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The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally: Workshop Summary (2014)

September 18, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine (IOM); National Research Council

The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally is the summary of a workshop hosted by the Institute of Medicine Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally in April 2014 to focus on investments in young children and the cost of inaction. Participants explored existing, new, and innovative science and research from around the world to translate this evidence into sound and strategic investments in policies and practices that will make a difference in the lives of children and their caregivers. This report discusses intersections across health, education, nutrition, living conditions, and social protection and how investments of economic, natural, social, and other resources can sustain or promote early childhood development and well-being.

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The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture

September 17, 2014 Comments off

The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

This paper explores the role of cultural attitudes towards women in determining math educational gender gaps using the epidemiological approach. To identify whether culture matters, we estimate whether the math gender gap for each immigrant group living in a particular host country (and exposed to the same host country’s laws and institutions) is explained by measures of gender equality in the parents’ country of ancestry. We find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the performance of second-generation immigrant girls relative to boys. This result is robust to alternative specifications, measures of gender equality and the inclusion of other human development indicators in the country of ancestry. The transmission of culture is higher among those in schools with a higher proportion of immigrants or in co-educational schools. Our results suggest that policies aimed at changing beliefs can prove effective in reducing the gender gap in mathematics.

Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2014

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2014
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

This issue of Gender Indicators, Australia, includes new data on a range of indicators of social interest to men and women. The Economic security, Education, Health, Safety and justice, and Democracy, governance and citizenship domains have been updated with data that has become available since the product was last released in February 2014.

  • Unpublished 2013-14 data from the ABS Labour Force Survey and 2013 data from the Forms of Employment Survey (FoES) have been used to update 14 tables in the Economic security domain, including labour force participation rate, average hours worked per week and the proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements.
  • Six tables in the Education domain have been updated with data from the ABS Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS), 2012-13; ABS Schools, Australia, 2013; and Graduate Careers Australia, ‘Graduate Salaries’, Melbourne 2014 (GradStats). Tables updated include attainment of Year 12 or a formal qualification at Certificate II or above, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and median starting salary of Bachelor Degree graduates.
  • The Health domain has been updated to include data from the ABS Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS), 2012-13, and Causes of Death, Australia, 2012. Tables updated include long-term health conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leading causes of death.
  • Unpublished data from the ABS Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2012-13; Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 2013; and Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia, 2012-13, has been used to update five tables in the Safety and Justice domain including victims and victimisation rates for robbery by age, recorded victims and victimisation rates by selected offences, and offender rates by age and by principal offence.
  • The Democracy, governance and citizenship domain has been updated with unpublished data from the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat. Tables updated include Judges and magistrates (High Court, Federal Court, Family Court, Federal Magistrates Service) and State Supreme Court judges, and Recipients and nominations considered for the Order of Australia, General Division, by category.

The ‘Living with a Disability’ commentary has also been updated with data from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2012 (cat. no. 4430.0).

How do states define alternative education?

September 17, 2014 Comments off

How do states define alternative education? (PDF)
Source: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education

Key findings

  • Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have formal definitions of alternative education.
  • The literature suggests that the definition of alternative education should include target population, setting, services, and structure.
  • Alternative education serves primarily students with behavioral problems.
  • The most common alternative education services are regular academic instruction, counseling, social/life skills, job readiness, and behavioral services.
  • Exemptions to compulsory attendance laws for alternative education programs occur at the district level.

CRS — Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues (September 2, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Over the last two decades, there has been interest in developing federal policies that focus on student outcomes in elementary and secondary education. Perhaps most prominently, the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), which amended and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), marked a dramatic expansion of the federal government’s role in supporting standards-based instruction and test-based accountability, thereby increasing the federal government’s involvement in decisions that directly affect teaching and learning.

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Background:
A national health objective is to reduce average U.S. sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily to help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Identifying common contributors to sodium intake among children can help reduction efforts.
Methods: Average sodium intake, sodium consumed per calorie, and proportions of sodium from food categories, place obtained, and eating occasion were estimated among 2,266 school-aged (6–18 years) participants in What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010.

Results:
U.S. school-aged children consumed an estimated 3,279 mg of sodium daily with the highest total intake (3,672 mg/d) and intake per 1,000 kcal (1,681 mg) among high school–aged children. Forty-three percent of sodium came from 10 food categories: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups. Sixty-five percent of sodium intake came from store foods, 13% from fast food/pizza restaurants, 5% from other restaurants, and 9% from school cafeteria foods. Among children aged 14–18 years, 16% of total sodium intake came from fast food/pizza restaurants versus 11% among those aged 6–10 years or 11–13 years (p<0.05). Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26% of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods. Thirty-nine percent of sodium was consumed at dinner, followed by lunch (29%), snacks (16%), and breakfast (15%).

Implications for Public Health Practice:
Sodium intake among school-aged children is much higher than recommended. Multiple food categories, venues, meals, and snacks contribute to sodium intake among school-aged children supporting the importance of populationwide strategies to reduce sodium intake. New national nutrition standards are projected to reduce the sodium content of school meals by approximately 25%–50% by 2022. Based on this analysis, if there is no replacement from other sources, sodium intake among U.S. school-aged children will be reduced by an average of about 75–150 mg per day and about 220–440 mg on days children consume school meals.

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students?

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students? (PDF)
Source: UC Berkeley and University of Miami

Education policy makers have struggled for decades with the question of how to best serve high ability “gifted” students. A key issue of contention is whether eligibility for gifted programs should be based mainly on IQ, or on broader measures that take better account of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Using data from a large urban school district, we study the impacts of an intensive gifted education program that provides the same treatment to three distinct groups of fourth grade students: non-disadvantaged students with IQ scores of 130 or more; subsidized lunch participants and English language learners with IQ scores of 116 or more; and high-achieving students who do not meet the above IQ cutoffs, but qualify through high scores on state achievement tests. Regression discontinuity (RD) estimates based on the IQ thresholds for the first two groups show no effects on reading or math achievement. In contrast, RD estimates based on test score ranks for the high-achieving group show significant gains in reading and math, with treatment-on-the treated effects of 0.2 to 0.3 standard deviation units. Our results suggest that programs for high-potential students may be more effective for students selected on the basis of achievement than for those selected on the basis of IQ alone.

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