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- CHAPTER 7 School and Children: The Micldle Chitc~hooc! Years Edgar G. Epps and Sylvia F. Smith This chapter is primarily concerned with the effects of schools and schooling on children ages 6-12. However, because formal schooling in the United States and many other nations frequently begins between ages 4 and 5, some of the research and theory reviewed encompasses this earlier period as well. Throughout the world the most widely recognized function of elementary schools is to provide opportunities for children to acquire at least basic competencies in reading, writing, and computation. Less frequently discussed by educators, but of equal importance, is the fact that schools serve other less obvious societal functions, including ~ ~ ~ providing custodial care while parents work or pursue personal interests; (2) delaying children's entrance into the work force; (3) encouraging the development of social competencies; and (4) sorting and selecting for the purpose of impeding or maintaining established social roles, organizations, and institutions (Goodiad, 1973~. Thus, the schooling process has a significant impact on the development of children both academically and societally. The effects of schooling on children may not be obvious in societies in which the vast majority attend school. However, in countries in which smaller proportions of the population attend school, the effects are striking (Stevenson et al., 1978~. World Bank (1980) records indicate that 64 per- cent of the children ages 6-~! in developing countries attended school in 1977, compared with 94 percent of the same-age children in developed countries. Substantial differences in literacy and other cognitive skills appear' 283

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284 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD when persons who have attended at least elementary school are compared with those who have not been exposed to formal education (Sharp et al., 1979; Stevenson et al. 19781. In developing nations a major concern is expanding access to formal education to reach a larger proportion of school- age children. In cross-national comparisons of science achievement, secondary-level American students do not perform as well as students from Japan, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, and the Federal Republic of Germany. However, data from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (Walberg, 1981) indicate that American 10-year-olds are achieving at approximately the average level for developed nations (although still far behind Japan). There is some evidence that parental expectations may account for the achievement advantages of Japanese students (Hess et al., 1980~. During these important middle childhood years, children are thought to be functioning developmentally at what Piaget termed the concrete and formal operational stages (see Fischer and Bullock, in this volume). During this phase, basic literacy as well as computational and conceptual skills are acquired. Children also develop relatively permanent attitudes about schools and reaming, including study habits. A child's academic and social self- concepts develop incrementally with age (Benham et al., 1980), and the pressures of peer influence begin to emerge during the early school years (Hartup, in this volume; Minuchin and Shapiro, 1983~. Although varying in content and purpose across countries, the most uni- versally recognized function of schools is to impart knowledge and skills that will ertable the learner to participate successfully in the society's institutions. At this level schools are concemed with the development of reading, writing, speaking, and computational skills. In most instances teachers instruct chil- dren in groups at a given age or grade level, using a specified set of instruc- tional materials, and the academic outcomes of this overt function are assigned highest priority. With regard to socialization, schools by virtue of their structure also facilitate normative outcomes (Dreeben, 1968; Jackson, 1968~. Dreeben contends that schools provide children with the psychological capacities needed for participation in societal institutions by fostering independence, achievement, universalisms, and specificity. Bowles (1975) sees the school's function as more allocative and argues that its main purpose is to perpetuate society's economic and class structures. These themes recur throughout this chapter. Schooling occurs in the context of the society at large; therefore, its academic and normative functions are not independent of other societal

