卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Secondary School Education

Order of instruction

A recent meta-analysis performed by Sinha and Kapur utilized 53 studies from around the world comparing the order of instruction for a range of learners, primarily focused on 2nd graders through undergraduate students.  The focus of the meta-analysis was to investigate outcomes for students exposed to learning that introduces problem solving prior to instruction (PS-I) compared with students exposed to learning that introduces instruction prior to problem solving (I-PS).  Arguments in favor of PS-I designs emphasize the acquisition of higher-order thinking skills developed by allowing students to grapple with concepts they have not yet formally studied, while arguments supporting I-PS designs suggest that direct instruction is needed to enable students to focus on the most important aspects of the material.  Within the broader category of PS-I designs, the authors focused on the effects of productive failure (PF), where the problem-solving portion of the lesson is specifically designed to result in...

17 09 2021
Does participating in extracurricular activities promote academic performance of youth in China?

Previous studies have demonstrated that participation in structured extracurricular activities (EA) promotes educational outcomes in a western context. A new research study published in the Journal of Youth Studies investigated the mechanism of the impact of participating in structured EA on educational outcomes of youth in China. The authors examined whether family SES predicted students’ participation in EA which in turn related to academic performance. In addition, they explored whether participating in EA may promote supportive social networks, which contribute to learning outcomes. Two-wave data of about 8,000 7th grade students from the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS) were collected. A baseline survey was conducted in 2014 and a follow-up survey was taken in 2015. Students reported whether they joined any extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, chess, painting) after school at baseline. Academic achievement was assessed by total scores on Chinese reading, Mathematics, and English reading.  Using students’ reported survey items,...

17 09 2021
Does technology help students build English vocabulary?

Computer or mobile-based English enhancement programs are gaining popularity among English language learners around the world. A recent publication in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness investigated the effects of these technology-assisted interventions on expanding English language learners’ vocabulary. The paper synthesized studies conducted between 2012 to 2018. Eligible studies followed treatment-control experimental designs, targeted pre-school to college-aged students who learned English as a foreign language, and reported vocabulary-related learning outcomes. Researchers identified 45 studies that met these inclusion criteria. Compared with traditional instructional methods, technology-supported English learning programs were conducive for building vocabulary (ES = +0.85, p < .05). Detailed analysis revealed that mobile-assisted vocabulary learning (ES = +1.09, p < .05) was more effective than computer-assisted learning (ES = +0.63, p < .05). Contrary to common assumptions, technology without gamification (ES = +0.90, p < .05) was more effective than game-based technology (ES = +0.49, p <...

17 09 2021
Excessive use of electronic devices harms children’s school performance

Interactive technology (e.g., Internet, social media, video games, etc.) is an integral part of life for youth. In a recently published research paper in Computers and Human Behavior, Anthony and her colleagues report the impact of amounts of interactive technology use on school engagement and academic performance. Two-wave survey data of 9,449 middle school students (mean age = 13.5 years) were collected in 2013-2014 and 2014-15 from the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS), a national survey in China. Students reported the time spent on their electronic devices for entertainment on school days and on weekends. Academic performance was assessed with midterm scores (Chinese, English and Mathematics), cognitive competency was measured by 20 test items (verbal, figure, quantitative). Truancy, educational aspirations, concentration in class, and boredom at school were reported by students one year later as proxy for school engagement.  After a comparison with those who did not spend any time...

03 09 2021
The effect of four-day school weeks on attendance, achievement, and discipline in high school

Although the four-day school week schedule is not a new phenomenon, it has seen unprecedented growth in its adoption over the past two decades, reaching 662 public school districts in 24 states in 2019. Prior limited research shows that the schedule reduces school expenditures by a small amount but doesn’t affect the attendance among students in grades 3-8. In a recent working paper published by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, the author assessed the impact of the four-day school week policy in Oklahoma on high school students’ attendance, achievement, and school discipline. The author employed district-level high school data from Oklahoma and a quasi-experimental research method to provide a rigorous analysis of the effect of the four-day school week on high school students’ attendance. Results indicate that Four-day school weeks have no significant effect on either math and English ACT scores as well as high school attendance rates. Findings...

03 09 2021
Students with learning difficulties in inclusive education

A recent meta-analysis published in Review of Educational Research examined the cognitive and psychosocial outcomes of students with general learning difficulties (GLD) in inclusive education. Students with GLD are those with general difficulties in learning that affect their performance in most school subjects. The purpose of the review was to answer: Do students with GLD and their peers benefit from inclusive education? The review included studies that compared students with GLD and their peers in inclusive settings and segregated settings. The studies had to evaluate the effects on cognitive outcomes, such as performance on standardized tests and metacognition, as well as psychosocial outcomes, such as social, attitudinal, emotional, and motivational aspects. Forty studies met the inclusion criteria. Results showed that: On average, students with GLD in inclusive education had larger cognitive outcomes compared to similar students in segregated settings (ES = +0.35, p < .001). With regard to psychosocial outcomes,...

20 08 2021
Effects of principals and teachers’ feedback on their practice

A recent randomized evaluation conducted by Song and colleagues investigated the effects of feedback to teachers and principals. The intervention under evaluation lasted two school years and consisted of feedback on classroom practice, student growth, and principal leadership. Feedback on classroom practice included in-person classroom observations and a report with ratings and narrative feedback to be discussed with teachers. Feedback on student growth compared a target school’s student test scores to those of similar students in the same district. Finally, principal leadership was measured twice a year and results were discussed with the principals. The study took place in 126 elementary and middle schools. Sixty-three schools were randomly assigned to the treatment group and the same number to the control group. After two years, the researchers measured the effect on teachers’ classroom practice by video-recorded lessons using CLASS (Classroom Assessment and Scoring System) and FFT (Danielson’s Framework for Teaching). Principal...

20 08 2021
STEM enhancement program prevents decline in math and science achievement

High quality STEM education remains evasive in American public school systems, and disproportionately so in districts serving minority and/or students from low-income families. Jagannathan and her colleagues from Rutgers University examined the impacts of one STEM enhancement program, Nurture thru Nature (NtN), in a randomized controlled study of more than 600 elementary school students over an 8 year period of program implementation. NtN was created through a partnership between Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson (headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ), and the New Brunswick Public School district. It provides enrichment activities to students randomly selected by lottery to participate in the STEM program from fourth grade until high school graduation. NtN focuses on natural and environmental sciences in order to support students’ interest in STEM careers. Students meet twice per week for 3 hours during the year and 3 days per week for 7.5 hours during summer recess, incorporating garden and...

05 08 2021
Student achievement level and teacher expectations

Numerous studies have shown that high teacher expectations are positively associated with better student academic and sociopsychological outcomes.  A longitudinal study was published in Learning and Individual Differences, in which Wang and colleagues examined the stability and trajectories of teacher expectations within a school year in the Chinese junior high school context.   The study involved 48 teachers and their 1199 seventh grade students from 32 classrooms in 10 schools in northern China. Students’ achievement scores in Chinese, Mathematics, and English were collected four times in a school year. Teachers rated their expectations of their students’ results in the final examination three times across the school year. In the study, teacher expectations were conceptualized as the discrepancies between teacher expectation scores and student achievement, therefore, teacher expectations represented the expectation bias that teachers held for their students.  The results indicated that:  Students in the high-achieving group were systematically overestimated, and the...

05 08 2021