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Dartmouth Study May Lead To Education Policy Changes

Studies have long shown a difference in cognitive ability between high- and low-income children. But for the first time, scientists at Dartmouth College in Hanover have found a difference between low-income children growing up in rural areas and those growing up in urban environments. 

The takeaway here is not that poor kids in urban areas are better or worse off than poor kids in rural areas.  The takeaway is that their visual and verbal memory skills are different depending on their environments.  Education researcher Michele Tine says education policymakers rely on cognitive research when they build education programs.

But for the vast majorities of those policies and curriculum movements and interventions they’re really drawing on research projects that have been conducted on urban samples, and that’s because urban samples are easy to collect data from.

Unfortunately, Tine says, education for rural students is being based on urban data.  Now, Tine hopes, policymakers will begin addressing the needs of low-income students, based on where they live.

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