Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Education Research and Statistics Bootcamp

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March 9 - March 12, 2006
University of Southern California/Annenberg School for Communication
In partnership with the Education Writers Association

In a unique partnership, the Education Writers Association and the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism offered an opportunity for education reporters to explore education research and statistic in-depth. This expenses-paid bootcamp taught reporters how to interpret and manipulate research data and understand findings with a more critical perspective. Since education research reports cross the desks of reporters almost daily, it's difficult to sort out the good research from the bad. And education reporters must use so much data and statistics because of such topics as testing, dropout rates, teacher quality and other issues, it's difficult to determine statistics from lies and damned lies. Successful applicants:

  • Deepened their understanding of the use of statistics, especially when reporting on education. A stronger understanding of statistics will help reporters understand, for instance, when test score increases are statistically significant and when they increase beyond the point of credulity.
  • Learned how to read education research and gauge the good quality research from the bad.
  • Understood how to read test scores and how to report on test scores without exaggerating results – or underplaying results.
  • Developed a specific project for publication using data. Reporters will be contacted by facilitators before and after the conference so they can fine-tune their projects and have a solid foundation for the numbers they are using.



What fellows have to say about past seminars:
"I want to say I've been to three census trainings in under two years and this was by far the most interesting, most useful and the most fun... Thank you for this amazing opportunity. You step in where may news organizations fall short, and provide tools most reporters would not otherwise have access to. You do journalism and readers a great service! "
- Natalie Singer, Palm Springs Desert Sun
A partnership of...

Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation