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formal operational stage

the stage a which people develop the ability to think abstractly; Piaget suggested that people reach it at the start of adolescence, around the age of 12;

Using formal operations

by bringing formal principles of logic to bear on situations they encounter, adolescents are able to consider problems in the abstract rather than only n concrete terms, they are able to test their understanding by systematically carrying out rudimentary experiments on problems and situations and observing what their experimental interventions bring about

hypotheticodeductive reasoning

adolescents start with a general theory about what produces a particular outcome and then deduce explanations for specific situations in which they see that particular outcome

propositional thought

reasoning that uses abstract logic in the absence of concrete examples

According to Piaget

it is not until adolescents are around 15 years old that they are fully settled in the formal operational stage

consequences of formal operations

whereas earlier they may have unquestioningly accepted rules and explanations set out for them, their increased abstract reasoning abilities may lead them to question their parents and other authority figures far more strenuously ; children are more argumentative in this stage; they enjoy using abstract reasoning to poke holes in others explanations, and their increased abilities to think critically make them acutely sensitive to parents' and teachers' perceived shortcomings

postformal thinking

a kind of thinking that requires flexibility, allows for interpretive processes, and reflects the fact that reasons behind events in the real world are subtle

information-processing perspective

the model that seeks to identify the way that individuals take in, use, and store information

adolescents' general intelligence

remains stable, but there are dramatic improvements in the specific mental abilities that underlie intelligence; verbal, mathematical, and spatial abilities increase, making many adolescents quicker with comeback, impressive source of information,, and accomplished athletes; memory capacity grows, and adolescents become more adept at effectively dividing their attention across more than one stimulus at a time


the knowledge that people have about their own thinking processes and their ability to monitor their cognition; although school-age children can use some metacognitive strategies, adolescents are much more adept at understanding their own mental processes

adolescent egocentrism

a state of self-absorption in which the world is viewed from one's own point of view; makes adolescents highly critical of authority figures such as parents and teachers, unwilling to accept criticism, and quick to find fault with others behaviors

imaginary audience

fictitious observers who pay as much attention to adolescents' behavior as they do themselves; is usually perceived as focusing on the one thing that adolescent think most about: themselves

personal fables

the view held by some adolescents that what happens to them is unique, exceptional, and shared by no one else; also may make adolescents feel invulnerable to the risks that threaten others; much adolescents risk-taking may well be traced to the this

Kohlberg and moral development

people pass through a series of stages as their sense of justice evolves and in the kind of reasoning the use to make moral judgments; primarily due to cognitive characteristics that we discussed earlier, younger school-age children tend to think either in terms of concrete unvarying rules or in terms of the rules of society; by the time they reach adolescence, however, individuals are able to reason on a higher plane, typically having reached Piaget's stage of formal operation

Kohlberg suggests

moral development emerges in a three-level sequence, which is further subdivided into six stages; preconventional morality (stage1 and 2), conventional morality (stage 3 and 4), and postconventional morality (stage 5 and 6)

preconvenional morality

people follow rigid rules based on punishment or rewards

conventional morality

people approach moral problems in terms of their own positions as good, responsible members of society

postconventional morality

invoke universal moral principles that are considered broader than the rules of the particular society in which they live

Kohlberg's theory

proposes that people move through the periods of moral development in a fixed order and that they are unable to reach the highest stage until adolescence, due to deficits in cognitive development that are not overcome until then

Psychologist Gilligan

suggested that differences in the ways boys and girls are raised in our society lead to basic distinctions in how men and women view moral behavior; according to her, boys views morality primarily in terms of broad principles such as justice or fairness whereas girls see it in terms of responsibility towards individuals and willingness to sacrifice themselves to help specific individuals within the context of particular relationships; compassion for individuals, then, is a more prominent factor in moral behavior for women than it is for men

stage 1: orientation toward individual survival

females first concentrate on what is practical and best for them, gradually making a transition from selfishness to responsibility, in which they think about what would be best for others

stage 2: goodness as self-sacrifice

females begin to think that they must sacrifice their own wishes to what other people want

stage 3: morality of nonviolence

women come to see that hurting anyone is immoral- including hurting themselves

middle school

provides a very different educational structure from the one they grew accustomed to in elementary schools; rather than spending the day in a self-contained classroom, students move from one class to another; not only must they adapt to the demands of different teachers, but their classmates may be different in every class period: and those classmates may be more heterogeneous and diverse than those they encountered in their elementary schools

socioeconomic status and school performance

middle and high SES students, on average, earn higher grades, score higher on standardized tests of achievement, and complete more years of schooling than do students from lower SES homes;

reason for difference in SES children

children in poverty lack many of the advantages enjoyed by other children their nutrition and health may be less adequate; often living in crowded conditions and attending inadequate schools, they may have few places to do homework; their homes may lack the books and computers commonplace in more economically advantaged households

ethnic and racial differences in school achievement

because African American and Hispanic families live in poverty, their economic disadvantage may be reflected in their school performance; when we take socioeconomic levels into account by comparing different ethnic and racial groups at the same socioeconomic level, achievement differences diminish but they do not vanish

No Child Left Behind Act

passed by Congress in 2002, requires every U.S. state to design and administer achievement tests that students must pass in order to graduate from high school; in addition, schools themselves are graded so that the public is aware of which schools have the best an worst test results; the basic idea behind the mandatory testing programs is to ensure that students graduate with a minimum level of proficiency

Critics of the Act

argue that a number of unintended negative consequences will result from implementation of the law; to ensure that maximum numbers of students pass the tests, they suggest that instructors are driven to "teach to the test", meaning material that is not test biased

Stress due to Act

mandatory high-stakes tests raise the anxiety level for students, potentially leading to poor performance, and students who might have performed well throughout their schooling face the possibility of not graduating if they do poorly on the test

media and technology use

according to a comprehensive survey using a sample of boys and girls 8 to 18 years old conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, young people spend average of 6.5 hours a day with media; because around a quarter of the time they are using more than one form of medium simultaneously, they are actually being exposed to the equivalent of 8.5 hours per day

part-time work and students

most 16 and 17-year-olds work at some sort of job, and 38% of 15-year-olds have regular employment during the school year

advantages of working

provides funds for recreational activities and sometimes necessities, it helps students learn responsibility, gives practice with the ability to handle money, and can help teach workplace skills; students also can develop good work habits that may help them do better academically; participation in jobs and paid internships can helps students understand the nature of work i specific employment settings

drawbacks of working

jobs that are available to high school students are high on drudgery and low on transferable skills; employment also may prevent students from participating in extracurricular activities such as sports

affects of working

the most troubling consequences of high school employment is that school performance is negatively related to the number of hours a student works: generally, the more hours on the job, the lower a student's grades

primary orientation model

students who work a greater number of hours are more psychologically invested in their work than in high school


involves an unusually early entry into adult roles before an adolescent is developmentally ready to assume them; some adolescents, particularly those who do not have strong ties to school or their peers, may see early entry into adulthood as a desirable escape from their current roles, an this may provide them with great satisfaction

dropping out of school

high school dropouts earn 42% less than high school graduates, and the unemployment rate fro dropouts is 50%; adolescents who leave school do so fro a variety of reasons; some leave because of pregnancy or problems with the English language; some leave for economic reasons, needing to support themselves or their families

dropouts according to gender and ethnicity

males are more likely than females to drop out of school; somewhat over the last decades, Hispanics and African American students still are more likely to leave high school before graduating than are non-Hispanic White students; Asians drop out at a lower rate than do Caucasians

poverty and dropouts

plays a large role in determining whether a student completes high school; students from lower income households are three times more likely to drop out than are those from middle-and upper- income households


as in the U.S. population as a whole, U.S. college students are primarily White an middle class; although nearly 69% of White high school graduates enter college, only 61% of African American and 47% of Hispanic graduates do so; only around 40% of those who start college finish 4 years later with a degree; although about a half of those who don't receive a degree in 4 years eventually finish, the other half never obtain a college degree; the national dropout rate for African American college students stands at 70%

gender and college

although men and women attend college in roughly equal numbers, there is significant variation in the classes they take; classes in education and the social sciences, for instance, typically have a larger proportion of women than men; and classes in engineering, the physical sciences, and mathematics tend to have more men than women; gender gap is also apparent in instructors; reflects gender stereotypes

academic performance an stereotype

according to psychologist Claude Steele, the reason has to do with women's acceptance of society's stereotypes about achievement in particular domains; Steel suggests that women are no strangers to society's dominant view that some subjects are more appropriate areas of study for women than others are

academic performance and ethnic stereotype

members of minority groups, such as African Americans and Hispanic Americans, are also vulnerable to stereotypes about academic success; Steele suggests that African Americans may "dis-identify " with academic success by putting forth less effort on academic tasks and generally downgrading the importance of academic achievement; ultimately, such dis-identification may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy, increasing the chances of academic failure

fantasy period

according to Ginzerg, the period of life when career choices are made- and discarded- without regard to skill, abilities, or available job opportunities

tentative period

the second stage of Ginzberg's theory, spanning adolescence, in which people begin to think in pragmatic terms about the requirements of various jobs and how their own abilities might fit with those requirements; they also consider their personal values and goals, exploring how well a particular occupation might satisfy them

realistic period

the stage in late adolescence and early adulthood during which people explore career options through job experience or training, narrow their choices, and eventually make a commitment to a career

communal professions

occupations associated with relationships

agentic professions

occupations associated with getting things accomplished

gender, ethnicity and career

between 1950 and 2000, the percentage of the female population ages 16 and older in the U.S. labor force overall increased from around 35% to 60%; today, women make up around 46% of the workforce; women and minorities in high-status, visible professional roles still often hit what has come to be called the "glass ceiling"; the glass ceiling is an invisible barrier in an organization that prevents individuals from being promoted beyond a certain level because of discrimination; it operates subtly, and the people responsible for keeping the glass ceiling in place may not be aware of how their actions perpetuate discrimination against women and minorities

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