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An important goal I have established foraspect myof thinking life-span critically. Mindful this text is to motivate students to think deeply about their individuals createown journey new ideas, ofnewlife. By contrast, mindless individuals are entrapped in old ideas, engage in automatic behav- ior, and operate from a single perspective. Personal Journey of Life appears in the end-of-section review Recently, Robertin each Roeser and chapter. It hasin beenChapter proposed that1,mindfulness training could Why is he being so nice to you?

Imagine what your development would have Inbeen additionlike in a culture to mindfulness, activities suchthat as yoga,offered meditation, and tai chi have been developmental connection Exercise fewer or distinctly different choices. To read about one developmental psychologist who used her training in cognitive devel- executive function, than less physically fit children. Scientific Thinking Some aspects of thinking are specific to a particular domain, such as mathematics, science, or reading. Here we examine scientific thinking by children.

Do children generate hypotheses, perform experiments, and reach conclusions about their data in ways resembling those of scientists? This new edition is no exception, with more than 1, citations from , , and New techniques are described, such as neurofeedback and mindfulness training to reduce ADHD symptoms; and ongoing debates are explored, such as whether supportive or tiger parenting is better for Chinese American children, and if adolescence is taking too long.

Below is a sample of the many chapter-by-chapter changes that were made in this new edition of A Topical Approach to Life- Span Development. A more extensive, detailed list of chapter-by-chapter changes can be obtained by contacting your McGraw-Hill sales representative. This review also U. Please contact your McGraw-Hill representative for details concerning the availability of these and other valuable materials that can help you design and enhance your course.

Organized by chapter, the questions are designed to test factual, applied, and conceptual understanding. They can be used as is, or you may modify them to meet your specific needs. Krista Bettino, Executive Director, Products and Markets, has provided excellent guidance, vision, and direction for this book. Vicki Malinee provided considerable expertise in coordinat- ing many aspects of the editorial process for this text. Thanks also to Ann Helgerson and A. And Jennifer Blankenship provided me with excellent choices of new photographs for this edition of the book.

I also want to thank my parents, John and Ruth Santrock, my wife, Mary Jo, our children, Tracy and Jennifer, and our grandchildren, Jordan, Alex, and Luke, for their wonderful contribu- tions to my life and for helping me to better understand the marvels and mysteries of life-span development.

Their invaluable feedback ensures that the latest research, knowledge, and perspectives are presented throughout the text. Their willingness to devote their time and expertise to this endeavor is greatly appreciated. The Expert Consultants who contributed to this edition, along with their biographies and commentary, can be found on pages xii-xiv. Fawaz, Georgia Perimeter College; E. Mills, Miami University; Daniel K.

Sternberg, University of Colorado; Robert B. Stewart, Jr. The Life-Span Perspective This book is about human development—its universal features, its individual variations, its nature. Every life is distinct, a new biography in the world. Examining the shape of life-span development allows us to understand it better. Examining the shape of life-span development helps us to understand it better. In this first chapter, we explore what it means to take a life-span perspective on development, examine the nature of development, discuss theories of development, and outline how science helps us to understand it.

Each of us develops partly like all other individuals, partly like some other individuals, and partly like no other individuals. But as humans, we have all traveled some common paths. Each of us, if we live long enough, will experience hearing problems and the death of fam- ily members and friends. This is the general course of our development—the pattern of movement or change that begins at conception and continues through the human life span. In this section, we explore what is meant by the concept of development and why the study of life-span development is important.

We outline the main characteristics of the life- span perspective and discuss various sources of contextual influences. In addition, we exam- ine some contemporary concerns in life-span development. Perhaps you are, or will be, a parent or a teacher. If so, responsibility for children is, or will be, a part of your every- day life.

The more you learn about them, the better you can deal with them. Perhaps you hope to gain some insight about your own history—as an infant, a child, an adolescent, or an adult. Perhaps you want to know more about what your life will be like as you move through the adult years—as a middle-aged adult or as an adult in old age, for example. Or perhaps you have just stumbled upon this course, thinking that it sounded intriguing and that the study of the human life span might raise some provocative issues.

Whatever your reasons, you will discover that the study of life-span development is filled with intriguing information about who we are, how we came to be this way, and where our future will take us. Most development involves growth, but it also includes decline and dying. In exploring development, we examine the life span from the point of conception until the time when life—at least, life as we know it—ends.

You will see yourself as an infant, as a child, and as an adolescent, and be stimulated to think about how those years influenced the kind of indi- vidual you are today. And you will see yourself as a young adult, as a middle-aged adult, and as an adult in old age, and be motivated to think about how your experiences today will influence your development through the remainder of your adult years. The traditional approach to the study of development emphasizes exten- sive change from birth to adolescence especially during infancy , little or no change during adulthood, and decline in old age.

But a great deal of change does occur in the five or six decades after adolescence. What has changed is life expectancy: the average number of years that a person born in a particular year can expect to live. During the twentieth century alone, life expectancy in the United States increased by 30 years, thanks to improvements in sanitation, nutrition, and medicine see Figure 2. For individuals born today in the United States, their life expectancy is 79 years of age U.

Census Bureau, Indian elephant 70 The belief that development occurs throughout life is central to the life-span perspective on human development, but this perspective has other characteristics as well. Researchers increasingly House mouse 3 study the experiences and psychological orientations of adults at different points in their lives. Later in this chapter, we consider the age periods of development and their characteristics. Our only competitor components—for example, attention, memory, abstract thinking, speed of processing informa- for the maximum recorded life span is the tion, and social intelligence are just a few of the components of the cognitive dimension.

For example, when one language such as English is acquired early in development, the capacity for acquiring second and third languages such as Spanish and Chinese decreases later in development, especially after early childhood Levelt, During adolescence, as individuals establish romantic relationships, their time spent with friends may decrease. Plasticity means the capacity for change. For example, can you still improve your intellectual skills when you are in your seventies or eighties?

Or might these intellectual skills be fixed by the time you are in your thirties, so that further improvement is impossible? However, possibly we possess less capacity for change when we become old Salthouse, What characterizes the life-span perspective on development?

She joined the , Massachusetts Bay Colony study in the early s and has participated six times in extensive 35 physical, medical, psychological, and social assessments. In her 33 Middle Ages, England professional life, she was a practicing physician. Margaret M. Baltes Foundation. It took 5, years to extend human life expectancy from 18 to 41 years of age. How do your heredity and health limit your intelligence? Do intelligence and social relationships change with age in the same way around the world?

How do families and schools influence intellectual development? These are examples of research questions that cut across disciplines. Contexts include families, neighborhoods, schools, peer groups, work settings, churches, university laboratories, cities, countries, and so on. Thus, individuals are changing beings in a changing world. As a result of these changes, contexts exert three types of influences Baltes, : 1 normative age-graded influences, 2 normative history-graded influences, and 3 nonnormative or highly individualized life events.

Each type of influence can have a biological or an environmental impact on development. For example, in their normative age-graded influences Influences youth, American baby boomers shared experiences that included the Cuban missile crisis, that are similar for individuals in a particular the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Beatles invasion. Other examples of norma- age group.

Long-term changes in the genetic and cultural makeup of a population due to immigration or changes in fertility rates are also part of normative historical change. These events do not happen to all people, and when they do occur they can influence people in different ways. As individuals age into middle and late adulthood, the maintenance and regula- Sandy in October , are unusual tion of loss in their capacities shift their attention away from growth.

In terms of individual factors, we can go beyond what our genetic inheritance and environment have given us. The roles that health and well-being, parenting, education, and sociocultural contexts play in life-span development, as well as how social policy is related to these issues, are a particular focus of A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. Does a pregnant woman endanger her fetus if she drinks a few beers per week?

Are children getting less exercise today than in the past? What roles do parents and peers play in whether adolescents abuse drugs? What health- enhancing and health-compromising behaviors do college students engage in? What factors are causing the obesity epidemic in the United States and around the world? How can older adults cope with declining health? We will discuss many questions like these regarding health and well-being. In every chapter, issues of health and well-being are integrated into our discussion.

Are children harmed if both parents work outside the home? Are U. We hear many questions like these related to pressures on the contemporary family and the problems of U. How diverse are the students neighborhood, leading to improved hygiene in your life-span development class?

How are their and health in the families. Also, her group has experiences in growing up likely to be similar to or stopped several child marriages by meeting different from yours? Doly development itself—are shaped by their sociocultural context. In analyzing this context, four says that the girls in her UNICEF group are far concepts are especially useful: culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. Culture results from the interaction of people over many years. A cultural group can be as large as the United States or as small as an isolated Appalachian town.

