Strengthening Assets in K-8 Education

Vision: Elementary students progress with their academic achievement and develop their personal strengths that motivate a commitment to learning
Mission: Assuring that every child feels engaged in their primary grades and that teachers recognize and encourage their students’ individual talents

Teacher and Student In A Classroom At School
It is clearer now than ever before that two goals must be achieved with grade school aged children. Each student at each grade level must become proficient in basic academic skills. Falling behind in one grade is too often the beginning of a downward achievement trend. In addition, it is critical that students begin to discover and pursue their personal “spark,” their individual gifts, talents, and interests. Innovations in both areas are emerging from educational research and experiences in innovative schools. CHI-Research and Evaluation will bring these innovations to districts and schools, help combine them with what is working well, and then track student benefits over time.

CHI offers research and evaluation strategies designed specifically for application to these topics:

Research & Evaluation Approaches

Building Elementary School Capacity to Prepare Students for Futures in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Problem: Jobs in 10-15 years will expect technical skills and many will require STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) knowledge and abilities. By the time they reach middle school, 40-50% of elementary school children are less than proficient in the introductory classes to these subjects.

Challenge: Find ways to change schools and to motivate students to reduce the gap in math-science skills.

Promise: Research-evaluation is finding that a partnership between high school science-math teachers and elementary teachers changes teacher interest in the subjects and students’ motivation to learn about science and math.


Demonstrating the Benefits of After School Programs for Middle School Students and their Classroom Teachers

Problem: Schools today provide fewer and fewer opportunities to learn about art, music, and even current events and social studies. When they are underachievers, some students need nonacademic activities to sustain their interest in school.

Challenge: Create out-of-school programs that are aligned with school-classroom goals, so that students’ “time on task” increases and their academic motivation improves.

Promise: Research and program evaluation are showing how existing after school programs can be improved so they support in-school learning and draw less involved students into closer learning relationships with their classroom teachers.

Improving Teacher Skills for Engaging Student Talents

Problem: The most resourceful students from the most advantaged homes know their talents and are provided with many opportunities to develop them. Others in their classes do not have the same opportunities so that their personal potential is not realized. Teachers sense when a child’s personal potential is not growing and it concerns them.

Challenge: Assist elementary teachers with ways that will encourage the development of every student’s strengths.

Promise: Research-evaluation is showing how teachers in the elementary grades can identify students whose talents have not blossomed and ways that other teachers have discovered for nurturing personal assets.