卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Primary School Education

Small class size vs. evidence-based interventions

The Ministry of Education in France instituted a policy in 2002 that reduced class size to no more than 12 students in areas determined to have social difficulties and high proportions of at-risk students, called Zones d’Education Prioritaire (ZEP). In order to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of this policy, researcher Jean Ecalle and colleagues in France examined the results of the policy-mandated class size reduction on the reading achievement of first graders (Study 1), and compared them to the effects of an evidence-based literacy intervention on the reading achievement of at-risk children in regularly sized classes (20 students) (Study 2). Study 1, reducing class size, involved assigning classrooms to either small (12 students/class n=100 classes) or large (20-25 students/class, n=100 classes) class sizes (with the support of the Ministry). At the start of the 2002-03 school year, 1,095 children were pretested on pre-reading skills and matched at pretest. In Study 2,...

13 08 2019
An evaluation of QuickSmart Numeracy

QuickSmart Numeracy is a 30-week math tutoring program from Australia that uses teaching assistants as tutors. Its goal is to increase basic math fact automaticity/fluency in students in Year 4 and Year 8 who perform in the bottom third of their national cohort as measured on standardized testing, the premise being that increased math fluency allows students to devote their concentration to math concepts instead of fact recall. Researchers from the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia, recently examined the effects of the program on student achievement in a randomized controlled trial. Subjects were 288 Year 4 and Year 8 students from 70 classrooms in 23 Sydney Catholic Schools in New South Wales who scored below the bottom 30th percentile on national standardized testing. Baseline testing was done in March 2017 using the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Progressive Achievement...

13 08 2019
How do teacher-student interactions affect emotions and behaviors?

A recent study published in PLOS ONE examined how classroom environment shapes the emotions and behaviors of students. Using a sample of Chinese students, Wang and colleagues examined the association between classroom environment and emotional and behavioral problems across different school stages, while also considering the influences of students’ personality and family environment. In two primary schools and four secondary schools in Liaoning Province, northeast China, the study collected valid responses from 5,433 students (2,039 from primary schools; 2,091 from junior high schools; 1,303 from senior high schools) and 244 classroom teachers (92 from primary schools; 96 from junior high schools; 56 from senior high schools). The students were asked about their emotional and behavioral problems, personality, family environment, perceptions of teacher-student interaction through a questionnaire; and the teachers reported their depressive symptoms. The authors found that: The greatest influences on students’ emotions and behaviors were personality and family characteristics...

31 07 2019
Improving times table fluency

The Institute for Effective Education (IEE) in the UK has published a new report from a project funded by their Innovation Evaluation Grants. The IEE Innovation evaluations are small-scale and test the kinds of innovations that schools are interested in. Thirty-four Year 4 classes took part in the evaluation of Improving times table fluency, which was conducted by Underwood West Academy. A total of 876 children were included in the study. Five groups of four or five classes were created by matching the pre-test scores on a 25-item tables test and the percentage of children in receipt of pupil premium (additional funding for schools in England, designed to help disadvantaged students). All groups had similar pre-test scores and similar percentages of children in receipt of pupil premium. Each class used a different balance of conceptual and procedural activities during times tables lessons. Conceptual activities were games that focused on the connections...

31 07 2019
Is there a gender gap in IT?

Previous studies have revealed gender differences in attitudes towards information technology (IT) literacy, with boys generally considering their IT literacy to be higher than that of girls. A new meta-analysis, published in Educational Research Review, tests whether the same gender differences can be seen in students’ actual performance on IT literacy tasks as measured by performance-based assessments. In total, 46 effect sizes were extracted from 23 studies using a random-effects model. The main findings suggest that: Girls perform better than boys on performance-based IT literacy assessments (ES= +0.13). Gender differences in favor of girls are larger in primary schools (ES= +0.20) than in secondary schools (ES= +0.11). The overall effect size is robust across several analysis conditions. Overall, the gender differences in IT literacy are significant but small. As these findings seem to contrast those obtained from previous meta-analyses that were based on self-reported IT literacy, the researchers conclude that the IT...

31 07 2019
Inattentive students can fall behind

Students with attention problems can fall behind their peers, even if their problems are only mild, according to a study in Learning and Individual Differences. The researchers studied 46,369 children in 1,812 English primary schools. Children’s early reading and math were assessed at the start of school. Rating scales were completed by class teachers at the end of their first year, with nine items related to inattention, six items to hyperactivity, and three items to impulsivity. English and math achievement were measured using standardized tests. There was a strong negative association between inattention and achievement. If a child met one additional criterion on the nine-point scale related to inattention, their progress toward math and English achievement at age 11 was 0.1 standard deviations below that of their peers of similar deprivation and the same sex. A child meeting all nine inattention criteria was almost one standard deviation lower in English and math...

17 07 2019
Does exercise improve children’s cognitive performance?

Research published in Frontiers in Psychology looks at the effects of a nine-week program of daily exercise on children’s cognitive performance, aerobic fitness, and physical activity levels. Vera van den Berg and colleagues conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial in 21 classes in eight Dutch primary schools. A total of 512 children aged 9 to 12 participated. The intervention consisted of daily classroom-based exercise breaks of moderate to vigorous intensity. Each break lasted approximately ten minutes, and children were asked to mimic dance moves from a video. Children in the control group watched 10- to 15-minute information and educational videos related to the body, exercise, and sports. Before and after the intervention, children were asked to perform four cognitive tasks to measure their cognitive performance in selective attention, inhibition, and memory retrieval. Children’s aerobic fitness was measured with a shuttle run test, and accelerometers were used to measure physical activity throughout the day....

17 07 2019
How engaged are teachers with research?

A 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...

02 07 2019
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,...

02 07 2019