Monday, July 20, 2015

Trajectory Analysis of the Campus Serial Rapist Assumption

I am not sure the issue addressed below is a major one but it is worth exploring -- JR

Kevin M. Swartout et al.


Importance:  Rape on college campuses has been addressed recently by a presidential proclamation, federal legislation, advocacy groups, and popular media. Many initiatives assume that most college men who perpetrate rape are serial rapists. The scientific foundation for this perspective is surprisingly limited.

Objective:  To determine whether a group of serial rapists exists by identifying cohesive groups of young men, indicated by their trajectories of rape likelihood across high school and college.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Latent class growth analysis of the 2 largest longitudinal data sets of adolescent sexual violence on college campuses using 2 distinct groups of male college students. The first group was used for derivation modeling (n = 850; data collected from August 1990 through April 1995) and the second for validation modeling (n = 795; data collected from March 2008 through May 2011). Final data analyses were conducted from February 16, 2015, through February 20, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Rape perpetration assessed using the Sexual Experiences Survey.

Results:  Across samples, 177 of 1645 participants (10.8%) reported having perpetrated at least 1 rape from 14 years of age through the end of college. A 3-trajectory model best fit both the derivation and validation data sets. Trajectories reflected low or time-limited (91.7% of participants), decreasing (5.6%), and increasing (2.7%) rape patterns. No consistently high trajectory was found. Most men who perpetrated a rape before college were classified in the decreasing trajectory. During college, the increasing trajectory included 19 men (20.9%) who reported having perpetrated a rape, the decreasing trajectory included 25 men (27.5%), and the low or time-limited included 47 men (51.6%). No participant in the low or time-limited trajectory reported perpetrating a rape during more than 1 period. Most men (68 [74.7%]) who committed college rape only perpetrated rape during 1 academic year.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Although a small group of men perpetrated rape across multiple college years, they constituted a significant minority of those who committed college rape and did not compose the group at highest risk of perpetrating rape when entering college. Exclusive emphasis on serial predation to guide risk identification, judicial response, and rape-prevention programs is misguided. To deter college rape, prevention should be initiated before, and continue during, college. Child and adolescent health care professionals are well positioned to intervene during the early teenage years by informing parents about the early onset of nonconsensual sexual behavior.


Many researchers, policymakers, journalists, and campus administrators have assumed that 1 small subgroup of men accounts for most rapes committed on college campuses. Our findings are inconsistent with that perspective. Analyses of the 2 largest existing longitudinal data sets on sexual violence from 14 years of age through college revealed 3 trajectories: (1) consistently low or time-limited, (2) decreasing, and (3) increasing rape likelihood across the high school and college years. Neither data set supported a cohesive group of men who consistently committed rape across emerging adulthood. The men most likely to commit rape before college were not the men most likely to do so during college. Those who arrived on campus seemingly at greatest risk to commit rape decreased their perpetration likelihood across the early college years. A small group of men who were unlikely to perpetrate before college drastically increased their perpetration likelihood after matriculation.

The results lead to 3 additional observations: (1) 177 male college students (10.8%) surveyed across studies reported committing an act of completed rape since they were 14 years of age, indicating that there are approximately twice as many men on campuses who have committed rape than previously reported;10 (2) most college men who perpetrate rape do so during relatively limited time frames; and (3) the term serial rapist should be used with more caution. Although a substantial number of men report committing more than 1 act of rape,39,40 more research is needed regarding assault timing, tactics, and location in addition to victim characteristics12,13 to establish whether it is appropriate to broadly apply this label to campus offenders.

