卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Keep it real

An article published by the American Psychological Association used data on more than 3,500 German secondary students to explore the link between parental aspirations and their children’s math achievement. It concludes that realistic aspirations are beneficial, but that unrealistic aspirations can be detrimental.

The authors used data from the Project for the Analysis of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics (PALMA), a longitudinal study investigating adolescents’ development in mathematics during the secondary school years (German grades 5 to 10; 2002 to 2007).  Samples were drawn from schools in Bavaria and were representative of the child population and the three major school types within the German public school system. The project included assessments of children, teachers, and parents.

The study found that:

  • Parental aspiration and children’s mathematical achievement were linked by positive reciprocal relations over time.
  • However, the authors also found that parental over-aspiration can be detrimental to children’s math achievement when aspiration exceeds expectation. These effects were robust across different types of analyses and after controlling for a variety of demographic and cognitive variables, including children’s gender, age, intelligence, school type, and family socioeconomic status.
  • The results were also replicated with an independent sample of U.S. parents and children.

The authors conclude that their findings highlight the danger of simply raising parental aspirations to promote children’s academic achievement and behavior. They suggest that educational interventions should not focus on changing aspirations of parents and children per se, but on facilitating opportunities and information for parents and children to develop realistic expectations.

 

Source (Open Access): Murayama, K., Pekrun, R., Suzuki, M., Marsh, H. W., & Lichtenfeld, S. (2016). Don’t aim too high for your kids: Parental overaspiration undermines students’ learning in mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology111(5), 766.Read the rest

Peer Assisted Learning Strategies and math achievement

Math PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) is a supplemental program designed to support mathematics learning through structured peer tutoring activities. Student dyads are created by matching students with similar level of math skills. The program also includes initial professional development to support teachers to deliver the intervention.

A recent evaluation published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness assessed the effectiveness of Math PALS in elementary school. The study randomly assigned  28 first grade classrooms (n=454 students)  in northern rural Florida to the intervention or control group. After one school year, results showed that:

  • There were no significant effects on Woodcock-Johnson III math assessment for both subtests: Math Fluency (ES = +0.16; n.s.) and Applied Problems (ES = +0.06; n.s.),
  • However, the intervention effectiveness varied based on initial mathematics skills. For students with higher initial skills (at the 75thpercentile of the sample) there was a positive effect of Math PALS on Fluency subtest while for the lower performing students (at the 25th percentile) the effect was negative.

 

Source: Wood, T., Mazzocco, M. M., Calhoon, M. B., Crowe, E. C., & Connor, C. M. (2020). The Effect of Peer-Assisted Mathematics Learning Opportunities in First Grade Classrooms: What Works for Whom?. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Advance Online Publications. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2020.1772422Read the rest

Evaluation of Maths Counts

A paper published in Educational Research and Evaluation presents the findings of a one-year efficacy trial of Maths Counts – an intensive, individualized program to support children who struggle with basic math skills at Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11) in the U.K.

The participants were 291 upper-elementary students from 35 schools in England. Students were randomized within school and allocated to an intervention (Maths Counts) or control (business-as-usual) group. The program was delivered to intervention students by specially trained teaching assistants three times per week, for 10 weeks, during curriculum time but outside the regular classroom. The first ten minutes of each session focused on revision of prior learning, and the next 20 minutes introduced new knowledge and skills.

The results of the trial suggest that:

  • Maths Counts is effective for students who struggle with basic math skills (effect size = +0.12 for general math skills, and +0.18 for math attitude).
  • However, there was no evidence that it was effective for students eligible for free school meals (effect size = -0.14 for general math skills, and +0.07 for math attitude).

 

Source (Open Access): See, B. H., Morris, R., Gorard, S., & Siddiqui, N. (2019). Evaluation of the impact of Maths Counts delivered by teaching assistants on primary school pupils’ attainment in maths. Educational research and evaluation25(3-4), 203-224.Read the rest

Can enrichment math clubs improve mathematics skills for kindergarten students?

High 5s is a small-group after school math enrichment program for kindergarteners who have previously been exposed to the Building Blocks preschool math curriculum. A study published by the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness assessed the success of this program with 655 kindergarten students in 24 schools who received the program three times a week for half an hour with a trained instructor.

The program was structured such that each meeting would consist of 2 short startup activities and conclude with a main activity. Every 4th day was a game day where students were allowed to choose from select activities. While student attendance was high, the quality of instruction varied across club leaders.

The results of the High 5s evaluation intervention were mixed:

  • The study showed significantly higher math scores for the intervention students on an assessment that was closely aligned with the program curriculum.
  • However, there were no significant benefits for students in the book clubs on a standardized measure of math achievement. 

These mixed results illustrate that while additional enrichment clubs may improve some mathematics skills, further work is needed to examine how to ensure that these skills translate to more generalized assessments and tasks.

 

Source : Jacob, R., Erickson, A., & Mattera, S. (2020). Evaluating the Impact of Small Group Supplemental Math Enrichment in Kindergarten. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Advance Online Publications. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2020.1726539Read the rest

Does believing abilities are malleable affect students’ engagement in Math?

Students' engagement in Math is a topic receiving more attention now societies are emphasising the importance of STEM. An article recently published in Frontiers in Psychology explored whether students’ math engagement would be influenced by their beliefs about “implicit theory”. They did this by asking a cohort of Chinese students whether they believed math ability was fixed or malleable, then examining whether the answer affected their math engagement.  They also explored how students' self-efficacy and the intrinsic value they gave to Math influenced the relationship. 

The data were collected from 370 students in Grade 8 and 369 students in Grade 11 in China in two waves of assessment. In the first wave, participating students completed the measures of their implicit theory, academic self-efficacy, and intrinsic value. Their Math engagement was then assessed twelve months later. The analysis showed that: 

  • Believing math ability can be changed had a positive effect on students' math engagement.
  • The link between implicit theory and math engagement was mediated by intrinsic values. Students who believed math ability can be changed were more likely to enjoy Math and recognize its importance, therefore being more engaged in the subject. 
  • For students who had low academic self-efficacy, the relationship between their beliefs and math engagement was stronger than that of students with high academic self-efficacy. While students with low self-efficacy might more frequently find math problems challenging, their incremental beliefs supported them to overcome difficulties and engage in learning.

The authors concluded that students in poor academic condition might benefit from implicit theory interventions, such as encouraging their participation and efforts, praising them for progress, and using different approaches to appraise them.

 

Source (Open Access): Jiang, S., Liu, R. D., Ding, Y., Fu, X., Sun, Y., Jiang, R., & Hong, W. (2020). Implicit theories and engagement in math among Chinese adolescent students: A moderated mediation model of intrinsic value and academic self-efficacy. Frontiers in Psychology. Advanced Online Publication. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01325Read the rest