Science achievement gaps start early – in kindergarten

first_img The Anatomy of Fear TAGSBack to School 2018theconversation.com Previous articleFBI honors Apopka police and multiple agencies at City Council meetingNext article3 reasons to explore the Apopka Area Chamber Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Please enter your name here Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply Back to School 2018By F. Chris Curran, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and first published on theconversation.com.The annual back-to-school season is filled with high hopes for making new friends, meeting new teachers – and, from the view of many policymakers – promoting gains in science achievement. Scientific learning and research carry substantial economic benefits.Historically, however, not all groups have excelled in science equally. Black and Hispanic individuals as well as women have been less likely to enter or persist in science-related studies or occupations.These gaps have been well-studied at the level of high school and higher education. These gaps, however, actually start much earlier.My research found that these gaps exist at the level of kindergarten. However, these gaps can also change significantly in the first two years of schooling.Large gaps in scienceIn a 2016 study, my research assistant, Ann Kellogg, and I examined the science performance of over 10,000 kindergarten students who began school in 2010. We analyzed data from a national study called the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K) conducted by the federal government.The data included science achievement tests that assessed concepts in physical, life and environmental science as well as scientific inquiry. Examples of science instruction in kindergarten includes studying how plants grow, experimenting with erosion on a water table or constructing a picture of the solar system.Previous research had examined science gaps in early grades. Our study, however, looked at science gaps as early as kindergarten with newer data and better science achievement tests.Our study revealed large gaps in science achievement in kindergarten between white students and racial or ethnic minorities. And, where science gaps existed, we found that they were generally larger than the gaps in reading or mathematics achievement. However, we did not find significant gaps by gender.Achievement gaps are not stagnantOn average, black students and Hispanic students performed significantly lower than white students on the science achievement tests in kindergarten. Approximately 41 percent of black students and 49 percent of Hispanic students scored in the bottom 25 percent. In comparison, only 12 percent of white students were in this category.The difference in science achievement between black or Hispanic students and white students is roughly equivalent to what an average elementary student learns over a period of nine months between kindergarten and the end of first grade. The gaps between black, Hispanic and white students might be expected given similar gaps in mathematics and reading.What surprised us was that Asian students in our study performed significantly lower than white students in kindergarten on the science achievement test. Approximately 31 percent of Asian students scored in the bottom 25 percent on the science test. In contrast, only 12 percent of white students did so. This gap was present even though Asian students performed as well as or better than white students in mathematics and reading.Interestingly, unlike the black-white gap, the science gap between Asian and white students closed rapidly between kindergarten and the end of first grade. In fact, by the end of first grade, the gap had reduced by almost 50 percent.It’s unclear what causes this rapid decrease in the Asian-white science gap. However, what it does show is that achievement gaps are not stagnant.Prior research conducted by scholars David Quinn and North Cooc showed similar findings. By eighth grade, Asian student performance in science was equivalent to or higher than that of white students. Other researchers have also found Asian students’ performance in science increases rapidly relative to white students throughout elementary and middle school.No gender gapAdditionally, we found no difference in science achievement between boys and girls in kindergarten. A small male advantage was evident only in first grade. This too is an important finding given the documented gender gaps in the later grades of elementary school.Prior work has found that boys outperform girls in science at third grade. Similarly, resultsfrom the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) show a male advantage in science in the fourth grade.The study found no gender gaps in science during kindergarten years. Ars Electronica, CC BY-NC-NDOur work shows, however, that these gaps in later grades do not extend back to kindergarten. Instead, boys and girls appear to begin schooling on relatively equal footing when it comes to science achievement. It is only as they progress through school that the gender gap emerges.Science gaps largerFinally, we found that the kindergarten gaps by race or ethnicity tend to be larger in science than in mathematics or reading.For example, on the kindergarten achievement tests, the Hispanic-white gap was about twice as large for science as mathematics or reading. Similarly, the black-white gap was slightly larger in science than in mathematics and was about twice as large as the gap in reading.It is possible that students lagging behind in math and reading struggle even more in science as it requires the application of language and mathematics to scientific content.In sum, our findings point to the importance of the early elementary grades for equity in science achievement. We show that many gaps, such as the black-white gap, already exist when students start school. We also show, however, that these gaps can change significantly in the first two years of schooling as evidenced by the Asian-white gap and the emergence of a gender gap.What’s happening in classrooms?All this means that the early elementary years may be an appropriate point for addressing inequities in science achievement. However, science instruction has not been a high priority in the early elementary grades.Research comparing kindergarten in 1998 to that in 2010 found that teachers cover fewer science topics than before and students spend less time using science equipment.Is science instruction the problem? woodleywonderworks, CC BYFurthermore, kindergarten classrooms today are much less likely to have science or nature areas. Indeed, in kindergarten classrooms, teachers spend only about a fourth of the amount of time on science that they do on mathematics or language arts.What can we do?Our findings point to the need for increased emphasis on science in kindergarten and first grade. I believe, for example, that teachers and school leaders should look for opportunities to incorporate science concepts into reading and math lessons.Looking beyond the classroom setting, the findings of our work and that of others suggest the need to provide support to informal science learning opportunities. Visiting museums, interacting with nature and exploring novel tools all represent ways in which parents and caregivers can support early science inquiry.Science achievement gaps begin early. It is important that our policies and interventions take steps in those early years to ensure increased science achievement for all. Please enter your comment! You have entered an incorrect email address! 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Blatter provisionally suspended

