Improving School AchievementView Full Description
1. Should educators expect parents to participate directly in their children’s education? If so, why and how should they participate? If not, why not?
2. Should children spend more time at home working on homework? Why or why not?
3. Should there be and increase in the length of the school day and/or the number of days spent in school? Why or why not?
4. Should teachers spend more time during the day on productive activities? If yes, which activities should they eliminate and which activities should teachers spend additional time? If no, why not?
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CHFD307 CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT | LESSON 5
Topics to be included cover:
In this lesson, we will explore child intelligence and achievement, and the impact of parents, family and social systems. We will begin by looking at three theories of intelligence, factors to consider when measuring intelligence, and different kinds of intelligence tests. We will explore factors that influence intellectual performance and indicate that intelligence is not necessarily innate. We will then look at achievement motivation, cognitively disabled and gifted children, and creativity. Thereafter, we will discuss the interdependent relationships within family systems through the ecological systems approach. We will assess how the parental system socializes children, and we will discuss the optimal ways to achieve prosocial, harmonious family systems. The lesson will end by looking at child abuse, risk factors and its devastating impact.
Northstone et al. (2011) found a junk food diet for those under three can lead to a lower IQ
Theories of intelligence focus on answering the following questions (Parke & Gauvain, 2009):
· Intelligence Tests
Intelligence tests assess intelligence quotient (IQ).
This looks at individual performance relative to others in the individual’s age group. In parallel with the concept of neural plasticity, IQ is also fluid and changes according to individual life experiences (Parke & Gauvain, 2009). Furthermore, since IQ measures performance rather than capacity, IQ scores may not always be accurate, since performance on the test can be influenced by various factors, such as the individual’s emotional state on the day, environmental conditions or the construction of the test itself.
Intelligence tests are used to assess health and adjustment, and predict academic and job performance, but have been criticized as being culturally biased as they measure abilities important to Western culture and knowledge that Western, advantaged individuals have more access to and experience with (Neisser et al., 1996). Thus, intelligence tests may classify groups of people as less intelligent by not assessing the kinds of intelligence important in other cultures, or by referring to concepts that are unfamiliar to other cultures. Culture-fair tests try to minimize these biases.
Do you think equally intelligent children from these two settings would know the same things?
Psychometricians design intelligence tests based on certain theories, with the goal of tapping key aspects of the theory. For instance, information-processing tests may focus on logic, reasoning and memory. Although tests tap different functions, all tests are constructed using the same principles of norms, standardization, validity and reliability.
Please select the correct statement.
Test reliability and validity ensure that individuals are measured against fair standards.
If a child is at risk for abnormal development, the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence can be used.
An eight-year old with a mental age of six has an IQ of 130.
It would be suitable to test a five-year old immigrant from Pakistan using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
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· Flynn Effect
We have highlighted that IQ is not fixed. Therefore, it is not innate. Interestingly, Flynn (1987, 2007) found that the average IQ in developed nations has increased by around 15 percent since 1932 – a trend known as the Flynn effect. This increase has been attributed to improved nutrition, exposure to media and technology, and changes in testing.
There is a relationship between ethnicity, social class and intellectual performance. We will now look at explanations about why this is so. The first explanation is that most intelligence tests are biased because they were normed on European American middle-class samples, and thus do not provide appropriate comparison groups who have problem-solving capabilities relevant to other cultures. Concepts and vocabulary used in tests may be unfamiliar to other cultures.
Stereotype threat refers to test-takers who are aware that there is negative bias towards their culture (Steele, 1997). These individuals experience negative emotions, such as fear, worry, shame and self-doubt, which negatively impacts their performance, thus confirming the stereotype (McKown & Weinstein, 2003).
An astounding study found that when children from minority cultures whose initial IQ scores classified them as intellectually disabled were reassessed with culturally appropriate tests, they scored high, whereas European children who were assessed on those tests got scores that would traditionally would have labeled them as mentally retarded (Mercer, 1971). Other interesting studies found that different ethnicities have different cognitive strengths, and that African Americans are most detrimentally affected by social class disadvantages (Lesser, Fifer, & Clark, 1965; Neisser et al., 1996).
The concept of cumulative risk explains that the child’s risk of poor intellectual performance increases as the child is exposed to more negative environmental factors (Sameroff & Fiese, 2000). While lower social-class has consistently been found to be related to lower IQ scores, children from higher-class families are also exposed to risk factors, but at a lower rate. Adoption studies have shown that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, who were adopted by parents with higher socioeconomic status, achieve IQ gains, and the earlier they are adopted, the higher these gains are (Scarr, 1997, 1998).
Studies have also found that the way mothers interact with their children is related to social class and child academic performance. For instance, mothers from lower socioeconomic classes respond less to their babies’ vocalizations, while less educated mothers are less involved with their babies, which is related to lower IQs at the age of four (Barnard, Bee, & Hammond, 1984; Hoff, 2005). Beneficial involvement includes reading to children before they enter school and using positive emotional communication rather than commanding and disciplining children. Parke and Buriel (2006) have determined that there are more marked social class differences in family relationships than differences based on ethnicity and race.
Achievement motivation is an individual’s propensity to strive to achieve success. It is based on self-concept, or opinions about self, feelings towards specific tasks and belief about one’s ability to learn and perform. Children who believe they cannot succeed can be so distracted by their negative feelings that they actually cannot achieve the task (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999).
Heckhausen and Dweck (1998) found that children respond in two ways to failure.
· MASTERY-ORIENTED CHILDREN
· HELPLESS CHILDREN
Children who are mastery-oriented attribute their failure to lack of effort, and focus on obtaining the skills necessary to succeed.
Mastery-oriented children focus on learning and improving their skills because they see intelligence as an incremental body of skills, while helpless children focus on performance to obtain positive judgements or avoid negative ones because they see intelligence as fixed and innate. However, if mastery-oriented children were exposed to a lot of stress, they tended to exhibit helpless responses. Parents can help their children develop mastery-oriented behavior by using positive emotionality, and encouraging them to be independent and persistent problem-solvers.
Programs can be preventative or interventionist – both of which aim to improve children’s cognitive performance. Programs often focus on numeracy, literacy and self-concept. Head Start for example, is a program that focuses on providing social and medical services to preschoolers from economically impoverished homes.
Studies have shown that children who participated in these programs achieved more academically and had better paying jobs after college than children who did not participate (Barnett, Macmann, & Carey, 1992). The earlier these programs start, the better the results are, both cognitively and socio-emotionally. Programs should focus on parent-child relationships and placing children in stimulating educational environments.
Children with IQ scores over 130 are regarded as intellectually gifted, while scores below 70 are regarded as intellectually disabled.
Gifted children usually show interests and talents when they are quite young but there are mixed opinions about how to encourage gifted children without impeding their social and emotional growth. Enrichment programs may enable them to maintain relationships with peers while also offering extra enrichment that cater to the child’s specific talent.
Children will be labeled as intellectually disabled if they have both cognitive and behavioral deficits that impede their ability to function in the world. Ninety five percent of mentally retarded people can hold down jobs.
These are categories of intellectually disabled:
Even highly intelligent children may have learning disabilities. Disabilities include dyslexia, language and speech difficulties, and emotional disturbances. There is no evidence that clarifies whether it is better to put students with learning disabilities in remedial classes or include children with all abilities in the same classrooms (inclusion or mainstreaming).
Gardner (2006) describes creativity as problem-solving, making products and asking questions in novel ways. Creativity is associated with uniqueness and usefulness, and is based on knowledge. While researchers debate whether creativity and intelligence are separate or intertwined, Wallach and Kogan (1965) found that individuals with high IQs engage in convergent thinking whereby they solve problems with the goal of providing the correct or traditional answer. Creative individuals engage in divergent thinking that is imaginative.
According to Gardner (2006), creative people have above average intelligence, but not all people with above average intelligence are creative. Children are not thought to have the capacity to be creative until they can distinguish between fantasy and reality, but play is a chance to practice divergent thinking and thus facilitates creativity (Runco,1996; Russ, 2003). Research shows that the first flourishes of creativity in preadolescence disappear as individuals focus on schoolwork which fosters convergent thinking, and it is thus up to parents to encourage their children’s creativity (Albert, 1996).
Please select the two correct statements. Children’s intellectual performance is a function of:
Primarily innate heritable biological traits.
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The marital or committed couple system is the first and founding subsystem of the family system, and a good relationship between the adult partners is the cornerstone of a healthy-functioning family. Mutually supportive parents demonstrate competent child-rearing practices, sensitivity and affection, are more involved and in-tune with their children, and have more pleasurable interactions with their children.