Cross-cultural studies com- pare aspects of two or more cultures. African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, passed on from generation to generation. Native Americans, European Americans, and Arab Americans are examples of broad ethnic cross-cultural studies Comparisons of one groups in the United States. Diversity exists within each ethnic group Banks, A spe- culture with one or more other cultures. Its population includes a greater variety of cultures and ethnic groups than ever before. Gender refers to the characteristics of people as males and females.

Out of citizens. Statistics such as infant mortality rates, mortality among children under age 5, and the percentage of children who are malnourished or living in poverty provide benchmarks for evaluating how well children are doing in a particular society. In , As indicated in Figure 3, one study found that instrumental in calling attention to the needs of children. For example, Canada has a child poverty rate of An increasing number of studies are show- 9 percent and Sweden has a rate of 2 percent.

Some children triumph over poverty or other adversities. They show resil- Family turmoil ience. Are there certain characteristics that make children resilient? Figure 4 shows the individual 45 factors and social contexts that tend to characterize resilient children. At the national and state is the Ascend two-generation educational intervention being con- levels, policy makers have debated for decades whether helping poor ducted by the Aspen Institute The intervention emphasizes parents will benefit their children.

A key element of the program was its guarantee that adults par- ined the effects of many other government policies. They are seeking ticipating in the program would receive more income if they worked than ways to help families living in poverty improve their well-being, and if they did not. A current MFIP study How does the life-span perspective support this and other research on is examining the influence of specific services on low-income families at the role government should play in improving the well-being of children?

For example, older adults received the recommended care for general medical conditions such as heart disease only 52 percent of the time; they received appropriate care for undernourishment and Alzheimer disease only 31 percent of the time. These concerns about the well-being of older adults are heightened by two facts. First, the number of older adults in the United States is growing dramatically, as Figure 5 shows.

The number of Male Americans over 65 has grown dramatically since and is projected to continue Female 30 increasing until A significant increase will also occur in the number of individuals in the and-over age group. Millions of Americans over age Compared with earlier decades, U. As the older population continues to expand, an increasing number of older adults will be without either a spouse or children—traditionally the main sources of support for older adults.

Review Connect Reflect Review people are exactly alike. Why is the study of life- observation? LG1 Discuss the distinctive features of a life-span span development important? How might your development in life-span development? In this section, we explore what is meant by developmental processes and periods, as well as variations in the way age is conceptualized.

We examine key developmental concepts, explore how they describe development, and discuss strategies we can use to evaluate them. The pattern is complex because it is the product of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes. Genes inherited from parents, the development of the brain, height and weight gains, changes in motor skills, nutrition, exercise, the hormonal changes of puberty, and cardiovascular decline are all examples of biological processes that affect development. For example, biological processes can influence cognitive processes and vice versa.

Thus, although usually we study the different processes of devel- opment biological, cognitive, and socioemotional in separate locations, keep in Cognitive Socioemotional mind that we are talking about the development of an integrated individual with Processes Processes a mind and body that are interdependent. Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional purposes of organization and understanding, we commonly describe development processes interact as individuals develop. The most widely used classification of developmental periods involves the eight-period sequence shown in Figure 7.

Approximate age ranges are We reach backward to our parents and listed for the periods to provide a general idea of when each period begins and ends. It involves tremendous growth— their children to a future we will never from a single cell to an organism complete with brain and behavioral capabilities—and takes see, but about which we need to care.

Infancy is the developmental period from birth to 18 or 24 months. Infancy is a time of —Carl Jung extreme dependence upon adults. During this period, many psychological activities—language, Swiss psychiatrist, 20th century symbolic thought, sensorimotor coordination, and social learning, for example—are just beginning. Early childhood is the developmental period from the end of infancy to age 5 or 6. First grade typically marks the end of early childhood.

Middle and late childhood is the developmental period from about 6 to 11 years of age, approximately corresponding to the elementary school years. During this period, the fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are mas- tered. The child is formally exposed to the larger world and its culture. Adolescence is the developmental period of transition from childhood to early adulthood, entered at approximately 10 to 12 years of age and ending at 18 to 21 years of age.

Biological Processes. Thought is more logical, abstract, and ideal- istic. More time is spent outside the family. Recently, considerable interest has been directed toward the transition from adolescence to adulthood now referred to as emerging adulthood, which lasts from approximately 18 to 25 years of age. Experimentation and exploration characterize the emerging adult Arnett, , , a, b. At this point in their development, many individuals are still explor- ing which career path they want to follow, what they want their identity to be, and which lifestyle they want to adopt for example, single, cohabiting, or married.

Residential changes peak during emerging adulthood, a time during which there also is often instability in love, work, and education. According to Arnett , p. Arnett describes two ways in which emerging adulthood is the age of possibilities: 1 many emerging adults are optimistic about their future; and 2 for emerging adults who have experienced difficult times while growing up, emerging adulthood presents an opportunity to direct their lives in a more positive way. Beyers, Traditional-aged 6. Mean number of words recalled Laura Helmuth described how researchers are finding that certain Older adults testing conditions exaggerate the severity of age-related declines in 6.

Optimum testing conditions are not the same for young adults as they are for older adults. Most researchers conduct 5. Traditional-aged college students in their 5. In memorizing a list of words. However, when the participants took the one study, traditional-aged college students performed better than memory tests in the morning rather than in the late afternoon, the age older adults in both the morning and the afternoon. Note, however, difference in performance decreased considerably see Figure 8.

Thus, the The younger adults remembered the details of both circumstances. It is a time of establishing personal and economic independence, back to us as we look to you; we are pursuing career development, and, for many, selecting a mate, learning to live with someone related by our imaginations. If we are in an intimate way, starting a family, and rearing children. It is a time of expanding personal and social involvement and responsibility; of dreams running back and forth along a assisting the next generation in becoming competent, mature individuals; and of reaching and cable from age to age.

Late adulthood is the developmental period that begins during the sixties or seventies —Roger Rosenblatt and lasts until death. It is a time of life review, retirement from paid employment, and adjust- American writer, 20th century. Late adulthood has the longest span of any period of development, and—as noted earlier—the number of people in this age group has been increasing dramatically. As a result, life-span developmentalists have been paying more attention to differences within late adulthood.

Using the 1—7 losses of aging. In contrast, the oldest old 85 and older show scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by placing the appropriate considerable loss in cognitive skills, experience an increase in number on the line preceding that item. Please be open and honest in your responding. As you saw in the Connecting with Research inter- 6 Agree lude, situational contexts, including time of day, play an impor- The conditions of my life are excellent. But there are things I want in life. How important is age when we try to understand change almost nothing.

An increasing number of studies indicate that at least Scoring in the United States adults are happier as they age. For exam- 31—35 Extremely satisfied ple, a study of more than , U. Why might older Source: Diener, E. Also in the study, baby boomers those born between and reported being less happy than indi- viduals born earlier—possibly because they are not lowering their aspirations and idealistic hopes as they age as did earlier generations.

Because growing older is a certain outcome of living, it is good to know that we are likely to be happier as older adults than when we were younger. Now that you have read about age variations in life satisfaction, think about how sat- isfied you are with your life. To help you answer this question, complete the items in Figure 9, which presents the most widely used measure in research on life satisfaction Diener, Reflecting the importance of psycho- environmental experiences?

Social age refers to connectedness with others and the social roles individuals adopt. From a life-span perspective, an overall age profile of an individual involves not just chronological age but also biological age, psychological age, and social age. Are the experiences that take place early in your journey more important than later ones? Is your journey more like taking an elevator up a skyscraper with distinct stops along the way, or more like cruising down a river with What is the nature of the early- and later- smoother ebbs and flows?

These questions point to three issues about the nature of devel- experience issue in development? Proponents of the developmental influence of nature acknowledge that extreme Personality environments—those that are psychologically barren or hostile—can depress development. Is personality more stable at some points in However, they believe that basic growth tendencies are genetically programmed into adult development than at others? Connect humans Mader, Is the fun-loving, carefree adolescent bound to have difficulty holding down a 9-to-5 job as an adult? These questions reflect the stability-change issue, which involves the degree to which early traits and characteristics persist or change as a person matures.

Developmentalists who empha- size change take the more optimistic view that later experiences can produce change. Recall that in the life-span perspective, plasticity—the potential for change—exists throughout the life span. Think about your own development for a moment. Did you gradually become the person you are?

Or did you experience sudden, distinct changes in your growth? For the Discontinuity most part, developmentalists who emphasize nurture describe development as a gradual, continuous process. Those who emphasize nature often describe development as a series of distinct stages. Is our development like continuity, as the oak grows from seedling to giant tree, it becomes more and more an that of a seedling gradually growing into a giant oak tree? Or is it more like that of a oak—its development is continuous see Figure Puberty might seem abrupt, but it is a gradual process that occurs over several years.

Similarly, at some point a child moves from not being able to think abstractly from who we were at an earlier point in about the world to being able to do so. This is a qualitative, discontinuous change in develop- development change. Nature and nurture, stability and change, continuity and that helps to explain phenomena and make discontinuity characterize development throughout the human life span. How can we answer questions about the roles of nature and nurture, stability and change, and Science refines everyday thinking.

How can we determine, for example, whether —Albert Einstein special care can repair the harm inflicted by child neglect or whether memory loss in older German-born American physicist, 20th century adults can be prevented? The scientific method is essentially a four-step process: 1 conceptualize a process or problem to be studied, 2 collect research information data , 3 analyze data, and 4 draw conclusions.

In step 1, when researchers are formulating a problem to study, they often draw on theories and develop hypotheses. A theory is an interrelated, coherent set of ideas that helps to explain phenomena and make predictions. It may suggest hypotheses, which are specific assertions and predictions that can be tested. For example, a theory on mentoring might state that sustained support and guidance from an adult improve the lives of children from impov- erished backgrounds because the mentor gives the children opportunities to observe and imitate the behavior and strategies of the mentor. This section outlines key aspects of five theoretical orientations to development: psycho- analytic, cognitive, behavioral and social cognitive, ethological, and ecological.

Each contributes an important piece to the life-span development puzzle. Although the theories disagree about certain aspects of development, many of their ideas are complementary rather than contradictory. Together they let us see the total landscape of life-span development in all its richness.

Psychoanalytic theorists emphasize that behavior is merely a Sigmund Freud, the pioneering architect of psychoanalytic theory. These character- istics are highlighted in the main psychoanalytic theory, that of Sigmund Freud — He thought that as and the symbolic workings of the mind must children grow up, their focus of pleasure and sexual impulses shifts from the mouth to the be analyzed to understand behavior.

Early anus and eventually to the genitals. As a result, we go through five stages of psychosexual experiences with parents are emphasized. Because Freud emphasized sexual motivation, his stages of development are known as psychosexual stages.

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In his view, if the need for pleasure at any stage is either undergratified or overgratified, an individual may become fixated, or locked in, at that stage of development. Our adult personality, Freud claimed, is determined by the way we resolve conflicts between sources of pleasure at each stage and the demands of reality. Unconscious thought remains a central theme, but thought plays a greater role than Freud envisioned.

For one thing, Erikson , said we develop in psychosocial stages, rather than in psy- chosexual stages as Freud maintained. According to Freud, the primary motivation for human behavior is sexual in nature; according to Erikson, it is social and reflects a desire to affiliate with other people.

According to Freud, our basic personality is shaped in the first five years of life; according to Erikson, developmental change occurs throughout the life span. Thus, in terms of the early-versus-later- experience issue described earlier in the chapter, Freud viewed early experi- ences as far more important than later experiences, whereas Erikson emphasized the importance of both early and later experiences. At each stage, a unique developmental task confronts indi- viduals with a crisis that must be resolved.

According to Erikson, this crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point marked by both increased vulnerability and enhanced potential. The more successfully individuals resolve these crises, the healthier their development will be. Trust in infancy sets the stage for a lifelong expectation that the world will be a good and pleasant place to live. This stage Erik Erikson with his wife, Joan, an artist. Erikson generated one of the most important developmental theories of the occurs in late infancy and toddlerhood 1 to 3 years.

After gaining trust in their twentieth century. They realize their will. As preschool children encounter a widening social world, they face new challenges that require active, purposeful, responsible behavior. Feelings of guilt may arise, though, if the child is irresponsible and is made to feel too anxious. Children now need to direct their energy toward confronts individuals with a crisis that must be mastering knowledge and intellectual skills. The negative outcome is that the child may resolved. If adolescents explore roles in a healthy manner and arrive at a Late adulthood Integrity positive path to follow in life, they achieve a positive identity; if they do not, identity confu- versus despair 60s onward sion reigns.

At this time, individuals face the developmental task of form- ing intimate relationships.

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If young adults form healthy friendships and an intimate Generativity Middle adulthood relationship with another, intimacy will be achieved; if not, isolation will result. By generativity Erikson means primarily a concern for helping the younger generation to develop and lead useful lives.

The feeling of having done nothing to help the Early adulthood Intimacy next generation is stagnation. During this stage, a person reflects on the past. These theories have been criticized, however, for a lack of scientific inferiority elementary school years, 6 years to support, too much emphasis on sexual underpinnings, and an image of people that is viewed puberty as too negative.

Whereas psychoanalytic theories stress the importance of the unconscious, cognitive theories emphasize conscious thoughts. Two pro- cesses underlie this cognitive construction of the world: organiza- tion and adaptation. To make sense of our world, we organize our experiences. Thus, in terms of the continuity- discontinuity issue discussed in this chapter, stages in understanding the world see Figure Each age- both favor the discontinuity side of the related stage consists of a distinct way of thinking, a different debate.

The sensorimotor stage, which lasts from birth to about 2 years of age, is the first Piagetian stage. In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sen- Jean Piaget, the famous sory experiences such as seeing and hearing with physical, Swiss developmental motoric actions—hence the term sensorimotor. In this stage, actively construct their understanding of the minds. These words and events and classify objects logical ways.

An infant progresses symbolic thinking and go from reflexive, instinctual action beyond the connection of at birth to the beginning of sensory information and symbolic thought toward the physical action. However, according to Piaget, preschool children still lack the ability to perform what he calls operations, which are internalized mental actions that allow children to do mentally what they previously could only do physically.

For example, if you imagine putting two sticks together to see whether they would be as long as another stick, without actually moving the sticks, you are performing a concrete operation. The concrete operational stage, which lasts from approximately 7 to 11 years of age, is the third Piagetian stage. In this stage, children can perform operations that involve objects, and they can reason logically when the reasoning can be applied to specific or concrete examples.

For instance, concrete operational thinkers cannot imagine the steps necessary to complete an algebraic equation, which is too abstract for thinking at this stage of development. In this stage, individuals move beyond concrete experiences and think in abstract and more logical terms. As part of think- ing more abstractly, adolescents develop images of ideal circumstances. They might think about what an ideal parent is like and compare their parents to this ideal standard. They begin to entertain possibilities for the future and are fascinated with what they can become.

In solving problems, they become more systematic, developing hypotheses about why something is happening the way it is and then testing these hypotheses. However, Vygotsky gave social interaction and culture far more important roles in cognitive development than Piaget did. He argued that cognitive development involves learning. Thus, in one culture, children might learn to count with the help of a computer; in another, they might learn by using beads.

In other words, when individuals perceive, encode, represent, store, and retrieve information, they are thinking. For example, becoming a better reader might involve learning to monitor the key themes of the material being read. Siegler also argues that the best way to understand how children learn is to observe them while they are learning. Siegler concludes that most research methods indirectly assess cognitive change, being more like snap- shots than movies.

The microgenetic method seeks to discover not just what children know but the cognitive processes involved in how they acquired the knowledge Miller, Out of the behavioral tradition grew the B. Skinner was a tinkerer who liked to make new gadgets. In terms because he wanted to control her environment completely.

The of the continuity-discontinuity issue discussed earlier in this chapter, the Air-Crib was sound-proofed and temperature controlled. Debbie, behavioral and social cognitive theories emphasize continuity in develop- shown here as a child with her parents, is currently a successful ment and argue that development does not occur in stage-like fashion. A behavior followed by a rewarding stimulus is more likely to emphasizing that individuals manipulate recur, whereas a behavior followed by a punishing stimulus is less likely to recur.

For exam- information, monitor it, and strategize about it. For Skinner the key aspect of development is behavior, not thoughts and feelings. He emphasized that development consists of the pattern of behavioral changes that are brought about by rewards and punishments. For example, Skinner would say that shy people learned to be shy as a result of experiences they had while growing up. It follows that modifications in an environ- ment can help a shy person become more socially oriented. However, unlike Skinner, they also see cognition as important in understanding development.

Social cognitive theory holds that behavior, environment, and cognition are the key factors in development. American psychologist Albert Bandura — is the leading architect of social cogni- tive theory. Bandura , a, b, emphasizes that cognitive processes have impor- tant links with the environment and behavior. His early research program focused heavily on observational learning also called imitation, or modeling , which is learning that occurs through observing what others do. Courtesy of Dr. Albert Bandura people cognitively represent the behavior of others and then sometimes adopt this behavior themselves.

