卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Educational Stage

Providing free glasses to students in rural China

Nie and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of providing free eyeglasses to junior high school students in a poor rural area of Western China.  In this study, screening and vision testing were provided to 1,974 grade seven and eight students from 31 schools located in northern Shaanxi province in China before they were divided into treatment group and controlled group. Then, free eyeglasses were distributed in treatment schools to students found to need one, regardless of whether they had one already. In contrast, students from the control group schools received an eyeglass prescription for their parents only. The eyeglass usage of the treatment group increased from 31% at the baseline to 72%, while that of the control group increased from 28% to 50%. The study questioned students about their academic aspirations, administered a standardized exam using items drawn from a bank of questions developed by...

21 05 2019
The role of the teacher during collaborative learning

A systematic review of the role of the teacher during collaborative learning in primary and secondary education suggests that several types of teacher guidance can be positive. However, the challenge for the teacher is to support interaction between students without taking control of the moments in which opportunities to learn arise for students. The review, carried out by Anouschka van Leeuwen and Jeroen Janssen, included both qualitative and quantitative studies (n=66) conducted in primary and secondary schools, and looked at the relationship between the teacher’s role and the processes and outcomes of collaboration among students. The authors found that Feedback, prompting, questioning, and transferring control of the learning process to students were all effective strategies for collaborative learning. In contrast, some aspects of teacher guidance were found negatively associated with students’ collaboration, such as when teachers were too present or absent.Teachers' explanations and modelling behavior were not always contributive to students' collaboration....

08 05 2019
Understanding math anxiety

While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties. Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when confronted by a math problem. Research conducted by the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge examined the math performance of more than 2,700 primary and secondary students in the UK and Italy who were screened for math anxiety and general anxiety. Researchers then worked one-to-one with the children in order to gain deeper understanding of their cognitive abilities and feelings towards math using a series of cognitive tasks, questionnaires, and interviews. Emma Carey and colleagues found that A general feeling that math was more difficult than other subjects often contributed to feelings of anxiety about the subject, and that teachers and parents may inadvertently play a role. Girls in both primary and secondary school were found to...

08 05 2019
Positive effects of an urban debate league

Johns Hopkins University’s Daniel Shackelford has conducted the first quantitative study examining the effects of participation in an extracurricular debate club during preadolescence on students’ later academic and engagement outcomes, including entry to selective-entrance high schools. Dr. Shackelford examined a 10-year sample of 2,263 4th to 8th graders participating in Baltimore City’s Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) between the 2004 to 2013 school years, comparing their standardized math and reading scores, attendance, and entry to selective-entrance high schools to 81,906 peers who did not participate in BUDL. Ninety-one percent of both groups were African American, and 96% of both groups received free and reduced-price lunch. Results showed that: Among the debate students themselves, preadolescent debate participation yielded more than a 6% increase in reading scores and a 4% increase in math scores on standardized testing. While debate inherently involves reading and might be accountable for increased reading achievement, Dr. Shackelford observes...

08 05 2019
Parent-teacher meetings and student outcomes

Engaging parents in their children’s education, both at home and at school, can be an effective and low-cost way of improving learning outcomes for students. A study published in European Economic Review examines whether academic achievement can be improved by increasing parental involvement through scheduled parent-teacher meetings. Asad Islam conducted the randomized controlled trial in schools in two southern districts of Bangladesh. Seventy-six primary schools were chosen randomly from more than 200 in these regions, with 40 schools randomly allocated to the intervention group and 36 to the control group. Students in these schools all came from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and a quarter of parents did not complete primary school. The intervention involved monthly face-to-face meetings between parents and teachers over a period of two academic years. At each 15-minute meeting, teachers discussed with parents their child’s academic progress and provided them with a report card for their child. Student achievement outcomes were measured...

08 05 2019
Early oral competence linked to literacy

An article published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology describes a three-year longitudinal study exploring the predictive relationship between oral narrative competence at age 5/6 and written narrative competence during the following two years. A total of 80 Italian children participated in the study. They were followed for three years and tested three times: Oral production was assessed at the end of the first year of the study, when the children were at the end of kindergarten. This was in terms of narrative competence (cohesion, coherence, and structure).Written production was assessed at the end of first grade in terms of narrative competence (cohesion, coherence, and structure) and orthographic competence (spelling).Written production was assessed at the end of second grade in terms of narrative competence (cohesion, coherence, and structure). Overall, the study demonstrated that oral narrative competence in kindergarten predicted written narrative competence in the following two years, with orthographic competence (spelling) playing a...

24 04 2019
A review of the evidence on early language development

A review of the evidence on early language development, commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation in the UK in partnership with Public Health England, has examined the most effective ways to support young children with delays in their early language development between birth and five years old. James Law and colleagues looked at the existing evidence to find out which interventions have the greatest potential for boosting young children’s language skills and reducing inequalities in outcomes. They identified 44 intervention studies which focused on language and related skills in preschool. All the studies were randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental, matched study designs. The findings were as follows: Positive effect sizes were found in relation to receptive language in 29 studies. They found one of the best ways to improve early language development for this group is through training for teachers in early years settings so that they can deliver cost-effective...

24 04 2019
Setting up in-class libraries in rural China

A study published in Reading Research Quarterly examined the effects of installing an in-class library providing students with age-appropriate books on student reading outcomes and achievements in rural China. Most previous studies of the effects of age-appropriate books have been conducted in developed regions. However, in rural China, not only are age-appropriate reading materials scarce, but schools, teachers and parents also believe independent reading will negatively affect students’ performance in high-stakes college entrance examinations. To examine the actual effects in rural China, Yi and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial consisting of 11,083 fourth- and fifth- grade students from 120 schools in Jiangxi province in China. In the treatment schools, an in-class library stocked with 70 extracurricular books was installed in each classroom in the treatment schools. The books were carefully selected based on recommendations of reading specialists and educators. Students received a baseline survey before the intervention and a...

24 04 2019
Using teaching assistants to improve language skills and reading

Two evaluations from the Education Endowment Foundation in England have found that two interventions using paraprofessional teaching assistants (TAs) have positive effects. REACH is a targeted reading support program designed to improve the reading accuracy and comprehension of students with reading difficulties in middle school. It is delivered by specially trained TAs. The evaluation tested two interventions – one based on the original Reading Intervention developed by the University of York, and the other with supplementary material on language comprehension. The evaluation was carried out in 21 schools around Leeds, with 202 students (70 and 69 receiving each intervention; 63 control). Results showed that: There was a positive effect on reading skills for both the Reading Intervention (E.S.= +0.33) and the Reading Intervention with additional material on language comprehension (E.S.= +0.51). The evaluations did not provide evidence that the interventions improved reading comprehension in particular, as opposed to other skills such as...

24 04 2019