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How A Stereotype Threat Intervention Can Help Students in STEM Fields

KQED News Mind/Shift – Esther Landhuis

“The results indicate that directly discussing the phenomena of stereotype threat appears to help students of ethnic groups underrepresented in science as well, if not better, than traditional approaches that bolster students without specifically talking about stereotypes. Past research shows minority students can be helped by being prompted to think about things they care about like sports, friends, or religion. It’s called affirmation training. Asking students to recall these values nurtures a broader sense of self and makes individual threats, such as a math test, seem less daunting, says Stanford psychologist Greg Walton. Indeed, a study by Walton and colleagues showed that so-called affirmation training can improve women’s attitudes about school and raise their science GPAs.”(more)

Oral storytelling skills impact reading differently for African American boys and girls

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The oral storytelling skills of African American preschoolers make a difference in how quickly their reading skills develop, according to a new study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers say the effect is much different for girls and boys. “Knowing how to tell a clear and coherent story is an important skill for helping young children to develop strong reading skills, which, in turn, can help them to be successful across a number of different subjects in school,” said FPG advanced research scientist Nicole Gardner-Neblett. “Prior research suggests that historical and cultural factors foster strong storytelling skills among African American children, which has implications for their development as readers.'”(more)

Study shows preschool benefits middle-class kids, with biggest boost for black youngsters

Medical X-Press – Kathleen Maclay

“Preschools that strongly promote academics boost the early literacy and math skills of children from middle-class families, according to a nationwide study released today by researchers at the UC Berkeley. “This is the first time that we have seen remarkable gains for the average preschooler nationwide,” said Bruce Fuller, a UC Berkeley professor of education and public policy, who directed the research. Educators and scholars have long agreed that quality preschool yields sustained benefits for poor children, while earlier studies revealed disappointing results from average pre-K programs for middle-class peers.”(more)

Reaching 90% Grad Rate Unlikely Without an Acute Focus on Low-Income, Minority Kids, Report Finds

The 71 Million – Mark Keierleber

“As the national high school graduation rate continues to rise — it hit a record 83.2 percent last year — the leaders of a campaign to raise that number to 90 percent by 2020 said Wednesday they fear the country will not meet that goal. Hitting that ambitious target would require a far more intense focus on minority and low-income students, who continue to lag behind. “We’ve got to be real about what the barriers are to success for students,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance.”(more)

OPINION: The simple steps that encourage young learners to break equity barriers

The Hechinger Report – Philip W.V. Hickman and Stephen M. Smith

“The class of 2028 will, no doubt, have a maze of postsecondary options to help them unlock their dreams and ambitions. Yet while the connection between education and aspiration is intuitive to many, it’s not necessarily so for children — particularly for those who come from low-income households or families with no college education. Students from low-income families enroll in college (immediately after high school) at a rate 30 percentage points lower than that for students from high-income families — and that gap has persisted since 1990. And it’s not for lack of aspirations. The Educational Policy Improvement Center notes that 93 percent of middle-school students aspire to attend college, and yet only 44 percent of those students actually enroll. There is a gap between what students aspire to achieve and what they accomplish.”(more)

Louis M. Shucker: ‘Hidden Figures’ and STEM education

The Reading Eagle – Louis M. Shucker

“In addition to proving immensely popular at the box office, “Hidden Figures” serves as a vehicle to encourage diversity in the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum known as STEM. It is helping to inform the ongoing conversation surrounding women and minorities in STEM related fields. By unceasing awareness of past gender and racial inequality, “Hidden Figures” has generated interest in addressing inequities that persist to this day. Studies have shown that male and female students perform equally as well in science and math standardized tests. Nevertheless, large gaps persist between white and black students. A 2015 index analysis shows that even as the number of STEM-related degrees and jobs continues to increase, deeply entrenched gaps between men and women and an even wider gap between whites and minorities remain in obtaining STEM degrees.”(more)