From an ecological systems perspective, systems are interdependent whereby:
The way people interact with each other influences the health of the entire system.
Boundaries should be rigid to enforce rules and keep the outside world out.
Once the system has reached homeostasis, members must work hard to lock it in.
Authority figures in the system should punish children who display antisocial behaviors to prevent them from influencing other children.
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Parents socialize children by teaching them what is socially acceptable. While child-rearing methods must be adapted to each child, children also learn by observation and imitation. Parents may model undesirable behavior but then expect children to display desirable behavior, in a hypocritical or ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach. This approach to socialization does not work (Parke & Gauvain, 2009).
Parental behavior exists along two dimensions: emotionality and control. Emotionality is central to socialization, because if parents are warm and loving, children will want to maintain the relationship and the parent’s approval. These parents give children information about socially acceptable behaviors, dispel anxiety and make them feel good about themselves. The children will internalize the parent’s standards and values. Conversely, if parents are rejecting and cold, children have nothing to lose and punishment is ineffective.
Socialization aims to develop children who will control their behavior and be prosocial. Adults have more control in parent-child interactions, and may exert two kinds of control (Barber, 2002). Behavioral control refers to parents who use reasoning, suggestions, reasonable rules and the minimum amount of pressure to guide children’s behavior. Children generally cooperate with this form of control.
Psychological control involves the use of emotional and psychological manipulation to control children’s behavior. Inducing shame, guilt, discounting children’s feelings and withdrawing love and affection lead to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem in children (Barber & Harmon, 2002). Children will generally resist such manipulation, especially as they get older.
Children become more autonomous as they develop cognitively, and control by parents shifts to self-control by the child, whereby the child will bargain more with parents. As children begin to value long-term goals and weigh alternatives, short-term punishment and reward becomes less effective.
Check out this video on parenting styles:
When parents coordinate their child-rearing practices and work as a team, it is called co-parenting. This generally results in harmonious family relationships. Parents may however, compete with one another in parenting, resulting in unbalanced relationships and conflict. Gatekeeping is when one parent limits the other parent’s level of participation in parenting. Dysfunctional co-parenting leads to aggression, anxiety, withdrawal and insecure attachments in children (McHale, 2008).
The number, spacing, gender and relationships between sibling affect the parental and family system. Sibling relationships provide opportunities for children for social, emotional and cognitive learning. Only-children may have an advantage in that they do not have to compete for parental attention, do not have to adapt to the arrival of new siblings, and on average have been found to be less anxious and display more leadership and maturity (Falbo & Polit, 1986).
Firstborn and older siblings often take responsibility for younger siblings, influence younger siblings, and may experience feelings of displacement and jealousy if parents are unresponsive to their needs when new siblings join the family. Parents tend to punish older children more and defend younger children more (Dunn, 2007; Teti, 2002). Parents should help siblings prepare for and understand changes and emotions, treat children fairly and not show favor or disfavor to any child. Children with good friendships are less vulnerable to stressful family situations.
Nearly seven million children in the U.S. were neglected or physically or psychologically abused in 2016, predominantly by family members (Child Abuse Statistics, 2016). Children are verbally and psychologically abused, beaten, burnt, chained, isolated, starved, sexually abused and murdered. Why do people abuse children?
Parents should socialize children by doing the following:
Being strict and using physical punishment when necessary.
Consistently modelling the behaviors they desire in their children.
Gaining the children’s approval so that children will not want to rebel.
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In this lesson, we looked at three theories of intelligence and saw that intelligence is a combination of general and specific cognitive abilities that guide intelligent behavior. We covered several intelligence tests, discussed some of their uses as well as their short-falls, especially relating to cultural fairness. We then looked at the four primary factors involved in constructing intelligence tests, and how fluid measured intelligence is because stress or risk factors play such a huge role in cognitive performance. We also looked at how achievement motivation impacts intellectual performance, the ranges of cognitive ability, and the relationship between creativity and intelligence. We then moved onto family systems which we analyzed through the ecological systems perspective. We investigated the powerful and crucial role of parental relationships in creating healthy systems for optimal child development. We also investigated the devastating impact parental conflict, neglect, and psychological and physical abuse has on children.
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