North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Child & Adolescent Review

Research & Resources for Educators
Summer 1996

In This Issue


This summer edition of the Child and Adolescent Review is devoted to research and resources available at your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

Everyone seems to be getting connected to the Internet these days. And often the adults are less experienced than some of their students.

This summer newsletter provides several research studies to consider along with information related to computers and Internet use.

At this time, we are developing our Youth and Family World Wide Web site and are planning to put this newsletter on the Youth and Family Web page as of September 1996.

Check out the NDSU Extension Service Web site ( during the school year for information on a variety of topics and resources available at your county office.

Good luck as you prepare for the upcoming year.

Graduating Seniors Unprepared for Consumer Challenges

Recent surveys of high school and college students in North Dakota and across the country reveal a disturbing lack of the basic knowledge and skills needed to make the important financial decisions they will face as adults. The surveys suggest that consumer education has not kept up with the rapid change in the marketplace.

Principals of North Dakota high schools were surveyed in December 1994 and January 1995 to determine the preparedness of graduating seniors with regard to consumer and personal finances. More than half of the principals who were mailed a survey responded.

Of the 126 principals returning surveys, less than half (45 percent) of their schools offer separate consumer education courses. Only 27 percent of the principals responding indicated that a course dealing in personal finance or consumer education is required for graduation.

Seventy-eight percent indicated that their schools' graduating seniors were "not at all" to "only somewhat" prepared to handle their personal finances and consumer decision making. Fifty-six percent said consumer education is "important," and 38 percent responded it is "very important."

Only 6 percent of the principals said that consumer education is "only slightly" important, and not one respondent said it is "not at all" important.

Cause for Concern

Source: Kids, Cash 'n Credit: Rights and Responsibilities, a publication of the Attorney General Consumer Education Advisory Committee

What You Can Do

If you're interested in an educational curriculum designed to address financial and consumer issues, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service and request information on the High School Financial Planning Program.

This free curriculum has proven-impact results and can be a great resource for the upcoming year.

"Individuals and families able to handle the complex financial decisions of daily life experience an enhanced quality of life. They have the personal satisfaction of being in control of their lives. They are less likely to need government assistance such as consumer protection or bankruptcy actions, which cost all of us. It is essential for North Dakotans to promote consumer education and teach our children to become financially responsible adults."

Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp


How To Talk So Kids Can Learn

Many schools and parent groups have found the book/workshop "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Faber and Mazlish to be one of the best resources available for promoting positive adult/child communication and discipline.

County offices of the NDSU Extension Service have been providing these workshops for four years with very positive evaluation results.

Our research indicates positive behavior changes in the majority of participants' lives including improved communications and conflict management, a decrease in arguments and an increase in self-esteem.

Now the authors have extended these successful concepts for teachers by addressing the common pitfalls of classroom relationships in "How To Talk So Kids Can Learn." This book is an excellent resource for teachers. Ask your school to purchase a copy for the teachers' lounge or get one for your desk.

For a copy of an excerpt related to parent-teacher partnerships, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

When Pairing Pupils for Computer Work, Keep Gender in Mind

Results of a small British study suggest that teachers should think twice before assigning boy/girl duos to a computer task -- at least at the age of these subjects who were 9 and 10 years old.

The researchers divided 36 9- and 10-year-olds into six groups, matching the 18 boys and 18 girls on the basis of reading ability. Each youngster worked three different times on a computer problem based on a Cloze procedure involving completion of a paragraph in which a number of letters had been replaced by hyphens.

For the first and third tests, youngsters worked alone. On the second, they were paired with either a child of their own gender or an opposite sex classmate. Half of the pairs were instructed to work cooperatively; the other half were cautioned to discuss only the aspects of the computer which were not related to the task.

Analysis of the pupils' scores showed:

The researchers concluded that mixed-gender pairs are at a disadvantage on a computer-based Cloze test and don't improve even when told to cooperate.

Girl pairs, on the other hand, tended to work well together without reminders to cooperate, while boy pairs showed the greatest gains once adults organized them into a cooperative unit.

Source: Growing Child RESEARCH REVIEW, February 1995


Program for Coaches Reduces Stress on Kids in Team Sports

A new study finds that a supportive training program for coaches -- 2½ hours in all -- can do much to relieve the pressure-cooker atmosphere that pervades too many playing fields.

