Category Archives: Research Discussion Topics

Men’s Violence Against Women Statistics Sweden 2014

Statistics Sweden (SCB, 2014) published a report called Women and Men in Sweden: Facts and Figures 2014.

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Although this report is full of useful information, it draws a line regarding family or intimate partner violence. Despite the fact that the whole report constantly uses the word “equal” and its derivations, when it comes to domestic, family, or intimate partner violence, it has the headline: “Men’s violence against women must stop.”

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While I can appreciate the facts listed in the report, it signals that either there is no women’s violence against men or that women’s violence against men is acceptable.

Thankfully the sentence below the headline mentions “women and men, girls and boys shall have the same rights and opportunities in terms of physical integrity.”

That’s fantastic! But this equality between the genders is not represented in the title.

When I first read this type of headline “Violence Against Women Must Stop” I thought it would be analogous to “Black Lives Matter”. Black Lives Matter is an important phrase in the USA that gets undermined by the political right when they say “All Lives Matter”. It’s undermined because the other lives that aren’t black are not (typically) discriminated against.

NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism.
NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism.

So I wondered if trying to say “violence against people” would similarly be disadvantageous, as we typically think that it’s the man committing violence against the woman.

Assuming that it is disadvantageous to say violence against people, that is, with more men committing violence against women (than vice versa), the comparisons should still be in the report. This should be in the report for three reasons: 1) To show the extent that men and women differ with respect to this type of violence; 2) to be consistent with every other section (since all other topics compare the two genders); and 3) Not discussing this issue says that women either don’t hit men, or that as a man, you’re not supposed to report it if it happens-which is not the right signal to send to citizens.

The report also seems to jump around, switching from violence against women to a report of assaults. These numbers jump significantly. Men are way more likely to be hit outdoors, while women are much more likely to be hit indoors. But the authors choose to discuss “hidden statistics” rather than interpreting the graph.

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So should the report neglect women’s violence against men? Let’s see what the literature has to say about this issue:

Defining Violence Against Women

Apparently domestic violence, intimate partner violence, family violence, partner violence, violence against women—are all defined differently throughout the literature. The thing they all have in common is that they all refer to a partner committing violence against their partner. However, the literature definitions may vary and can expand on violence to include specific acts of violence, such as psychological, emotional, and sexual violence, as well as the threat of violence (Finnbogadóttir & Dykes, 2012). Domestic violence research indicates that violence is obviously associated with negative outcomes for the victim (Beydoun, Beydoun, Kaufman, Lo, & Zonderman, 2012), and is also associated with children’s emotional, behavioral, and social problems (Evans, Davies, & DiLillo, 2008; Wolfe, Crooks, Lee, McIntyre-Smith, & Jaffe, 2003). Since child abuse is a worldwide problem (Stoltenborgh, van IJzendoorn, Euser, & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 2011), it can be important to understand risk factors surrounding child abuse (see Brown, Cohen, Johnson, & Salzinger, 1998).

A large debate within the partner violence literature is whether violence is 1) perpetrated by the male and the female is the victim or 2) that both partners may inflict violence upon one another (Archer, 2000). Many feminists focus on violence against women, while family violence researchers; sometimes called family conflict researchers (Archer, 2002), focus on the bi-directionality of both genders as perpetrators and as victims (Archer, 2002). The debate around these terms is beyond the scope of this thesis, but other sources provide a review on this topic (Enander, 2011).

Conclusion: saying “men’s violence against women” is already picking a side, since each label connotes a different meaning and the research is attacked from a different angle. For example, “family violence” researchers typically look at how partner to partner violence affects the family (mother, father, and child), while “violence against women” research mainly just looks at a man’s violence to their woman partner.

Prevalence of Partner to Partner Violence:

After reviewing the literature, Enander (2011) concludes that no violence is gender-neutral. In fact, two meta-analyses conclude that men and women use similar amounts of physical aggression towards their partners (Archer, 2000, 2006). Men and women, in relation to partner violence, is also similar with respect to the instrumentality, such as controlling behavior (Graham-Kevan, 2007). However, the degree to which they inflict an injury is biased toward men. For example, although women are slightly more likely to use physical aggression compared to men, as men inflict injury more often (62 percent) than women (38 percent) against their partners (Archer, 2000). There are gender differences that may help to explain the levels of injuries: for example, women are more likely to slap, kick, bite, punch, or hit their partner with an object, while men are more likely to beat-up, choke, or strangle their partner (Archer, 2002).


Prevalence. Based on a national sample in Sweden, Rådestad et al. (2004) found that 2 percent of women said they had been hit by their partner. Nearly two-thirds of these instances contained only one perpetration of being hit (61 percent), while 15 percent were hit three or more times. A Swedish study found that 1.3% of women either during or shortly after pregnancy were abused by a close acquaintance or relative (Stenson et al., 2001). In looking at the year prior to pregnancy, the same study found that this number rose to 2.8%. The wider they defined violence against women and the farther they looked back into a woman’s history, the more likely she was to have experienced abuse. In fact, 19.4% of women experience some type of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse between their birth and when they are 20 weeks post-partum. Stenson et al. (2001) concludes that routine practices need to be established for screening for violence against women during pregnancy.

Conclusion: In looking at the world and Swedish literature, it seems like men and women may commit partner violence equally as often, but that when men hit, they are more likely to injury their partner (e.g. hit harder).

While 2-3 % of Swedish women admit to having partner violence, these numbers are more prevalent if the definition is expanded to include other types of violence, such as emotional and sexual abuse–however I did not find numbers for men/fathers using these broader definitions and so it is difficult to compare.

To be fair–a recent article in The Lancent is a systematic review of intimate partner homicide, where they estimate, based on 66 countries’ data, that 13.5% of homicides are by their intimate partners. And that women are 6 times more likely to die from an intimate partner than a man.

However, men are still victims of partner violence, even if it’s to a much less extent (both in terms of frequency and degree) and therefore, their voices should still be heard.


Archer, John. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 126(5), 651-680.

Archer, John. (2002). Sex differences in physically aggressive acts between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and violent behavior, 7(4), 313-351.

Archer, John. (2006). Cross-cultural differences in physical aggression between partners: A social-role analysis. Personality and social psychology review, 10(2), 133-153.

Beydoun, Hind A, Beydoun, May A, Kaufman, Jay S, Lo, Bruce, & Zonderman, Alan B. (2012). Intimate partner violence against adult women and its association with major depressive disorder, depressive symptoms and postpartum depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 75(6), 959-975.

Brown, Jocelyn, Cohen, Patricia, Johnson, Jeffrey G, & Salzinger, Suzanne. (1998). A longitudinal analysis of risk factors for child maltreatment: Findings of a 17-year prospective study of officially recorded and self-reported child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse Negl, 22(11), 1065-1078.

Enander, Viveka. (2011). Violent Women? The Challenge of Women’s Violence in Intimate Heterosexual Relationships to Feminist Analyses of Partner Violence. NORA-Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 19(2), 105-123.

Evans, Sarah E, Davies, Corrie, & DiLillo, David. (2008). Exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent outcomes. Aggression and violent behavior, 13(2), 131-140.

Finnbogadóttir, Hafrún, & Dykes, Anna-Karin. (2012). Midwives’ awareness and experiences regarding domestic violence among pregnant women in southern Sweden. Midwifery, 28(2), 181-189.

Graham-Kevan, Nicola. (2007). Domestic violence: Research and implications for batterer programmes in Europe. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 13(3-4), 213-225.

Rådestad, Ingela, Rubertsson, Christine, Ebeling, Marie, & Hildingsson, Ingegerd. (2004). What factors in early pregnancy indicate that the mother will be hit by her partner during the year after childbirth? A nationwide Swedish survey. Birth, 31(2), 84-92.

Stenson, Kristina, Heimer, Gun, Lundh, Christina, Nordström, Marie-Louise, Saarinen, Hilkka, & Wenker, Anita. (2001). The prevalence of violence investigated in a pregnant population in Sweden. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 22(4), 189-197.

Stoltenborgh, Marije, van IJzendoorn, Marinus H, Euser, Eveline M, & Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J. (2011). A global perspective on child sexual abuse: Meta-analysis of prevalence around the world. Child Maltreatment, 16(2), 79-101.

Sweden, Statistics. (2014). Women and men in Sweden: Facts and figures 2014. In L. Bernhardtz (Ed.). Örebro, Sweden.

Wolfe, David A, Crooks, Claire V, Lee, Vivien, McIntyre-Smith, Alexandra, & Jaffe, Peter G. (2003). The effects of children’s exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis and critique. Clinical child and family psychology review, 6(3), 171-187.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): National Averages and Region V Averages for 2010

I have written a number of posts on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). This assessment tool for early childhood education seems to be a hot topic, probably because it is often used in ECE research and because it’s mandated by Head Start (feel free to search my blog by running a search on the homepage for other CLASS blog posts for more information on CLASS, what it can do for you, how it’s used, and the benefits of CLASS).

In this installment though I would like to discuss the 2010 national averages of CLASS and the regional averages for Region V. Region V consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. To see the full pdf posted by click here.