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- SCHOOL AND CHILDREN 285 institutions. The interaction between the home or family and the school is the most obvious example of social-system interaction, especially because for children of this age much of the parents' monitoring and control functions is taken over by the school during the main part of the day, and even before and after school in some areas. This chapter discusses the school environment, the cognitive and affective effects of schooling, both manifest and latent, and schools and children in the context of family influence (socioeconomic background, home back- ground, and the like). Issues related to school desegregation and bilingualism are also discussed. Wherever possible, we point out methodological weak' nesses in the existing research and list issues for future investigation. We do not cover the literature on teaching methods in any detail, although instructional approaches that appear to be important conceptually and meth- odologically (e.g., Barr and Dreeben, 1983; Bloom, 1976) are discussed. And an issue of great current interest, mainstreaming of handicapped chil- dren, is not discussed (see Heller et al., 1982, and Johnson et al., 1983~. THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT In this section we briefly discuss issues related to children's lives in the context of the school, especially school climate and teacher expectations, from a number of research perspectives. Input,Output Analysis The work of Coleman et al. (1966) and Jencks et al. (1972), which are examples of input-output formulations, have generally been interpreted to mean that differences in school environments are minimal at best and largely ineffective in influencing outcomes. These conclusions are based primarily on research with secondary school students. Other studies of the same genre suggest that elementary schools do have differential effects on student out- comes (Brookover et al., 1979; Edmonds, 1979; Entwisle and Hay~uk, 1982; Murnane, 1975; Rutter, 1983; Rutter et al., 1979; Summers and Wolfe, 1977). Alternative interpretations have been suggested. For example, Heyns (1978) and McPartIand and Karweit (1979) suggested that the findings on school environments can be interpreted to mean that school environments provide similar educational experiences for all students and that schools are for the most part equally effective in influencing most learning outcomes. At any rate, school effects at the elementary level have been studied much less than those at the secondary level, although the organization and lo

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286 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD l cations of the two levels of schools differ in the extreme. In contrast to secondary schools, in elementary schools children often remain in one cIass- room with one teacher for most of the day. And in the United States, elementary schools are most often neighborhood schools, a circumstance that, for middle-cIass white students, leads to a high degree of concordance between home and school environments perhaps potentiating effects of both. For [ower-cIass and minority students, however, there is frequently a lack of congruence between home and school environments (see the section below on race and ethnicity). Social-System Variables From another perspective the school can be seen as a "cultural system of social relationships among family, teachers, students and peers" (Anderson, 1982:382~. Studies with this focus examine how the various components in the "cultural system" of school interact to influence both cognitive and normative outcomes. Focal variables include ability grouping, classroom organization, and teacher-student relationships. The effect of ability grouping on achievement remains debatable. While some studies report that no significant relationship exists, Brookover et al. ~1979), Almonds and Fredericksen ~1978), McDill and Rigsby ~1973), So- rensen (1970), and Weber (1971) indicate that the more homogeneous the group the higher the achievement. Barr and Dreeben (1983) studied the ways teachers organized first-grade classrooms for reading instruction. They found that the number of instruc- tional groups and the size of the groups were determined by such charac- teristics as class size and number of low-aptitude students in a classroom. Barr and Dreeben also observed that teachers moved children from group to group during the school year largely on the basis of how well they per- formed. The primary dete~inant of an individual's group placement was aptitude (reading readiness in this study). The average aptitude of the in- structional group was a major determinant of how much material was covered in reading texts and ultimately how much the children reamed. Beckerman and Good ( 1981 ) found that the ratio of high- to low-aptitude students in a classroom affected the achievement of both. High- and low- aptitude third- and fourth-graders had greater achievement gains in cIass- rooms in which more than one-third were high aptitude. Barr and Dreeben (1983) contend, however, that the number of low-aptitude students in a classroom is more important than the proportion. Studies by Ecler (1981), Leiter (1983), and Rowan and Miracle (1983) also indicate that grouping strategies and the distribution of abilities have profound effects on student achievement. This topic deserves much more attention.