These theories have been criticized for deemphasizing FIGURE 14 the role of cognition Skinner and giving inadequate attention to developmental changes. These are specific time frames during which, characteristics for example, believing that according to ethologists, the presence or absence of certain experiences has a long-lasting you can control your experiences. European zoologist Konrad Lorenz — helped bring ethology to prominence. In his best-known research, Lorenz studied the behavior of greylag geese, which will developmental connection follow their mothers as soon as they hatch. Lorenz separated the eggs laid by one goose into Achievement two groups.

One group he returned to the goose to be hatched by her. The other group was Bandura emphasizes that self-efficacy is a hatched in an incubator. The goslings in the first group performed as predicted. However, those in the second group, which saw Lorenz ment. Lorenz and Work. Bowlby stressed that attachment to a caregiver over the first year of life evolution, and is characterized by critical or has important consequences throughout the life span. In his view, if this attachment is positive sensitive periods.

If the. Do you think his experiment would have the same results with human babies? This point in time is called a critical period. A related concept is that of a sensitive period, and an example of this is the time during infancy when, according to Bowlby, attachment should occur in order to promote optimal development of social relationships. Ethological theory has been criticized for its overempha- etc.

Ma play area. One ecological theory that has important implica- Time sociohistorical tions for understanding life-span development was created by Urie Bronfenbrenner conditions and time — The theory identifies five environmental systems: microsystem, FIGURE 15 mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem see Figure It is of five environmental systems: microsystem, mesosystem, in the microsystem that the most direct interactions with social agents take exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem.

The individual is not a passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but someone who helps to construct the settings. For example, theory that focuses on five environmental children whose parents have rejected them may have difficulty developing positive relations systems: microsystem, mesosystem, with teachers. The mother might receive a promotion that requires more travel, which might increase conflict with the husband and change patterns of interaction with the child.

The macrosystem involves the culture in which individuals live. Remember from earlier in the chapter that culture refers to the behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group of people that are passed on from generation to generation. Remember also that cross- cultural studies—the comparison of one culture with one or more other cultures—provide information about the generality of development.

The chronosystem consists of the patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances. For example, divorce is one transi- tion. Researchers have found that the negative effects of divorce on children often peak dur- ing the first year after the divorce Hetherington, , By two years after the divorce, family interaction is more stable. As an example of sociohistorical circumstances, consider how the opportunities for women to pursue a career have increased since the s. Nonetheless, it is still dom- Urie Bronfenbrenner developed ecological inated by ecological, environmental contexts Ceci, His theory dimensions of environmental systems, and its attention to connections between environmental emphasizes the importance of both micro systems.

The theory has been Cornell University Photography criticized for giving inadequate attention to the influence of biological and cognitive factors.

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Psychoanalytic eclectic theoretical orientation An theory best explains the workings of the unconscious mind. The behav- each theory whatever is considered best in it. Ethological Discontinuity but no stages; critical or sensitive periods Strong biological view emphasized; early experiences very important. In short, although theories can be helpful guides, relying on a single theory to explain development probably would be a mistake. This book instead takes an eclectic theoretical orientation—rather than following a single theoretical approach, it selects from each theory whatever is considered its best features.

Figure 16 compares the main theoretical perspectives in terms of how they view important issues in human development. What are the four steps of criticisms of this theory? LG3 Describe the main the scientific method? What do these theories? What are some contributions theories have in common? How are and criticisms of the cognitive theories? What are some contributions and criticisms of this theory? If they follow an eclectic orientation, how do scholars and researchers determine that one feature of a theory is somehow better than another? The scientific method discussed earlier in this chapter provides the guide.

Generally, research in life-span development is designed to test hypotheses, which in some cases are derived from the theories just described. Through research, theories are mod- ified to reflect new data, and occasionally new theories arise. Here we consider the measures most often used, beginning with observation. For observations to be effective, they have to be systematic.

We need to have some. We have to know whom we are observing, when and where we will observe, how we will make our observations, and how we will record them. Where should we make our observations? We have two choices: the laboratory and the everyday world. When we observe scientifically, we often need to con- trol certain factors that determine behavior but are not the focus of our inquiry Jackson, For example, sup- pose you want to observe how children react when they see other people act aggressively.

If you observe children in their homes or schools, you have no control over how much aggression the children observe, what kind of aggression they see, which people they see acting aggres- sively, or how other people treat the children. In contrast, if you observe the children in a laboratory, you can control these and other factors and therefore have more confidence What are some important strategies in conducting observational research about how to interpret your observations.

Naturalistic observation provides insights that sometimes cannot be obtained in the lab- 10 oratory. Naturalistic observation means observing behavior in real-world settings, making no effort to manipulate or control the situation. Life-span researchers conduct naturalistic 5 observations at sporting events, child-care centers, schools, work settings, malls, and other places people live in and frequent. When visiting exhibits at the science FIGURE 17 museum, parents were three times as likely to engage boys as girls in explanatory talk.

One technique is to interview them directly. The gender method is the survey—sometimes referred to as a questionnaire—which is especially use- difference occurred regardless of whether the ful when information from many people is needed Madill, Surveys and interviews can be used to study a wide range of topics from religious beliefs to sexual habits to attitudes about gun control to beliefs about how to improve schools. Surveys and interviews may be conducted in person, over the telephone, and over laboratory A controlled setting from which the Internet.

For example, on a survey or in an interview some individuals might say in real-world settings. For example, a person may per- form poorly on a standardized intelligence test in an office setting but score much higher at home, where he or she is less anxious. Case studies are performed mainly by mental health professionals when, for Mahatma Gandhi was the spiritual leader of India in the middle of the twentieth century. What are some limitations of the case study approach? In procedures for administration and scoring.

The subject of a case study case study An in-depth look at a single is unique, with a genetic makeup and personal history that no one else shares. In addition, individual. Researchers who conduct case studies rarely check to see if other professionals agree with their observations or findings Yin, Hormone levels are increasingly examined in developmental research. Also, as puberty unfolds, the blood levels of certain hormones increase.

These two brain images indicate how others, Notice the pink and red coloring which indicates effective brain functioning involving memory in the brain of the year-old images of two adolescents—one a non-drinker and nondrinker left while engaging in a memory task, and compare it with the lack of those colors the other a heavy drinker—while they are engaged in the brain of the year-old heavy drinker right under the influence of alcohol. Electroencephalography EEG Dr. Further, heart rate has been used as an index of different aspects of emotional development, such as inhibition and anxiety Reznick, Eye movement also is increasingly being assessed to learn more about perceptual devel- opment and other developmental topics.

There are three main types of research designs: descriptive, correlational, and experimental. For example, a researcher might observe the extent to which people are altruistic or aggressive toward each other. In correlational research, the goal is to describe the strength of the relationship between two or more events or char- acteristics. The more strongly the two events are correlated or related or associated , the more effectively we can predict one event from the other.

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You might observe that the higher a parent was in permissiveness, the lower the child was in self-control. You would then analyze these data statistically to yield a numerical measure, called a correlation coefficient, a number based on a statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of association between two vari- ables. The correlation coefficient ranges from A negative number means an inverse reversed relation. By contrast, you might find a positive correlation of 1. The higher the correlation coefficient whether positive or negative , the stronger the association between the two factors.

A correlation of 0 means that there is no association between the factors. A correlation of —. The correlational finding just mentioned does not mean that permissive parenting relationship between two or more events or necessarily causes low self-control in children. It could mean that, but it also could mean that characteristics.

It also could mean that other factors, such as heredity or pov- statistical analysis that is used to describe the erty, caused the correlation between permissive parenting and low self-control in children. Figure 19 illustrates these possible interpretations of correlational data. If the behavior under study changes when a factor is manipulated, the manipulated.

Possible explanations for this observed correlation. The cause is the factor that was manipulated. The effect is the behavior that changed because of the manipulation. An independent variable is a manipu- lated, influential, experimental factor. It is a potential cause. An experiment may include one independent variable or several of them. A dependent variable is a factor that can change in an experiment, in response to changes in the independent variable.

As researchers manipulate the independent variable, they measure the dependent variable for any resulting effect. For example, suppose that you are conducting a study to determine Participants randomly assigned to whether pregnant women could change the breathing and sleeping patterns experimental and control groups of their newborn babies by engaging in aerobic exercise during pregnancy. You might require one group of pregnant women to engage in a certain amount and type of aerobic exercise each day while another group would not exercise; the aerobic exercise is thus the independent variable.

When the infants are born, you would observe and measure their breathing and sleep- ing patterns. These patterns are the dependent variable, the factor that Independent Experimental Control group variable group aerobic exercise no aerobic exercise changes as the result of your manipulation. An experimental group is a group whose experience is manipulated. The control group serves as a base- line against which the effects of the manipulated condition can be compared.

