卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Graphic organizers help to enhance students’ generative cognitive processing

A recent study published in Journal of Educational Psychology examined the role of graphic organizers in promoting generative processing in learners. Graphic organizers are common ways of structuring texts. These include compare-and-contrast (e.g., matrix), sequence (e.g., flowchart) and hierarchy (e.g., tree diagram). In this study, matrix was the form of graphic organizer used to compare the northern and southern climates in China.

Two approaches were compared to text-only information (NGO). The first approach used filled-in graphic organizers (FGO), in which comparison of the two climates described in the text had already been filled-in in a matrix. In this way, students can learn through a spatial arrangement of the text but may still not engage in deeper processing. The second approach used interactive graphic organizers (IGO). Students were required to create their own matrix through using apps for the comparison. The act of building a matrix graphic organizer requires more generative cognitive processing. A generative learning process occurs when a learner selects important material, organizes it into a coherent structure, and relates it to relevant prior knowledge.

Researchers conducted two experiments. The first experiment examined whether graphic organizers aided generative learning, and the second investigated whether students preferred to use graphical organizers in learning.

In experiment 1, 60 participants (34 male, age: 12-14) were recruited from three 8th grade classes (20 students per class) of a middle school in the northern part of Tianjin, China. Class 1 was given an online lesson by reading a passage with text-only, i.e. no graphic organizer (NGO), class 2 was given the text along with FGO, and class 3 the text with access to IGO. After the lesson, students were required to take a retention test, which measured to what extent the learners remembered information, and comprehension test, which asked learners to apply the knowledge learned in the article to their own living area. The results indicated that:

  • Both IGO (ES = .65) and FGO (ES = .72) outperformed the text-only group (NGO) on retention test scores. There was no difference was found between the IGO group and the FGO group (ES = .09). This suggests that it is helpful to memorize key information through accessing a graphic organizer (either IGO or FGO).
  • IGO group outperformed both FGO group (ES = 1.45) and NGO group (ES = 2.59) in terms of comprehension test scores, and FGO group scored better than NGO group (ES = .93). This pattern suggests that using interactive graphic organizers helped the generative learning process.
  • The results of experiment 2 showed that passages with IGO were the most selected (42.9%), followed by FGO (39.0%), and the least preferred was NGO (18.1%).

Researchers also applied eye-tracking technology to study eye movements of participants during learning. Based on the findings, they believed IGO helped to increase students’ generative cognitive processes as compared to using FGO. Consequently, students accessing IGO scored higher in comprehension tests.

 

Source: Wang, X., Mayer, R. E., Zhou, P., & Lin, L. (2021). Benefits of interactive graphic organizers in online learning: Evidence for generative learning theory. Journal of Educational Psychology, 113(5), 1024–1037. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000606Read the rest

The effectiveness of teacher specialization in elementary school

Hwang and Kisida looked to develop a causal model using quasi-experimental methods to assess the effectiveness of subject-area specialization for teachers in elementary school. The authors compared the effectiveness of a teacher in a year when the teacher had a specialization role to a year when the teacher did not have a specialization role. This limited the study to those teachers who were both specialists (teach 1 or 2 subjects out of 4 major subjects) and generalists (teach 3 or 4 subjects) within the timeframe of the study (12% of all math teachers and 36.7% of all reading teachers fit this description). However, given the relatively large sample from the Indiana Department of Education, containing 15,895 math teachers and 17,102 reading teachers, the authors were able to use this model to estimate effects related to teacher specialization. The findings were shown below.

  • A teacher’s effectiveness was lower when teaching math as a specialist than when teaching as a generalist (ES = -0.04). The situation was worse during the teacher’s first year of specialization (ES = -0.05).
  • The decrease in teacher effectiveness was particularly noticeable when teaching students from historically underserved populations. In math, Black students and Hispanic students both experienced larger negative effects in comparison to White students.
  • Students in the lowest quartile of achievement also experienced a larger negative effect than students in the highest quartile of achievement.

The authors suggested that student-teacher relationships are more difficult to maintain in a specialist format, which may help to explain the differences in student outcomes. The authors then concluded that teacher specialization does not benefit students when compared to generalization, and appears to be particularly detrimental for certain groups of students.

 

Source: Hwang, N., & Kisida, B. (2022). Spread Too Thin: The Effect of Specialization on Teaching Effectiveness. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 016237372210843. https://doi.org/10.3102/01623737221084312Read the rest

Sensibly distribute resources: Prior-year statewide achievement test data is sufficient

Universal screening for identifying students at risk for future reading problems is important, but inaccurate and costly approaches are not worth investing in. Paly and colleagues recently conducted a retrospective research project to analyze four approaches to reading risk screening in terms of their accuracy and costs, including:

  • prior-year state test (STAAR Reading)
  • aimswebPlus: a web-based assessment suite which designed for screening and progress monitoring in reading and math for PreK-12 students
  • multiple-gate model: prior-year STAAR was used in the first screening and aimswebPlus was administered as additional screening for a subgroup of students, who scored below a cut-point on first universal screen
  • multivariate model: prior-year STAAR and aimswebPlus tests results were combined in multivariate analyses

Using data from Grades 4-8 students (n = 19,417) in a mid-size urban district in Texas, the researchers examined classification accuracy and the cost-effectiveness relation of the four approaches.  The results suggest that aimswebPlus is the most costly and the least accurate, while the state achievement test data is sufficient for accurately screening reading risk. This study provides guidance for educational decisionmakers, such as school administrators, that screening measures should be carefully analyzed before being adopted to make sure that funds and time are used effectively and efficiently.

