- 2020Jul 16
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on EurekAlert.
Following U.S. students across five summers between grades 1 and 6, a little more than half (52 percent) experienced learning losses in all five summers, according to a large national study published today. Students in this group lost an average of 39 percent of their total school year gains during each summer. The study appeared in American Educational Research Journal, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Educational Research Association.
"Many children in the U.S. have not physically attended a school since early March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and some have likened the period we're in now to an unusually long summer," said study author Allison Atteberry, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado--Boulder. "Because our results highlight that achievement disparities disproportionately widen during the summer, this is deeply concerning."
For the study Atteberry and her co-author, Andrew J. McEachin, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, used a database from NWEA, which includes more than 200 million test scores for nearly 18 million students in 7,500 school districts across all 50 states from 2008 through 2016.
The authors found that although some students learn more than others during the school year, most are moving in the same direction--that is, making learning gains--while school is in session. The same cannot be said for summers when more than half of students exhibit learning losses year after year.
Twice as many students exhibit five years of consecutive summer losses--as opposed to no change or gains--as one would expect by chance, according to the authors.
"Our results highlight that achievement disparities disproportionately widen during summer periods, and presumably the 'longer summer' brought on by Covid-19 would allow this to happen to an even greater extent," said Atteberry. "Summer learning loss is just one example of how the current crisis will likely exacerbate outcome inequality."
Among the students studied, depending on grade, the average student loses between 17 and 28 percent of school-year gains in English language arts during the following summer. In math, the average student loses between 25 and 34 percent of each school-year gain during the following summer.
- 2020Jul 15
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
A new, first-of-its-kind Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study finds that 48% of 12-18-year-olds who have been in a relationship have been stalked or harassed by a partner, and 42% have stalked or harassed a partner.
Published in the journal Youth & Society, the analysis is part of the first nationally-representative study of non-physical youth dating abuse.
"These victimization and perpetration numbers are unacceptably high," says study lead author Dr. Emily Rothman, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. "Unfortunately, they are in line with estimates of similar problems like dating and sexual violence victimization, so they are both shocking and unsurprising at the same time."
Rothman and colleagues from NORC at the University of Chicago used data from the ongoing Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence (STRiV) study to look at responses from 148 boys and 172 girls who were currently in relationships or had been in relationships in the past year. The survey asked teens if a partner had ever followed or spied on them, damaged something that belonged to them, or gone through their online accounts. The survey also asked the teens if they had ever done any of these things to a partner.
They found that rates of perpetration and victimization were similar for boys and girls: 46.5% of boys and 50.6% of girls reported stalking or harassing a partner, and 44.6% of boys and 51.1% of girls reported a partner doing these things to them.
- 2020Jul 14
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
A commentary published in the journal Pediatrics, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concludes that children infrequently transmit Covid-19 to each other or to adults and that many schools, provided they follow appropriate social distancing guidelines and take into account rates of transmission in their community, can and should reopen in the fall.
The authors, Benjamin Lee, M.D. and William V. Raszka, Jr., M.D., are both pediatric infectious disease specialists on the faculty of the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine. Dr. Raszka is an associate editor of Pediatrics.
The authors of the commentary, titled "COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame," base their conclusions on a new study published in the current issue of Pediatrics, "COVID-19 in Children and the Dynamics of Infection in Families," and four other recent studies that examine Covid-19 transmission by and among children.
In the new Pediatrics study, Klara M. Posfay-Barbe, M.D., a faculty member at the University of Geneva's medical school, and her colleagues studied the households of 39 Swiss children infected with Covid-19. Contact tracing revealed that in only three (8%) was a child the suspected index case, with symptom onset preceding illness in adult household contacts.
"The data are striking," said Dr. Raszka. "The key takeaway is that children are not driving the pandemic. After six months, we have a wealth of accumulating data showing that children are less likely to become infected and seem less infectious; it is congregating adults who aren't following safety protocols who are responsible for driving the upward curve."
Additional support for the notion that children are not significant vectors of the disease comes from mathematical modeling, the authors say. Models show that community-wide social distancing and widespread adoption of facial cloth coverings are far better strategies for curtailing disease spread and that closing schools adds little. The fact that schools have reopened in many Western European countries and in Japan without seeing a rise in community transmissions bears out the accuracy of the modeling.
Reopening schools in a safe manner this fall is important for the healthy development of children, the authors say. "By doing so, we could minimize the potentially profound adverse social, developmental, and health costs that our children will continue to suffer until an effective treatment or vaccine can be developed and distributed, or failing that, until we reach herd immunity," the paper concludes.