How Do We Measure Social and Emotional Learning… and more in this week’s news roundup

How Do We Measure Social and Emotional Learning?

Right now, there is no widespread, practical way for all schools to assess children’s social-emotional skills and character development (SECD). Or is there?

Why College Rankings Are a Joke
(NY Times)
Shortly before the newest U.S. News & World Report college rankings came out last week, I got a fresh glimpse of how ridiculous they can be — and of why panicked high school seniors and their status-conscious parents should not spend the next months obsessing over them.

Sixth Grade Is Tough; It Helps To Be ‘Top Dog’

Middle schoolers report higher rates of bullying and fights than students in any other grade span, and their academic performance also tends to dip. But things could be a little better — if we just got rid of middle schools, according to a big new study.

Tools for Student Self-Management
Students should be invited into the process of managing learning in the classroom. Here are some tools many teachers have used to empower students to self-manage.

Schools And Mental Health: When The Parent Has To Take Charge

Not all schools screen students for mental health issues, and when they do, the practice varies widely across states. Even if students are successfully identified, many places lack the community-based mental health treatment options that would be needed to help them.

Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates
(The Education Trust)
Ed Trust’s new report, Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates, shows that too many students leave high school with a diploma in hand but no clear path forward.

Music instruction improves cognitive, socio-emotional development in young children
(News Medical)
Music instruction appears to accelerate brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that are responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills, according to initial results of a five-year study by USC neuroscientists.

The Mother Behind the Entrepreneur
(The Atlantic)
There are commonalities in the lives of children whose passion projects lead them to success. 

Serious About Studying Psych? Why You Should Get Involved with Research ASAP
(Noba Blog)
Like most psychology majors, I was given the advice by my college advisor that I should “get involved in research” sooner rather than later if I wanted to pursue a career in the field. It was the beginning of my sophomore year, and I had enjoyed my psychology classes immensely to that point, so I figured I should give this research thing a try.

Welcome, Freshmen. Look at Me When I Talk to You
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Welcome to the typical freshman orientation at an American college, where we hand out advice like candy (or, on some campuses, like condoms). But here’s one piece of wisdom our newcomers don’t hear nearly enough: Close your windows.

An Effective Teacher Can Improve Student Learning Across the Grade, Study Finds
(Ed Week Blog)
A student’s achievement is partially influenced by a teacher other than his or her own, a recent study found.

When Success Leads to Failure
(The Atlantic)
The pressure to achieve academically is a crime against learning.

Ten Famous Psychology Findings That It’s Been Difficult to Replicate
(The British Psychological Society)

Every now and again a psychology finding is published that immediately grabs the world’s attention and refuses to let go – often it’s a result with immediate implications for how we can live more happily and peacefully, or it says something profound about human nature. Said finding then enters the public consciousness, endlessly recycled in pop psychology books and magazine articles. Unfortunately, sometimes when other researchers have attempted to obtain these same influential findings, they’ve struggled.

Trauma-Informed School Discipline and Preventing Sexual Assault
(Huffington Post)
Today, The White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Department of Education, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and The National Crittenton Foundation are jointly hosting a conference titled Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline.

Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning
(Inside Higher Ed)
New study adds to evidence that student reviews of professors have limited validity.

Here’s How Schools Can Support Students’ Mental Health
About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide. And yet, as we’ve been reporting this month, many schools aren’t prepared to work with these students.

How to decide which study tips to believe
There are so many study tips around. Here, one academic gives her tips on how to choose which ones to follow and pass on.

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 studied 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. In her free time, Amanda loves pyrography and collecting/learning about mid-century modern furniture.