, interactions with professors, and access to institutional resources may affect the likelihood of Chicanas successfully navigating the graduate school choice and application process. Researchers will interview Chicanas attending highly selective universities and use this data to determine and study factors that enhance or limit a Chicana’s ability to gain entry into a Ph.D. program. Understanding these experiences can inform recruitment officials interested in increasing the number of Chicanas in Ph.D. programs.

Terri Patchen

Title: The Relationship Between Latinas' Perceptions and Classroom Practices

Using classroom observations and interviews with students, this study investigates the relationship between adolescent Latina/os' perceptions of classroom interactions and their actual classroom participation. Since participation is an important factor in creating and taking advantage of learning opportunities, students' understandings of "appropriate" participation may have an important influence on their educational progress. The study will help schools understand and respond to the different ways boys and girls strive for high academic achievement.



What supports beyond the regular school program do students need to prepare for admission to and success in California’s public universities? How do these supports differ for different student populations?

Deborah Perry-Romero
UC Santa Barbara/education

Title: Using Technology to Empower Minority Families and Build on Student Strengths

Increasing access to technology offers opportunities to develop existing strengths and competencies for culturally diverse students, English language learners, and others. This research studies the after-school participation of Latino K-12 students and their parents in the creation of a desktop publication; at a university-school collaborative learning experience building upon the families‚ social-cultural, and linguistic resources. Ethnographic methods and conversation analysis serve to examine how participants develop new problem-solving strategies and technology-based literacies. The findings promise to expand schools’ understandings and inform instructional repertoires for educating all students well.

Olga Vasquez
UC San Diego/communications

Title: Expanding Success Across Cultural Contexts

La Clase Mágica's preschool activity (MCM) is a successful school readiness program in San Diego County that utilizes a computer program adapted to the local ecology. This study examines the extension of the after school program, to two new, culturally different contexts; One near the U.S. -Mexico boarder and the other at the San Pasquel American Indian Reservation. Ethnographic field methods as well as the Attachment Q-Sort (AQS) and Computer Literacy Test will examine the cross cultural adaptation of the program and its impact on school readiness and social development.

Alicia Valero
UC Davis/education

Title: Literacy Development among Latino Students in a Rural Preschool

When Latino students enter kindergarten there are significant disparities between them and White, middle-class children in the area of school readiness. Therefore, it is important to provide Latino students access to early literacy experiences that are critical to later success in reading and writing. This ethnographic study explores how Latino students develop emergent literacy skills in a preschool program that promotes Spanish language and literacy experiences. A secondary purpose is to examine how literacy instruction is socially organized in this preschool context. This study may help optimize an emergent literacy curriculum for preschool students from Latino, Spanish-speaking backgrounds


ACCORD Projects ask:

In what ways can California's public universities work with k-12 students, parents, and teachers to promote higher quality schools, college preparation, and successful college going among all the state’s diverse groups of students?

Lisa Tripp
UC San Diego/communications

Title: K-16 Partnerships and the Possibilities for Educational Change

This qualitative case study examines the implementation of UCSD/Create, an "outreach" project designed to increase the college-going rates of under-represented k-12 students, enhance the college experience of community college students, and strengthen institutional ties between K-14 and the University of California. In addition to documenting the core pedagogical challenges the project faces, the study details the project’s struggle with considerable logistical and ideological obstacles. The goal is to provide a comprehensive description that contains useful lessons for other cross-institutional initiatives with similar goals.

Patricia M. McDonough and Karen McClafferty

Title: Increasing Faculty Involvement in Outreach and Practice-Based Research

This project will create greater understanding of how faculty members can become involved in outreach and practice-based research projects and how this work can enhance, rather than detract from, faculty dossiers during the review process. The work includes in-depth case studies of educational researchers who have earned major promotions at the University of California through and/or in spite of meaningful engagement with the communities and schools that their research impacts. The project will address research issues from the perspectives of university administrators, faculty, and outreach practitioners and will yield a model that can be used by scholars interested in undertaking practice-based research. The investigation will also yield short, practical guides intended for each of these three groups.

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