Profile formation of academic self-concept in elementary school students in grades 1 to 4.
ABSTRACT: Academic self-concept (ASC) is comprised of individual perceptions of one's own academic ability. In a cross-sectional quasi-representative sample of 3,779 German elementary school children in grades 1 to 4, we investigated (a) the structure of ASC, (b) ASC profile formation, an aspect of differentiation that is reflected in lower correlations between domain-specific ASCs with increasing grade level, (c) the impact of (internal) dimensional comparisons of one's own ability in different school subjects for profile formation of ASC, and (d) the role played by differences in school grades between subjects for these dimensional comparisons. The nested Marsh/Shavelson model, with general ASC at the apex and math, writing, and reading ASC as specific factors nested under general ASC fitted the data at all grade levels. A first-order factor model with math, writing, reading, and general ASCs as correlated factors provided a good fit, too. ASC profile formation became apparent during the first two to three years of school. Dimensional comparisons across subjects contributed to ASC profile formation. School grades enhanced these comparisons, especially when achievement profiles were uneven. In part, findings depended on the assumed structural model of ASCs. Implications for further research are discussed with special regard to factors influencing and moderating dimensional comparisons.
Project description:The present study tested how academic self-concept of ability (ASC) and intrinsic task value (ITV) transpose onto novel university programs that depart from traditional subject areas within the framework of expectancy-value theory. The study focused on two potential sources of information used to anticipate one's ASC and ITV regarding new learning content (here: business administration). First, students' experiences from secondary school, especially their ASCs and ITVs established in a school subject they consider similar to business administration-mathematics-should predict their business administration-specific ASC and ITV. Second, students may have gained relevant experience in out-of-school settings such as internships with business companies or commercial vocational training prior to entering higher education. ASC and ITV developed from out-of-school experiences was hypothesized to predict students' business administration-specific ASC and ITV as well. However, the likely mismatch between anticipated and actual experience with new contents should lead to revisions of ASC and ITV after entering university reflected in a presumably lower stability compared to secondary school settings. In addition, the extent of students' out-of-school experience might act as a moderator. Data were collected from 341 first-year students in higher education in Germany before they began their study program and again 3-4 months later. Confirmatory factor analyses support the discriminant validity of the measures used in the study. Results from structural equation modeling show that students' ASC/ITV derived from relevant out-of-school experience make an important contribution to their initial business administration-specific ASC and ITV beyond their mathematics-specific ASC/ITV. Furthermore, both business administration-specific ASC and ITV showed significantly lower stability coefficients over the initial study phase than research from secondary school indicating revisions to them via experience. Multiple-group structural equation modeling showed no moderating effect of the extent of students' out-of-school experience. The discussion focuses on interpretations of the expectancy-value theory that explicitly include motivational beliefs derived from out-of-school settings as antecedents of expectancy and value. With respect to practical implications, results are discussed in the light of student counseling and support to help students develop an adequate picture of a study program's learning contents and overcome initial motivational setbacks.
Project description:The development of math skills is a critical component of early education and a strong indicator of later school and economic success. Recent research utilizing population-normed, standardized measures of math achievement suggest that structural and functional integrity of parietal regions, especially the intraparietal sulcus, are closely related to the development of math skills. However, it is unknown how these findings relate to in-school math learning. The present study is the first to address this issue by investigating the relationship between regional differences in grey matter (GM) volume and performance in grade-level mathematics as measured by a state-wide, school-based test of math achievement (TCAP math) in children from 3rd to 8th grade. Results show that increased GM volume in the bilateral hippocampal formation and the right inferior frontal gyrus, regions associated with learning and memory, is associated with higher TCAP math scores. Secondary analyses revealed that GM volume in the left angular gyrus had a stronger relationship to TCAP math in grades 3-4 than in grades 5-8 while the relationship between GM volume in the left inferior frontal gyrus and TCAP math was stronger for grades 5-8. These results suggest that the neuroanatomical architecture related to in-school math achievement differs from that related to math achievement measured by standardized tests, and that the most related neural structures differ as a function of grade level. We suggest, therefore, that the use of school-relevant outcome measures is critical if neuroscience is to bridge the gap to education.
Project description:We examine school performance among 83 adolescents at risk for major depression. Negative mood interfered with subjective measures of school performance, including ability to do well in school, homework completion, concentrate in class, interact with peers, and going to class. No significant relationships were found for mood and objective measures of school performance (school attendance, English, and Math grades). Students with a college-educated parent had stronger performance in objective measures (school attendance and Math grades), whereas males had lower English grades. In qualitative interviews, adolescents reported that negative thinking led to procrastination, which led to poor school performance, which led to more negative thinking. Adolescents with depressive symptoms that do not meet the threshold for referral report struggles in school. Understanding the specific challenges faced by adolescents with even low levels of depressive symptoms can help school nurses, teachers, and parents identify appropriate interventions to help adolescents succeed in school.
Project description:BACKGROUND:There is consensus that early childhood lead exposure causes adverse cognitive and behavioral effects, even at blood lead levels (BLL) below 5??g/dL. What has not been established is to what extent the effects of childhood lead exposure persist across grades. OBJECTIVE:To measure the effects of early childhood lead exposure (BLL 1-10??g/dL) on educational performance from grades 3-8; to determine if effects in lower grades persist as a child progresses through school; and if so, to characterize the pattern of persistence. METHODS:We examine data from 560,624 children living in North Carolina between 2000 and 2012 with a BLL ?10??g/dL measured between age 0-5 years. Children are matched to their standardized math and reading scores for grades 3-8, creating an unbalanced panel of 2,344,358 student-year observations. We use socio-economic, demographic, and school information along with matching techniques to control for confounding effects. RESULTS:We find that early childhood exposure to low lead levels caused persistent deficits in educational performance across grades. In each grade (3-8), children with higher blood lead levels had, on average, lower percentile scores in both math and reading than children with lower blood lead levels. In our primary model, we find that children with BLL?=?5??g/dL in early childhood ranked 0.90-1.20 (1.35-1.55) percentiles lower than children with BLL???1??g/dL on math (reading) tests during grades 3-8. As children progressed through school, the average percentile deficit in their test scores remained stable. CONCLUSIONS:Our study shows that the adverse effects of early childhood exposure to low lead levels persist through early adolescence, and that the magnitude of the test-score percentile deficit remains steady between grades 3-8.
Project description:Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are a promising cell therapy to treat inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases. Development of appropriate pre-clinical animal models is critical to determine safety and attain early efficacy data for the most promising therapeutic candidates. Naturally occurring diseases in cats already serve as valuable models to inform human clinical trials in oncologic, cardiovascular, and genetic diseases. The objective of this study was to complete a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of human and feline ASCs, with an emphasis on their immunomodulatory capacity and transcriptome.Human and feline ASCs were evaluated for phenotype, immunomodulatory profile, and transcriptome. Additionally, transwells were used to determine the role of cell-cell contact in ASC-mediated inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation in both humans and cats.Similar to human ASCs, feline ASCs were highly proliferative at low passages and fit the minimal criteria of multipotent stem cells including a compatible surface protein phenotype, osteogenic capacity, and normal karyotype. Like ASCs from all species, feline ASCs inhibited mitogen-activated lymphocyte proliferation in vitro, with or without direct ASC-lymphocyte contact. Feline ASCs mimic human ASCs in their mediator secretion pattern, including prostaglandin E2, indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase, transforming growth factor beta, and interleukin-6, all augmented by interferon gamma secretion by lymphocytes. The transcriptome of three unactivated feline ASC lines were highly similar. Functional analysis of the most highly expressed genes highlighted processes including: 1) the regulation of apoptosis; 2) cell adhesion; 3) response to oxidative stress; and 4) regulation of cell differentiation. Finally, feline ASCs had a similar gene expression profile to noninduced human ASCs.Findings suggest that feline ASCs modulate lymphocyte proliferation using soluble mediators that mirror the human ASC secretion pattern. Uninduced feline ASCs have similar gene expression profiles to uninduced human ASCs, as revealed by transcriptome analysis. These data will help inform clinical trials using cats with naturally occurring diseases as surrogate models for human clinical trials in the regenerative medicine arena.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Extensive passage of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in vitro leads to loss of function. Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) can be isolated from adult peripheral blood. A 3D co-culture system may rescue in vitro ASC senescence. METHODS:A 3D co-culture model was successfully established using hyaluronic acid (HA) gel and a 10:1 ratio of late-passage ASCs and ECFCs. Cell density and culture conditions were optimized. Stem cell phenotype was characterized by flow cytometry. ELISA was used to measure the trophic effect of angiogenic growth factors and compare the effects of these factors between the 3-D co-culture and single-cell culture. Therapeutic potential of ASC/ECFC 3-D co-cultures was evaluated in a mouse chronic injury model. RESULTS:Following incubation in a HA substrate 3D co-culture system, ASC morphology, phenotype, secretory profile, and differentiation capacity were restored. The ASC/ECFC co-culture increased the secretion of cytokines, such as hepatocyte growth factor, compared with single-cell 3D culture or monolayer culture. Mice radiation-ulcer wounds treated with ASC/ECFC 3-D co-cultures (spheroids) showed epithelialization and improved healing compared with wounds treated with ASCs or ECFCs alone. Further, transplanted ASC/ECFC spheroids exhibited superior angiogenic potential due to the ability of the ASCs to transdifferentiate into pericytes. CONCLUSION:3D co-culture of ECFCs and ASCs in vitro restored native ASC properties by reversing cellular senescence and loss of trophic function. Transplant of ASC/ECFC 3D spheroids in vivo demonstrated pro-angiogenic capacity with improved therapeutic potential.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adaptive computerized interventions may help improve preterm children's academic success, but randomized trials are rare. We tested whether a math training (XtraMath®) versus an active control condition (Cogmed®; working memory) improved school performance. Training feasibility was also evaluated. METHODS:Preterm born first graders, N?=?65 (28-35?+?6 weeks gestation) were recruited into a prospective randomized controlled multicenter trial and received one of two computerized trainings at home for 5 weeks. Teachers rated academic performance in math, reading/writing, and attention compared to classmates before (baseline), directly after (post), and 12 months after the intervention (follow-up). Total academic performance growth was calculated as change from baseline (hierarchically ordered-post test first, follow-up second). RESULTS:Bootstrapped linear regressions showed that academic growth to post test was significantly higher in the math intervention group (B?=?0.25 [95% confidence interval: 0.04-0.50], p?=?0.039), but this difference was not sustained at the 12-month follow-up (B?=?0.00 [-0.31 to 0.34], p?=?0.996). Parents in the XtraMath group reported higher acceptance compared with the Cogmed group (mean difference: -0.49, [-0.90 to -0.08], p?=?0.037). CONCLUSIONS:Our findings do not show a sustained difference in efficacy between both trainings. Studies of math intervention effectiveness for preterm school-aged children are warranted. IMPACT:Adaptive computerized math training may help improve preterm children's short-term school performance. Computerized math training provides a novel avenue towards intervention after preterm birth. Well-powered randomized controlled studies of math intervention effectiveness for preterm school-aged children are warranted.
Project description:Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) symptoms may confer risk for academic impairment in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We investigated SCT in relation to academic performance and impairment in 252 children (ages 6-12, 67% boys) with ADHD. Parents and teachers completed SCT and academic impairment ratings, and achievement in reading, math, and spelling was assessed. Simultaneous regressions controlling for IQ, ADHD, and comorbidities were conducted. Total SCT predicted parent-rated impairments in writing, mathematics, and overall school but not reading. Parent-rated SCT Slow predicted poorer reading and spelling, but not math achievement. Teacher-rated SCT Slow predicted poorer spelling and math, but not reading achievement. Parent-rated SCT Slow predicted greater academic impairment ratings across all domains, whereas teacher-rated SCT Slow predicted greater impairment in writing only. Age and gender did not moderate these relationships with the exception of math impairment; SCT slow predicted math impairment for younger but not older children. Parent and teacher SCT Sleepy and Daydreamy ratings were not significant predictors. SCT Slow appears to be uniquely related to academic problems in ADHD, and may be important to assess and potentially target in intervention. More work is needed to better understand the nature of SCT Slow symptoms in relation to inattention and amotivation.
Project description:Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have recently become a focus of regenerative medicine, both for their multilineage differentiation capacity and their excretion of proregenerative cytokines. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are of particular interest because of their abundance in fat tissue and the ease of harvest via liposuction. However, little is known about the impact of different liposuction methods on the functionality of ASCs. Here we evaluate the regenerative abilities of ASCs harvested via a third-generation ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) device versus ASCs obtained via standard suction-assisted lipoaspiration (SAL). Lipoaspirates were sorted using fluorescent assisted cell sorting based on an established surface-marker profile (CD34+/CD31-/CD45-), to obtain viable ASCs. Yield and viability were compared and the differentiation capacities of the ASCs were assessed. Finally, the regenerative potential of ASCs was examined using an in vivo model of tissue regeneration. UAL- and SAL-derived samples demonstrated equivalent ASC yield and viability, and UAL ASCs were not impaired in their osteogenic, adipogenic, or chondrogenic differentiation capacity. Equally, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed comparable expression of most osteogenic, adipogenic, and key regenerative genes between both ASC groups. Cutaneous regeneration and neovascularization were significantly enhanced in mice treated with ASCs obtained by either UAL or SAL compared with controls, but there were no significant differences in healing between cell-therapy groups. We conclude that UAL is a successful method of obtaining fully functional ASCs for regenerative medicine purposes. Cells harvested with this alternative approach to liposuction are suitable for cell therapy and tissue engineering applications. Significance: Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are an appealing source of therapeutic progenitor cells because of their multipotency, diverse cytokine profile, and ease of harvest via liposuction. Alternative approaches to classical suction-assisted liposuction are gaining popularity; however, little evidence exists regarding the impact of different liposuction methods on the regenerative functionality of ASCs. Human ASC characteristics and regenerative capacity were assessed when harvested via ultrasound-assisted (UAL) versus standard suction-assisted liposuction. ASCs obtained via UAL were of equal quality when directly compared with the current gold standard harvest method. UAL is an adjunctive source of fully functional mesenchymal stem cells for applications in basic research and clinical therapy.
Project description:Engineered three-dimensional biomaterials are known to affect the regenerative capacity of stem cells. The extent to which these materials can modify cellular activities is still poorly understood, particularly for adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). This study evaluates PEGylated fibrin (P-fibrin) gels as an ASC-carrying scaffold for encouraging local angiogenesis by comparing with two commonly used hydrogels (i.e., collagen and fibrin) in the tissue-engineering field. Human ASCs in P-fibrin were compared to cultures in collagen and fibrin under basic growth media without any additional soluble factors. ASCs proliferated similarly in all gel scaffolds but showed significantly elongated morphologies in the P-fibrin gels relative to other gels. P-fibrin elicited higher von Willebrand factor expression in ASCs than either collagen or fibrin while cells in collagen expressed more smooth muscle alpha actin than in other gels. VEGF was secreted more at 7 days in fibrin and P-fibrin than in collagen and several other angiogenic and immunomodulatory cytokines were similarly enhanced. Fibrin-based matrices appear to activate angiogenic signaling in ASCs while P-fibrin matrices are uniquely able to also drive a vessel-like ASC phenotype. Collectively, these results suggest that P-fibrin promotes the angiogenic potential of ASC-based therapeutic applications.