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Burkart et al. conflate the domain-specificity of cognitive processes with the statistical pattern of variance in behavioural measures that partly reflect those processes. General intelligence is a statistical abstraction, not a cognitive trait, and we argue that the former does not warrant inferences about the nature or evolution of the latter.
We describe a versatile infrared camera/spectrograph, IRIS, designed and constructed at the Anglo-Australian Observatory for use on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. A variety of optical configurations can be selected under remote control to provide several direct image scales and a few low-resolution spectroscopic formats. Two cross-dispersed transmission echelles are of novel design, as is the use of a modified Bowen-Burch system to provide a fast f/ratio in the widest-field option. The drive electronics includes a choice of readout schemes for versatility, and continuous display when the array is not taking data, to facilitate field acquisition and focusing.
The linearity of the detector has been studied in detail. Although outwardly good, slight nonlinearities prevent removal of fixed-pattern noise from the data without application of a cubic linearising function.
Specific control and data-reduction software has been written. We describe also a scanning mode developed for spectroscopic imaging.
The aim of this research was to compare associations of self-perceived successful aging (SPSA) among Young-Old (Y-O; age 50–74 years) versus Old-Old (O-O; 75–99 years) community-dwelling adults. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare respondents’ self-perceptions of successful aging among O-O relative to Y-O adults.
Participants included 365 Y-O and 641 O-O adults. The two age groups were compared in terms of the association of SPSA with other preselected measures including sociodemographic information, physical and mental functioning, objective and subjective cognitive functioning, emotional health, and positive psychological constructs.
The O-O group reported higher levels of SPSA than the Y-O group. In multiple regression modeling examining predictors of SPSA in each group, there was a tendency toward lower associations in the O-O group overall. Most notably, the associations between physical and mental functioning with SPSA were significantly lower in the O-O versus Y-O group. There were no associations with SPSA that were significantly higher in the O-O versus Y-O group.
The lower predictive power of physical and mental functioning on SPSA among O-O relative to Y-O adults is particularly noteworthy. It is apparent that SPSA is a multidimensional construct that cannot be defined by physical functioning alone. Continuing to clarify the underlying factors impacting SPSA between groups may inform tailored interventions to promote successful aging in Y-O and O-O adults.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Ethnographic Observations: Trained members of the research team visited each club to conduct ethnographic observations, typically two times a week, beginning in September and continuing through the end of the school year in June. Observers recorded detailed field notes after each visit (see Field Note Template later in this appendix). Each field note included the team member’s observations and reflections as well as an account of any conversations with youth or staff. The principal investigator (Hirsch) reviewed the field notes on an ongoing basis. Developments or issues that might benefit from additional investigation were highlighted for follow-up during subsequent visits to the club.
Social Climate Ratings: Following each visit to a club, the research team member involved completed ratings of the social climate of the club on several different dimensions, such as cooperation and conflict among staff and youth enjoyment and participation in decision making (see Field Note Template later in this appendix).
All Youth Attending Each Center
Youth Background Questionnaire: This questionnaire was completed at the start of the year by all youth at each of the clubs who were ten years of age or older. The survey included questions that asked youth for basic demographic information, their levels and history of participation in the club, how safe they felt in their neighborhoods, and whether they experienced the club setting as a “second home.” Each youth also was asked on the survey to identify the staff person at the center with whom he or she had the closest relationship.
Tommiana is a somewhat typical twelve-year-old girl. With a number of friends and some close adult relationships, including with West River staff, she is active and involved in multiple activities at the center. Dance is Tommiana’s favorite activity and is led by the staff person with whom she has the closest relationship. At the same time, Tommiana is moody, and in the middle of the year begins to withdraw from the dance program. Furthermore, Tommiana stops coming to the center for a few weeks in March, after losing to a peer in a center-wide competition. No one appears to follow-up on her absence, suggesting that she may have been somewhat lost in the shuffle. In this chapter, we will see how West River provided important support for Tommiana, but also had some costs. Her case illustrates one of the strengths of a comprehensive youth center, wherein relationships with staff can spread across activities and different PARCs can complement each other. Yet it also reminds us of the importance of the fit between individual youth and a program’s culture, particularly around issues of competition. Finally, Tommiana’s story provides a look at the missed opportunities for support when staff fail to capitalize on potential linkages beyond the walls of the center.
in the beginning
Tommiana is a petite girl who prides herself on being well dressed. She has been coming to West River since she was in the first grade and most of her friends also attend the center. Tommiana tells us that she used to attend the club every day. In third grade, she stopped coming as regularly because she lived further away from West River. She reports this period of lesser attendance as a “bad” event in her history at the center. At the time of our study, she reported coming almost every day but was observed at the center less frequently as the year progressed – something we discuss further throughout the chapter.
Youth programs can be found in abundance throughout our communities. Nowhere, however, are they more prevalent than in the after-school arena. The past decade has witnessed explosive growth in after-school programs. The federal government launched a billion-dollar initiative, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. California’s Proposition 49 channeled more than 400 million additional dollars to after-school programs. Several major foundations have put after-school programs at the core of their concerns. And city after city is scaling up its after-school programs. Much of this growth has involved after-school centers that typically are home to a wide array of programs and services. These include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which more than doubled the number of its clubs, from 1,800 in 1997 to 4,000 in 2008. Clearly there is a push to make after-school programs part of the educational and youth services infrastructure. We believe in the promise of after-school programs but also are concerned about the pitfalls. We have seen both good programs and bad programs, strong centers and weak centers. It is critical to understand the factors that lead to quality and to positive youth outcomes if the after-school movement is to be built on a solid foundation.
