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Project Talent testers sought for study

Back in 1961, students at Central High School in Newnan took the Project Talent exam—spending two to four days on the test.

At that time, Central High School served black students in Newnan. The test was given during the final years of segregation and captured a picture of what school and life were like for students in that era. Now the American Institutes for Research, which conducted Project Talent a half century ago, would like participants from Central High to take part in a follow-up project.

The CHS alumni are among 400,000 people being sought across the country. Participants will be asked to share their stories once again in the historic follow-up study.

“The classes of 1960-1963 would have all taken part in the year 1960,” said Sabine Horner, Project Talent’s director of outreach and communications.

Central High alumni can call the project at 1-866-770-6077 or send an e-mail to [email protected] Information on the effort is available at www.projecttalent.org.

Project Talent was a study of the aptitudes and abilities, hopes and expectations of high school students from across America. The study was conducted by AIR and the U.S. Office of Education. “We have an enormous amount of information,” Horner said.

“The Project Talent generation is very important in the history of the country,” Horner said. “They came of age during an era of great upheaval, and they transformed the United States as we knew it. Project Talent is an opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences in a meaningful way that can benefit future generations.”

She said the follow-up study will help understand how the lives of original Project Talent students “have turned out over 50 years” and examine “how early life experiences have impacted their lives.”

The study will have particular historical significance because the students were coming of age at “an interesting time when a lot of things were changing,” she said.

Large studies that follow people from adolescence to retirement are both rare and extremely valuable, Horner said. They allow researchers to make connections between early life experiences and later life outcomes.

New information gained from the 50-year follow-up study can help researchers and policy makers understand how family and educational background impact the life course, up to and including the retirement process. Researchers can also learn why certain people stay healthier and happier and are more able to enjoy their later life.

Central High School later became a middle school and is now Central Educational Center, a charter school that combines traditional high school curriculum with technical training.

Horner said it has been particularly difficult to make contact with Project Talent participants in the southern United States. Many of the schools they attended are no longer in existence, she said.

Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity.

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From: Times Herald | Read Original Article