卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Secondary School Education

Keep it real

An article published by the American Psychological Association used data on more than 3,500 German secondary students to explore the link between parental aspirations and their children’s math achievement. It concludes that realistic aspirations are beneficial, but that unrealistic aspirations can be detrimental. The authors used data from the Project for the Analysis of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics (PALMA), a longitudinal study investigating adolescents’ development in mathematics during the secondary school years (German grades 5 to 10; 2002 to 2007).  Samples were drawn from schools in Bavaria and were representative of the child population and the three major school types within the German public school system. The project included assessments of children, teachers, and parents. The study found that: Parental aspiration and children’s mathematical achievement were linked by positive reciprocal relations over time. However, the authors also found that parental over-aspiration can be detrimental to children’s math achievement when aspiration exceeds expectation....

22 10 2020
Does believing abilities are malleable affect students’ engagement in Math?

Students' engagement in Math is a topic receiving more attention now societies are emphasising the importance of STEM. An article recently published in Frontiers in Psychology explored whether students’ math engagement would be influenced by their beliefs about “implicit theory”. They did this by asking a cohort of Chinese students whether they believed math ability was fixed or malleable, then examining whether the answer affected their math engagement.  They also explored how students' self-efficacy and the intrinsic value they gave to Math influenced the relationship.  The data were collected from 370 students in Grade 8 and 369 students in Grade 11 in China in two waves of assessment. In the first wave, participating students completed the measures of their implicit theory, academic self-efficacy, and intrinsic value. Their Math engagement was then assessed twelve months later. The analysis showed that:  Believing math ability can be changed had a positive effect on students' math...

07 10 2020
The Cost-Benefit Case for Tutoring

Individual preK-12 tutoring experiments, varying widely in context, approach, and cost, have shown the positive impact of tutoring and small-group programs. However, a recent meta-analysis sought to summarize the findings of experimental studies since 1980. The study is the first systematic review or meta-analysis of experimental research on preK-12 tutoring interventions of all types. The authors defined tutoring as one-to-one or small-group human instruction aimed at supplementing rather than replacing classroom-based education. No correlational or quasi-experimental studies were included in this review. Through the search and screening process, 96 studies were included. The authors found that: Tutoring programs yield substantial positive impacts on learning outcomes, with an overall pooled effect size estimate of +0.37. Furthermore, effects are stronger on average for teacher and paraprofessional tutoring programs as opposed to nonprofessional and parent tutoring. Effects also tend to be strongest among the earlier grades. The main takeaways from this review are nothing new....

07 10 2020
The endangered psychological well-being of students due to COVID-19

Adolescents are vulnerable to stressful events. The global pandemic and subsequent health insecurity, social isolation, and school closings have posed significant challenges to students’ psychological well-being. Researchers from China gathered online survey data from 8,079 middle and high school students to investigate COVID-19’s psychological impacts. The surveyed sample focused on 12-18 years old students from 21 provinces in China. Researchers adopted the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) and generalized anxiety disorder scale (GAD-7) to assess the level of depression and anxiety among Chinese adolescents in March. The survey achieved a high response rate of 99.3%. Pre-COVID-19 meta-analysis has established a baseline depression rate of 15.4% among K-12 Chinese students. This study, however, concluded that the surveyed students experienced an alarmingly high rate of 43.7% mild to severe depression and 37.4% anxiety symptoms. Regression results suggested that characteristics such as rural, female, higher grade levels, and living in Hubei are associated with more...

07 10 2020
Chinese and Finnish students’ praises to peers reflected their mindset

Growth mindsets and academic motivations have been increasingly valued. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology examines how mindsets and academic motivations are reflected in how students praise their peers. The study was conducted among Chinese and Finnish students to examine any potential differences. The study collected data from 992 Chinese and 870 Finnish fourth to ninth graders from two Chinese and two Finnish public schools. Students completed a questionnaire which measured how they gave feedback to their peers, their mindset and academic motivation. Their feedback was assessed in terms of three kinds of praise, namely neutral praise (e.g., "Great!"), person praise (e.g., "You are so gifted" or "You were really lucky!") and process praise (e.g., "You must have worked hard to achieve this score"). The authors analysed how the use of praise predicted mindset and academic motivation. The findings were as follows: Giving person-focused praise was associated with a fixed mindset and negative academic motivation,...

22 09 2020
Low-achieving students in China benefited more in a specialized teacher incentive program

A study recently published in Economics of Education Review examined how a teacher incentive program improved the math performance of students in rural China. The authors suggested that since teachers in rural China are evaluated by students’ high school entrance exam scores and the rate of matriculation into academic high schools, they might tend to focus on mid- and high-performing students and neglect the low-achieving students. With a view to overcoming this, the study examined the effectiveness of a modified pay-for-percentile incentive program that granted teachers 60% more pay incentives for improvements in the outcomes of low-achieving students. The study conducted a clustered randomized control trial using 1,825 fifth-grade students from 52 schools which implemented the program, and another 1,964 fifth-grade students from 51 control schools which did not implement the program. Students’ math performances were accessed by standardized tests before and after the one-year program. The results were as...

22 09 2020
Poor literacy skills hold poorer students back in science

A report, published by the Education Endowment Foundation in the UK and the Royal Society, has reviewed existing studies to identify interventions and teaching approaches that have a positive impact on student learning in science, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The researchers from the University of Oxford analyzed data in the National Pupil Database in England to measure the extent of the gap in the performance between economically disadvantaged students (students who have been entitled to free school meals at least once in the last six years) and students from higher socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds on national science tests. This analysis confirmed that disadvantaged students had much lower scores and made poorer progress in science, at every stage of their school career, than students from higher SES backgrounds. The gap first becomes apparent at Key Stage 1 (ages 5 – 7) and only gets wider throughout primary and secondary school....

09 09 2020
Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning: What works and what does not

Developing metacognition and self-regulated learning (SRL) skills improves educational performance and attainment. There is evidence that interventions focused on these skills may help students from low SES backgrounds, but we are still learning how best to facilitate this development. A recent review by Daniel Muijs and Christian Bokhove of the University of Southampton in England synthesized studies to determine the programs and characteristics that have the greatest impact on metacognitive and SRL development. Effective instruction included direct approaches via explicit instruction and modeling of metacognition and SRL practices by teachers, and indirect approaches such as the presence of a learning environment with relevant practice opportunities, dialogue, and scaffolded inquiry with student autonomy. Teachers felt more successful programs lasted more than two semesters, included leadership support, training and mentoring, and a receptive environment for the intervention. Some practices appeared to have more of an impact than others. Intrinsic to the process of SRL and...

27 08 2020
High-dosage reading tutoring in public schools as an alternative to charter schools

Amid the heated policy debate on whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools, people often cite charter schools’ more intensive tutoring and better academic performance to lobby for lifting the cap. A recent paper indicated that public schools with high-dosage after-school tutoring have the potential to be a politically neutral solution to increase student achievement without lifting the cap. Researchers at Harvard University conducted a school-level randomized evaluation to examine the effects of high-dosage reading tutoring on New York City’s middle school students. Using matched-triple randomization procedures, 60 traditional New York City public schools were divided into a treatment group, a control group, and a ‘pure’ control group. During three years of the project, selected students in the treatment group attended one-to-four reading tutoring for 2.5 hours every day, while students in the control and the ‘pure’ control groups had neither tutoring nor other after-school services. Meanwhile, the New York...

27 08 2020