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Concept: Educational stages


Objectives. We assessed the long-term effect of early childhood lead exposure on academic achievement in mathematics, science, and reading among elementary and junior high school children. Methods. We linked early childhood blood lead testing surveillance data from the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion to educational testing data from the Detroit, Michigan, public schools. We used the linked data to investigate the effect of early childhood lead exposure on academic achievement among school-aged children, both marginally and adjusted for grade level, gender, race, language, maternal education, and socioeconomic status. Results. High blood lead levels before age 6 years were strongly associated with poor academic achievement in grades 3, 5, and 8. The odds of scoring less than proficient for those whose blood lead levels were greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter were more than twice the odds for those whose blood lead levels were less than 1 micrograms per deciliter after adjustment for potential confounders. Conclusions. Early childhood lead exposure was negatively associated with academic achievement in elementary and junior high school, after adjusting for key potential confounders. The control of lead poisoning should focus on primary prevention of lead exposure in children and development of special education programs for students with lead poisoning. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 17, 2013: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301164).

Concepts: Education, Middle school, High school, College, School, Educational stages, Elementary school, Lead poisoning


AIM: (i) To assess the impact of primary root canal treatment on the perceived quality of life amongst a cohort of Jordanian patients, (ii) to assess this cohort’s satisfaction of their primary root canal treatment, and (iii) to evaluate the association of the level of training and experience of clinicians with these two parameters. METHODOLOGY: A systematic random sample of 302 subjects was selected from patients who attended undergraduate, graduate and specialty clinics of Jordan University of Science and Technology. Participants were interviewed before and two weeks after completion of root canal treatment. The study instrument included the Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (Dugas et al. 2002) and seven semantic differential scales. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and nonparametric analyses. RESULTS: More than 90% of subjects reported improvements in the sense of taste, pain, eating, altering food temperature, self-consciousness, waking up during sleep, interruption of meals, difficulty to relax and difficulty to sleep after root canal treatment. There was no significant difference in terms of improvement amongst patients treated by specialists, graduate students or undergraduate students. The overall semantic differential score of intraoperative pain, pleasantness, chewing ability and general satisfaction was about 8. Satisfaction of root canal treatment by specialists was higher in terms of time involved, intraoperative pain, pleasantness and general satisfaction than those treatments by undergraduate students. Patients treated by specialist were least satisfied with the treatment cost compared to those patients treated by graduate or undergraduate students. CONCLUSIONS: The impact of root canal treatment on the quality of life was apparent. Satisfaction with root canal treatment approximates 8 on the semantic differential scale with preference for specialists over dental students.

Concepts: Psychometrics, Root canal, Endodontic therapy, Endodontics, Educational stages, Postgraduate education, Bachelor's degree, Semantic differential


This project evaluates the impact of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) policy to promote education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). To determine whether this policy resulted in meaningful RCR educational experiences, our study examined the instructional plans developed by individual universities in response to the mandate. Using a sample of 108 U.S. institutions classified as Carnegie “very high research activity”, we analyzed all publicly available NSF RCR training plans in light of the consensus best practices in RCR education that were known at the time the policy was implemented. We found that fewer than half of universities developed plans that incorporated at least some of the best practices. More specifically, only 31% of universities had content and requirements that differed by career stage, only 1% of universities had content and requirements that differed by discipline; and only 18% of universities required some face-to-face engagement from all classes of trainees. Indeed, some schools simply provided hand-outs to their undergraduate students. Most universities (82%) had plans that could be satisfied with online programs such as the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative’s RCR modules. The NSF policy requires universities to develop RCR training plans, but provides no guidelines or requirements for the format, scope, content, duration, or frequency of the training, and does not hold universities accountable for their training plans. Our study shows that this vaguely worded policy, and lack of accountability, has not produced meaningful educational experiences for most of the undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral trainees funded by the NSF.

Concepts: Evaluation, Education, Higher education, School, Educational stages, Postgraduate education, Bachelor's degree, National Science Foundation


The Graduate Student Internships for Career Exploration (GSICE) program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), offers structured training and hands-on experience through internships for a broad range of PhD-level careers. The GSICE program model was successfully replicated at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Here, we present outcome data for a total of 217 PhD students participating in the UCSF and UC Davis programs from 2010 to 2015 and 2014 to 2015, respectively. The internship programs at the two sites demonstrated comparable participation, internship completion rates, and overall outcomes. Using survey, focus group, and individual interview data, we find that the programs provide students with career development skills, while increasing students' confidence in career exploration and decision making. Internships, in particular, were perceived by students to increase their ability to discern a career area of choice and to increase confidence in pursuing that career. We present data showing that program participation does not change median time to degree and may help some trainees avoid “default postdocs.” Our findings suggest important strategies for institutions developing internship programs for PhD students, namely: including a structured training component, allowing postgraduation internships, and providing a central organization point for internship programs.

Concepts: Employment, Academic degree, Educational stages, Doctorate, Intern, University of California, University of California, Davis, Internship


Undergraduate research is often hailed as a solution to increasing the number and quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates needed to fill the high-tech jobs of the future. Student benefits of research are well documented but the emerging literature on advisors' perspectives is incomplete: only a few studies have included the graduate students and postdocs who often serve as research advisors, and not much is known about why research advisors choose to work with undergraduate researchers. We report the motivations for advising undergraduate researchers, and the related costs and benefits of doing so, from 30 interviews with research advisors at various career stages. Many advisors stated intrinsic motivations, but a small group of early-career advisors expressed only instrumental motivations. We explore what this means for how advisors work with student researchers, the benefits students may or may not gain from the experience, and the implications for training and retaining research advisors who can provide high-quality research experiences for undergraduate students.

