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Million Voice Project to Improve Education by Listening to Students

NEW YORK — March 16, 2010 —

Current academic research increasingly emphasizes the role that personal engagement plays in students’ success in high school and in their preparation for college and career. In response, the Pearson Foundation today announced a new effort to survey and study students’ personal views of their academic learning experiences. The Million Voice Project—a new, online administration of the My Voice Survey from the Quaglia Research Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA)—aims to assemble the most substantial research-based understanding of student attitudes and experiences in the American education system.

The Pearson Foundation is making the Million Voice Project survey and its results available to American schools and school districts at no cost. Beginning later this spring, the Pearson Foundation will also publish composite state- and national-survey results so educators everywhere have the chance to improve learning outcomes and ensure increased academic success.

As the name suggests, the Million Voice Project is designed to capture the perspectives of 1 million students in grades 6-12. Unlike other polls, this effort will be completed with the active support of thousands of schools and communities across the country. Available at www.millionvoice.org, the survey organizes student participation by school, and reports this confidential information back to school leaders. Million Voice Project school reporting provides an immediate, accurate snapshot of student engagement so educators can improve the educational experience for their entire school community.

This initiative builds on QISA’s existing My Voice Survey, which is the most broadly used gauge of student school perception and generally takes students 15 minutes to complete. As a result of their adoption of this earlier version of My Voice Survey of more than 400,000 young people, school districts nationwide have been able to correlate measurable academic gains with students’ personal sense of self-worth, active engagement and sense of purpose.

“We believe that all students who come to school, come to succeed,” said Russ Quaglia Ph.D., founder of QISA. “The Million Voice Project will be a powerful tool for helping school teachers and administrators gauge how students perceive their current school learning environment, and make data-driven decisions to determine what conditions need to be created or changed to prevent kids from dropping out and to foster greater academic success and accomplishment.”

Leading American educational associations have already endorsed the Million Voice Project, including the American Association for School Administrators (AASA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSO), the National Catholic Educators Association (NCEA) and the National Education Association (NEA).

“There’s broad, growing consensus that we must better incorporate student voice and experience into learning,” said Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation. “Young people tell us that they want to learn in welcoming environments that promote curiosity and creativity, and that they very much want to be engaged in their academic pursuits. This project can help educators, parents and others learn from students across the country. In the process, we’ll have a unique chance to hear from young people the steps they recommend we take to improve their learning environment and realize their true potential.”

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson’s commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic and business organizations to provide financial, organizational and publishing assistance across the globe. The foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.

Contact

Pearson Foundation
Adam Gaber, 212-641-6118, adam.gaber@pearson.com