Struggling student? Maybe he’s sleepy!

September 27, 2010

Researcher: Daniel Willingham, University of Virginia

Question: “If you could magically make parents do ONE thing this coming school year to support their child, what would it be?”

Answer: Sleep!

Why?: The consequences of sleep deprivation can be harsh: depression, anxiety, inattention, conduct problems, drug and alcohol abuse and impaired cognitive functioning. Sleep deprivation also affects emotional regulation; a mother can tell when her child is tired just by how easily she gets irritated.

Read more!


Research, Research, Research: Study Abroad

September 8, 2010

What: Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative (GLOSSARI)

Research Question: How does study abroad affect academic performance?

Who: Don Rubin, research director

Where: 35-institution University System of Georgia

How: 10 year research project involving students who studied abroad and control groups

Results: almost too many to list! Here’s a start…

  • Improved academic performance upon returning
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Improved knowledge of cultural practices and context
  • Improves academic performance of at-risk students


“I think if there’s one take-home message from this research as a whole it is that study abroad does not undermine educational outcomes, it doesn’t undermine graduation rate, it doesn’t undermine final semester GPA. It’s not a distraction.” Don Rubin

Read the whole article at

Research, Research, Research: AP, IB and STRESS!

July 29, 2010

Read the full article in the University of South Florida website



The researchers: Shannon Suldo and Elizabeth Shaunessy, College of Education at the University of South Florida.

The background: An extraordinary number of high school students take Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams; about 26.5 % of the class of 2009 in public high school took an AP exam. AP and IB exams cause stress.

The question: How do students deal with the stress induced by AP and IB courses and exams? What strategies do students use to deal with this stress?

The hypothesis:  Smaller scale studies have found that psychologically healthy IB students use coping strategies like:

  • Managing time
  • Managing tasks
  • Keeping perspective of problems



Students face a lot of pressure to take college-level courses in high school. Children are facing much more pressure, much earlier in life. On the other hand, students learn to deal with academic pressure early, as long as students are given appropriate skills to deal with it.

Announcing GEE 2.0!

July 6, 2010

School Choice International is developing a new online tool, Global Education Explorer 2.0!


Calling all parents around the world…

Take the survey

You will receive FREE month’s subscription to the current version of Global Education Explorer.

The School of One: Education of the Future

June 11, 2010

From The New York Times

The Problem


American model of education is “fundamentally the same as it was a 100 years ago,” according to Joel I. Klein, New York’s chancellor of public schools.

High student-teacher ratio of about 25:1 makes effective teaching difficult.


The Solution


Supported by Cisco Systems, Google and Michael Dell, the New York City Department of Education is running a pilot program called School of One focuses on middle school math (due to the variety of computer programs available). The program allows teachers to effectively measure mastery of content, skill and achievement and individualize learning plans for each student.

The program features:


In the morning every student receives an individualized schedule (or “playlist”) with lessons for the day. Overhead monitors display these playlists much like flight schedules in airports.

“Multiple Instructional Modalities”

Students benefit from several teaching styles including:

  • Teacher led instruction (traditional instruction with one teacher to several students),
  • One on one tutoring (with an adult),
  • Independent learning (which may take place on a computer or in small groups), and
  • Virtual tutors.

Daily Quiz

Students take a quiz at the end of the day, allowing a computer program to measure “mastery” and whether the child will move onto a new subject the next day.


The Future


Students who participated in a trial run last year scored 42% to 70% higher on math tests.

While the program is still in pilot mode, if it continues to be successful in educating students effectively, the model can be easily expanded as “all the analytics can be done centrally with cloud computing,” says Joel Rose, who runs the experiment

Study Tip: Dream!

May 20, 2010


Dreaming can help you memorize what you’ve learned.




The researchers, Dr. Robert Stickgold and Dr. Erin Wamsley of Harvard Medical School, asked participants to remember a 3D computer maze, which they would have to navigate later. After, some were asked to nap. Those who napped, AND remembered dreaming, also performed better at the maze navigation task.

According to the authors, dreaming may signal that the brain processes the same task on many levels.

What does this mean for students?

Students might consider studying right before bedtime, or napping after a study session.

Find the whole article here!

“America’s Best” ~ Another Perspective

May 5, 2010

By Liz Perelstein

President,  School Choice International

The article entitled “America’s Best Prep Schools” that appeared in Forbes (April 30)  hurts kids.  The article relies on the flawed assumption that the best school for one child will suit another.  Anyone who understands children or child development is aware that not every child thrives in the same academic environment. Despite this obvious reality, impressionable but well intentioned parent readers of this article will feel, more than ever, that their child is being shortchanged by receiving inferior education.  Parents today already use every tool in their arsenal to “get their children in” to the schools that someone has identified as the “top” or the “best.”  The sad result has been revealed to me in countless conversations with private school admissions officers and psychologists: “getting in” isn’t enough. These are the children who fail, get counseled out or inevitably suffer low self-esteem when even daily tutoring can’t help them succeed in an incompatible environment. Is it responsible to foster the prep school frenzy – at the expense of children – by simplistically elevating a handful of prep-schools while effectively diminishing all others?

Moreover, using university admissions as the major criterion for rating schools is imperfect, at best.  While there is little doubt that small classes, individualized attention and access to faculty provide students with unparalleled opportunities, are these the key to Ivy League pipeline that these schools enjoy?  Might the large endowments boasted by this “top 20” (ironically another, and self-reinforcing, criterion for rating the schools) suggest that these prep school parents may be disproportionately represented among alumni and major contributors to these universities, a known factor in college admissions?

Parents need to learn to ask the right questions to assess whether these schools are right for their children.

Unfortunately, parents and students take these lists very literally; they reinforce the natural insecurity in human nature and encourage those seeking prep schools to focus exclusively on the name brand. Do children need – or even benefit from – country club like campuses?  Should parents be looking at access to facilities rather than facilities per se?  Who gets to play on the 15 tennis courts or the eight lane competition swimming pool or the golf course?  Will their child have that opportunity?  Do these schools use their lavish facilities to teach sportsmanship or to win?  Is the risk-taking behavior and self-confidence encouraged by favorable teacher/student ratios undercut by the exclusivity and competitive spirit that mark some of these schools?  Parents need to learn to ask the right questions to assess whether these schools are right for their children. Forbes has successfully promoted its magazine through this article.  Can it use its prominence to promote kids?