Concepts: Scientific method, Future, Science, Research, Experience, Educational stages, Postgraduate education, Bachelor's degree


IMPORTANCE Schools present highly desirable marketing environments for food and beverage companies. However, most marketed items are nutritionally poor. OBJECTIVE To examine national trends in student exposure to selected school-based commercialism measures from 2007 through 2012. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Annual nationally representative cross-sectional studies were evaluated in US public elementary, middle, and high schools with use of a survey of school administrators. EXPOSURES School-based commercialism, including exclusive beverage contracts and associated incentives, profits, and advertising; corporate food vending and associated incentives and profits; posters/advertisements for soft drinks, fast food, or candy; use of food coupons as incentives; event sponsorships; and fast food available to students. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Changes over time in school-based commercialism as well as differences by student body racial/ethnic distribution and socioeconomic status. RESULTS Although some commercialism measures-especially those related to beverage vending-have shown significant decreases over time, most students at all academic levels continued to attend schools with one or more types of school-based commercialism in 2012. Overall, exposure to school-based commercialism increased significantly with grade level. For 63.7% of elementary school students, the most frequent type of commercialism was food coupons used as incentives. For secondary students, the type of commercialism most prevalent in schools was exclusive beverage contracts, which were in place in schools attended by 49.5% of middle school students and 69.8% of high school students. Exposure to elementary school coupons, as well as middle and high school exclusive beverage contracts, was significantly more likely for students attending schools with mid or low (vs high) student body socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Most US elementary, middle, and high school students attend schools where they are exposed to commercial efforts aimed at obtaining food or beverage sales or developing brand recognition and loyalty for future sales. Although there have been significant decreases over time in many of the measures examined, the continuing high prevalence of school-based commercialism calls for, at minimum, clear and enforceable standards on the nutritional content of all foods and beverages marketed to youth in school settings.

Concepts: School terminology, Middle school, High school, College, Secondary school, Educational stages, Grammar school, School types


Sport science has gained vast popularity with students who have an interest in both physiology and the underpinning mechanisms of exercise concerning performance and health. The high numbers of graduates each year, coupled with the low number of graduate positions working in sports, has led to a high level of competition between students. To stand out from the crowd, sport science students may undertake an internship placement as part of their course, designed to enhance theoretical, practical, and soft skills in an applied setting. In the present article, we highlight some of the positives and negatives of sport science internships and ways in which they can be implemented and facilitated. Suggestions have also been provided to make students more aware of the reality of working in professional sports, which includes awareness of the potential for long and unsociable hours of work.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Science, Learning, Theory, Educational stages, Grammatical number, David Bowie


The transition from medical student to hospital-based first year junior doctor (termed “intern” in Australia) is known to be challenging, and recent changes in clinical learning environments may reduce graduate preparedness for the intern workplace. Although manageable challenges and transitions are a stimulus to learning, levels of burnout in junior medical colleagues are concerning. In order to prepare and support medical graduates, educators need to understand contemporary junior doctor perspectives on this transition.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Education, English-language films, Learning, Knowledge, Learning curve, Educational stages


Students attending schools play an important role in the transmission of influenza. In this study, we present a social network analysis of contacts among 1,828 students in eight different schools in urban and suburban areas in and near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America, including elementary, elementary-middle, middle, and high schools. We collected social contact information of students who wore wireless sensor devices that regularly recorded other devices if they are within a distance of 3 meters. We analyzed these networks to identify patterns of proximal student interactions in different classes and grades, to describe community structure within the schools, and to assess the impact of the physical environment of schools on proximal contacts. In the elementary and middle schools, we observed a high number of intra-grade and intra-classroom contacts and a relatively low number of inter-grade contacts. However, in high schools, contact networks were well connected and mixed across grades. High modularity of lower grades suggests that assumptions of homogeneous mixing in epidemic models may be inappropriate; whereas lower modularity in high schools suggests that homogenous mixing assumptions may be more acceptable in these settings. The results suggest that interventions targeting subsets of classrooms may work better in elementary schools than high schools. Our work presents quantitative measures of age-specific, school-based contacts that can be used as the basis for constructing models of the transmission of infections in schools.

Concepts: United States, Education, Sociology, Middle school, High school, College, Educational stages, Elementary school


The ability to extrapolate essential gist through the analysis and synthesis of information, prediction of potential outcomes, abstraction of ideas, and integration of relationships with world knowledge is critical for higher-order learning. The present study investigated the efficacy of cognitive training to elicit improvements in gist reasoning and fact recall ability in 556 public middle school students (grades seven and eight), vs. a sample of 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group, to determine if changes in gist reasoning and fact recall were demonstrated without cognitive training. The results showed that, in general, cognitive training increased gist reasoning and fact recall abilities in students from families in poverty as well as students from families living above poverty. However, the magnitude of gains in gist reasoning varied as a function of gender and grade level. Our primary findings were that seventh and eighth grade girls and eighth grade boys showed significant increases in gist reasoning after training regardless of socioeconomic status (SES). There were no significant increases in gist reasoning or fact recall ability for the 357 middle school students who served as a comparison group. We postulate that cognitive training in middle school is efficacious for improving gist reasoning ability and fact recall in students from all socioeconomic levels.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Philosophy, Middle school, High school, Knowledge, College, Reasoning, Educational stages