The Lab School of Washington

4759 Reservoir Road, NW 20007 Washington, DC
Phone: 202-965-6600

Our Process

Scientific Review Group



Formed in 2012, the Scientific Review Group at The Lab School started by identifying and seeking answers to important scientific questions that impact how our students learn, and how we teach. These questions range from the nature of reading to how sleep impacts learning and memory to investigating the efficacy of the latest educational approaches and interventions.

The members of the Scientific Review Group are diverse and include educators, related service 2providers, and administrators. In addition, we have used this group to build relationships with researchers from area universities interested in building collaborative relationships with Lab.

Each year, the Scientific Review Group selects one or two primary areas of inquiry. Once an area has been identified, the group begins by collecting the most recent, comprehensive, and informative research studies that have been published on the topic. Group members then divide up the articles, each focusing on particular areas of interest, and begin to review and digest the studies, the relevant findings, as well as questions that remain unanswered. The group then gathers and discusses what they have found in their readings, exchanging viewpoints and perspectives, and identifying the most important points as well as important controversies. The final step involves group members each identifying a specific question, and writing brief summaries of what they found to answer that question. Throughout, the intent is to boil down research findings to their core, so that they speak to questions that teachers and parents have, and indicate what the current state of the science has to say on the topic.

The purpose of this research group is to summarize and interpret specific research areas for an educationally-inclined audience. These summaries are not meant to be comprehensive research summaries for a scientific audience, but rather brief summaries of recent and relevant research findings that may be applicable to educators, parents, or others involved with children. Though not peer-reviewed in the scientific sense, we have edited each other’s work for clarity and accuracy, while respecting the differences in interpretation that are inevitable with complex research findings.

Members

Noel Bicknell, MA
Head of Academic Clubs

Colleen Blair, MS
Classroom Teacher, Elementary Division

Doug Fagen, PhD
Director of Psychological Services

Maggie Kleber, MS
Speech-Language Pathologist

Laurie Matz, MS

Speech-Language Pathologist

Nancy Rowland, MA
Associate Director of Admissions

Katherine Schantz, EdM, C.A.S.
Head of School

Jodi Susser, MS
Classroom Assistant, Intermediate Division

Featured Research Summary

 

List of 5 news stories.

  • Reading and the Brain: Part 2

    Although a cause for dyslexia is not yet known, recent advances in neuroimaging help us understand many of the neurological underpinnings of dyslexia. We reviewed the work of prominent researchers in this area. This summary explores recent research into the brain-based differences between individuals with and without dyslexia.
    Read More
  • Reading and the Brain

    Despite the fact that none of us is born knowing how to read or write, participation in much of modern American life requires at least basic literacy. No single version of the reading brain is ideal, but there are commonalities in how typical readers process written words. These can be observed as patterns of neuronal activation in distinct areas and pathways. Though understanding differences in the brain does not necessarily provide immediate solutions for implementation in education, learning how atypical readers’ brains function may help reading instructors approach assessment and teaching in new and useful ways.
    Read More
  • Cultivating Motivational Resilience

    Have you ever stayed up past when you know you ought to be in bed to look at one last student sample or send one more email? Have you ever gritted your teeth to grind through the last few minutes of a match or a grueling workout? Have you ever lost a game on an app against a friend and zealously challenged her to a rematch? If any of these sounds familiar, then you know how it feels to respond to challenge with motivation.
    Read More
  • The Default Mode Network, Motivation, and Attention

    Having ADHD adds complexity, and therefore greater challenge, to one’s ability to access motivation and reach goals. Last week’s installment on ADHD and Motivation discussed the impact that neurobiology and neurodevelopment have on motivation in those with ADHD. Part 2, below, will discuss a specific network in the brain, the Default Mode Network, that works differently in those with ADHD. The section ends with a discussion of the educational implications and specific suggestions for parents and educators.
    Read More
  • The Role of Executive Functioning in Creativity

