When Norway some years ago increased the number of years of schooling it

When norway some years ago increased the number of

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When Norway some years ago increased the number of years of schooling it required adolescents to complete, the average IQ of the young adult population increased significantly (Brinch & Galloway, 2012). In general, though, schooling affects adolescents’ achievement scores more than their performance on tests of cognitive skills, such as memory, suggesting that the impact of school may be primarily through students’ acquisition of new information, rather than improved information processing abilities (Finn et al., 2014
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One study contrasted the performance of dropouts and graduates on a battery of standardized tests of achievement administered during late adolescence (Alexander, Natriello, & Pallas, 1985). The study took into account differences in achievement levels that existed before the dropouts had left school (2 years before the assessment was conducted), because dropouts are more likely than graduates to show achievement problems early in their education. Compared with the dropouts, adolescents who stayed in school gained far more intellectually over the 2-year interval in a variety of content areas. More importantly, the results showed that the adverse effects of dropping out were most intense among socioeconomically disadvantaged youth. Paradoxically, then, those students who are most likely to leave school prior to graduation are the most harmed by doing so. One other way of assessing the contribution of schools to adolescents’ intellectual development is by comparing changes in knowledge during the school year with changes during the summer. Several studies have done just this (e.g., H. Cooper, Charlton, Valentine, & Muhlenbruck, 2000). Using information about the academic progress of students measured at three points in time— the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, and the beginning of the next school year— researchers were able to see how the academic progress of students during the summer compared with their academic progress during the school session. Among higher socioeconomic status (SES) students, academic progress during the school year was comparable to that during the summer, in large measure because their parents encouraged them to continue at least some intellectual pursuits over summer vacation. Among disadvantaged students, however, the pattern was different. Although their rates of progress during the school year were more or less equal to those of higher-SES students, during the summer months, disadvantaged students’ scores declined. if it were not for the effects of school on cognitive development, the discrepancy between affluent and poor youngsters’ achievement scores would be much greater than it currently is. One benefit of summer school for disadvantaged students is that it diminishes the decline in achievement that would otherwise occur between the spring and fall semesters (H. Cooper et al., 2000 Far less is known about the impact of schools on psychosocial development. Most schools are not structured to promote psychosocial development, given their excessive focus on conformity and obedience and their lack of encouragement for creativity, independence, and self-reliance
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