Improving Learning

A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.
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Published October 10, 2016 |
Simple Tips for Boosting Your Child’s Testing Performance
Poor testing performance is not always an indication of low intelligence. If your child struggles with testing, take the time to identify his individual challenges then work with his teacher to practice and improve his skills.

When you ask your child about what he learned in school, he can probably tell you what subject he studied and rattle off some relevant facts. But when he brings home a test on the subject, you don’t see an “A” marked in red at the top of the page. Many parents do not realize that testing is not necessarily an accurate measure of your child’s intelligence, or even of his ability to understand certain subject matter. Testing is a skill and some children simply struggle more than others.

If your child seems perfectly intelligent and hardworking but still struggles when it comes to testing, you shouldn’t just brush it off. Testing is an important part of most school curriculums so it will benefit your child to take action sooner than later if he struggles with testing. Keep reading to learn more about why your child might be struggling and what you can do to help him.

Does Your Child Struggle with Testing in School?

Your child may be bright, or even gifted but he could still be struggling in school – especially when it comes to testing. It is very common for intelligent students to test poorly but, unfortunately, they are evaluated more on their test results than on their actual intelligence. The truth of the matter is that some children are simply better at testing than others – it is not always an accurate measure of intelligence or of the student’s understanding of the material. But what factors influence your

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Updated November 26, 2015 |
How to Make Sure Your Gifted Student is Properly Challenged
Gifted students often fail to thrive in traditional academic environments because they are not being challenged. In this article you will learn how to make sure your gifted student gets the quality education he or she deserves.
Gifted students need to be challenged.

A commonly cited statistic suggests that as many as 20% of high school dropouts are gifted students. Does this statistic surprise you? On one side of the coin, you might think that gifted students would be more likely to excel in school than traditional students. On the other side of the coin, it makes sense that gifted students might drop out of school if they are not properly challenged. If you are the parent, guardian, or teacher of a gifted student then it is your duty to make sure they are pushed hard enough to meet their maximum potential.

Myths and Misconceptions

The statistic quoted earlier could be interpreted in different ways. Some might assume that gifted students will excel no matter what kind of schooling they receive while others might be able to see that gifted students are often bored in traditional classrooms which leads to a higher dropout rate. Before getting into the details regarding how to properly challenge a gifted student, it is important to address some common myths and misconceptions about gifted students.

  • Gifted students will do fine in normal classrooms. According to a study conducted by the Fordham Institute, over 50% of teachers have not received any professional development in regards to teaching gifted students. Furthermore, nearly 75% of those same teachers admitted that the brightest students in their classrooms are often bored or under-challenged in school. These statistics highlight the sad truth that, unfortunately, many teachers simply are not equipped to deal with
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Updated May 22, 2015 |
5 Ways Parents Can Inspire Children to Love Reading
Children are reading less and less in this country, and the effects of that are showing in their performance in school. However, there are a variety of ways parents can encourage their children to read – and hopefully to love reading!

There has been a substantial decline in the number of children who read for pleasure in the last few years. In fact, according to the annual Kids and Family Report published by Scholastic, in just the last four years, the number of kids that read for fun has dropped by nearly 10%. Today, barely more than half of children in the United States report liking to read for enjoyment. A full 37% of children like to read “a little,” while 12% report not liking reading at all.

When it comes to reading, kids can come up with a million excuses as to why they don’t like it.  It’s boring. There isn’t enough time. It isn’t fun. There’s already too much reading in school. 

Thankfully, there is an art to promoting reading. Some methods, like nagging, definitely do not work. Yet other methods, such as modeling reading behaviors to your child, will pay dividends in the short and long term.

What NOT To Do

It can be frustrating trying to get your child to read, and in those moments, it is easy to rely on unsuccessful methods for encouraging reading. Sometimes the first inclination is to nag your child into submission, or perhaps bribe them to read by offering them a reward for doing so. Unfortunately, these methods often do more harm than good. Nagging can easily wear on your child’s nerves and lead him or her to resent the fact that they are being forced to read. And while rewarding your

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Updated March 03, 2015 |
States Fight to Teach “Ignorant” Science to Students
Wyoming recently became the first state to reject the Next Generation Science Standards because of concern regarding lessons that teach human-caused climate change. Several other states have also taken measures to reject the standards, which has some education officials concerned about the quality of instruction students in those states will receive.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by a cadre of experts from the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, Achieve, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other stakeholders, including K-12 science teachers and government officials from 26 states. The standards establish benchmarks that gauge student learning at each grade level from kindergarten through the twelfth grade in the areas of life science, physical science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The standards direct student learning along three dimensions:
  • Practices: Students master investigative behaviors that are key to scientific exploration and theory development about the natural world. These include, but are not limited to, the steps of the Scientific Method and their associated practices.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Students learn concepts that are applicable to all disciplines of science, using common ideas such as patterns, cause and effect, stability, and change. Using this framework provides an organizational structure in which children can relate knowledge from one scientific field to another.
  • Core Ideas: Seminal concepts within science focus the curriculum on ideas that have broad applicability, provide key tools for understanding ideas and solving problems, relate to social or personal concerns, and are learnable over the course of multiple grades at increasingly deep levels of rigor.
These new-generation standards emphasize the importance of science in daily life, but also seek to prepare students for a rapidly evolving workforce that relies heavily on a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM-related
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Updated March 03, 2015 |
Recently released data from the National Education Association shows that while the diversity of American public schoolchildren is rapidly increasing, teachers remain overwhelmingly white.
The American public school system has shown a steady rise in the number of enrolled students since the beginning of this century. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 47.7 million students attended public schools in 2001, a number that increased to 49.5 million by 2011. By 2023 the public school population is projected to be over 52 million students.
Not only is the overall student population growing, it’s ethnic makeup is shifting as well. As shown in the graph at right, as the number of white public school students has decreased, the number of minority students has rapidly increased, especially students who identify as Hispanic. In fact, by 2023, white students will comprise just 45 percent of public school students nationwide, while Hispanic students will represent 30 percent.
 
Educational Disparities Follow Racial and Ethnic Lines
 
As the student population in the United States continues to become more and more diverse, it becomes evident that students of color are often shortchanged because schools are inadequately prepared to educate children of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Particularly in the West and the South, where population growth has been explosive, public schools are struggling to provide services to children who have little or no English speaking abilities. Furthermore, since poverty disproportionately impacts children of color, districts additionally struggle to finance free and reduced lunch programs, before and after school academic support, additional classroom personnel and other services necessary to bring these kids up to
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