The average CLASS scores for the Nation under the three domains are as follows:

Emotional Support:              5.35

Classroom Organization:     4.74

Instructional Support:         3.36

Region V has the CLASS averages under the three domains are as follows:

Emotional Support:              5.41

Classroom Organization:     4.76

Instructional Support:         3.54

This means that on average, Region V is doing better than the national average on all three domains. Despite the numbers being very close (i.e. Classroom Organization is 4.74 vs 4.76), remember that the smallest difference on a large scale (i.e. 10’s of thousands of children) make a big impact on our overall nation’s education scores. And so Region V should celebrate for being better than the national average! Something to be proud of! However, Illinois and Indiana are below the Regional and the National average for Emotional Support; Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan are below the Regional and National averages for Classroom Organization; and Illinois and Indiana are below the National and Regional averages for Instructional Support.

In other other words, Illinois and Indiana need to up their classroom quality. On the other hand, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin are doing pretty well comparatively.

With that in mind, remember that CLASS scores are out of 7 points on all dimensions (and therefore on all three domains as well). So Instructional Support, for example, as a long way to go before we see the true potential of what excellent Early Childhood Education can accomplish.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): 2011 Region V Averages

I have written several blog posts about the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (feel free to search my blog to read more on CLASS and the what’s, how’s, and why’s of it).

I recently posted the 2010 national averages of CLASS under their three domains. However, today I want to compare Region V’s average scores between 2010 and 2011. Region V consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Did Region V make any improvements in CLASS over the course of the year? Did Region V falter and have their classrooms degrade over the three domains of CLASS? Let’s find out.

Last year (2010), Region V did better, on average, on all three dimensions than the National Average, with Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin leading the charge (see early blog post). Click here to see a pdf of how Region V scored on CLASS for 2010 and 2011, beyond what this blog post discusses.

2010’s averages are as follows for Region V:

Region V has the CLASS averages under the three domains are as follows:

Emotional Support:              5.41

Classroom Organization:     4.76

Instructional Support:         3.54

In 2011, Region V scored as follows:

Emotional Support:              5.24

Classroom Organization:     4.86

Instructional Support:         3.20

This means that Region V dropped on both Emotional Support and Instructional Support, while their Classroom Organization increased. Not good. Not good. The swing for Classroom Organization was a pretty good upward swing by increasing by 0.10. That’s huge! Especially when considering the number of classrooms that would have to change in order to increase by a full tenth of a point.

However, Emotional Support dropped by 0.17 and Instructional Support by 0.34. What this means is that Region V is being less sensitive to the children’s needs (i.e. less smiling, fewer praise, possibly more sarcasm or possibly being demeaning to children, etc) while at the same time decreasing what Region V is actually teaching the children (i.e. less verbal responses, less feedback loops, less thinking and conceptualizing by the children, etc).

The caveat to this is that in 2010 their were only 64 grantees that had CLASS completed on them while in 2011 there were 73. It’s hypothetically possible that the scores didn’t go down or up (or maybe they did), but rather that 2011 shows a fuller picture of the kind of education Head Start children are receiving compared to 2010, since there are so many more grantees participating in CLASS in 2011. As it stands, it’s possible that the grantees who were scored last year increased under all three domains, but since 9 more grantees were graded, it’s hypothetically possible that those 9 scored much lower than all of the other grantees and thus dragged down the average. Naturally the opposite of this could be true as well. Only when there is a full picture of all of the grantees or when we can compare the same grantees to the same grantees over time will we truly know if they are improving or not.



Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Implementation Guide: Hamre, Goffin, Kraft-Sayre

Hamre, Goffin, Kraft-Sayre created a nice slideshow of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Implementation Guide. An overview from the index points out that this slide show goes over topics such as: investing in effective teacher-child interactions, the classroom assessment scoring system: an overview, improving teacher-child interactions, evaluation and monitoring, and professional development.

For other blogs on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): click here to read a synopsis on CLASS and other early childhood assessment tools, click here to see the breakdown of the CLASS content (the domains and dimensions), click here to read more about Dr Hamre’s work regarding CLASS and academic achievement, or click here to find research that has been published using CLASS as an assessment tool.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): Interventions for Academic Achievement

Bridget K. Hamre ( at the University of Virginia presented at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference a PowerPoint that lays out what the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) can do: namely, assess the classroom quality, while pairing that up with academic achievement for adolescents in high school. She has also given an interview with ScienceWatch on her thoughts on CLASS and on early childhood social science research in general.

