AP scores improve, decoding digital brain data…and more in this week’s news roundup

As access to AP exams grows, more students are doing better
(Washington Post)

The percentage of the country’s public high school students who scored three or higher on AP exams continues to grow, according to results released Wednesday by the College Board. Nationally, just under 22 percent of the class of 2016 achieved a three or better mark, up slightly from 2015 and nearly eight points up from 2006.

How long does it take to earn a research doctorate in psychology?
(The Monitor on Psychology)

News from APA’s Center for Workforce Studies

An Active-Learning Approach to Fostering Understanding of Research Methods in Large Classes
(Teaching of Psychology)

This study tested the effectiveness of an online student research project designed to supplement traditional methods (e.g., lectures, discussions, and assigned readings) of teaching research methods in a large-enrollment Introduction to Psychology course.

Dear Me, Future Psychologist. Yours truly, Dr. Alan Kazdin
(gradPSYCH Blog)
The latest installment of Dear me, future psychologist, a gradPSYCH Blog exclusive in which a prominent psychologist writes a letter to his/her 16-year-old self. This post features Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, ABPP. Dr. Kazdin. Sterling Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University.

The STEM Superhero of Sesame Street
(The Atlantic)
How and why the lovable, mistake-prone Grover was selected to teach children about science, technology, and math.

Seminal Papers in Educational Psychology
(3-Star Learning Experiences)

An alphabetical list of seminal articles in the field of Educational Psychology that every (young) researcher should be aware of.

What’s “Brain Training”, and Does it Work?
(Learning Scientists)
Brain-training is one of the newer fads that have come out in the past few years. The idea – similar to the traditional “fad diet” idea – is to put a little bit of work in, and receive a whole lot of results.

Parent Alert! Your Child Just Skipped Class
(NPR Ed)

My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I’m about to use up my monthly data. Somebody — I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? —sends me a text alert when it’s going to rain a whole lot. A few clever researchers said: “Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don’t turn in their homework?” And what do you know, it worked.

Academics at lower-ranked universities ‘have poorer well-being’
(The Times Higher Ed)
Scholars at lower-ranking universities experience poorer psychological well-being than their counterparts at more prestigious institutions, a major study suggests.

What happened when one school banned homework — and asked kids to read and play instead
(Washington Post)
Six months into the experiment, Mark Trifilio [principal of the public pre-K-5th grade Orchard School in Vermont] says it has been a big success: Students have not fallen back academically and may be doing better, and now they have “time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions.”

It’s Time to Rethink School Schedules, Report Says
(Education Week – 3 free articles on sign up)

The authors of “Reimagining the School Day” point out that U.S. educators spend far more time teaching lessons and less time planning them than educators in other top-performing countries. In a typical work week, U.S. teachers spend about 27 hours delivering lessons, compared with their counterparts in Singapore, who teach 17 hours each week, or to teachers in Finland, who log 21 hours a week.

Five Predictions for Education in 2017
(Education Week – 3 free articles on sign up)
Here is what’s ahead for school choice, ed tech, and more

New software allows for ‘decoding digital brain data’
(Science Daily)

New software allows for ‘decoding digital brain data’ to reveal how neural activity gives rise to learning, memory and other cognitive functions. The software can be used in real time during an fMRI brain scan.

The Power of Overlearning
(Scientific American)

“Overlearning” is the process of rehearsing a skill even after you no longer improve. Even though you seem to have already learned the skill, you continue to practice at that same level of difficulty.

How Does the Public’s View of Science Go So Wrong?
(Scientific American)
It happens because some people reject expert information when it goes against their personal values

About the Author

Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to APA as a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. During her time at GW Amanda specialized in global health, focusing on the challenges facing mental health in low-and middle-income countries. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from Emerson College in Boston, Mass. Over her professional career, Amanda has executed multiple print and digital communication campaigns and facilitated community engagement for a variety of health organizations. In her free time, Amanda loves pyrography, collecting and learning about midcentury modern furniture and her Chihuahua/Pug mix, Pickles.
Hunter Clary
Hunter is a communications professional who came of age in the digital revolution, and has witnessed big changes in how we communicate. In his eclectic 20 year career he’s seen vast changes across multiple industries from advertising, B2C, professional services, publishing, and now non-profit. During his time at APA Hunter has watched the growth of in the organization’s web presence; a shift from print to digital media; and the pickup of social channels like the PsychLearningCurve. A tech geek at heart, Hunter is naturally drawn to all things shiny and new especially when it comes to communicating – particularly social media and apps. Hunter seeks to understand the world around him -- add in a penchant for creative design and a reporter’s curiosity and you’ve got Hunter. Through this blog he hopes to help translate quality psychological science into practical uses for educators, students, and parents.