Drop in Special Ed Students, New Findings on Teaching Methods
A weekly roundup of news headlines from across the attention deficit and learning disabilities spectrum.
Decline in Number of Students Enrolled in Special Education Programs
Fewer students are being classified as learning disabled, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In the 2007-08 school year, the most recent year for which data exist, about 2.6 million students were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — a drop from the 2.9 million students in 2000-01 who were classified as having a “specific learning disability.” According to reports, federal officials attribute the dip in part to improvements in teaching and to early intervention for young students.
[Source: 2009 Digest of Education Statistics]
No Support for Learning Styles-Based Teaching, Says New Review
The popular wisdom — among parents, teachers, and experts alike — that matching instructional methods to a child’s unique cognitive learning style may have no basis behind it, according to a recent review of literature. In the article, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of authors found there was no definitive evidence that showed that learning-style assessments were more effective than any other instructional method.
[Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest]
Mix It Up, to Master the Material
Two recent findings are highlighting the benefits of intuitive learning. In an experiment published last July in Applied Cognitive Psychology researchers found that by mixing the content that children study — say, learning and practicing a set of different math equations rather than practicing the same type of problem repeatedly — children were more likely to retain material and excel on tests. Researchers found the same theory holds for adults: In a similar study in last month’s Psychology and Aging, a team of authors found that adults more accurately distinguished works by various artists when they studied all the paintings together, rather than studying one artist at a time.
[Sources: Applied Cognitive Psychology and Psychology and Aging]