It is easy to appreciate the push for more after-school programming. This is especially true for the school-age adolescents in low-income urban communities who we studied in this research. These young people need to cope with violence and poor schools on a daily basis. Job opportunities are often few and far between. Adult role models can be in short supply as the middle class has largely abandoned these neighborhoods, many men are in prison, and parents often have work shifts that leave little time for guidance and support. After-school programs hope to step into these gaps and supplement what youth receive from family and school.
At this point, it is time to take a step back and consider what we have learned by our several studies of the Midwest after-school center. We hope in these mini-chapters – including the ones that follow the case studies of the other centers – to contribute to an integrative understanding of how comprehensive after-school centers influence youth outcomes. As part of this effort, we pay particular attention to distinctive features of comprehensive centers. Centers of this sort are complex organizations, and our analytic framework seeks to integrate both organizational and person-level factors. Grounded in the experiences of Pocahontas and Bill, as well as the organizational-level study, our objective is to abstract broader insights from those accounts. We therefore need to shift gears somewhat and consider what more general principles may be at work, which we can then reexamine in future chapters.
In Chapter 1, we introduced the concept of a PARC (program, activity, relationship, culture) to capture the multifaceted aspect of youth engagements at these centers. For both Pocahontas and Bill, this proved to be a very useful concept. For both of them it was critical to find one PARC that meaningfully engaged them. A meaningful PARC anchored their continued participation in Midwest and fostered developmental growth. Pocahontas found this with Manuel around math, Bill with Manuel around chess. In these instances, the person was an adult staff member; it may be possible for a peer to serve in this role as well, but our research was oriented toward youth relationships with adult staff, so we are not in the best position to address this question.
We now need to take stock of what broader insights can be gleaned from our studies of the West River center. As it is the last center we will be examining, we use this chapter as an opportunity to integrate our findings across our studies of all three centers. Our aim in doing so is to arrive at a set of conclusions regarding the conditions under which comprehensive after-school centers are most likely to realize their potential for promoting positive youth development. Our conclusions provide the foundation for the practice recommendations that we present in the next and final chapter.
West River is the strongest of the after-school centers we examined on most dimensions. So it is natural to use this center, and our studies of youth there (Midnight and Tomianna), as a counterpoint to many of the weaknesses and limitations that are apparent for the Midwest and North River centers. Our intention is not to suggest either that the latter centers are entirely lacking in positive features or that West River is without areas in need of improvement. Neither of these, of course, is the case. Indeed, as we will discuss, there are some concerns that stand out as in need of attention at all three centers and, we suspect, to a large degree among comprehensive after-school centers more generally. As researchers, this process of comparing and contrasting is one of our major analytic tools.
Like Pocahontas, Bill is a difficult character to miss. On the one hand, he is quintessentially “one of the guys,” shooting hoops, playing ping-pong, and tossing around the term “gay” as his insult of choice. He can be loud and disruptive, with a history of school trouble for both fighting and academic failure. Yet closer observation reveals an intelligent boy with an introspective tendency and interests in social issues, chess, and history. The Midwest after-school center serves as a safe space for Bill, a place of moratorium where he escapes the pressure of gang activity present in his school and neighborhood. His involvement in the chess club allows him to shine and develop relationships with staff. But Bill’s story is also one of missed opportunity. He would have benefited from mentoring around his grades and school conflicts. Bill is not able to fully connect with the resources he needs because his demeanor feeds into stereotypes of male self-sufficiency. His one-of-the-guys persona winds up hurting him, hiding his need for the type of interpersonal support that Pocahontas was so successful in accessing. Bill’s story illustrates a hidden danger of urban masculinity, especially in a setting such as Midwest, which is not oriented to proactive intervention.
Beyonce hardly fits the profile of risk that we have come to associate with young people living in low-income urban neighborhoods. Risk for school failure? Beyonce has made the Honor Roll the last two years and counts reading as one of her favorite pastimes. Risk for becoming involved in a gang or behaviors such as substance use, premature sexual activity, or violence? It is difficult to envision any of these scenarios on the immediate horizon for Beyonce. In fact, whereas all of these activities typically arise in the context of relationships with peers, what is most outstanding about Beyonce is her overall lack of positive or rewarding ties with other youngsters her age. Rather than getting in with the “wrong crowd,” Beyonce is experiencing great difficulty getting in with any crowd. It is precisely these distinguishing characteristics that make the experiences of this ten-year-old African-American girl during her year at the club so instructive and important. As we shall see, Beyonce’s story illustrates how after-school centers can be of significant benefit to youth whose greatest liabilities have little in common with prevailing stereotypes of urban risk. It is equally vivid in highlighting how limitations in programs, organizational practices, and mentoring can lead centers to fall well short of the mark in responding to the needs of such young people.