卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Secondary School Education

Predicting reading ability from DNA analysis

Researchers from King’s College London have used a genetic scoring technique to predict reading performance throughout school years from DNA alone. Saskia Selzam and colleagues calculated genetic scores for educational achievement in 5,825 individuals from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) based on genetic variants identified to be important for educational achievement. They then mapped these scores against reading ability between the ages of 7 and 14. The report, published in Scientific Studies of Reading, found there was a correlation between children’s DNA and their reading ability. Genetic scores were found to explain up to five percent of the differences between children in their reading ability. The children with the highest and lowest genetic scores had reading abilities almost two years apart. This association remained significant even after accounting for cognitive ability and family socioeconomic status. The researchers note that although five percent may seem a relatively small amount, it is...

29 11 2017
The relationship between students’ academic stress and academic motivation

A 3-year longitudinal study was carried out by Nanjing University on the relationship between Chinese high school students’ academic stress and academic motivation in the subject of mathematics. Academic motivation is comprised of three components: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. Furthermore, there are three aspects of extrinsic motivation: identified regulation, introjected regulation and external regulation. A total of 298 grade 10 students (mean age: 16.46) from three high schools in urban areas of Nanjing participated in the present study. Students’ academic stress was measured when they were grade 10, and their academic motivation was measured at both grade 10 and grade 12. The study found that Chinese high school students’ academic stress at grade 10 negatively predicted their intrinsic motivation, but positively predicted their amotivation at grade 12. On the other hand, there was no significant difference between academic stress and extrinsic motivation. The researcher suggested that Chinese high schools’...

29 11 2017
Project-based learning

A working paper from MDRC builds on and updates a literature review of project-based learning (PBL) published in 2000. Focused primarily on articles and studies that have emerged in the last 17 years, the working paper discusses the principles of PBL, how PBL has been used in K–12 (Year 1–13) settings, the challenges teachers face in implementing it, how school and local factors influence its implementation and what is known about its effectiveness in improving learning outcomes. The report suggests that the evidence for PBL’s effectiveness in improving pupil outcomes is “promising, but not proven”.  The biggest challenge to evaluating the effectiveness of PBL, the researchers suggest, is a lack of consensus about the design of PBL and how it fits in with other teaching methods. Some studies have found positive effects associated with the use of PBL. However, without a clear vision of what a PBL approach should look like, it...

22 11 2017
The evidence on achievement gaps over time: Contained but not closing

Research has shown that socioeconomic status (SES) is the highest predictor of children’s academic achievement. Moreover, the achievement gap between low- and high-SES pupils begins early in their schooling. How effective have initiatives been at narrowing the achievement gap? Emma Garcia at the Education Policy Institute in the US and Elaine Weiss at the Broader Bolder Approach to Education examined two cohorts of kindergartners (Year 1), those who started in 1998 and those who started in 2010. They were looking at the relationship between socio-economic status and kindergartners’ cognitive and non-cognitive skills at the start of their school years to see if the achievement gap had narrowed in this twelve-year span. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics – Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies of the Kindergarten Classes of 1998-99 and 2010-11, Garcia and Weiss found that the achievement gap did not change between 1998 to 2010 among pupils living in...

22 11 2017
Poor literacy skills hold poorer pupils back in science

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

22 11 2017
New WWC practice guide on preventing dropout in secondary schools

The What Works Clearinghouse has released a new practice guide, Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools , that offers research-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and secondary schools. The goal is to help educators and administrators learn strategies for identifying at-risk pupils and addressing the challenges they face. The WWC and an expert panel chaired by Russell Rumberger from the University of California, Santa Barbara synthesised existing research on the topic and combined it with insight from the panel to identify the following four recommendations, which include a rating of the strength of the research evidence supporting each recommendation: Monitor the progress of all pupils, and proactively intervene when pupils show early signs of attendance, behaviour, or academic problems (minimal evidence). Provide intensive, individualised support to pupils who have fallen off track and face significant challenges to success (moderate evidence). Engage pupils by offering curricula and programmes that connect schoolwork with...

15 11 2017
The Evidence for marking

The Education Endowment Foundation has published a new review of the evidence on written marking. Researchers from Oxford University found that there were very few robust studies – too few to conduct a formal systematic review or to make definitive recommendations. Based on the limited evidence, the review makes the following tentative suggestions: Careless mistakes should be marked differently to errors resulting from misunderstanding. The latter may be best addressed by providing hints or questions which lead pupils to underlying principles; the former by simply marking the mistake as incorrect, without giving the right answer. Awarding grades for every piece of work may reduce the impact of marking, particularly if pupils become preoccupied with grades at the expense of a consideration of teachers’ formative comments. The use of targets to make marking as specific and actionable as possible is likely to increase pupil progress. Pupils are unlikely to benefit from marking unless...

08 11 2017
Homework and achievement in math and science

Fan and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to review the homework-achievement relationship in math and science given that the effect of subject matters had not been carefully examined. Among more than two thousand studies related to homework and achievement available on digital databases between 1986 and 2015, 28 studies that fulfilled the inclusion criteria were synthesized. