10, 2016: The largest gender disparity in STEM courses is found
in Computer Science. Unfortunately girls are stereotyped out of computer
science at a young age. Researchers have recently found that we can
alter girls' interest in Computer Science simply by changing the physical
classroom environment in our schools. Schools where classrooms were
specifically set out to be more "girl-friendly" and promote women
in Computer Science, found a higher incidence of girls' interest in
Computer Science and more of a sense of belonging. Therefore, it is
imperative that schools begin a conscious attempt to increase girls
interest in Computer Science by removing the traditional gender stereotypes
which signal to girls that they do not belong. Master, A. et al. (2015,
Aug 17). Computing Whether She Belongs: Stereotypes Undermine Girls'
Interest and Sense of Belonging in Computer Science. Journal of Educational
Psychology, preview, nps
2, 2015: Executive Function (EF) is frequently studied due to
its involvement with learning and learning challenges (particularly
for persons with ADD and /or head trauma). Executive Function, our
ability to maintain control of our actions and our thoughts, is mainly
a function of the prefrontal cortex - the region behind your forehead.
Research released this month tracked adolescent twins from teens through
their early 20's to see how stable EF is during this time period and
whether variance in function is more likely to be from genetics or
environmental factors. Tracking 420 sets of twins for 6 years, they
found that EF is relatively stable by age 17 and that genetics appears
to play the biggest role in variation. So while environment can play
a small role, most executive function appears to be something inherited.
Friedman, N. et al. (2015, Nov 30). "Stability and Change in Executive
Function Abilities From Late Adolescence to Early Adulthood: A Longitudinal
Twin Study." Developmental Psychology, preview, nps.
15, 2015: Young persons who perceive themselves as being racial
discriminated against are at higher risk of depression. A new study
recently released looked at the long-term consequences of perceived
racial discrimination, as well as factors that may act as a buffer.
The researchers tracked African American and Latino youth through
adolescence. They found that those in particular who felt ethnic or
racial discrimination from peers were the most likely to suffer depression
with greater symptoms. However, those who began high school with high
levels of positive racial affect were at a much lower risk for depression
over time. So positive racial affect appears to buffer the effects
of perceived racial discrimination. Stein, G. et al (2015). "A Longitudinal
Examination of Perceived Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms in
Ethnic Minority Youth: The Roles of Attributional Style, Positive
Ethnic/Racial Affect, and Emotional Reactivity." Journal of Developmental
Psychology, Nov 16 preview, nps.
13, 2015: New research shows that when teaching math fractions
to students with poor working memory, it helps to teach students how
to explain their process when comparing fraction magnitudes. If working
with students who have strong reasoning ability, teaching word-problem
intervention is more effective. Fuchs, L. et al(2015, Sept). "Supported
Self-Explaining During Fraction Intervention." Journal of Educational
Psychology, preview, no page specified.
15, 2015: Hippocampal
Neurogenesis involves the development of new neurons in the region
of the brain responsible for memory. This process of neurogenesis
may help clear out old memories as well as stabilize new memories
for long term retention. Researchers are now looking at the effects
of chronic stress and depression on this process. Both appear to interfere
with normal hippocampus function and in particular cloud long term
retrieval. Dery, N. et al. (2015, June) "A Role for Adult Hippocampal
Neurogenesis at Multiple Time Scales: A Study of Recent and Remote
Memory in Humans". Behavioral Neuroscience, preview, nps.
19, 2015: School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
is currently implemented in over 20,000 schools in the US. The program
is designed to improve school climate and prevent disruptive behavior.
New research shows that at-risk and high-risk students tend to benefit
the most from the program. Bradshaw, C., et al (2015, May) "Examining
variation in the impact of school-wide positive behavioral interventions
and supports: Findings from a randomized controlled effectiveness
trial." Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 107(2), 546-557.
2, 2015: Education research has long provided evidence to support
homework to improve students' academic performance. However, researchers
are now digging deeper on the details surrounding when, how much and
what types of homework are beneficial. What they found is that student
autonomy in homework is the largest predictor of academic benefit.
When students are allowed to choose if, when and how much, homework
is more beneficial than other factors such as effort and duration.
The optimum time spent on homework was one hour. Fernández-Alonso,
R. et al. (2015). Adolescents' Homework Performance in Mathematics
and Science: Personal Factors and Teaching Practices., Journal of
Educational Psychology, Mar 16 preview, nps.
20, 2015: Helping students with metacognitive skills improves
motivation, learning and future learning - So says new research out
this month. The study involved a 6 hour training session with middle
school students, teaching them the process skills of planning, monitoring
and evaluation. When compared later to a control group, the students
taught metacognitive strategies performed better on tests and had
higher levels of motivation. Zepeda, C. et al. (2015). "Direct Instruction
of Metacognition Benefits Adolescent Science Learning, Transfer, and
Motivation: An In Vivo Study.", Journal of Educational Psychology,
Mar 16 preview, nps.
16, 2015: Teachers, use your big words! New research out compars
reading comprehension progress with middle-schoolers. They compared
beginning of year scores to end of year, from a variety of classrooms.
They then recorded and analyzed teacher's speech in those same classrooms.
Students whose teachers used the more sophisticated vocabulary in
class, significantly improved their reading comprehension as the year
progressed. Gamez, P. & Lesaux, N. (2015) "Early-Adolescents' Reading
Comprehension and the Stability of the Middle School Classroom-Language
Environment." Developmental Psychology, Feb 16 preview, nps
4, 2015: Children who experience close teacher-child relationships
during their early elementary years have stronger receptive language
development. Spilt, J. et al (2014, Dec). " Language Development in
the Early School Years: The Importance of Close Relationships With
Teachers." Developmental Psychology, preview, nps
9, 2015: Perceived control (your belief that your actions can
actually make a difference) changed throughout young adulthood. For
most, it increased between the age of 18 and 25, then decreases slowly
through your thirties into your early 40's. However, having at least
one parent with a college degree changes your perceived control and
it continues throughout most of your mid-adult life, peaking around
age 43. Whether or not you earned a degree seems to have no or little
effect on perceived control, but simply having higher perceived control
by age 18 does make it more likely that you will go on to a university
program. Vargas, L. et al (2015, Jan) "Growth in perceived control
across 25 years from the late teens to midlife: The role of personal
and parents' education. Developmental Psychology, Vol 51(1), 124-135.
30, 2014:Children with dyslexia can write at the same speed as
children without dyslexia. However, on writing tasks, they write less
overall and pause more frequently while writing. In particular they
pause within words due to poor spelling ability. The majority of writing
deficits in children with dyslexia result from non-automated spelling
and within word pausing. Sumner, E.; Connelly, V.; Barnett, A. (2014,
Sept). "The influence of spelling ability on handwriting production:
Children with and without dyslexia." Journal of Experimental Psychology:
Learning, Memory and Cognition, Vol 40(5), 1441-1447.
2, 2014: Does having a grandparent in the house during your preschool
years make a difference in school readiness? That may depend on your
culture and ethnicity. A longitudinal study looked at children raised
in 3-generation households (grandparent, parent, child) versus parent
only households. Researchers found that 3-generation households were
associated with lower levels of expressive language for White, Asian,
and Black children but more expressive language for Hispanic children.
Pilkauskas, N. (2014, Dec) "Living with a grandparent and parent in
early childhood: Associations with school readiness and differences
by demographic characteristics." Developmental Psychology, Vol 50(12),
22, 2014: What makes a good, supportive parent? Apparently it
all starts way back to the early years of that person's life. New
longitudinal research out now shows that people who have a sensitive,
caregiving mother during the first 3 years of their life, do better
with friendships and peer relationships in school, partner relationships
in young adulthood, and parenting their own children. Raby, K. et
al. (2014). "The Interpersonal Antecedents of Supportive Parenting:
A Prospective, Longitudinal Study From Infancy to Adulthood."
Developmental Psychology, Nov 24 preview, no page specified.
10, 2014: Gender gaps continue for math and science literacy in
the US. The latest data analysis from the National Assessment of Educational
Progress shows that in terms of math / science achievement, boys are
still favored over girls right through 12th grade. And when we compare
high achievers in math and science, the statistics are quite a wide
margin. High achieving males outnumber females two to one. Reilly,
D.; Neumann, D.; Andrews, G. (2014). " Sex Differences in Mathematics
and Science Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of National Assessment of
Educational Progress Assessments. Journal of Educational Psychology,
Nov 10 preview, nps.
20, 2014: We generally think of someone with high levels of Emotional
Intelligence (EI) in a positive way. EI is associated with empathy,
understanding and positive responses. But some new research shows
that female adolescents and young adults who score high for EI also
can have greater sensation seeking needs and thus delinquency. In
fact, high EI scores directly correlated to higher self-reports of
truancy from school, taking drugs and violence. Bacon, A et al (2014).
Sex Differences in the Relationship Between Sensation Seeking, Trait
Emotional Intelligence and Deliquent Behavior". Journal of Forensic
Psychiatry & Psychology, 25 (6), 673-683.
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