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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

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.