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Around the Mall, Summer 2014 | No Comment | |

Should principals be judged on test scores?

Test scores may not be an accurate way of determining how effective principals are. (iStock)

Jason Grissom, assistant professor of public policy and education, led a study that examined principal performance in the state of Florida, where state law requires that 40 to 50 percent of a principal’s annual evaluation be based on student achievement data.An analysis of nine years of data from nearly 400 schools in Miami-Dade County Public Schools showed that student data outcomes didn’t always correlate with non-test effectiveness measurements. Results were published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Read more.

More benefits of communal prenatal care found

Group prenatal care has numerous benefits over the traditional one-on-one approach. (iStock)

Women with access to group prenatal care may have the edge on maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy, compared to those who receive traditional prenatal care, according to a study by Emily E. Tanner-Smith, research assistant professor of human and organizational development, and Katarzyna T. Steinka-Fry, research specialist at the Peabody Research Institute. Women who received prenatal care in a group setting, as opposed to the one-on-one approach, saw a 22 percent reduction in the risk of excessive gestational weight gain. Those who were overweight prior to pregnancy saw a 28 percent risk reduction. Results were published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Read more.

Homelessness services denied those most at risk

Why are those most at risk of homelessness denied services? (istock)

Marybeth Shinn, professor of human, organizational and community development, conducted an examination of 11,000 low-income New York City families who sought out services to prevent homelessness.The study revealed that applicants statistically at the highest risk for becoming homeless were often passed over by caseworkers in favor of more “worthy” applicants. A statistical model Shinn proposed to remedy this practice was adopted by the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Results were published in the American Journal of Public Health. Read more.

Kids learn little from TV unless parents watch too

"Educational" TV may not be as beneficial as once thought. (Vanderbilt)

Preschoolers may not learn much from educational animated TV shows, according to a study conducted by former doctoral student Gabrielle A. Strouse and Associate Professor of Psychology Georgene Troseth. They found that educational programming is minimally effective unless parents watch, too—and engage the child by pausing and asking questions. Results were published in Developmental Psychology. Read more.

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