December 2012 Reports

From ADHD treatment to writing results

Continuing ADHD treatment
A study of 300 New York City boys spanning 33 years finds that participants who stopped their ADHD therapy were seven times more likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to be divorced, and earned on average $40,000 less per year than their cohorts. The study, “Clinical and Functional Outcome of Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 33 Years Later,” was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Growing up to be middle class
Pathways to the Middle Class, a report from the Brookings Institution, says that the U.S. seriously lags behind Canada, Scandinavia, and others in social mobility and equality of economic opportunity. The report’s data suggest that, in America, a top birth economic quintile will lead to a top adult economic quintile 82 percent of the time. However, the data also show that academic success is a cumulative process that builds upon itself. Keeping disadvantaged children on track at every stage provides them with the surest pathway to the middle class.

Matriculation linked to high school rigor, academic advisors
A study from NSBA’s Center for Public Education finds that college students who meet frequently with their academic advisers and who took rigorous courses --  such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, and especially advanced mathematics courses --  in high school significantly increase their chances of matriculating from college, even if they did not perform particularly well in those classes. Benefits are greatest to students in two-year institutions from lower-income families who arrive with lower achievement levels (up 27 percent), as compared to higher-wealth, higher-performing students (up 18 percent). The study, High School Rigor and Good Advice, also found that students in two-year institutions increased their chances of graduating by 53 percent if they just met regularly with their academic advisor.

Mercury in tuna
American children eat more tuna than any other seafood product. Canned tuna is inexpensive and nutritious, and is served in many school lunch programs as well as subsidized by the USDA’s Child Nutrition Program. It is also the largest source of methylmercury in the U.S. diet. Tuna Surprise, a new study of canned tuna from the Mercury Policy Project, recommends that, due to methylmercury levels, children never eat albacore tuna, that small children only eat light tuna once a month, and that older children only eat it twice a month. The study also recommends that schools avoid buying tuna from Ecuador and other Latin American countries as samples of tuna from these countries had the highest mercury levels.

NAEP writing results
NAEP conducted its 2011 writing assessment of eighth- and 12th- grade students via computer, and gathered data about the role and impact of technology on writing education and performance for the first time. Results from The Nation's Report Card: Writing 2011 indicated that students more familiar with using their computers to draft and then revise their writing scored higher on the assessment, as did the 29 percent of students who used the thesaurus on the assessment. Twenty-seven percent of all eighth- and 12th-graders scored at or above the “Proficient” level, and more than 75 percent of students performed at or above the “Basic” level.

Compiled by Margaret Suslick, ASBJ’s Editorial Assistant.