Imagine that Random assignment is an important principle for deciding whether each you decide to conduct an experimental study of the effects participant will be placed in the experimental group or in the control group. You would randomly assign mental and control groups by chance. It reduces the likelihood that the pregnant women to experimental and control groups.

In the example of the effects of aero- over a specified number of sessions and weeks. The control bic exercise by pregnant women on the breathing and sleeping patterns of group would not. Then, when the infants are born, you would assess their breathing and sleeping patterns. If the breathing their newborns, you would randomly assign half of the pregnant women to and sleeping patterns of newborns whose mothers were in the engage in aerobic exercise over a period of weeks the experimental group experimental group are more positive than those of the control and the other half not to exercise during the same number of weeks the group, you would conclude that aerobic exercise caused the control group.

Figure 20 illustrates the nature of experimental research. They have several options: Research- ers can study different individuals of varying ages and compare them, or they can study the same individuals as they age over time. A typical cross-sectional study might include three groups of children: 5-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and year-olds.

Another study might include groups of year-olds, year-olds, and year-olds. The groups can be compared with respect to a variety of dependent variables: IQ, memory, peer relations, attach- ment to parents, hormonal changes, and so on. All of these comparisons can be accomplished in a short time. In some studies, data are collected in a single day. Even in large-scale cross- sectional studies with hundreds of subjects, data collection does not usually take longer than several months to complete. The main advantage of the cross-sectional study is that the researcher does not have to wait for the individuals to grow up or become older.

Despite its efficiency, though, the cross- sectional approach has its drawbacks. It gives no information about how individuals change or about the stability of their characteristics. It can obscure the increases and decreases of development—the hills and valleys of growth and development. For example, a cross-sectional study of life satisfaction might reveal average increases and decreases, but it would not show how the life satisfaction of individual adults waxed and waned over the years.

It also would not tell us whether the same adults who had positive or negative perceptions of life satisfac- tion in early adulthood maintained their relative degree of life satisfaction as they became middle-aged or older adults. For example, in a longitudinal study of life satisfaction, the same adults might be assessed peri- odically over a year time span—at the ages of 20, 35, 45, 65, and 90, for example.

They are expensive and time consuming. The longer the study lasts, the more participants drop out—they move, get sick, lose interest, and so forth. The participants who remain may be dissimilar to those who drop out, biasing the outcome of the study. Those individuals who remain in a longitudinal study over a number of years may be more responsible and conformity-oriented, for example, or they might have more stable lives.

For example, people who were teenagers during World War II are likely to differ from people who were teenagers during the booming s in their educational opportunities and eco- nomic status, in how they were raised, and in their attitudes toward sex and religion. Cohort effects are important because they can powerfully affect the dependent measures in a study ostensibly concerned with age Schaie, Researchers have shown it is espe- cross-sectional approach A research strategy cially important to be aware of cohort effects when assessing adult intelligence Schaie, Individuals born at different points in time—such as , , and —have had vary- ing opportunities for education.

Individuals born in earlier years had less access to education, longitudinal approach A research strategy in and this fact may have a significant effect on how this cohort performs on intelligence tests. Longitudinal studies are effective in studying age changes but cohort effects Characteristics attributable to only within one cohort.

Figure 21 describes not to actual age. For every high-achieving eighth grade students in the lower economic half, 75 maintain their status as high achievers in math and 71 in reading at the end of high school, meaning that more than 25 percent fall from the top quarter of achievement. The retention rate among upper-income students is higher, with 84 percent remaining in the top level of achievement in math and 77 percent in reading.

When we compare the lowest and highest income quartiles, the gap widens even further. For example, 28 percent of the poorest students slip out of the top achievement quartile in math compared to just 14 percent of the wealthiest students. The difference in persistence between higher- and lower-income high achievers in high school is in large part driven by the gap among high-achieving boys. In math, only 13 percent of the higher-income boys fall out of the top quartile of achievement compared to 25 percent of lower-income boys.

Similarly, in reading, 25 percent of higher-income boys fall out of the top quartile of achievement during high school compared to 36 percent of lower-income boys. In terms of improvement, or the rate at which students move from the bottom 75 percent of achievement in eighth grade into the top achievement quartile in twelfth grade, students from the top economic half continue to outpace their lower-income peers by more than two-to-one. By the end of high school, ten percent of upper-income students improve into the top quartile in math compared to only four percent of lower-income students, while 12 percent of upper-income students rise to that level in reading, compared to only six percent of lower-income students.

Again, the disparity deepens at income extremes: for example, 12 percent of students from the wealthiest income quartile improve in math compared to just three percent of those from the lowest income quartile. There are also significant differences in the high school performance of different racial and ethnic groups within the lower-income high-achieving population. At the extremes, lower-income Asian students have a significantly better chance than other lower-income students of persisting in the top quartile of achievement in math during high school, while African-American students from lower-income families have a much smaller chance of rising into the top quartile in either math or reading during that period.

While high-achieving lower-income students may drop down from the top academic quartile at a disproportionately high rate during high school, they are unlikely to drop out of high school altogether. Nationally, the dropout problem is severe, with nearly one out of every three students failing to graduate with their class.

While the rate at which high-achieving lower-income students fail to graduate on time is about twice that of their higher-income peers, rates for both groups are far below the approximately 30 percent observed for all students nationally. As a whole, our elementary and high school findings reveal unrelenting inequities. Lower-income students lag significantly behind their higher-income peers both in the likelihood that they will remain high achievers over time and the odds that they will break into the high-achieving quartile.

As discussed in greater detail in the final section of this report, much more needs to be done to determine the sources of these differences and to develop education strategies that can help ensure that high-achieving students in every classroom, regardless of their income and race, are engaged and challenged. The educational disparity between lower- and higher-income high achievers continues after high school. In comparison to high achievers from the top economic half, high-achieving twelfth graders from the bottom economic half are less likely to attend highly selective colleges, more likely to attend less selective colleges, and, most importantly, much less likely to complete college and graduate school.

Regardless of their income status, high-achieving students go to college at rates far above the national average. Though relatively small, this income-related gap in college entry rates is not without consequence. Nonetheless, it is extraordinary that more than nine out of every ten lower-income high achievers pursue a college education. This rate is not only greater than that for all lower-income students, but greater than the rate for high-school graduates as a whole, of whom eight out of ten enter a postsecondary institution. As we look for ways to increase American competitiveness globally and to foster equal opportunity domestically, the loss of significant numbers of high-achieving students during their post-secondary years is inexcusable.

Why so many high-achieving lower-income students do not complete college requires further study. It may be that financial limitations contribute to this shortfall, given the fact that college costs have risen at rates higher than both inflation and available need-based financial aid. Although it is clear that we need to understand more fully the reasons that many high-achieving lower-income students do not complete college, our research reveals one factor that strongly predicts success for these students: the selectivity of the college they enter.

Specifically, the more selective the college a high-achieving lower-income student attends, the more likely that student will graduate; the less selective the college, the more likely that the lower-income student will leave before graduating. For the high-achieving lower-income group, graduation rates steadily drop from 90 percent to 56 percent as school selectivity decreases.

In contrast, more than 80 percent of higher-income students received degrees regardless of where they went to college. Notwithstanding the greater benefit gained by lower-income high achievers when they attend highly selective colleges, it is the higher-income high achievers who do so more frequently.

While enrollment rates in middle-selectivity schools are not statistically different for upper- and lower-income high achievers, at the extremes of selectivity, lower-income students fare worse.


This lower rate of selective-college attendance likely has many causes. In addition, evidence suggests that lower-income students may receive guidance from their high school counselors that pushes them to attend less-selective institutions. For the high-achieving lower-income group, graduation rates steadily drop as school selectivity decreases. In contrast, more than 80 percent of higher-income students receive degrees regardless of where they go to college.

Motivated, talented students can, of course, receive a high-quality education at a community college or less-selective university. The unfortunate reality for high-achieving lower-income students, however, is that an important indicator of their future success in life — the likelihood of graduating from college — depends in substantial part on the selectivity of the school they attend. Simply sending more high-achieving lower-income students to selective schools will not, in and of itself, close the graduation gap.

Colleges at every level of selectivity should examine and emulate practices of institutions that graduate large numbers of lower-income students. A Education Trust report, for example, identifies a number of practices that promote high retention and graduation rates, such as focusing on the quality of undergraduate teaching, closely monitoring student progress, and ensuring that students are more fully engaged on campus during the freshman year.

Among high achievers who graduate from both high school and college, the income-related achievement gap continues into graduate school. Furthermore, the disparity increases with the number of years required to complete the degree. The fading educational attainment of high-achieving students from lower-income families from first grade through postsecondary education should seem familiar: it is not unlike the experience faced by all low-income students.