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SCHOOL AND CHILDREN 287 The degree and type of teacher-student interaction and the extent to which students interact in school activities and share in the decision-making process are related to positive effects. Despite these findings, Goodiad ~ 1983) noted that "above the primary level, students experience few classroom activities that involve their own goal setting, problem solving, collaborative reaming, autonomous thinking, creativity, and the like" (p. 305~. This absence of student-initiated learning tasks may provide one explanation for Harter's (1981) finding that children's mastery motivation declines from grade 3 to grade 9. Milieu Variables Other research indicates that strong relationships, both positive and new ative, apparently exist between the values and beliefs of various groups within a school and its climate and between values and student outcomes. Teacher commitment to and emphasis on students' academic achievement, rewards and praise, clear goal definition, peer norms, and group cooperation influ- ence both school climate and student outcomes (Brookover et al., 1979; Edmonds, 1979; Rutter et al., 1979~. Teacher characteristics (McDill and Rigsby, 1973; Rutter et al., 1979), teacher morale (Brookover and Lezotte, 1979; Ellett et al., 1977), student body characteristics (Brookover et al., 1979; Rutter et al., 1979), and student morale (Edmonds, 1979) are likely to act individually and in combination. While research denies significant relationships between teacher charac' teristics, such as teacher preparation or salary and student outcomes, positive correlations have been noted between school climate as perceived by ele- mentary children (Ellett et al., 1977) and student attendance and achieve- ment at both the elementary and secondary levels. Likewise, Brookover et al. ~ 1979) and Ecimonds ~ 1979) found positive relationships between student morale and achievement and between student morale and academic self- concept. Brookover et al. (1979) also reported that such student charac- teristics as race and socioeconomic status account for a smaller proportion of the variance in achievement than is accounted for by climate variables. The Ecological Perspective Ecological studies combine ecological elements from the input-output economists with social-system, culture, and milieu variables. Effects of both school (its physical characteristics) and schooling (the process) are at issue in suc ~ investigations. In general, studies investigating the effect of ecological variables on stu- dent outcomes have produced low or inconsistent correlations. Rutter et al.

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288 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD (1979) reported a positive relationship between decoration and care of the building and student achievement, but no relationship was found between the age of the building and achievement. Findings with respect to effects of class and school size are mixed. As expected, small schools have been found to have better student behavior (Anderson, 1982~. Although contrary to McDill and Rigsby (1973) and Rutter et al. (1979), Anderson (1982) reported that neither class nor school size affected reaming outcomes. This could be due to a lack of agreement over the definitions of size terms (e.g., what constitutes small or large) and inconsistencies in measurement. Glass and Smith (1978), from a statistical research synthesis of a large number of studies, concluded that differences in achievement are greatest in a range of class sizes between 10 and 20. Glass et al. (1982) reviewed and critiqued the literature on class size and provided recommendations for research and policy. Other important considerations include investigating the possibility of threshold effects for specific subgroups of students (e.g., those of lower ability) and possible connections between class size and instructional meth- ods. Rutter (1983) and Summers and Wolfe (1977) contend that it is likely that less-able students will benefit from significant reductions (classes con- sisting of fewer than 20 pupils) in class size. Further investigation into effective ways of making such changes without detrimentally affecting av- erage and above-average students is needed. Teacher Behaviors and Expectations Teacher behaviors and expectations, although not always systematically included, can be classified under the ecological approach. Although this research has a number of conceptual and methodological weaknesses, this continues to be an important line of investigation. During the 1960s and early 1970s, studies focusing on the influences of teacher behaviors and expectations on children's academic achievement and self-concept began to take shape. Studies such as those undertaken by Leacock ~ 1969), Rist ~ 1970), and Rosenthal and Jacobson ~ 1968) suggested that teacher expectations can strongly influence both the cognitive and the affective development of chil- dren. On the basis of observing a single classroom of black children, Rist noted that by the eighth day of kindergarten the teacher had assigned the children to tables that reflected social-cIass groupings. These groupings per- sisted into second grade, and throughout this period teachers tended to favor the more advantaged children. Much of the early expectancy research is thought to be flawed (see, for example, Elashoff and Snow, 1971), and a number of later studies have focused on whether teachers behave differently toward high- and low-achiev