 

Source: Paly, B. J., Klingbeil, D. A., Clemens, N. H., & Osman, D. J. (2022). A cost-effectiveness analysis of four approaches to universal screening for reading risk in upper elementary and middle school. Journal of School Psychology, 92, 246–264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2022.03.009Read the rest

Preventing summer slide through the mail

Summer slide, or the loss of student learning progress over the summer months, is of concern to parents and educators. While summer school has been offered as a possible solution, it can be expensive and difficult to serve all students.  Lighter touch strategies such as engaging students to read and complete book activities through the summer months are popular alternatives.  One such program, Kids Read Now (KRN), engages K-5 students with both school-based and home-based activities while mailing them up to nine self-selected high-quality books. Additionally, parents receive weekly voice or text messages with nudges and tips for reading to and with their children. Students who report reading their selected books receive certificates and a prize. KRN has completed two quasi-experimental studies by Borman and colleagues. 

In both studies, students who chose to participate in the program were matched with students who did not choose to participate. The five schools included came from two states.  Schools took different approaches to recruiting students, with some targeting those students with the greatest need, while others chose to invite all students to participate. Participating students were matched with non-participating students using propensity score matching, to ensure students were similar on three prior school test scores (either NWEA MAP or aimswebPlus) as well as demographic information. This resulted in comparable groups.

  • In the first study from 2018, there was a significant impact of the program, with an effect size of +0.12 for all students. This was estimated to be higher for students who read all 9 books (ES = +0.18). 
  • In the second study, from 2019, there was a similar effect, with a statistically significant effect size of +0.15 for all students, and even higher for students who read all 9 books (ES = +0.21).
  • Both studies suggested the effect may be strongest for first grade students.

This set of studies is important for showing the impact of a replicable, scalable program to address summer slide. It also highlights the importance of replication of results, to demonstrate that successful programs can be reproduced in different schools with different students at different times. Kids Reads Now appears to be a promising approach for schools looking to engage students with literacy over the summer months.

 

Source (Open Access): Kids Read Now Program (n.d.) Discover the efficacy of the Kids Read Now reading programs. https://kidsreadnow.org/science-of-reading/

Borman, G. D., Yang, H., & Xie, X. (2018). The Kids Read Now summer reading program: A quasi-experimental impact study. https://kidsreadnow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/BormanReport2018.pdfRead the rest

Directions for ECE during pandemic: a perspective from global research

The coronavirus outbreak hit the world in early 2020 and caught all industries off-guard. Since then, schools and pre-schools were forced into long terms of suspension, bringing a completely new challenge to students, parents and teachers and pushing early childhood education to go fully digital.  

ECE research blossomed due to this sudden change and provided solutions for effective teaching practices to sustain education as usual during the pandemic. Su et al. performed a systematic bibliometric synthesis of the knowledge generated from this research to guide effective change at the policy and practice levels. Their overview of 507 empirical articles on ECE during COVID-19 between 2020 and March 2022 revealed the following critical observations in early childhood research:   

  1. Online Learning and Teaching in ECE during the pandemic  
  • Educators faced various challenges regarding their IT competence, lack of training in distance learning, and ability to maintain the quality of early childhood programmes;  
  • Prolonged online learning can bring risks to children’s development of self-regulation and motivation stability;  
  1. Physical Activity in ECE during the pandemic 
  • Lockdown and social isolation measures reduced the duration of physical activity for children, increased time spent on entertainment screens and decreased their sleeping quality;  
  • To maintain children’s health and well-being, promoting active play with children is essential;  
  1. Stress and Mental Health in Early Childhood during the pandemic 
  • Family background and access to kindergarten or daycare have great impact on the reduction of children’s psychological stress;  
  1. Families in Early Childhood Research during the pandemic 
  • Active parental involvement in home schooling can reduce children’s negative learning behaviours;  
  • Parents have made active attempts to provide home education for children, but home environment-related limitations can hinder the possibilities of quality home-schooling;  
  • Families met various emotional and economic challenges during the pandemic. More service of psychological, financial and digital support should be given to parents from schools and communities, in order to reduce possible suffering of vulnerable children regarding their online learning. 

 
Source:  
Su, J., Ng, D.T.K., Yang, W., & Li, H. (2022). Global trends in the research on early childhood education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A bibliometric analysis. Education Sciences, 12, 331. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050331Read the rest