Ideas & Findings

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Children whose mothers encourage them to be curious, to persist, to master new tasks, and to take pleasure in learning tend to have higher academic achievement than those whose mothers use rewards or punishments to encourage school success.

So concludes a study by three California State University researchers that appeared in the March issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology.

Adele Eskeles Gottfried, James S. Fleming, and Allen W. Gottfried interviewed the mothers of 107 children and assessed the children's academic and motivational characteristics at ages 9 and 10.

They found that 9-year-olds who were internally motivated to do well in school had mothers who had encouraged that attitude. Moreover, those children's academic achievement at both 9 and 10 was greater than it was for peers whose mothers had encouraged academic success with rewards and punishments.

In fact, the researchers found, such external motivational practices tended to have a negative effect on children's motivation.

Poverty among young people in rural America is just as serious a problem as it is in the nation's inner cities, researcher Harold L. Hodgkinson says in a new report.

In his study, which synthesizes data from several reports on the subject, Hodgkinson points out that:

  • A higher percentage of rural children than nonrural children are poor.
  • One in six children in rural areas had no medical insurance in 1990, compared with one in eight suburban children and one in seven urban children.
  • Teachers in rural areas are younger, less experienced, and less credentialed than their urban counterparts.
  • Although rural students perform just as well as their metropolitan peers on some standardized tests, they attend schools offering fewer opportunities. For example, only 48 percent of rural secondary students--about half the percentage for urban students--attend a school that offers calculus.

Hodgkinson also points out that rural poverty is worsening because of a steady exodus of the best-educated people.

"It is not clear what would galvanize Americans into realizing that for every American child who is seriously at risk in an inner city, there is one rural child equally at risk,'' he writes.

To order the report, "The Invisible Poor: Rural Youth in America,'' write or call the Institute for Educational Leadership, 1001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 310, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 822-8405.

Policymakers have varying, sometimes conflicting, views of how alternative forms of student assessment should be used, a forthcoming survey suggests.

Researcher Lorraine M. McDonnell, as part of an ongoing examination of states' efforts to overhaul their testing systems, surveyed 34 state and national policymakers during the 1991-92 school year.

She found that many of the policymakers viewed current moves from traditional pencil-and-paper tests to a more performance-based assessment system as a way to hold schools and educators accountable for student performance or to certify that individual students had attained specific levels of mastery.

Others agreed with testing experts that such tests should mainly be used to gauge the overall status of the education system or to help educators make instructional decisions about students. Still others said new assessments could bring greater curricular coherence to schools, motivate students, and act as a lever for reform.

"Policymakers accepted diverse purposes and assumed they could all be accommodated under a single assessment system,'' McDonnell says. That attitude, she adds, is anathema to testing experts, who warn against using performance assessments for multiple purposes--especially if high stakes are involved.

"Will the move to alternative assessments and their policy applications repeat the cycle of the past two decades where policymakers expanded the use of multiple-choice tests beyond their original, intended purposes?'' she writes in a report scheduled to be published this month by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing and the RAND Corporation. "The probable answer is yes.''

Vol. 13, Issue 35

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >