卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Interleaved practice improves math test scores

The results of a randomized controlled trial, published in Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that a greater emphasis on interleaved practice may dramatically improve math test scores for seventh graders. Whereas most mathematics worksheets consist of a block of problems devoted to the same skill or concept, an interleaved worksheet is arranged so that no two consecutive problems require the same strategy.

Doug Rohrer and colleagues conducted the study with 54 classes in a large school district in Florida during the 2017–2018 school year. Over a period of four months, the classes periodically completed either interleaved or blocked worksheets, and then both groups completed an interleaved review worksheet. All students completed the same problems. One month later, students took an unannounced test which was set by the researchers. The study found that:

  • Students who had completed the interleaved assignments performed much better on the unannounced test than those in the blocked assignment group (effect size = +0.83).
  • Majority of the teachers reported that they like interleaved practice and would be able to use it with no or little instruction.
  • However, most teachers also considered interleaved practices would be more time-consuming than blocked practices.

The researchers suggest that the large effect sizes observed in the study for interleaved math practice may be due to the learning strategies it involves, which force the student to choose an appropriate strategy for each problem on the basis of the problem itself. They also identified some limitations of the study – particularly that the interleaving students took longer to complete their worksheets so effectively spent more time on each topic.

 

Source : Rohrer, D., Dedrick, R. F., Hartwig, M. K., & Cheung, C.-N. (2019). A randomized controlled trial of interleaved mathematics practice. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/edu0000367Read the rest

How engaged are teachers with research?

research briefing published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK looks at what progress has been made in embedding evidence-informed practice within teaching in England.

As part of the brief, researchers from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) summarized findings from a nationally representative survey of 1,670 schools and teachers. The survey was conducted between September and November 2017, and investigated teachers’ research use. The results of the survey suggest that:

  • Research evidence continues to play a relatively small role in influencing teachers’ decision-making. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said that their continuing professional development was based on information other than academic research.
  • Most teachers report that their schools offer supporting environments, which enablesevidence-informed practice to flourish. Seventy-three percent ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their school provided a positive culture for professional development and evidence use.
  • Teachers report generally positive attitudes towards research evidence, despite the fact that research evidence had only a small influence on their decision-making.

Survey responses varied by school phase, by type of respondent, and by type of schools. Those who were more likely to report that their schools had a positive research culture, and that they used research to inform their selection of teaching approaches, were:

  • Senior leaders (as opposed to classroom teachers)
  • Primary school teachers (rather than secondary school teachers)
  • Schools with the lowest 25 percent of achievement (versus highest 25 percent achievement)

 

Source (Open Access): Walker, M., Nelson, J., Bradshaw, S.,& Brown, C. (2018). Teachers’ engagement with research: what do we know? A research briefing. London: Education Endowment Foundation.Read the rest

Using Expressive Writing to Reduce Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety can have negative impacts on students’ performance and psychological health. This study published in PLOS ONE examined whether expressive writing could be beneficial to alleviate test anxiety. Lujun Shen and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial among senior high school students in China who were facing The National Higher Education Entrance Examination (Gaokao), which is considered the most important exam of a student’s life.

The study randomly selected 200 students from three senior-high schools in Xinxiang city. Students were first assessed for eligibility. A sample of 75 students was recruited into the study for having a high level of test anxiety. Then, 38 of them were allocated into an expressive writing group, and 37 of them were allocated to a control writing group. Students in the expressive writing group were instructed to write for 20 minutes about the positive emotions they had each day, consecutively for 30 days. Students in the control writing group were instructed to write about their daily activities consecutively for the same period of time.

Students were assessed using the Test Anxiety Scale (TAS) during the recruitment (late April), and after the end of the writing (early June). The study also analyzed summaries of the writing manuscripts of the 38 expressive writing group students for qualitative data. The findings were as follows:

  • The expressive writing group scored significantly lower than the control writing group in the Test Anxiety Scale in the post-test.
  • There were no significant gender differences in the post-test TAS score.
  • Qualitative analysis of the writing found more elements of positive emotion in the last ten days’ expressive writing compared to the first ten days among the expressive writing group.

The authors suggested that expressive writing is an easy, inexpensive, and convenient method since it does not require a psychological counsellor nor a specific location.

 

Source (Open Access): Shen L, Yang L, Zhang J, Zhang M (2018) Benefits of expressive writing in reducing test anxiety: A randomized controlled trial in Chinese samples. PLOS ONE 13(2): e0191779. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191779Read the rest

Mindfulness for Left-behind Children in China

A randomized controlled trial published in Child: Care, Health and Development examined whether a mindfulness training programme was beneficial to left-behind students in China, who stayed in their hometown with extended family members because their parents left to work in other cities.

63 left-behind children who agreed to participate in this study were screened from a sample of 320 grade 5 to 6 students from a primary school in an urban area in Nanjing. Thirty students were randomly allocated to a mindfulness training group, where they participated in an eight-week mindfulness training programme that emphasized focusing on the present and practicing non‐judgmental awareness. The programme consisted of one-hour group sessions once a week. Thirty-three students were allocated to a control group.

Students completed a pre-test before participating in the trainings and a post-test after the eight-week training which included scales measuring their mindfulness, social anxiety, suicide ideation, and self-esteem. However, nine students in the mindfulness training group and three students in the control group did not complete the post-test. The findings were as follows:

  • Social anxiety was found negatively correlated with mindfulness and positively correlated with suicide ideation in the pre-test.
  • Compared with the control group, students who received the 8-week mindfulness training programme improved significantly in level of mindfulness and showed reduced social anxiety and suicide ideation.
  • However, improvement in self-esteem was not significant.

The authors suggested that the promising findings of this pilot intervention study support further study of mindfulness training among left-behind children, remarking, however, that the present results should not be generalized to all left-behind children in China.

 

Source : Lu, R., Zhou, Y., Wu, Q., Peng, X., Dong, J., Zhu, Z., & Xu, W. (2019). The effects of mindfulness training on suicide ideation among left‐behind children in China: A randomized controlled trial. Child: Care, Health and Development, 45 (3),371-379. Read the rest

What works for struggling readers?

Amanda Inns and colleagues from Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education have completed a research review on effective programs for struggling readers in elementary schools. A total of 61 studies of 48 programs met study inclusion standards. 84% were randomized experiments and 16% quasi-experiments. Results showed that:

  • There were positive outcomes for one-to-one tutoring and positive but not as large for one-to-small group tutoring.
  • There were no differences in outcomes between teachers and teaching assistants as tutors.
  • Whole-class approaches (mostly cooperative learning) and whole-school approaches incorporating tutoring obtained outcomes for struggling readers as large as those found for one-to-one tutoring, and benefitted many more students.
  • However, technology-supported adaptive instruction did not have positive outcomes.

The article concludes that approaches mixing classroom and school improvements with tutoring for the most at-risk students have the greatest potential for the largest numbers of struggling readers.

 

Source (Open Access): Inns, A. J., Lake, C., Pellegrini, M., & Slavin, R. (2019). A synthesis of quantitative research on programs for struggling readers in elementary schools. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University. Read the rest