Low-income children generally suffer inadequate access to high-quality preschool programs and start school with lower levels of literacy and school readiness than children from more affluent families. Thus, the conclusion to be drawn from our research findings is not that high-achieving students from lower-income backgrounds are suffering more than other lower-income students, but that their talents are similarly under-nurtured. Even when lower-income students succeed at one grade level, we cannot assume that they are subsequently exempt from the struggles facing other lower-income students or that we do not need to pay attention to their continued educational success.

Students with academic talent but limited resources make up a generation of young Americans whose future is closely intertwined with the future of the nation. Quite simply, we need them, and they need a society that does not overlook their potential. They have demonstrated the capacity to make a significant contribution to our economic and social progress. A vaccine for malaria, technologies to address global warming, and the cure for cancer could emerge from the minds of lower-income students who currently are unlikely to obtain the education needed to make these contributions.

Unless these students are provided strong educational opportunities, however, that potential will not be realized. We must adopt a broader vision that recognizes the immense potential of many lower-income students to perform at the highest levels of achievement and considers how to educate them in ways that close the existing highachievement gap. The US Department of Labor predicts that these trends will continue over the next decade, strongly suggesting the need for a more highly-educated workforce in the United States. In , the earnings difference between those with a college degree and those with a high school diploma was greater than it has been at any point since , when going to college was reserved for a relatively elite segment of the population.

In addition to earnings, a college education produces a range of benefits that are enjoyed not only by the graduates themselves but also by our nation as a whole. Reports by the College Board and the Institute for Higher Education Policy find that graduating from college correlates with better long-term health, a higher likelihood of voting, a smaller chance of being incarcerated, and less reliance on support from government-funded social support programs. Yet, even though our society has a stake in ensuring that high-achieving lower-income students complete their education and compete for higher-paying jobs, our nation largely ignores these students, and they remain absent from policy discussions.

A review of current education policy initiatives, educational programs, and academic research suggests that a substantial shift is needed if more is to be done to help high-achieving lower-income students. Simply put, these students will not receive adequate help under the status quo, in which lower-income students are generally treated as educational underachievers who need to be brought up to average attainment levels. We must adopt a broader vision that recognizes the immense potential of many lower-income students to perform at the highest levels of achievement and considers how to educate them in ways that close the existing high-achievement gap.

What would it take for such a shift to occur? What initial steps would educators, policymakers, and academics need to take to help create better outcomes for these students? At the K level, educators should view the findings in this report as a wake-up call, a signal that we are failing not only low-income students scoring below proficiency, but millions of students poised to achieve excellence. These findings raise a provocative question: Have we as a nation actually set our sights too low in our recent education reforms?

The major policy initiative driving K practice today, the federal No Child Left Behind law NCLB , does little in practice to encourage educators to learn about or close the high-achievement gap between higher-income and lower-income students. Because the core achievement goal established by NCLB requires schools to meet certain objectives regarding the number of students assessed to be proficient, the law does not set any standards related to students performing at advanced levels.

As a result, NCLB creates no incentives for schools to maintain or increase the number of such students or to collect data on advanced learners. As schools and other educational programs for lower-income students have been pushed to increase the numbers of students who achieve proficiency, few have targeted services at high-achieving students or even assessed the effects of their programs on the number of lower-income students who reach advanced levels of learning. This reality is unlikely to change as long as proficiency remains the lone achievement mandate.

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The time is ripe in the United States for a discussion about whether schools should be held accountable not only for meeting proficiency standards but also for the performance of students at advanced levels. As policymakers, educators, civic leaders, and business leaders consider whether, and how, to strengthen and continue NCLB and related educational policy, they should pay close attention to research demonstrating that improving the academic environment for high-achieving students can benefit the entire student population. At the very least, in light of the data presented in this report, policymakers and educators should begin a discussion at the federal, state, and local levels about whether and how to develop incentives that encourage schools to advance high achievement among lower-income students.

Because federal education policy largely ignores advanced learners, inadequate information exists at both the state and federal levels about what is happening educationally to high-achieving lower-income students. To improve outcomes for lower-income high achievers, we will need better information about these students.

Inadequate information exists at both the state and federal levels about what is happening educationally to high-achieving lower-income students. As a result, the federal government does not provide states any incentive to measure and report on the advanced performance of high-achieving lower-income students. While looking for information at the state level, we found that, four years after the enactment of NCLB, nearly one-third of US states provide data that are inadequate to determine trends in achievement for advanced learners, or make no data on advanced learners accessible to the public.

In both public schools and out-of-school programs, there are few initiatives aimed at better serving lower-income advanced learners. There are, however, some notable exceptions among magnet public schools and certain charter schools, which have not only seen most of their students achieve proficiency, but have also helped many reach and remain at advanced levels. If the education of this valuable and vulnerable population of high achievers from lower-income homes in the United States is to improve, a more rigorous approach to innovation and evaluation in this field is needed.

Such an effort would require schools and out-of-school providers to collect and report data on their highest-performing students by income groups, and to test the effect that educational programs have on the number of high achievers and their yearly learning growth. Moreover, mechanisms must be established to allow local schools and other educational service providers to share what they have learned about what is working to better serve this noteworthy population.

In higher education, lower-income students generally face several barriers to success, including decreasing levels of affordability, inadequate access to information about college, low levels of accessibility to a broad range of colleges, and insufficient programs to promote retention among those who enter college.

At the K level, we need to expand awareness not merely that college is a possible destination point but also that a college degree is a critical step to a successful future. The fact that the number of guidance counselors in high schools has decreased, coupled with evidence that higher-achieving students from lower-income backgrounds are steered toward less-selective colleges, suggests the need to both expand and improve college-going guidance. Colleges and universities can play a role in providing better information to students by reaching out to high-achieving lower-income students in innovative ways.

Promising efforts made in recent years include programs that send newly-trained college counselors to high schools with low levels of college-bound graduates, 42 and others that offer financial aid instead of loans to students whose family incomes fall below various thresholds. College and university presidents, administrators, and faculty need to learn more about why high-achieving lower-income students drop out of college especially less-selective colleges , and to emulate practices proven to increase graduation rates. Promising efforts aimed at improving degree-attainment rates among high-achieving lower-income students include providing the students with unique, intensive academic and social experiences, and establishing learning communities among groups of lower-income high achievers.

To target and assess efforts to increase college accessibility and degree attainment, better data will be needed. Insufficient information is available to assess the entry and success rates of high-achieving lower-income college students currently enrolled in post-secondary education. Indeed, the federal government does not require post-secondary institutions to report graduation rates by Pell Grant recipient status or any other income indicator.

And while some states and institutions have worked to implement data systems that include information about the college success rates of lower-income students, these systems are not coordinated with one another. Better data must also be made publicly available if students are to have the information they need to assess the relative effectiveness of individual colleges.

Such data should also be made centrally accessible so that policymakers, administrators, government officials, and, importantly, lower-income students and their families can assess the effectiveness of accessibility and retention initiatives within individual colleges and state systems. As noted throughout this report, academic research has focused little on high-achieving lower-income students.

Most reports on achievement differences between income groups divide the population by income and then look at average achievement for each group. Studies have found that lower-income students start kindergarten with substantially lower cognitive skills than their more advantaged peers, 50 attend worse schools, 51 score lower on standardized tests, 52 enroll less often in AP classes, 53 are less likely to graduate from high school, and less frequently go to college.

For example, summer learning loss tends to be greater for high-achieving students from low-income schools than for high-achieving students from high-income schools. Nonetheless, the limited available research leaves significant gaps in our understanding of the obstacles facing lower-income high-achieving students. We hope that the data in this report will spur additional research efforts addressing such questions such as:. When viewed as a single narrative, the experience of the high-achieving lower-income student is alarming.

It is marked by disadvantage through elementary school, unequal opportunity in high school, and inferior rates of college and graduate-school completion. The simple summary of the quandary facing the 3. They have the ability to excel in college and achieve the highest levels of success in their chosen fields, but they are less likely to have the social and financial resources necessary to get there.

That these facts are so little known has helped to perpetuate a general public attitude that these students either do not exist in appreciable numbers or are continuing to succeed in their current environments. As this report shows, the opposite is true. There are 3. Once they graduate, they need help to ensure that they complete the undergraduate and graduate programs necessary for them to reach their full potential. At their best, American schools are engines of social mobility, enabling individuals from the toughest economic circumstances to advance as far as their abilities and hard work can take them.

But these engines of mobility are sputtering for those lower-income students who are showing the most academic promise. Our nation can, and must, do better. We must ensure that our educational systems and reforms advance the life prospects of all students, including those disadvantaged students already excelling, who have great potential to make significant contributions to our society and world.