first_imgThe organisation’s president Sepp Blatter has been suspended for 90-days – almost two weeks after Swiss authorities started criminal proceedings against him.UEFA boss Michel Platini, who’s previously been the favourite to succeed Blatter in February’s election, has been banned for the same amount of time.An I-O-C statement says FIFA must accelerate their reform process immediately, and be open to a credible external presidential candidate.last_img

‘Golf’s reboot gives us all a chance to start afresh’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs

first_img Is it really only four weeks since golf was given the government green light?We are just at the beginning of our journey back, yet there’s been so much activity crammed into this first, hectic month.I’m pleased to say that the positivity buzzing around our beloved game continues to keep us all going through extraordinary times.Adrenaline has helped conquer fatigue!For me, it’s been heartening to see a value once again being placed on membership and the visitor golfer experience since we all pulled together to re-open courses and facilities on 13 May.England Golf exists to promote the amateur and club game and I am proud to bang the drum on our game’s behalf.But we should not make the mistake of undervaluing our game. Too often our sport has sold itself short.It may have been largely accidental, but the spike in recruitment over last few weeks has proved two key things – golf club membership remains relevant and affordable.Golf has been forced to hit the reset button, but the reboot gives everyone a chance to start afresh and carry this momentum forward.Each time I’ve been to my home club at Marlborough, visited Bassett Down or spoken to my pals at Broome Manor, I’ve felt the energy for myself.And, of course, through the national golfing network, I know this story has been repeated up and down the country.But we must also take a breath as not everything in the garden is rosy. Clubhouses remain closed, cash is tight and I’m not naïve to the prospect that the toughest times might yet lie ahead for many of our clubs.Re-forecasting, re-evaluating, re-planning and, in some cases, re-inventing are all potentially the order of the day as we look to maximise opportunities and stabilise finances while coming out of this crisis.Since my last letter, there have been updates on practice facilities, driving ranges and group coaching.Within a week we can all look forward to visiting our pro shops, as non-essential retail re-opens from Monday…so, if there are a few pounds burning holes in pockets, we can once again chase the “Holy Grail” of a perfect game with the help of another new club or piece of equipment!There’s no doubt too that the return of fourball play from 1 June has also been a game-changer for golf clubs.I can’t stress to you how much hard work went on behind the scenes to allow golf to quickly reach a point where fourballs were considered safe to resume under government regulations on outdoor recreation.For clubs, fourball play has helped reduce the pressure on tee-times. Although, as with many things, I’m well aware of the healthy, ongoing debate on the merits of more players per tee-time.It felt harsh to turn away golfers or ration slots to golfers already deprived of their sporting fix after months of enforced closure.Fourballs have allowed clubs to get more members on the course, re-introduce guests and accept visitor bookings.Of course, there are golfers who enjoyed the freedom of two-ball golf again. I get that.Slow play is a curse in a fast-moving society and a sub three-hour round is a joy.For many of our older golfers, there are sound health reasons why two-ball play and limiting social contact remains a wise choice with coronavirus still a threat.I’ve been pleased to discover so many clubs listening to members and setting aside times for two-balls while also re-introducing the fourball format.A ‘best of both worlds’ policy seems to be sensible and right.Competitions are also an integral part of golf club life for many members.After advising clubs and golfers to find their ‘sea legs’ when it came to social distancing and sanitising guidance, I believe the 1 June date was a good time to re-introduce a competitive element to play for those who wanted it.Safety must always remain the priority, but there’s no reason why competitions cannot take place within the regulations.Here at England Golf, Championship director James Crampton and his team are working towards our own events starting back on 28 July.We wanted to offer light at the end of the tunnel by keeping a revised schedule in place and that shaft of sunshine is getting brighter by the day.Just as golf clubs eagerly anticipate the day when clubhouses can safely re-open, we too need a change in lockdown regulations to allow hotels to function and our events to tee off.If the government’s roadmap out of lockdown remains on track, we will hopefully receive good news on that front soon…In the spirit of golf’s return it was brilliant to see our friends at the European Tour promote a ‘UK Swing’ as the professional game gears up for a comeback.Likewise, our fantastic England Golf ambassador Justin Rose has proved his class once again by sponsoring seven events to allow many of the LET golfers to play competitively from 18 June.Slowly, safely and surely golf is beginning to find its feet.By continuing to work together, we will soon stand tall.Jeremy Tomlinson, CEO England Golf 10 Jun 2020 ‘Golf’s reboot gives us all a chance to start afresh’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs Tags: Coronaviruslast_img read more