卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
What works for struggling readers in elementary school?

Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Research and Reform in Education has conducted a meta-analysis on effective programs for struggling readers in elementary school, which recently appeared in Reading Research Quarterly.

A total of 65 studies of 51 different programs were included in the review: 83% were randomized experiments and 17% quasi-experiments. The qualified studies were organized into five categories based on the RTI (Response to Intervention) framework, a categorization widely used in the U.S. RTI provides a means of categorizing reading interventions as prevention within the general education class (Tier 1), moderately intensive intervention (Tier 2), or intensive intervention (Tier 3). Results showed that:

  • There were significant positive outcomes for tutoring programs (ES = +0.26) with larger effects for one-to-one tutoring (Tier 3, ES = +0.41) compared to one-to-small group tutoring (Tier 2, ES = +0.24).
  • Multitiered whole-school approaches incorporating tutoring and whole-class approaches (Tier 1) had similar effects as tutoring programs, with the advantage of involving a larger number of students.
  • Multitiered whole-school approaches and whole-class Tier 1 approaches showed a non-significant effect size of +0.27 and of +0.31, respectively. Technology-supported adaptive instruction (Tier 2) had a small, non-significant impact (ES = +0.09).

The article supports the expanded use of all forms of tutoring, as well as whole-class approaches emphasizing cooperative learning and phonics. Whole-school approaches incorporating tutoring for struggling readers and class instruction showed particular promise. 

 

Source: Neitzel, A. J., Lake, C., Pellegrini, M., & Slavin, R. E. (2020). A synthesis of quantitative research on programs for struggling readers in elementary schools. Reading Research Quarterly. Advanced online piblication. Doi: 10.1002/rrq.379Read the rest

How effective is the Success for All program?

It is rare that one program deserves its own systematic review or has the breadth and depth of research to warrant it, but Success for All (SFA) is not a typical program. With over 30 years of operations and services provided in around 1,000 schools, SfA has earned the attention of researchers evaluating the program’s impact. A recent study by Cheung and colleagues gathered 17 studies from the United States (narrowed down from over 60 based on the studies’ inclusion criteria) to examine the overall and differential effects of SfA on student reading achievement, as well as the study features that moderate the effects of SfA on reading achievement.

The Success for All program is a whole-school approach focused on early grades with continued support intended to last into later elementary grades. The program includes a phonemic awareness and phonics-centered curriculum and provides professional development for teachers led by SfA coaches, literacy instructional practices and materials, and classroom management methods. SfA emphasizes certain practices including cooperative learning and regrouping, in which students are regrouped during reading instruction periods to matching reading performance levels. SfA has also been adapted into Spanish for bilingual programs (Lee Conmigo and Decubre Conmigo). 

  • In evaluating the studies, Cheung and his colleagues found a positive mean effect size of +0.24. They also identified a series of indicators over time and for various groups.
  • Most importantly, given the program’s intention of supporting the needs of high-poverty elementary schools, the study found that outcomes for low-achieving students (ES = +0.54) were significantly higher than outcomes for average/high achievers.
  • The program also demonstrated effectiveness for African American (ES = +0.30) and White students (ES = +0.63), and for both English Learners (ES = +0.13) and non-English Learners (ES = +0.36).
  • Effect sizes were strong over 1, 2, and 3 or more years of program implementation (ranging from +0.25 after 1 year, +0.46 after 2 years, and +0.19 after 3 or more years), and had statistically significant impacts on alphabetics (ES = +0.32) and general reading or comprehension outcomes (ES = +0.20).

 

Source: Cheung, A. C., Xie, C., Zhuang, T., Neitzel, A. J., & Slavin, R. E. (2021). Success for All: A Quantitative Synthesis of US Evaluations. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness14(1), 90-115.Read the rest

Effectiveness of educational apps

A recent meta-analysis by Kim and colleagues sought to evaluate the effectiveness of educational apps on learning for children in preschool through third grade. In this analysis, educational apps were defined as content delivered through personal electronic devices designed to improve literacy and mathematics. The meta-analysis demonstrated that:

  • There were positive effects on student achievement in both literacy (ES = +0.35) and math (ES = +0.29) when compared with standard school instruction.
  • The educational apps demonstrated stronger effects in preschool (ES = +0.35) than in school-age children (ES = +0.17) and were more associated with improvement in constrained skills, which are simple drill-and-practice facts like recognizing numbers and letters (ES = +0.31), than unconstrained skills, which are more complex tasks like solving math problems (ES = +0.14). 

