By Jessica Berman
From VOA LearningEnglish, this is the Education Report.
Studies have shownthat children from poor families have more difficulty in school than other boysand girls. Children with higher socioeconomic roots seem better prepared andperform better on school tests.
Now, Americanresearchers may have found a biological reason for that difference. They founddifferences in the brains of students who had low standardizedtest scores. Theirbrains had less gray matter and their temporal lobes developed more slowly than the other children. The findings were reportedin the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Temporal lobes andgray matter are very important brain areas, says researcher Barbara Wolfe. Sheis a professor of economics, population health and public affairs at the University of Wisconsinat Madison.
研究员Barbara Wolfe说，颞叶和灰质在大脑中非常重要。她是（位于麦迪逊的）威斯康星州立大学（University of Wisconsin）的教授，研究经济学，公共卫生和公共事务。
The brain areas are"critical in the sense that they keep developing until individuals arewell into their adolescence or early 20s, and critical in the sense that they are important forexecutive function," she said.
Researchers studiedbrain images of nearly 400 children and young adults. The youngest subjectswere four years old. The oldest were 22. Researchers looked for a connectionbetween the person’s socioeconomic status and his or her test results.
On average, youngpeople from poor families had test scores between three and four points belowwhat is expected for their age group.
The pooreststudents scored between eight and 10 points below the developmental norm. Ms.Wolfe says there are several reasons why poorer students often have lowerscores. One reason could be poor children do not get the food they need forhealthy development. Poor parents are less likely to stimulate their children’s brains through talk,play, and activities. Ms. Wolfe also blames the "stress that parents facein trying to deal with poverty, putting food on the table."
最贫穷的学生分差8到10分。Ms. Wolfe说，有多个原因解释贫穷学生经常考分较低。一是贫穷孩子吃不到健康发育需要的食物。贫穷家长可能很少通过谈话、游戏等活动去刺激孩子大脑。Ms. Wolfe还怪家长面对努力摆脱贫困的压力、在桌上放食物的方式。
The researchers saythat up to 20 percent of the achievement gap, or difference in test performance,could be tied to poverty.
Ms. Wolfe suggestsearly action may improve the brain development of children living in poverty.Reaching out to children when they are very young could help raise their testscores and academic performance when they are older.
She says that whenthe source of the deficit is known, "these areas of the brain can bedeveloped," she said. "... It means that policies can be developedthat overcome this deficit."
I’m Jonathan Evans.