Tag Archives: American Educational Research Association

Should an exam be scheduled before or after Spring break?

15 Jan

Some years ago I let my membership in the American Educational Research Association lapse. This is because,  increasingly, I found its journals to be unreadable and irrelevant.

One the other hand, I have found the material published by the Society for Teaching Psychology in its journal the Teaching of Psychology to be both interesting and useful. I recommend it to anyone who teaches, even if you do not teach psychology. The journal often publishes research that speaks directly to the kind of issues that teachers are concerned about.

For example, in the most recent issue, Kevin J. O’Connor, published a paper that asks if a midterm exam should be scheduled before or after the Spring semester break. His conducted research and concluded:

“in-semester breaks do not impact exam performance and that faculty may choose to hold exams either before or after such breaks without concern for affecting student grades.”

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Snakes and ladders: The myth of the reptilian brain

4 Sep

The claim that we have a reptilian brain lurking below our mammalian cortex is now well established in the popular imagination.


However, this triune brain hypotheses is almost certainly false. Here is an excerpt from the abstract to a paper I read at a meeting of the American Educational Research Association:

“MacLean’s triune brain model of brain evolution continues to be controversial. This paper argues that, while MacLean made a real contribution in his effort to link brain anatomy, behavior, and evolution, his model assumes a progressive ladder like process that is inconsistent with modern understandings of evolutionary change. Rather we should see brain evolution as process of niche adaptation built on a mosaic of conserved and derived neurological structures.”

A draft of the entire paper is available as a pdf here.

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