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Topic Archives: Cognitive Ability & IQ Testing

Supporting Your “Average” Students

February 19, 2018

by Nancy Weinstein If you’re a teacher, you know there’s no such thing as average. The idea that students can be categorized as gifted, struggling, or “just average” is simplistic at best. The 10/10/80 statistic might be helpful for administrators, but it is useless in the classroom. In this blog inspired by the work of Dr. Todd Rose, we explore why there is no such thing as average and offer 8 strategies to manage learner diversity in every classroom. If Not Average, Then What? As Harvard  professor Dr. Todd Rose explains in his book, The End of Average, “Every one of these familiar notions of [average students or average brains] is a figment of a misguided scientific imagination.” Instead, most every student has, what Rose calls, a… Read More

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Can America’s ‘lost Einsteins’ be found more easily than we think?

February 4, 2018

Are we looking for the ‘lost Einsteins’ in the wrong places? Research suggests we should be looking at students’ spatial and flexible thinking skills, not math and science scores. Who are the ‘lost Einsteins’? Late last year the The Equality of Opportunity Project released a report concluding that the U.S. is losing out on as much as 400% of innovation potential by failing to effectively nurture under-represented minorities, i.e. Blacks, Latinos, and girls. The report states, “there are many ‘lost Einsteins’ – people who would have had high-impact inventions” but never do because they grow up in communities where math and science in general, and innovation specifically, isn’t fostered. Stories in the NY Times and The Atlantic among other outlets fueled the social media discourse about an educational system… Read More

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A Smarter Way to Improve Test Scores

January 19, 2017

Start by Knowing Your Child The most efficient way to improve test scores, whether it’s ACT, SAT orPARCC is to step back and really know your child. You probably won’t hear test prep tutors say, “All the strategies and practice in the world won’t help if you don’t know how your child learns.” But it’s true. If your child’s scores don’t match your reasonable expectations, it’s likely that there’s something in his test-taking approach that is holding him back. More often than not, he can’t articulate it and your tutor won’t figure out by observing. The traditional approach to improve test scores is (1) identify the types of problems with the most mistakes, (2) re-teach the skills that should have been learned in school and (3) give… Read More

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After the Denial: When your child doesn’t get in to the gifted program

January 11, 2017

  Did you learn your child didn’t qualify based on the school’s gifted program test? Does this fly in the face of anything you know about your child? If your child didn’t get in, don’t give up. You have options. Are You Sure You Want In? First, be certain you want the program. Do some research. Learn about the quality and the time commitment. Get a sense of the trade-offs for your child. Often kids need to miss other classes. Is it worth it? Keep in mind it might take time, money, and a lot of effort to appeal. If you’re still certain, read on to find out how to get your child into the gifted program. Get the Facts on the Gifted Program… Read More

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Play Hard, Study Hard: What Cognitive Skills Tell Us

November 30, 2016

Research on cognitive skills gives powerful insight into what we should generally expect from children behaviorally, emotionally and academically at every age. Scientists from University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine Brain Behavior Lab evaluated nearly 10,000 children ages 8 to 21. They began with fMRI scans and then moved to an online assessment to analyze brain development at every age. Their data is fascinating. What We’ve Known About Cognitive Skills We’ve know for a long time that childhood is a period of rapid brain development. It is important that students shouldn’t be coasting and they shouldn’t be stretched too far beyond their comfort zone. In other words, they should be working in a state of “desirable difficulties” according to Dr. Robert A. Bjork. What’s News About Cognitive Skills from the Brain… Read More

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It’s All in the Details: A Strengths-Based Approach to Growth Mindset

September 14, 2016

By Nancy Weinstein I’m a big fan of Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It’s hard not to be. It’s evidence-based research that, in its most basic form, tells us that if a student tries hard and believes he can do it, i.e. has a growth mindset, he will succeed if he keeps at it. Conversely, if he has a fixed mindset, i.e. believes he was genetically preordained to succeed (or not), chances are that no matter what his gifts and talents, over time he will grow to fear failure, stop taking risks, and not live up to his full potential. Some of the most encouraging findings around growth mindset are that adults have HUGE influence in helping kids develop a growth mindset and it’s NEVER TOO LATE. No wonder that schools… Read More

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Let’s Not Forget the Forgetting Curve

April 6, 2016

  You are probably familiar with the concept of the learning curve. When it’s steep, learning is a challenge. When the learning curve is shallow, learning comes easily. When we say a student is smart in subject, we often mean they have a shallow learning curve. Most of school focuses on getting students up the learning curve, testing them to be sure they made it, and then moving on to the next topic.   But in reality, learning doesn’t stop with understanding. Deep learning encompasses understanding, storing, and recalling the information as needed for problem solving. If students know their facts or strategies and then forget, they need to struggle right back up the learning curve when they need to use that information again.* Who among us hasn’t had their mind go… Read More

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Does Your Child Believe You? 5 Pre-requisites for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

March 10, 2016

By Mindprint Staff If you work with children or have children, you are probably aware of Carol Dweck‘s seminal work on the importance of growth mindset. In a nutshell, it’s a belief that your capabilities are not something you are simply born with but which you can develop with effort and commitment. Adults can have a big impact by focusing on a child’s effort not outcomes, and help kids understand that hard work and practice  – not pure innate talent – will enable them to succeed. Unfortunately, as can often happen when solid research hits the mainstream media, Dweck’s excellent work has been grossly over-simplified. It’s not as easy as replacing, “Look how smart you are!” with, “I’m so proud of how hard you worked!” and…. Voila, the next Albert Einstein. Or… Read More

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What If Your Biggest Weakness Became Your Strength?

February 24, 2016

By Mindprint Staff Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd turned to his bi-partisan panel debating over what outrageous remark might knock Trump out of contention. He posed the question, “What if everything we thought was his weakness is actually a strength?” And then he went to commercial. Not a bad move for live TV when you don’t want to answer the question. But for the rest of us, maybe it is an important question we want to answer: Can we turn our weaknesses into strengths? And if so, what does it take? Virgin CEO Richard Branson wrote in his 2012 book that his struggles with dyslexia became his greatest strength. It taught him how to be an efficient manager which he believes was crucial to his… Read More

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Who’s In Your Rolodex?

August 13, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff I am reading a biography of a woman who traveled to Europe by steamer ship in the early twentieth century. She took with her an address book in which she’d entered the names and addresses of recommended tailors and doctors just in case she needed one. The modern parent doesn’t need an address book of names on hand in the event of emergencies because at the touch of a few buttons, we can search for what we need instantly. Or can we? If what we’re looking for is a highly recommended specialist, we might want to take a cue from our foremothers, and invest a little time in building our lists before we enter foreign… Read More

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