This study is the first, to our knowledge, to specifically model trajectories of rape likelihood across time. These findings add to the growing number of publications regarding trajectories of sexual aggression in both collegiate and community populations.19,41- 43 Much of the previous research in this area has considered a wider range of acts (eg, unwanted sexual contact, verbally coerced sex, and attempted rape), suggesting that more than 30% of male college students commit at least 1 sexually aggressive act during adolescence (since 14 years of age).39,40 In contrast with previous studies,19,43 these more specific analyses did not uncover a consistently elevated trajectory. Young men who commit rape but have a low or time-limited, decreasing, or increasing likelihood of perpetration across adolescence might have different risk and protective factors present in their lives. The patterns of rape likelihood observed in the decreasing and increasing trajectories, in particular, may be due to social learning44 and social control45 processes—especially given that the changes in rape likelihood coincide with men’s transition to the college environment. These processes might be facilitated via childhood experiences,38 peer network evolution,19,46 alcohol use,19,41 or hostile attitudes toward women.19,46 Future research determining predictors across and within trajectories would further inform prevention programs tailored to men with differing patterns of rape likelihood across time, to bring prevention efforts closer in line with men’s sexually violent behavioral patterns.47

Standard self-report measures ask participants to respond affirmatively to each tactic used (eg, force or victim incapacitation) but do not ascertain whether these tactics were used in a single incident or different incidents. Thus, a limitation of this study and others is an inability to state whether multiple rape acts reported at a single assessment were perpetrated within 1 or more assaults. Both data sets analyzed were collected in the southeastern United States, which strengthens comparability but possibly limits generalizability. Different versions of the SES were used across the 2 studies; the updated version21 measures a wider range of behavior, which is likely why the rape incidence rates differed by approximately 5% across the 2 studies.


Sexual violence is detrimental to young women’s well-being, reduces equal access to education, and creates an unwelcoming campus climate. These findings inform current policy discussions by cautioning against a uniform approach to high school and college rape response and prevention. Most men in college who commit rape do so during limited time frames. Although some men perpetrate rape across multiple college years, these men are not at high risk entering college and account for a small percentage of campus perpetrators—at least 4 of 5 men on campus who have committed rape will be missed by focusing solely on these men. The different eras represented by the data sets and use of a derivation-validation approach increase our confidence in and the generalizability of the findings. Outcomes of this study reinforce the need to (1) recognize the heterogeneity of rapists and avoid “one-size-fits-all” institutional responses to misconduct resolution or sexual violence prevention48 and (2) promote sexual and relationship health before high school, when men in the decreasing group begin to commit rape, and throughout the college years, when men in the increasing group begin to perpetrate rape.


Why Your State Should Copy Nevada’s School Choice Plan

With new research showing widespread underperformance among middle class students in states across the country, Nevada’s recently enacted nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program could not have come at a better time.

Under Nevada’s new program, for parents earning above the low-income level, the state will deposit funds totaling 90 percent of the average statewide support per pupil, or roughly $5,100, into an individual education savings account for each child. For parents earning below the low-income level, or who have children with special needs, the state will deposit 100 percent of the average statewide support per pupil, around $5,700, into the child’s ESA. Parents can withdraw funds from their ESAs to pay for a variety of educational services, such as private school tuition, distance-learning online programs, and tutoring.

Failing Middle Class Students

Giving all parents, regardless of their income level, the opportunity to choose the best education for their children makes sense. Not only because many middle class parents, struggling from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, don’t have the resources to afford private school tuition or tutoring services, but also because many public schools are failing to raise the performance of middle class students. Nevada is a perfect example.

On the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the nation’s report card, 59 percent of non-low-income Nevada 8th graders failed to score at the proficient level on both the 2013 NAEP reading and math exams.

Students at many predominantly middle class Nevada public schools also fail to achieve proficiency on the state’s own math and reading tests.

For example, Incline Village, located on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe in northern Nevada, is a popular vacation destination for skiers and golfers. At Incline Middle School, only one of every four students is classified as low-income. Yet, on the state’s 2013 math exam, half of Incline Middle School’s 8th graders failed to score at or above the proficient level.

A National Problem

New research shows such underperformance among middle class students is not limited to Nevada.

A series of recent studies by the Pacific Research Institute found large percentages of middle class students in states as different as Michigan and Texas are failing to achieve proficiency in reading and math.

In Michigan, 55 percent of non-low-income eighth graders failed to reach the proficient mark on the 2013 NAEP reading exam, and 58 percent of these mostly middle class students failed to reach proficiency on the NAEP 8th grade math exam.

In addition, out of the 677 Michigan traditional public schools with predominantly non-low-income student populations—what many would call “middle class” schools—316, or 47 percent, had half or more of their students in at least one grade level fail to meet or exceed the proficient level on the 2013 Michigan reading or math exams.

At Scott Elementary School in the Lansing suburb of DeWitt, which CNN Money once named to its list of 100 best places to live in the United States, only 13 percent of the school’s students were categorized as “low income” in 2013, but 60 percent of Scott Elementary 3rd graders failed to meet or exceed the proficient level on the 2013 Michigan math exam.

Travails in Texas

In Texas, 54 percent of non-low-income 8th graders failed to achieve proficiency on the 2013 NAEP reading exam, and 47 percent failed to reach proficiency on the 8th grade math exam.

Out of the 1,115 Texas traditional public schools with predominantly non-low-income student populations, 672, or 60 percent, had half or more of their students in at least one grade level failing to meet or exceed the state’s recommended benchmark of proficiency on Texas’ reading or math tests in 2013.

At Cottonwood Creek Elementary School in Coppell, a well-to-do suburb of Dallas, only 4 percent of students were classified as “low income” in 2013. On the Texas reading exam, 52 percent of the school’s 3rd graders failed to hit the state’s final recommended benchmark of proficiency, and 68 percent of third graders failed to achieve the recommended proficiency level on the state math exam.

The bottom line is many of the public schools in this country that serve middle class students are not as good as people think they are. It is therefore critical for states to enact programs, such as Nevada’s groundbreaking education savings accounts, to give all parents the ability to choose the best educational options for their children. Choice is a right for all, not just for some.


Australia: NSW State government ignores 'unschooling' warning

The Premier Mike Baird has ruled out investigating a radical method of home schooling gaining popularity in NSW despite the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry that warned it could be a form of "educational neglect".

The home schooling teaching method, called unschooling, is seen as a natural learning approach, in which children decide what they learn and when and parents give them freedom to pursue their interests.

But a NSW upper house inquiry was highly critical of the method, doubting it could "achieve quality educational outcomes for the child".

A report from the state's parliamentary inquiry into home schooling, prompted by revelations that there could be as many as 10,000 children in NSW being taught at home even though only 3200 are formally registered, urged the NSW Board of Studies to commission research into unschooling.

"The committee is concerned that taken to its extreme, children who are unschooled may not achieve even basic levels of literacy and numeracy. The application of unschooling may constitute educational neglect," the inquiry's report said.

But the government's response to the report, tabled last week in state parliament and signed off by Mr Baird, said it did not support the inquiry's recommendation for independent research into unschooling. The Home Education Association would be better placed to investigate the method, the government said.

The Home Education Association told the inquiry that a survey of home schooling parents showed they used a variety of approaches to educate their children, with about 15 per cent unschooling, 31 per cent using natural learning methods and 27 per cent were "eclectic home schoolers" using a mix of teaching styles.

In its response, the state government agreed to explore allowing home-schooled children to attend public schools part-time but would also not agree to further research into the outcomes of home schooling, arguing only 10 per cent of registered home schoolers choose to participate in NAPLAN.

​"The results of this self-selected group could not be generalised across the population of home schooled children, making further research into the outcomes of home schooling difficult," the response said.

The deputy chairman of the committee, Greens MP John Kaye, said "subjecting children to unschooling raises serious educational and welfare issues" yet Mr Baird did not want any further independent research into its consequences.

"It appears that just asking the questions is too perilous for the Premier and the extreme end of the home-schooling constituency he seems to be protecting," Dr Kaye said.

Dr Kaye said the committee felt there was a lack of objective research on home schooling in Australia and wanted the NSW government to fill that void.

"It is highly unusual for the Premier to sign a government response to an inquiry. This time it looks like he is meddling in a policy area that is increasingly of interest to his conservative Christian power base," Dr Kaye said.

A spokesman for the Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, who is responsible for home schooling, said the Premier signed off on the government's response because it was a "whole of government response".


1 comment:

Peter Wales said...

I thought the same system was pretty much par for the course in most Australian schools now, so what difference does it make if they are unlearning there or at home?