Sheehy and Colleagues Awarded $1.4 million IES Grant

Albany, NY (July 1, 2014) - Margaret Sheehy (PI) and Donna Scanlon (Co-PI), Literacy Teaching and Learning, with colleagues Glenn Deane, Sociology and Heidi Andrade, Educational Psychology and Methodology, have been awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for “Development of a Supplemental Instructional Course in Reading and Writing Arguments for Ninth Graders at Risk of Leaving School before Graduating." 

This three-year project aims to develop and test the effects of a high school course entitled “Arguing Like a Lawyer.” Common Core Standards emphasize argumentative reading and writing in English Language Arts, science, and social studies. “Arguing Like a Lawyer” will engage at-risk students in academic, college-focused, argumentative literacy practices. Development of the intervention will occur over two years, and the final version of the semester-length course for ninth grade students will be piloted in the third year. Two high schools, one urban and one rural, will participate in the study.

“The authentic educational activities that will be developed and studied in this project seem ideal for engaging all students in literacy, but perhaps particularly suited for students at risk of dropping out,” said Dean Robert Bangert-Drowns. Dr. Sheehy has been exploring elements of an “Arguing Like a Lawyer” course for several years in high schools and in courses taught on campus. The research team and high school teachers at Troy and Ravena High Schools will collaborate to extend, integrate, and evaluate this approach. Says Dr. Sheehy, “We hope that, over three years’ time, the course will make a difference for students in the participating schools and, ultimately, show promise for implementation and research on a greater scale.”

Read the University Press Release