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- SCHOOL AND CHILDREN 289 ing students (e.g., Brophy and Good, 1974). Although differential behavior is often observed, its precise relationship to student achievement remains unclear. With a sample of 17,163 students representing 38 schools ranging in grade levels from elementary through high school, Goodlad et al. (1979) found that positive teacher behavior, such as praise, guidance, and encouragement, were strongest in the elementary years. By the senior year of high school, these encouraging behaviors declined as much as 50 percent in comparison to the early elementary school years (Benham et al., 19801. Entwisle and Hayduk (1982) examined teacher, student, and parent ex- pectations in three elementary schools (one middle-class and two lower' class schools). Their results raise many questions that should lead to further research. For example, they found that initial expectations of lower-class children were higher than those of middle-class children and that lower- class parents as well had overoptimistic expectations for their children's performance. There was a striking mismatch between lower-class parents' and children's expectations and the children's performance as assessed by teachers' marks. Furthermore, both parents and children in the middle-class school were more likely to change their expectations on the basis of feedback in the form of children's marks than were parents and children in the lower- ciass schools. The authors noted that far too little attention has been paid to what actually happens when marks are assigned. How do parents and children react? What is the effect on subsequent expectations and behaviors? Research on social climate and teacher behavior suffers from many prob- lems, especially a failure to conceptualize variables in terms of testable theory. Anderson ~ 1982) made a number of recommendations with which we concur: more longitudinal research, improved statistical analysis, a focus on variables that are causally relevant to outcomes, and consideration of multiple out' comes and their interrelationships, since nonacademic outcomes may be important in mediating the outcome of achievement. In general, a diversity of research methods is called for. The use of in-depth observation, for example, could compensate for the fragmentary evidence on school climate typically yielded by surveys. Experimental methods, when feasible, are of course optimal. As Rutter et al. (1979:180) noted, "The only way to be sure that school practices actually influence children's behavior and attain- ments is to alter those practices and then determine if this results in changes in the children's progress." EFFECTS OF SCHOOLING Research on the effects of schooling has been approached from several distinct perspectives that overlap those identified in the previous section on

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290 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD school environment. Because subtle differences in conceptualization are important, a few of the predominant perspectives are mentioned for the sake of clarity. Research on school production focuses on the relationship between the workings of schools and individual reaming (Barr and Dreeben, 1983~. More specifically, an attempt is made to identify what in the organization of schools leads to increments in individual reaming outcomes. Such analyses generally reflect an economist's formulation of productivity. Formulations predicated on this theoretical approach suffer several limitations, including disagree' ment among researchers on whether the productive unit is the educational organization or the individual and at what level in the organization pro- duction takes place. Other conceptual weaknesses in this approach include ~ ~ ~ confusion over who or what the productive unit is; (2) failure to explain details of the schooling process and, as a result, failure to show how various parts of the school as an organization are integrated; (3) little if any inter "ration of the processes that may occur at different levels (district, school, classroom, or individual); and (4) perhaps most important, failure to take into consideration characteristics of the reamer. The study of individual status attainment represents a second approach to research on the effects of schooling, very similar to school! production studies but with some subtle differences (Barr and Dreeben, 19831. Research in this tradition focuses on educational attainment as the penultimate, or often ultimate, endogenous variable. Because researchers on social mobility became involved in studies of educational attainment indirectly, only re- cently has attention been given to students' earlier histories of attainment. As noted in the section on input-output analysis earlier, there are serious problems in trying to apply findings from this body of research to children ages 6-12. Research classified under the process-product heading is concemed with instructional effectiveness. Studies are typically focused on identifying teach- ing behaviors and activities that increase reaming outcomes. Brophy and Evertson (1974), Dunkin and Biddle (1974), Gage (1972, 1978), and Ro- senshine (1971) are major contributors to this approach. The process var- iables include teaching behaviors, activities, and such characteristics as teacher explanation, demonstration, maintaining order, housekeeping, plan- ning, and years of experience as well as classroom and pupil contextual variables. As mentioned, the findings from such studies are largely incon- clusive or ungeneralizable. This is due to (1) the inclusion of an extensive number and range of teacher behaviors; (2) little agreement on which teacher behaviors are important; (3) failure to conceptualize adequately the instruc- tional process and, therefore, how these variables operate to affect reaming;