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    We humans often look to the executive officer or leader to provide us with updates, shift our attention to the most important tasks, or help us decide what is relevant and important by also showing what is less of a priority. When engaged in a creative process, however, do we look to the executives to find solutions or come up with novel ideas? These leadership skills, or executive processes, are a part of each of us and exist mostly in the frontal lobe of our brains. Dawson and Guare (2010) provide a simple definition of executive functioning as the skills necessary to complete an activity or goal. Much mental capacity is necessary to make this a reality. Executive functioning skills support our organization, creation of goals, focus on goal-oriented behaviors, discernment of importance and priorities, and completion of steps leading to a solution. In addition, management of emotions and memory play a role in these skills. Problem solving, or the combination of some of the above mentioned EF skills, takes into account generation of multiple novel solutions to achieve a goal or solve a problem. These basic cognitive processes play an important role in creativity, as defined by convergent and divergent thinking tasks. Those EFs that most closely support creativity include updating, shifting, and inhibition.
    Read More

Research Summaries

List of 14 news stories.

  • Reading and the Brain

    Despite the fact that none of us is born knowing how to read or write, participation in much of modern American life requires at least basic literacy. No single version of the reading brain is ideal, but there are commonalities in how typical readers process written words. These can be observed as patterns of neuronal activation in distinct areas and pathways. Though understanding differences in the brain does not necessarily provide immediate solutions for implementation in education, learning how atypical readers’ brains function may help reading instructors approach assessment and teaching in new and useful ways.
    Read More
  • How are Individual Differences Related to Response to Challenges?

    A variety of factors impact how individuals react to challenging activities or experiences of failure. The following factors discussed below affect responses to failures: an individual’s diagnosis, his or her self-concept, his or her orientation towards avoiding threats versus seeking success, and gender (male or female).
    Read More
  • Failure, Motivation, and Resilience

    How does failure dampen motivation -- and how can we encourage students to persevere in the face of failure?
    Read More
  • Cultivating Motivational Resilience

    Have you ever stayed up past when you know you ought to be in bed to look at one last student sample or send one more email? Have you ever gritted your teeth to grind through the last few minutes of a match or a grueling workout? Have you ever lost a game on an app against a friend and zealously challenged her to a rematch? If any of these sounds familiar, then you know how it feels to respond to challenge with motivation.
    Read More
  • The Default Mode Network, Motivation, and Attention

    Having ADHD adds complexity, and therefore greater challenge, to one’s ability to access motivation and reach goals. Last week’s installment on ADHD and Motivation discussed the impact that neurobiology and neurodevelopment have on motivation in those with ADHD. Part 2, below, will discuss a specific network in the brain, the Default Mode Network, that works differently in those with ADHD. The section ends with a discussion of the educational implications and specific suggestions for parents and educators.
    Read More
  • ADHD and Motivation

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Motivation plays an important role in goal-directed behavior, yet it can seem elusive, especially for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Rewarding tasks motivate us; however, in school students are faced everyday with tasks that are not intrinsically rewarding but still need to be done. This requires effort -- and effort requires motivation. Research studies have shown us that effortful behavior requires the activation of specific brain functions, also known as executive functions, such as attention, cognitive control, emotional control, and motor control. ADHD is associated with dysfunction and underconnectivity of multiple networks in the brain, including those that control executive functions. Therefore, having ADHD adds complexity, and therefore greater challenge, to one’s ability to access motivation and reach goals.
    Read More
  • Exploring the educational benefits of creativity: In search of a national research agenda

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Can creativity foster opportunities for learning? The educational community largely embraces the notion that creative expression is an important aspect of a student’s learning experience. We also know that exposure to the arts and arts-integrated instruction has positive educational benefits, especially for learners who have not succeeded in typical learning environments. To complement these lines of research, we set out to specifically examine the research evidence supporting interventions for creativity and their resulting academic outcomes. We reviewed the research literature with this question in mind. As we delved deeper, two specific issues became clear:
    Read More
  • What are the current theoretical models of the relationship between intelligence and creativity?

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Can you divide a cake in eight pieces -- with just three straight cuts?