The authors also addressed several limitations in the interpretation of the findings. Perhaps most importantly, many of the apps included in the analysis were interactive, based on learning science principles, and focused on specific learning goals. There are a wide variety of educational apps available to schools and families (the authors cite a study from 2018 indicating over 200,000 education-related apps available in Apple’s App Store) and the findings of this meta-analysis would not necessarily apply to apps that are not as well-designed. 

This analysis provides evidence that educational apps can be a useful and low-cost tool for schools and families, but also acknowledges limitations in their implementation as well as the need for more rigorous research evaluating their effectiveness.

 

Source: Kim, J., Gilbert, J., Yu, Q., & Gale, C. (2021). Measures matter: A meta-analysis of the effects of educational apps on preschool to grade 3 children’s literacy and math skills. AERA Open7(1). 1-19. Doi:0.1002/rrq.323. Read the rest

What matters to English learners’ acquisition of academic vocabulary

Vocabulary knowledge is integral to reading comprehension. A recent study published in the Reading Research Quarterly evaluated the effectiveness of a vocabulary intervention on English learners’ acquisition of academic vocabulary.

The intervention, called the Acquisition of Vocabulary in English, was conducted with 424 Spanish-English speaking students in second grade who were identified as English learners. In this stratified cluster randomized control trial, 22 classrooms were randomly assigned either to the intervention group (n=12) or the control group (n=10). Students in the intervention group received four 50-minute lessons weekly for 18 weeks. Teachers in the intervention group used selected books with target vocabulary and applied activities to reinforce vocabulary learning, while teachers in the control group solely read the same books with target vocabulary. The results suggest that

  • The intervention was effective on English learners’ acquisition of challenging, high-utility English vocabulary. Specifically, the effect size (Cohen’s d) was +1.88 for content words (i.e., meaning-carrying words), +0.14 for connecting words (i.e., function words like because, therefore), and +0.47 for oral language.
  • The study further examined whether effects differed by word characteristics, such as cognate status and abstractness designation. The findings indicated higher effect sizes for noncognates, both concrete and abstract, than cognates.

As highlighted by the authors, the study had three innovative components: focusing on both content words and connecting words, examining whether the intervention effects varied by word characteristics, and implementing activities to support oral language development in general. The findings support a promising research path for further examination of word characteristics when designing vocabulary interventions.

 

Source: August, D., Uccelli, P., Artzi, L., Barr, C., & Francis, D. J. (2020). English learners’ acquisition of academic vocabulary: Instruction matters, but so do word characteristics. Reading Research Quarterly. Advanced online publication. Doi: 10.1002/rrq.323. Read the rest

How did kindergarten teachers’ self-efficacy lead to children’s social skills?

Teachers’ efficacy is regarded as essential for the delivery of high-quality education. A recent research published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examined how kindergarten teachers’ self-efficacy can affect children’s social skills through the classroom process quality, especially teacher-child interaction.

5,628 children and their teachers from 180 kindergarten classrooms participated in the study. The class sizes varied from 7 to 58 children per class. Teachers were surveyed about their teacher self-efficacy. Children’s social skills were assessed by their parents using the Social Skills Improvement System-Rating Scales. From the videos covering the major routines of the kindergartens, five randomly selected, 20 minutes observation cycles were extracted for trained observers to assess the teacher-child interaction quality with the CLASS observational tool. The analysis showed that:

  • Classroom organization, instead of emotion support and instructional support, significantly mediated teachers’ self-efficacy for classroom management and children’s social skills.
  • Classroom organization also significantly mediated teacher self-efficacy for student engagement and children’s social skills but negatively.

The authors suggested that while the negative mediation in the case of teachers with high efficacy for student engagement might reflect the collectivism of Chinese culture, the positive mediation of classroom organization did indicate the important role of a well-organized classroom to children’s social skills development.

 

Source: Hu, B. Y., Li, Y., Wang, C., Wu, H., & Vitiello, G. (2021). Preschool teachers’ self-efficacy, classroom process quality, and children’s social skills: A multilevel mediation analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly55, 242-251.Read the rest