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SCHOOL AND CHILDREN 291 (4) the overly simplistic univariate analysis of the relationship between these teaching variables and educational outcomes; and (5) failure to consider children's characteristics and initiatory behavior in the process. Recently researchers have attempted to deal with some of the inadequacies of this research by developing more sophisticated conceptual formulations, in which learning outcomes are purported to be influenced by intervening student characteristics, environmental variables, and instructional time. In his theory of educational productivity, Walberg ~ 1981 ~ specified the follow- ing variables: student ability and motivation, home environment and age, quality of instruction, quantity of instruction, and class environment. For- mulations of this type are significant because they acknowledge that events occur simultaneously within the classroom that might' influence learning outcomes, thus permitting us to study the possible interactive and mediating effects. The work of Bloom ~ 1976), Carroll ~ 1963), Fisher et al. ~ 1978), and Wiley and Harnischfeger (1974) also bears on instructional time schemes as a significant variable. Although most research on the effects of schooling has been confined to academic outcomes, some researchers have explored the influence of process variables on self-esteem and locus of control (Marjoribanks, 1979; Weiss, 1969) or academic expectations for the self (Entwisle and Hay~uk, 1982~. These efforts have tried to analyze and explain the development of self- esteem and locus of control considered as both an antecedent and a con- sequence of cognitive school outcomes. Achievement ! During middle childhood, children's ability to use images, symbols, con- cepts, and rules increases, as does their vocabulary. Middle childhood covers most of what Piaget termed the stage of concrete operations and the begin- ning of the stage of formal operations. It is a period when the child is expected to acquire a wide range of academic skills and to develop the ability to solve increasingly complex problems. Fischer and Bullock (in this volume) note that "competence is not a fixed characteristic of the child but an emergent characteristic of the child in a specific context." It is evident that the environment significantly affects cognitive development; however, there is a paucity of information on how the environmental context interacts with individual child characteristics to either facilitate or constrain development. Fischer and Bullock recommend an investigation into the collaboration between the child and the environment; we concur. Children's preschool experiences in the home, nursery school, and play' ground provide them, to some extent, with the cognitive and social skills

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292 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD required for success in school. Children from different social-cIass and ethnic backgrounds typically differ in the degree to which their preschool experi- ences prepare them for schoolwork. We discuss some of these differences in greater detail later. Here we note that early school ability (e.g., reading readiness), which is highly predictive of later school achievement, is strongly related to family background characteristics. As Barr and Dreeben (1983) noted, reading readiness determines reading group placement, and group placement determines pace of instruction and, therefore, reading achieve- ment. Reading achievement in first grade is highly predictive of reading achievement in second grade (r = .84~. For children in traditionally organized classrooms, achievement is re- markably stable during the school years. This is partly attributable to the high correlation between school achievement and general intelligence, which is usually between .50 and .60 (Lavin, 1965~. Cognitive competencies as- sessed by intelligence tests overlap with the competencies measured by achievement tests. Bloom (1976) estimated that about 75 percent of sub- sequent achievement is accounted for by general intelligence. Achievement measures are usually highly correlated with one another. For example, read- ing comprehension correlates about .70 with tests of language skills and literature. Within domains, test scores are even more highly correlated (e.g., .80 for prior and subsequent tests of the same type). In summarizing results of longitudinal studies, Bloom reported that measures of achievement after grade 3 yield a median correlation with achievement at grade 12 of .70. Maruyama et al. (1981) reported correlations of .75 to .79 for verbal achieve- ment between ages 12 and 15 and of .67 to .72 for verbal achievement between ages 9 and 12. In traditional instruction the best predictor of achievement at the end of the school year is achievement at the beginning of the year. A typical correlation is .80. Bloom (1976) reported that studies using high-quality instruction (tutor- ing, mastery reaming) have been able to substantially reduce the correlation between prior and later achievement in specific subjects. Anania (1981) reported a correlation of only .11 between prior achievement and final achievement in a course under tutorial conditions of instruction. More typical are the results reported by Froeme! (1980~. For students undergoing conventional instruction, the correlation between general intelligence and later achievement in a course was .45. For students in a mastery learning class, the correlation between measures of intelligence and measures of achievement at the beginning of the study was .46; after 3 months the correlation fell to .21; and after 6 months it was .11. Similar, though not always as dramatic, patterns of results have been consistent in studies of students from elementary grades through college (Bloom, 19761.