Hamre’s PowerPoint provides a lot of nice background information on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) including topics like CLASS’ scope and alignment, what is CLASS?, CLASS versions, What does CLASS measure?, What are the domains and dimensions of CLASS?, Standardizing CLASS, CLASS Training, Reliability and Validity of CLASS, data on CLASS, alignment with professional development, and an academic intervention using CLASS-S.

For other blogs on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): click here to read a synopsis on CLASS and other early childhood assessment tools, click here to see the breakdown of the CLASS content (the domains and dimensions), click here to read about CLASS and how to implement it, or click here to find research that has been published using CLASS as an assessment tool.

Early Childhood Assessment Tools for Preschools

Preschools and early childhood educators across the country and around the globe are looking for better ways to assess their children’s progress. Being able to systematically and objectively assess students, teachers, and the environment are important because they affect the overall quality of the classroom and have been shown to affect child outcomes (as shown in other blogs).

In our classrooms, we commonly use items like child portfolios, growth and development books, anecdotals, and Teaching Strategies Gold (among other things).

Today I want to mention some more formal assessments: that is, the assessments that are more often seen in research (although certainly anecdotals and the like have been used in research). I will briefly mention a few, and then point you in the right direction to where you can glean more information (i.e. off of a companies website).

Classroom Assessment Scoring System(CLASS) “is an observational tool that provides a common lens and language focused on what matters—the classroom interactions that boost student learning. Data from CLASS™ observations are used to support teachers’ unique professional development needs, set school-wide goals, and shape system-wide reform at the local, state, and national levels.” CLASS focuses on effective teaching, helps teachers recognize and understand the power of their interactions with students, aligns with professional development tools, [and] works across age levels and subjects.

Early Literacy Skills Assessment(ELSA) ” is an authentic assessment in the form of a children’s storybook.  It is a generic instrument designed to measure the emerging literacy skills of children attending early childhood programs —  including but not limited to programs using the HighScope educational approach. The ELSA measures the four key principles of early literacy –Comprehension,Phonological  Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, and Concepts About Print.”

Preschool Program Quality Assessment(Preschool PQA) “is a rating instrument designed to evaluate the quality of early childhood programs and identify staff training needs. The Preschool PQA is reliable and valid and is appropriate for use in all center-based early childhood settings, including but not limited to those using the HighScope educational approach.” It assesses key aspects of program quality, reflects research-based and field-tested best practices in early childhood education and care, can be aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, provides reliable, scientifically validated assessment proven in a wide range of early childhood programs and settings, [and] can be used as a basis for program accreditation, reporting, monitoring, and training.”

The HighScope Child Observation Record (COR) “is an observation-based instrument providing systematic assessment of young children’s knowledge and abilities in all areas of development. This authentic instrument can be used by any developmentally based program serving preschool children, not just programs using the HighScope Curriculum. The Preschool COR is used to assess children from the ages of 2½ to 6 years…The COR is an observational tool. Teachers or caregivers spend a few minutes each day writing brief notes (“anecdotes”) that describe significant episodes of young children’s behavior. They record their notes on printed forms or in computer files, and then classify and rate them according to the COR categories, items, and levels.”

Brigance  “The BRIGANCE® Head Start/Early Head Start System helps programs screen children, monitor each child’s progress, plan developmentally appropriate instruction, and ensure that each child is prepared for Kindergarten.”

Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) “is a nationally normed assessment of within-child protective factors in preschool children aged two to five. Based on resilience theory, this comprehensive system is made up of a 5-step system designed to support early childhood teachers, mental health professionals, and parents in their goal of helping children develop healthy social/emotional skills and reduce challenging behaviors.”

Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) “is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire about 3-16 year olds. It exists in several versions to meet the needs of researchers, clinicians and [educators]. All versions of the SDQ ask about 25 attributes, some positive and others negative.  These 25 items are divided between 5 scales: 1) emotional symptoms (5 items), 2) conduct problems (5 items), 3) hyperactivity/inattention (5 items), 4) peer relationship problems (5 items), and 5) prosocial behaviour (5 items).”

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL [Psychology Wiki]) “was a parent-report questionnaire on which the child was rated on various behavioral and emotional problems. It was first developed by Thomas M. Achenbach and has been one of the most widely-used standardized measures in child psychology for evaluating maladaptive behavioral and emotional problems in preschool subjects aged 2 to 3 or in subjects between the ages of 4 and 18. It assessed internalizing (i.e., anxious, depressive, and overcontrolled) and externalizing (i.e., aggressive, hyperactive, noncompliant, and undercontrolled) behaviors. Several subareas were measured including social withdrawal, somatic complaints, anxiety and depression, destructive behavior, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, aggressive behavior, and delinquent behaviors.”

Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) “Trusted by schools across the country, ELLCO helps build better literacy programs by assessing the quality of both the classroom environment and teachers’ practices. With ELLCO, educators reliably gather the essential data needed for professional development and program improvement that lead to better literacy outcomes for young children.”

There are several Environment Rating Scales that have been developed through University of North Carolina that are commonly used by the varying preschool types:

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (Revised) [ECERS-R)

Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R)

Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCRS-R)

School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS)

Please note that the assessment tools I listed are purely because they are the tools I use or have heard of.

For other blogs on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): click here to read about implementing CLASS, click here to see the breakdown of the CLASS content (the domains and dimensions), click here to read more about Dr Hamre’s work regarding CLASS and academic achievement, or click here to find research that has been published using CLASS as an assessment tool.

Research on Early Childhood Education and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is a popular tool for assessing the quality of classrooms. Moreover, school readiness is a hot issue among early childcare providers, especially Head Start.

Even President Obama has chimed in on the importance of early childhood education with respect to Head Start.

Below are links to some research on early childhood education and the quality of classrooms through different dimensions, especially with respect to the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). These research findings help show the importance of having quality within preschool classrooms.

Mashburn et al. (2008)

Pianta et al. (2005)

Raver et al. (2008)

Pianta and Hamre (2009)

Pianta (2003)

Gromley Jr, Phillips, and Gayer

For other blogs on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS): click here to read a synopsis on CLASS and other early childhood assessment tools, click here to see the breakdown of the CLASS content (the domains and dimensions), click here to read more about Dr Hamre’s work regarding CLASS and academic achievement, or click here to read about how to implement CLASS.

Childhood Obesity: Strong4Life Campaign

In Georgia nearly 40% of children are overweight or obese according to strong4life.

Currently they are running several tactical ads to help curb the overweight/obesity epidemic.

There are several other strong4life campaign commercials that can be found on YouTube. ABC News in Atlanta did an expose (as shown through Yahoo! News) on the strong4life campaign.

Do you think that these tactics are effective? Why or why not?

Weight loss through food (fiber) intake

People love to eat. People are nervous about gaining weight.

Luckily, the editors of EatingWell Magazine have found a solution: eat more, lose weight.

In a research study, people lost all of 4.5 lbs over the course of two years by eating more fiber. Although maybe not the quickest way of losing weight, it’s still commendable.

However, the article cites different items high in fiber to help you lose weight, citing chickpeas and raspberries as having the most grams of fiber (8g) per serving.

All of the items they list are mainly fruits, with some vegetables. This gives the impression that the only foods high in fiber are fruits and vegetables.

Meanwhile, products like grains, beans, nuts, and seeds packs loads of fiber. For example, bran cereal (19.9 g), cooked black beans (13.9g), red cooked lentils (13.6g) all have more grams of fiber than raspberries and chickpeas (see the High Fiber Food List for a more complete representation of foods high in fiber).

In fact, raspberries and chickpeas aren’t even the fruits/vegetables with the most grams of fiber. Avacado (11.8g) and cooked peas (8.8g) have more grams of fiber.

Even milk chocolate candy bars have 3g of fiber in them, along side strawberries and pumpkin (that the original article mentioned).

Not to mention all of the products out there that specialize in fiber like FiberOne and Benefiber.

In other words, if you want to lose weight from eating more fiber, it’s good to recognize that there are a number of different foods and products that provide high amounts of fiber. But perhaps the people didn’t lose weight from just eating fiber, but rather certain kinds of fiber.

After all, the chocolate bar diet has not always worked too well for me 😉

Weight loss strategies: intensity levels

Some research suggests that higher intensity work outs help shed the weight faster. In a recent blog by The Pulse, they talked about research by Tabata that showed that higher intensity workouts helped to burn more fat.

Their pitch–work out for four minutes a day doing high intensity exercises.

Naturally this sounds appealing, but then they added three caveats–First, participants warmed up for 10 minutes (14 min workout). Second, this study goes on to say: “Plus, to burn as many calories as you might like, you need to regularly exercise longer than just 4 minutes.” Third, these were in-shape college athletes, and their results might not appeal to the average person.

So what does research show about the average person with respect to intensity of workouts?

Jakicic et al. (2003) looked at overweight, sedentary women for 12 months. They randomly divided the women into four groups: vigorous intensity/high duration; moderate intensity/high duration; moderate intensity/moderate duration; or vigorous intensity/moderate duration. Their conclusions after a year of working out–all women showed significant weight loss, and there were no differences between groups.

In other words–be wary of gimmicks to weight loss, like 4 minute work outs.