Below is a roundup highlighting some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in December 2019.
Around the world, education standards are evaluated by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). According to the latest PISA scores, the reading and math performance for students in the United States has stagnated since 2000, despite efforts by leaders and policymakers alike to improve them. Springboard Collaborative CEO & Co-Founder Alejandro Gibes joined NPR’s 1A recently to respond to the disappointing PISA scores.
Springboard Collaborative is a grantee of the Early Impact portfolio.
Harvard Center on the Developing Child and Nurse-Family Partnership
Mothers facing constant worry and anxiety introduce stress hormones into their bloodstream, where they can cross the placenta and influence the development of the fetal brain. “People living in poverty are at much greater risk to experience toxic stress because the causes of stress in their daily lives don’t go away easily,” says Harvard University professor of pediatrics and director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child Jack Shonkoff.
In the mini-documentary, “Baby Brain,” produced by Kristyn Martin for Yahoo News, researchers study how prenatal support programs for single mothers living below the poverty line—like those of Nurse-Family Partnership—help reverse the poverty-related stress effects on the child’s developing brain. Learn more here.
Harvard Center on the Developing Child and Nurse-Family Partnership are grantees of the Early Impact portfolio.
There’s little experimental evidence to understand better why a child feels math anxiety—or an aversion to math. While theorized to be associated with avoiding math-related courses or activities, there’s never been a discernible link, which could help educators and researchers understand how to overcome math anxiety among students.
In this research paper published in Science Advances, the team tests their hypothesis that math avoidance surfaces in students when they believe that the cost of engaging in math is higher than the reward and that this belief depends on individual differences in math anxiety. When the researchers tested their hypothesis, they found that children with higher levels of math anxiety tended to select easier, low-reward math problems over harder, high-reward math problems. You can learn more from their research by reading it here.
Sian Bielock is the president of Barnard College.
Johns Hopkins Center for Center for Talented Youth
In Baltimore, twenty-one schools are participating in the Baltimore Emerging Scholars program, a partnership between the school district and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. The program introduces 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-grade students (often minority and English-learner) to above-grade-level lessons on architecture, engineering, and astronomy. These interdisciplinary classes weave lessons in reading, writing, and social studies into the curriculum, and give instructors significant discretion in how they teach the subject matter.
Teachers evaluate their students at the end of each Emerging Scholars session. Those evaluations have shown that 70 percent of Baltimore Emerging Scholars students are deemed ‘Center for Talented Youth-ready,’ compared to only three percent of Baltimore school students qualifying through above-grade-level testing (e.g., SAT and School and College Ability Test). Read more about the program and its impact on EdWeek.
Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth is a grantee of the Inspired Minds portfolio.
In December, Program Analyst Gemma Lenowitz moderated a panel at the “From Common Measures to Measures in Common: A Convening to Enhance Measurement of Outcomes of Afterschool STEM Programs” on the translation research to practice with CAISE, Google, and Microsoft.