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SCHOOL AND CHILDREN 293 The stability described above is based on the persisting effects of individual differences on achievement. Rutter (1983) contended that individual dif- ferences in academic achievement cannot be reduced without impairing the most advantaged pupils but did not provide any empirical support for this assertion. Bloom (1976), however, cited the results of research indicating that by using mastery reaming techniques the achievement levels of the slowest pupils can be improved without impairing the progress of the more able students. The stability between earlier and later achievement is not inevitable but is a pattern that, according to Bloom, is associated with schooling as it is traditionally organized. While Bloom and his associates have focused on tutoring and mastery learning, perhaps other organized instructional ap- proaches could also reduce this stability substantially, especially computer- assisted or other individualized modes of instruction. Subsequent research in this area is warranted. School-Related Affect There has been a proliferation of research on general self-esteem and academic self-concept during the past two decades. Yet numerous meth- odological and conceptual problems continue to perplex researchers (see reviews by Wylie, 1974, 1979~. There is little agreement on the meaning of the terms self-esteem and self-concept, and there is a paucity of knowledge about how a child's self-image changes during the middle childhood years (Markus and Nurius, in this volume). There is also a need to understand the dimensions or domains of self-concept (e.g., physical self, academic self, social self). Finally, the tendency to rely almost exclusively on self-report measures of self~evaluation is a major weakness of research in this area. Self-esteem and academic self-concept are both positively correlated with academic achievement (Dolan, 1978; Hare, 1980; Maruyama et al., 1981; Purkey, 1970~. However, there is little direct evidence that either self-esteem or academic self-concept has a direct causal influence on achievement. After reviewing research on primary-grade children and older students, Scheirer and Kraut (1979) concluded that the evidence does not support the view that positive changes in self-concept result in improved achievement. Rather, it is more likely that positive change in academic self-concept is an outcome of improved achievement (e.g., Kifer, 1975~. Entwisle and Hay~uk (1982), however, found this relationship to be reversed in the first grade, i.e., before children have much experience in school. Eclucational and psychological researchers have shown considerable in- terest in the relationship of locus of control to achievement. For example,

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324 DEVELOPMENT DURING MIDDLE CHILDHOOD Brookover, W.B., Patterson, A., and Thomas, S. 1962 Self-Concept of Ability and School Achievement. U.S. Office of Education, Cooperative Research Project No. 845. East Lansing: Office of Research and Publications, Michigan State University. Brookover, W., Beady, C., Flood, P., Schweitzer, J., and Wisenbaker, J. 1979 School Social Systems and Student Achievement: Schools Can Make a Difference. New York: Praeger. Brophy, J. 1970 Mothers as teachers of their own preschool children: The influence of socioeconomic status and task structure on teaching specificity. Child Development 41:79-94. Brophy, J.E., and Evertson, C.M. 1974 Process Product Correlations in the Texas Teacher Effectiveness Study. Report No. 74-4. Austin: University of Texas Research and Development Center for Teacher Education. Brophy, J., and Good, T. 1974 TeacheT-Student Relationships: Causes and Consequences. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Burstein, L. 1980 The analysis of multilevel data in educational research and evaluation. In D.C. Berliner, ea., Review of Research in Education. Vol. 8. Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association. Buriel, R. 1981 Relation of Anglo- and Mexican-American children's locus of control beliefs to parents' and teachers' socialization practicies. Child Development 52:104-113. Busk, P., Ford, R., and Schulman, J. 1973 Effects of schools' racial composition on the self-concept of black and white students. Journal of Educational Research 67:57-63. Carew, J. 1980 Experience and the development of intelligence in young children at home and in day care. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 45(6-7, Serial no. 187). Carroll, J.G. 1963 A model of school learning. Teachers College Record 64:723-733. Cicirel~ V. 1977 Relationship of socioeconomic status and ethnicity to primary grade children's self- concept. Psychology in the Schools 14:213-215. Clark, K. 1965 Dark Ghetto. New York: Harper & Row. Clark, R. 1982 The Quality of Family Pedagogic Life: What Is That? Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York. Clarke-Stewart, K.A. 1973 Interactions between mothers and their young children: Characteristics and conse quences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Developrrient 38(6-7, Serial no. 153). Cohen, E. 1975 The effects of desegregation on race relations. Law and Contemporary Problems 39:271 299. 1980 Design and redesign of the desegregated school: Problems of status, power, and conflict. In W. Seephan and I. Fegin, eds., School Desegreganon: Past, Present and Future. New York: Plenum Press. Cohen, E., and De Avila, E. 1983 Indirect Instruction and Conceptual Leaming. Unpublished paper, Stanford University.

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