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The Fifth W

The science portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam given to US students in 2009 included interactive tasks to determine how well students could design, analyze, and amend experiments — results from that test show that US students have difficulties with reasoning and explaining research results, reports ScienceInsider. "What the vast majority of students can do, the data show, is make straightforward analyses," ScienceInsider says, later adding that "fewer than half the students were able to use supporting evidence to write an accurate explanation of the results."

"It's tragic that our students are only grasping the basics and not doing the higher-level analysis and providing written explanations needed to succeed in higher education and compete in a global economy," NAEP chairman David Driscoll said in a statement, according to CNN.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.