Youngsters whose coaches attended the Coach Effectiveness Training (CET) program ended their playing season more hopeful about their own performances and liking the game, their teammates and the coach better than they had at the season's beginning.

As a social support enhancement program, CET provides behavioral guidelines for coaches that should help to "reduce the anxiety-arousing potential of the competitive sports environment," the authors explain.

Coaches are encouraged to offer players positive reinforcement and to shift their emphasis from winning to trying hard and having fun. Adults are urged to cut down on their use of non-reinforcement -- failing to respond to good performance or genuine effort, punishment and punitive instruction (cutting remarks, sarcasm), and regimenting behavior.

While none of these recommendations is new, the 2½-hour reminder session seems to inspire coaches to relax more and have some fun themselves.

To test CET's results, the researchers conducted at-home interviews with 152 male Little League baseball players during the three weeks before and after the season.

Sixty-two of the boys were from an experimental league in which coaches had taken the CET program two weeks before the season's start. An additional 90 boys from two other leagues in matched socioeconomic areas had worked with coaches who hadn't enrolled in CET.

The boys completed the Sport Anxiety Scale during both pre- and post-season interviews and the Sport Competition Anxiety Test after the season only. They also described their feelings about their coach, teammates and overall playing experience on both occasions.

Children working with CET-trained coaches liked their coaches more (even though their teams' won/lost records were the same as the control group's) and also rated them as better teachers than youngsters working with non-CET coaches. They reported liking their teammates and having more fun playing the game.

Scores on both stress and anxiety measures indicated "a significant reduction in trait anxiety" at a moderate effect size of .5, the authors observed, noting that a greater reduction might be accomplished if parents received behavioral training.

They also proposed that girl players would be particularly responsive to coaches with CET training since research has shown that girls value "supportive behaviors of reinforcement and encouragement" even more than boys.

Source: Growing Child RESEARCH REVIEW, November 1995


If you're interested in improving the competitive atmosphere in sports and other youth activities, there are excellent resources available to help.

Your county office of the NDSU Extension Service has a video-based curriculum called "Kids & Competition" that can be used for local efforts.

Another superb workshop called "Child-Centered Coaching" is being sponsored by the N.D. Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NDCPCA).

If you'd like to bring this nationally recognized program to your area, call the NDCPCA chair, Kathy Maier, for more information at (701) 223-5775.

Surfing the Web

Are you interested in hearing about Web sites that are most useful for adults addressing children, youth and family issues? Below are a few sites that might be useful. Use your professional judgment when exploring sites on the Internet. We have not reviewed every possible link for resources listed.

All addresses are what follow the http://

The Mad Scientist Network
An interactive "Ask a Scientist" site staffed by scientists engaged in education and research from around the world.

An electronic Internet-based children, youth and family information system created by professionals working for the Cooperative Extension System, National Agricultural Library and the Children, Youth and Family Consortium.

Children's Defense Fund
Nationally recognized resource for programs and pub-lications, facts and figures, legislative updates and more.

Kaplan Educational Centers
From the people who help you study for SAT, LSAT... Check out The Hot Seat, a free game to learn how to keep your cool in a job interview, or the Amazing College Simulator.

Educational Resources Information Center is a federally-funded information system that provides access to education-related resources.

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
Features an in-depth animal information database and a series of teacher's guides on ocean environment topics.

Children's Literature Web Guide
Online children's stories; resources for parents, teachers, storytellers; recommended books and bestsellers; children's writing.

Electronic version of museum exhibits and teachers' guides to building student experiments.

Global networking for kids 10-15. Focuses on letting kids from around the world have a say and communicate with each other.

Concerned About Internet Safety?

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Interactive Services Association have put together "Child Safety on the Information Highway," guidelines for online use. The information includes "My Rules for Online Safety," a pledge of online rules for children. Contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service for a copy.

Citing a resource in this newsletter does not indicate an endorsement of any one professional resource.All sources cited with permission/fee paid.

Summer 1996

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.
This publication will be made available in alternative formats for people with disabilities upon request, 701/231-7881.

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service