While one should always be wary of a single study, some very interesting research suggests that poor planning skills harm educational performance (boldface mine):
Now a new study of a large ethnically and socioeconomically diverse group of children from across the United States has identified poor planning skills as one reason for the income-achievement gap, which can emerge as early as kindergarten and continue through high school….
“Low-income children appear to have more difficulty accomplishing planning tasks efficiently, and this, in turn, partially explains the income-achievement gap,” according to Gary Evans, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology at Cornell University, one of the study’s researchers. “Efforts to enhance the academic performance of low-income children need to consider multiple aspects of their development, including the ability to plan in a goal-oriented manner.”
….The study found that the children’s performance in fifth grade could be explained, in part, by how they did on the third grade planning task, even when taking IQ into consideration. Using income as well as math and reading scores, the study also found that the lower the household income during infancy, the worse the children’s performance on reading and math in fifth grade — replicating the well-known gap between income and achievement.
Snark aside, a testing regime won’t fix this. These skills can be taught, but as long as teachers, prinicipals, and schools are judged–and fired–based on test scores, this sort of intervention will be neglected. The risk of trying to deal with the problem, as opposed to cramming for tests, is too great.
Education reform is for thee, not for me. And poor kids get screwed again.
Related: Original article foolishly behind a paywall (I can think of no better way to have important social science go unreported by the mainstream media than make it hard to access).