Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Why We Should Be Investing in "Longitudinal Developmental Studies"

A good question to start off today's post would be:

Assuming a child cannot have both, is it better to have advanced math skills at an early stage, or high executive functioning skills? Can a child that is behind in academics but has better functioning skills catch up to his/her peers?

These are all questions that longitudinal developmental studies aim to answer. In an NYU Institute of Human Development and Social Change post emphasizing the importance of investing in long-term studies for learning, it claimed that like any other studies, such as medications, there must be both a short-term study and a long-term study. In the past, many studies on development were strictly short-term and only examined the benefits such as immediate test scores. The problem with these studies is that it fails to analyze long-term drawbacks. However, if we go back to our original questions, a study found that even if a student scores lower on a math exam, as long as they have high executive functioning skills, they are likely to catch up to their peers in the future.  

This study demonstrates the importance of long-term studies because if only short-term studies are made, then educators may promote activities that are not beneficial to a child's development in the long run. A good analogy that was made in the NYU Human Development post was that medications must also be examined both short-term and long-term. Even if a medication heals a person of the disease quickly, that person must be continually examined to see if there are side-effects long-term. If there are side effects, doctors must take note of the trend and alert future patients before treatment. This is the same with developmental methods. 

Fortunately, many families nowadays are willing to take part in long-term studies that allow researchers to visit their homes and take notes on how the child is developing over a period of a decade. Even though these families receive very little personal benefit, they are willing to partake in these studies because their help could be of benefit to kids in the future.

No comments: