Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success, Second Edition

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The gender achievement gap, measured by standardized test scores, suspensions, and absences, in favor of female students, is larger at worse schools and among lower-income households. So poverty and school quality are partially responsible for the gap.

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Girls tend to have better self-regulation skills than boys. This contributes to girls getting better grades than boys in all subjects. The idea that one gender is on average inherently, genetically intellectually inferior is controversial and critics of the idea attribute it to historical or contemporary sexism. Most researchers have argued for no significant sex differences in g factor or general intelligence, [] [] [] while others have argued for greater intelligence for males, [] [] [] and others for females.

Assuming there are real gender differences in general intelligence, it is difficult to answer the nature versus nurture question - whether any such differences are inherently genetic, or are caused by environmental factors. Differences in gender roles in a particular culture, as well as sexism , can influence a person's interests, opportunities, and activities in a way that might increase or decrease intellectual abilities for any particular task.

For ethical and practical reasons, it is not generally feasible to perform an experiment that raises children without a gender identity or which randomly assigns a gender identity, to distinguish the effects of socialization from genetics. Researchers concerned with the achievement gap between genders cite biological differences, such as brain structure and development, as a possible reason why one gender outperforms the other in certain subjects.

For example, a Virginia Tech Study conducted in examined the brains of children and found that different areas of the brain develop in a different sequence in girls compared to boys.


The differing maturation speed of the brain between boys and girls affects how each gender processes information and could have implications for how they perform in school. It is important to address the gender achievement gap in education because failure to cultivate the academic talents of any one group will have aggregate negative consequences. If women are underrepresented in STEM fields, and if men are underrepresented in the social sciences and humanities, both genders are missing opportunities to develop diverse skill sets that can help them in the workplace.

Researchers have found that the gender achievement gap has a large impact on the future career choices of high-achieving students. Part of this is a result of the college majors that men and women choose; men are more likely to major in engineering or the hard sciences, while women are more likely to receive degrees in English, psychology, or sociology.

Therefore, men are statistically more likely to enter careers that have more potential for higher long-term earnings than women. The careers that are aligned with these majors have different levels of prestige and different salaries, which can lead to a gender wage gap.

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There have been several studies done of interventions aimed at reducing the gender achievement gap in science classes. Some interventions, such as instituting mentoring programs aimed at women or restructuring the course curriculum, have had limited success. The most successful interventions have been a form of psychological interventions called values affirmation. In a famous study of women's achievement in college science by Miyake et al. Values affirmation exercises require students to either write about their most important values or their least important values two times at the beginning of the week course.

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After this intervention, the modal grades of women enrolled in the course increased from a C to a B. Psychological interventions such as this one show promise for increasing women's achievement in math and science courses and reducing the achievement gap that exists between the genders in these subject areas, but further research will need to be done in order to determine whether the positive effects are long-lasting. Historically, the circumstance of LGBT youth in education has received little attention from scholars and the media.

Before the turn of the century, little research went into the topic of the LGBT population in schools. LGBT students in the U. There are many supposed causes of this achievement gap, as well as efforts to alleviate the disparity. In United States secondary schools, LGBT youth often have more difficult experiences compared to their heterosexual peers , leading to observed underachievement, though current data is limited.

Less-harassed LGBT youth are also twice as likely to plan for higher education than their highly victimized peers, indicating a general lack of interest in school among LGBT youth. Dropping out and absenteeism are also concerns with LGBT youth. Because most studies focus on students enrolled in school and it is hard to find a sample of student youth out of school, an accurate count of LGBT youth who have dropped out of school is hard to obtain.

Likewise, students in California who endure harassment "because of actual or perceived sexual orientation" are three times as likely as non-harassed heterosexual students to miss school, meaning even heterosexual students harassed for suspected sexual orientation endure some of these problems.

Despite such evidence of negative experiences, some LGBT find positive benefits in coming out.

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Students who are out, while receiving increased harassment from homophobic peers, have lower instances of depression and a greater sense of belonging, a phenomenon well documented in other LGBT studies as well. Though popular belief attributes homosexuality to higher education levels, more current studies suggest otherwise, at least among women.

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For instance, while 6. The same study showed no statistically significant correlation between LGBT identity and education for men. In the study, gay men were significantly less likely to fail to graduate from high school compared to completely heterosexual men 3.


There are many possible explanations for the LGBT achievement gap. The most highly documented and widely studied cause of underachievement by LGBT students is the problem of bullying in schools. More specifically, a bully's perception of a student's sexual orientation or gender-nonconformity—not necessarily the individual's actual sexual identity—leads to bullying. Because of this, a gender-nonconforming yet heterosexual student could experience some of the same academic outcomes attributed to the LGBT students. In addition to their schooling experience, LGBT youth often have negative home environments.

LGBT youth have a very unique situation in that the may not find any support from their family.

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This risk is higher for transgender teens. Some public schools are either reluctant to or ignorant about enrolling homeless students, significantly thwarting a teen's pursuit of educational opportunities. Government-based as well as independent organizations focusing on education or LGBT issues have proposed solutions to improving the experiences of LGBT youth in schools. When surveyed, school personnel in California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota ranked lesson plans as the top need in addressing LGBT concerns. Their proposed curriculum would aim to teach students, over the course of their K education, to understand sexual orientation as well as gender roles, and treat others with respect, among other key concepts.

Alabama and Texas laws even require teachers to refrain from presenting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

Achievement gaps in the United States

Significant opposition to changing these statutes exist in these states, preventing the inclusion of LGBT curriculum. Educational attainment rates change when it comes to comparing the same races against immigrants or foreign born students. No matter which race is examined, immigrants of that race outperform natives of the same race. For example, Black African and Caribbean immigrant groups to the U.

S report having higher levels of education than any other group. This trend was first reported in the s by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education , [] and still continues today. According to data from the United States Census , " Census, out of the African populations, Nigerians reported to having the highest level of education.

The amount of education completed varies greatly between members of religions in the United States. US religions ranked by percentage reporting a college degree: []. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Per Wikipedia:Summary style , details should be moved to Racial achievement gap in the United States , leaving a brief summary here.

Please help improve this section if you can. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Racial achievement gap in the United States. Main article: National Assessment of Educational Progress. Further information: African American culture and African-American family structure. Main article: Acting white. See also: Sex and intelligence. See also: Gender pay gap. See also: Stereotype threat. Main article: Sex differences in intelligence. The New York Times.

Census Bureau. Wall Street Journal.