Subject to low expectations and unchallenging coursework, many lower-income students with the ability to excel languish in their schools for years, performing well below their potential. Too often, these students never rise to achieve at top levels. She spent first, second, and third grades at a public school in her neighborhood, where she felt that her teachers were ill-equipped to feed her curiosities. The move ultimately afforded Kourtney opportunities she never had at her local school. When she arrived at her new school, Kourtney was placed in a remedial program. For a student who craved greater intellectual challenge and stimulation, being in remedial education was difficult.

It took the help of her mother, a mentor, and an intensive summer program to move Kourtney from the remedial program into advanced courses, where she has since excelled. In , she was recognized by METCO for earning the highest grade point average of all students in her grade in the Boston-area program. Now in her sophomore year at a public high school in Lincoln, Massachusetts, Kourtney has her sights set on attending Stanford University or an historically black college or university when she graduates.

She wants to pursue a career in law. Tanner Mathison exemplifies such students. Once his bridge held 1, pounds without yielding, they stopped testing it. Even at this early age, Tanner was feeling out of place in rural Oregon. His father had passed away a few years earlier, and the modest life his mother could afford did not include sufficient outlets for his academic interests. It seemed to Tanner that his teachers were often either not equipped or not motivated to encourage advanced students like him. Despite these challenges, Tanner persisted.

Although he found subjects that interested him and challenged him to excel, he wanted more. While in middle school, Tanner earned a scholarship to attend private school. At his new school, Tanner encountered dedicated teachers and rigorous programs that unlocked his potential and captured his varied interests. In the summer, he also enrolled in courses that challenged him— engineering courses at Johns Hopkins University and a Duke University program in London focused on world politics.

Tanner is now a freshman at Dartmouth College. Tanner recognizes how fortunate he has been. Each year, thousands of students from lower-income backgrounds leave college, falling short of the goals they set for themselves when they completed high school at the top of their graduating classes. Once in college, these high achievers face not only financial challenges, but the realization that their high school coursework did not prepare them for the rigors of higher education.

Sara Brown-Hiegel is one such student. Sara grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where she attended public school. Through hard work and the encouragement of her parents, Sara was accepted to a University of Southern California USC program for students with promising academic records. By doing well in the program and earning strong grades through high school, Sara secured admission to USC and a guaranteed full scholarship for nine semesters.

As hard as she worked in high school, Sara found college much more difficult than she expected. Initially, she was able to manage the requirements of college, but soon academic demands began to wear on her. Sara wishes those at her high school had better prepared her for the workload and personal responsibility required during college. She felt that all the hand-holding she received through high school left her with a disadvantage once she had to do it on her own. Sara now grapples with her future at USC after a full year out of school following three semesters on academic probation.

She aspires to be a published writer and acknowledges that a college degree would be an important step in that direction. Numerous challenges face the million-plus high achievers nationally who are living in or near poverty. Living in families that endure significant financial hardship, these students often become sidetracked. For many of these students, community college offers a second chance to prove themselves academically. Ryan Catala offers one example. Ryan grew up too quickly. Although family struggles forced him to live with foster families and change schools frequently, Ryan was placed in a gifted program at an early age.

But like many young people who find themselves in turbulent environments, gangs and drugs eventually lured him away from academics. By the time he was 17, Ryan was in prison. While sitting in his jail cell, Ryan realized that education was the way out and that he had much more to offer the world.

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After serving his time, he lived at the YMCA in his hometown and found a job there. He surrounded himself with supportive mentors who helped redirect him toward education and a productive life. In community college, Ryan encountered teachers who supported and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Spurred by his experience, Ryan is interested in politics and the judicial system, and is currently working for the Yonkers City Council President.

His long-term plans include law school, which he hopes will provide him with opportunities to help troubled youth. Ryan recognizes that the difficulties he faced in childhood are not uncommon, particularly for low-income children. That is often the reality for low-income students. Even when they receive a quality education early on, many high achievers from working-class families find their educational opportunities narrowing as they get to high school and consider college.

Notwithstanding their hard work and continued excellence, their educational progress is often stunted by the financial realities faced by their families and communities. Scott grew up on a livestock farm outside Humboldt, Illinois. Farms dot the landscape, and the largest employers are broomcorn factories.

Going to school in a town with approximately children, Scott graduated with just 52 other students. While his small school offered personal attention, he felt stifled by the limited number of advanced classes. Still, Scott stood out as the class valedictorian. While he knew what it would take to be first in his class at his local high school, he also recognized that fulfilling his dream of pursuing a career in medicine would require succeeding on a bigger stage.

Like many students at the top of their class, Scott wanted to attend a top four-year university. But his high school had not fully prepared him, and finances were tight. Scott is grateful for his community college education, recognizing that it offered him the opportunity to continue working towards his goal of becoming a doctor. A scholarship to a four-year university has unlocked a new set of opportunities for this aspiring doctor.

Scott is on track to fulfill his dreams and to contribute to the health and welfare of his community. The analyses conducted for this report are based, primarily, on data from three nationally representative longitudinal surveys:. Data from ECLS-K were used to study the educational experiences of students in first, third, and fifth grades, while NELS data were used to analyze students in eighth and twelfth grades.

Some members of the NELS cohort were also surveyed eight years after the majority graduated from high school; data on these students span sufficient time after graduation to examine the postsecondary experiences of the cohort. The NELS data are representative of: eighth grade students in ; tenth grade students in ; twelfth grade students in ; and twelfth graders from the class in These data support a different analysis of postsecondary experiences than can be conducted using the NELS data.

Further, the 10 years between the first and most recent survey waves mitigates the confounding influence of delayed graduate school entry, thereby producing a better portrait of graduate attendance and attainment. More details on these analyses are in Appendix D. For the research on elementary and high school experiences, high achievement is defined as the top quartile of academic performance on nationally normalized exams administered as part of the ECLS-K and the NELS.

Lower-income is defined as the bottom half of the family-size adjusted income distribution. It does not mean that group members have mastered a particular set of skills, only that their mastery level is greater than a comparison group. While separate norm-referenced reading and mathematics test scores are available for grades one, three, and five, where possible, we preferred to define the top academic quartile using a composite measure of reading and math performance at each grade level.

Thus, for the ECLS-K, composite test scores were constructed following the procedure used to create the composite test scores available on the NELS data file for grades eight and twelve. The first step was to create an equally weighted average of the standardized reading and mathematics scores. For longitudinal analyses, the reading, math, and composite test scores were re-standardized within year, using the appropriate longitudinal survey weight, to have a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10 across the same cohort of students at each grade.

The ECLS-K variables used to determine academic performance differed slightly between the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Updated IRT scores were released on later data files but only for the students who remained in the longitudinal survey. Therefore, updated measures were not available for all students in the first and third grade cross-sectional samples. Academic quartiles were defined in slightly different ways for the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses conducted as part of this research. For the longitudinal analyses, we used a cohort-based definition of academic quartiles.

Quartile boundaries were computed using appropriate longitudinal weights. Family income was adjusted for family size to develop a normalized measure of financial need. Following Johnson, Smeeding, and Torrey Monthly Labor Review, ,62 we used a constant-elasticity, single-parameter equivalence scale which is created by dividing income by the square root of family size.

In other words, income was adjusted in a non-linear fashion to account for the diminishing financial burden of increased family size. While other scales exist e. Family-size adjusted income was computed by dividing the midpoint of the income range by the square root of family size. Due to lumping of the resulting family-size adjusted income values, a further procedure was used to assign students to income quartiles.

This involved modeling the log of family-size adjusted income and, where necessary, using predicted values from the model to distinguish between cases with the same actual value. No direct measure of family size was available so this was estimated from information on family composition. Income is known to fluctuate between any two periods of time see, for example, Rose and Hartmann, The definition of lower-income used in this study depends only on halves of the family-size adjusted income distribution.

Operationally, however, lower-income was determined by forming and then combining income quartiles. Income quartiles were also defined in slightly different ways for the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. However, unlike the cross-sectional academic quartiles, the corresponding income quartiles were determined using data on all students in the cross-sectional sample, using appropriate weights.

For the longitudinal analyses, income quartiles were defined using average income over the period of interest and were created using a procedure identical to that for forming the longitudinal academic quartiles. The imputation approach varied depending upon the variable and the survey. For example, missing data on family size were completed logically based on other relevant information. Missing first, third, and fifth grade test scores were also imputed using hot-deck procedures.

For grades eight and twelve, test scores were imputed using the multiple imputation procedure available as part of the SAS software package. However, multiple values five were only created for twelfth-grade scores in order to reflect the higher level of missing data for this grade and to incorporate this uncertainty into associated estimates of variance.

