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Research Team Meeting
February 15, 2005
Cross State Office Building, # 500


Attending: Patrick Phillips, Carla Ritchie, Mary Madden, Lyn Brown, Rich Kent, Aileen Fortune, Susan Corrente (facilitator)




RESCHEDULING OF STEVE WESSLER TO A MEETING WITH THE RESEARCH TEAM: Steve will join the Research Team at the April 25, 2005 meeting.

UPDATE ON REPORT: Mary presented an updated draft of the report outline for discussion with the Team. She still needs data on SES from John Kennedy; Susan will followup with John. She also would like to see what data the College Board has that would be helpful; Patrick will followup with Arthur Doyle of the College Board by forwarding to him any questions that the Research Team members have after reviewing both pages 21 - 23 of the today's draft, and some additional AP information that Mary will send to the Team. Members were asked to please forward their questions to Mary by Friday, February 25, 2005 and she will collect/synthesize all the questions and forward to Patrick to send on to Arthur Doyle.

Patrick noted that John Dorrer, Department of Labor, is working with the University of Maine on a study of wages in relation to postsecondary course-taking; Patrick will ask him for data on this, disaggregated by gender. Mary suggested that, given that the Report is on Maine students, we may want to limit this information to the UM System, as it has the greater number of students that are from Maine and Maine schools. However, Lyn will check with Colby to see if they track Maine high school students' persistence rates, as well.

Rich Kent suggested that the Introduction include an explanation of how the Research Team moved from a focus on boys to a broader focus on gender equity in education, combining bullets 2 and 4 of the Introduction; members agreed with that suggestion. Carla suggested that the phrase in bullet 5 of the Introduction, "Which boys? Which girls", or some version of it, would be a good title for the Report, given our preliminary findings that SES seems to be more of a factor in the differences in performance than gender; members agreed with that suggestion.

Members discussed the presentation of the material, concluding that instead of presenting a whole chapter of data charts, it would be more instructive for a wide audience if we select and set a context for the most important data, with a bridge to the discussion of the meaning of it in later chapters. It would also help with the readability of the charts if we translate them in some consistent way, to summarize the important point that the data supports. Then all the data can be included as a resource at the end of the report, along with a glossary of technical terms (e.g., "statistically significant") for those who are inclined to study the data from a more technical perspective. The Team agreed that the Report should be a useful educational tool and that the presentation will be very important in ensuring that.

Patrick noted several resources that were identified during a conference on boys at which he presented last weekend, among them studies on work done in Australia and New Zealand (of which some members were aware), Tom Newkirk at UNH (who was already listed as an Advisor to the Task Force, at the recommendation of Rich Kent), and Christine Cunningham (at the Boston Museum of Science).

Finally, the members discussed briefly how to proceed at the next full Task Force meeting with the discussion/organization of the work of the "Event Planning Team" on rollout and professional development, given that we haven't yet reached the point of recommended practices in the Report. Carla suggested that it will be important to begin with professional development on raising awareness of the issues, given the values discussion that this will involve. She also recommended that the professional development include a sharing of ideas among those teachers/administrators and others who have implemented practices that have been successful. The members agreed that this will help to frame the discussion on rollout/professional development that is scheduled for the next full Task Force meeting.

NEXT MEETING OF RESEARCH TEAM: March 14, 2005, 2 PM - 4 PM, Cross State Office Building, # 500