    Well, of course you can.* But does figuring out how to do it rely more upon our intelligence -- or our creativity? And, what is the relationship between intelligence and creativity? You might think that, for two concepts so important to us as humans, so central to innovation, learning, discovery, and achievement, we must have developed an understanding of precisely how creativity and intelligence intersect -- and to what extent they are distinct. And yet it turns out that their relationship is far more complex and interwoven than it appears.
    Read More
  • What internal and environmental/ external factors have been found to support the development of creativity?

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    The research literature exploring the development of creativity reports a wide range of factors that can both positively and negatively impact creative thinking.

    Studies have found that a range of ‘internal” factors, factors associated with the individual, affect creativity such as:
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  • Neural correlates of phonological awareness (PA) and rapid automatized naming (RAN) and implications for the double-deficit model

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Phonological processing has long been seen as the best predictor of reading disabilities. As a result, there has been a good deal of research identifying the neurological pathways most associated with phonological processing. With the advent of the double deficit hypothesis in recent years, Rapid Automatized Naming, or RAN, has become another important predictor of reading difficulties. However, research has only begun to investigate the neurological pathways associated with RAN, and the resulting implications for the double-deficit hypothesis. Identifying these pathways will shed important light on the role of RAN, as well as on the different subtypes of dyslexia that we see in our students.
    Read More
  • RAN is a consistent predictor of reading fluency across languages and ages

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    What tools do we have to predict reading ability in beginning readers? How can we identify the specific problem or problems that make reading difficult for a child, or an adult, to acquire? One of the important predictors of reading skills is rapid automatic naming (RAN) of a series of printed letters, numbers, colors, or objects. Examining rapid automatic naming skills across the age spectrum can help us better understand reading acquisition, reading deficits, and remediation at different ages.

    As a team of educators and practitioners at The Lab School, this research is something that we care deeply about. We are the Scientific Review Group at Lab, a group of Lab School staff members who come together to explore research questions that are relevant to our students, and interesting to us.  We are not researchers, but rather educators interested in better understanding how scientific research findings impact learning in the classroom.  

    We have reviewed the literature regarding RAN, and the implications of this research for how we educate our students. We have summarized what we have learned so that you can easily learn some of what we have discovered.
    Read More
  • The Science Behind Reading and Dyslexia

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Did you ever wonder how reading works in the brain?

    As a team of educators and practitioners at The Lab School, this is something that we care deeply about. We are the Scientific Review Group at Lab, a group of Lab School staff members who come together to investigate research questions that are relevant to our students, and interesting to us.

    We have reviewed the literature regarding the neuroscience of reading, and the implications of this literature for how we educate our students. We have summarized what we have learned so that you can easily learn some of what we have discovered.
    Read More
  • COGMED: The Current Status of the Research into the Program, Its Impact, and Long-Term Outcomes for Students

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    CogMed is a computer-based intervention that has been developed to improve working memory and associated cognitive processes.  It is a widely disseminated commercial product that was developed by researchers interested in improving brain functioning, and therefore has been at the forefront of the ‘brain training’ movement that has been highly visible recently in both scientific and educational circles.  CogMed has been evaluated fairly extensively, and there is a growing body of research devoted to understanding the impact of CogMed on cognitive functions, primarily those involving working memory, attention, and executive functions, in a range of populations.
    Read More
  • Sleep, Memory, & Learning in Children: A Synthesis of the Scientific Literature

    The Lab School of Washington Scientific Review Group
    Many of us wish we had a better memory, particularly the night before a big exam or project. Conventional wisdom tells us to “get a good night’s sleep,” but this old adage seems outdated in our fast-paced world. The purpose of this summary is to review the neurobiological evidence supporting “a good night’s sleep” as one of the critical supports to optimize learning and memory. And, the good news is that many aspects of our sleep routine and schedule are under our control and can be improved with disciplined practice, thereby improving our sleep quality and memory.
    Read More

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The Lab School of Washington
4759 Reservoir Road, NW | Washington, DC 20007-1921 | 202-965-6600