The replicate weights associated with each of these full sample weights were used for variance estimation. These weights are appropriate for analyses that involve both parent- and child-level data, for example, family income and student academic performance. Longitudinal analyses of transitions between eighth and twelfth grades including studies of dropout status were weighted using the variable F2PNLWT. Release 9. For the other two surveys, strata and primary sampling unit PSU information was used in variance estimation. The multiple imputed values for missing twelfth grade test scores were properly taken into account by the variance estimation procedures.

Cross-sectional estimates of the percentage of students who are high-achieving lower-income students are given in Table 1 and average approximately 6. Therefore, to make estimates time-comparable, we adjusted each of the above class sizes to a common year by using enrollment data not shown from the Projections of Education Statistics through and from tables provided by NCES.

Using this process we were able to estimate that 3. This estimate was calculated using the average percentage of such students per grade 6. The following analysis was used to estimate the number of high-achieving lower-income students who qualify for the federal subsidized meals program. Since the family-size67 adjusted income measure used in this report to define lower-income differs from the measure used to define poverty, it was necessary to compare tables of survey income ranges by family size with historic poverty guidelines for the appropriate years.

To obtain conservative estimates, only income ranges that fall entirely below the upper limits were considered eligible. Using this methodology, the percentages of high-achieving lower-income students estimated to be eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at the time of the relevant survey waves are: 70 percent for first grade, 58 percent for fifth grade, 49 percent for eighth grade, and 54 percent for twelfth grade.

Based on the assumption that families of high-achieving lower-income students are similarly spread across the income ranges in the grades for which we have no estimates, we conclude that at least one million and likely more of the estimated 3. The variable RACE was condensed; in particular the values 3 and 4 were recoded as Hispanic and the values 6, 7, and 8 were combined as American Indian, mixed race, and other. Estimates for the latter category are not reported because, even when aggregated, sample sizes are small.

This report examines the persistence rates of high achievers, defined as the percentage of students in the top test quartile at a given grade who are still high achievers at a later grade. It also examines the improvement rates of students who are not high achievers, defined as the percentage of students in the bottom three test quartiles at a given grade who have moved into the top quartile at a later grade. Note that in neither case do the estimates take into account movement of students into and out of the top test quartile in grades between the two endpoints.

Analyses of change using test scores must consider a statistical phenomenon known as regression toward the mean. In this setting, regression toward the mean results from the fact that there is some measurement error associated with the observed test scores. Consequently, scores that were above or below the mean on an initial test will tend to move toward the average on a subsequent test. If, say, a particular group of students has a higher-than-average mean score, the group mean will regress toward the overall mean.

The more extreme the group of interest, the greater the degree of regression toward the mean is likely to be, and herein lies the main difficulty in interpreting changes in performance for high-achieving students. When a study focuses on a group with a mean score that differs from the overall mean, such as students in the top or bottom three test quartile s , it may be difficult to distinguish real changes in performance over time from artificial changes due to measurement error. The practical importance of these observations is that income-based differences in observed persistence and improvement rates may be, at least in part, the result of test measurement error, and therefore not indicative of real differences in change in academic performance over time.

In other words, differences in observed persistence and improvement rates may be due to measurement error and point-in-time differences in the test score distributions of lower- and higher-income students. While most of the analyses in this report are based on test scores that are a composite of reading and math scores, we exploited these individual subject components in an attempt to remove the effects of regression toward the mean on estimates of persistence and improvement rates. The method we used relies on the validity of the assumption that true underlying ability in math and reading is correlated while measurement error in the respective test scores is not.

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To compute the estimates of elementary school persistence and improvement rates, ECLS-K students in the first grade cohort were grouped according to their reading performance at first grade, but then assessed based on change in their math performance. Rates of persistence in the top math quartile between first and fifth grades were computed for students who were in the top reading quartile at first grade. Another way of thinking about this approach is that students who were first grade high achievers in both reading and math were less likely to be in the top math quartile as a result of measurement error.

Using similar logic, rates of improvement into the top math quartile at fifth grade were computed for students who were in the bottom three math and reading quartiles at first grade. The same methodology was applied to the NELS eighth grade cohort to produce estimates of high school persistence and improvement rates. The resulting rates, given in Tables 5 and 6 below, are reasonable estimates of the true persistence and improvement rates provided the assumptions underlying the method hold. To compute the estimates in Table 7 below, ECLS-K students in the first grade cohort were grouped according to their math performance at first grade, but then assessed based on change in their reading performance.

Rates of persistence in the top reading quartile between first and fifth grades were computed for students who were also in the top math quartile at first grade. Using similar logic, rates of improvement into the top reading quartile at fifth grade were computed for students who were in the bottom three math and reading quartiles at first grade.

The resulting reading persistence and improvement rates are reasonable estimates of the true rates for each group provided the assumptions stated earlier hold. The NELS data enable a longitudinal study of the postsecondary experiences through of twelfth graders from the class of Results from both surveys are representative of students in the survey base year. The NELS data offer a rich representative picture of twelfth graders who enter postsecondary education in the eight years following high school.

This measure of entry accommodates the growing number of students who delay entry into postsecondary education. The eight-year duration also enables the analyses to capture the attainment of students who attend postsecondary education on a part-time basis. Both of these factors have grown in importance as relatively fewer students have followed the traditional progression of completing high school and continuing straight through college in four years.

This cohort encompasses a wide demographic and chronological catchment of college-going students. High achievement was defined for the NELS analyses using top quartile performance on survey-administered tests described in Appendix A at twelfth grade. Lower-income is defined as the bottom half of the family-size adjusted income distribution, detailed for the NELS in Appendix A.

Analyses of the postsecondary experiences of the NELS cohort were conducted using the weight variable F4F2PNWT, which is appropriate for survey members who responded in , , and The NELS longitudinal weight was multiplied by an appropriate scaling factor within racial groups. In essence, this procedure forced the estimate of the number of twelfth grade lower-income high achievers71 based on the longitudinal weight to be consistent with that based on the cross-sectional weight, while accounting for any underlying differences in demographic composition.

Roughly 20 percent of the unweighted sample did not take either exam and these students are disproportionately lower-income. Note that the income measure is a combination of dependent and independent family-size adjusted income. Note: References in the endnotes are cited in short form.

See the bibliography for full citations. Using enrollment data, this methodology produces an estimated loss of just over , students. No nationally representative longitudinal studies currently exist to enable us to examine the achievement patterns of middle school students; however, no existing research demonstrates that the patterns observed in elementary and high school data would be different if middle school data were examined.

However, after attempting to control for regression toward the mean, the percentages become 66 and 72 percent, respectively. Using nationally representative longitudinal data they find that Students who delayed college entry are not included in this analysis. Special schools art, music, etc and other unrated schools are not included in the analyses. These data were provided by Anthony Carnevale and were based on his work on selectivity of schools. See, e.

For all males, those with a college education earned 87 percent more than those with only high school diplomas in , compared to only 50 percent in See Economic Report of the President. Overall, more disaggregated performance data were available for the school than in previous years. The following chart provides an example of the variation in the percentages of economically disadvantaged students scoring at advanced reading levels in grade four in as reported by six different states.

It does not seem reasonable that economically disadvantaged students in Alabama score at advanced levels at four times the rate of those students in Maryland, or that those in Virginia score at advanced levels at a rate Rather, a good part of this variance results from differences in state assessments and in how performance levels are defined. The Knowledge is Power Program KIPP charter schools also have educated thousands of lower-income students across the country, many of whom achieve at advanced levels.

See McCall, et al. See also Hoxby, et al. The private school enrollment data were not useful because they are too highly aggregated. While these data are based on the Private School Survey, Mr. Snyder had extrapolated several years of the data because the Private School Survey is not fielded every year, and he fully qualified the experimental nature of these data.

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Multiplying this enrollment by. This finding is not surprising because non-response adjustments due to attrition would not have been targeted toward preserving estimates of lower-income high achievers. Adam, M. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Ainsworth-Darnell, J. Alexander, K. Ambrose, D. Andrews, W. Astin, A. Atlanta: Southern Education Foundation, Baker, B.

Baldwin, A. Balfanz, R. Where Are They Located? Who Attends Them? Barnett, W. Baum, S. Artistically and Musically Talented Students pp. Bedsworth, W. Reclaiming the American Dream. The Bridgespan Group, Inc. Benbow, C. Bere, M. Berg, P. Dealing with Genes: The Language of Heredity. Boothe, D. Stanley, Eds. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, Borland, J. Bowen, W. Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education. University of Virginia Press, Brewer, E.

Bridgeland, J. Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates. For the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brint, S. Oxford University Press,

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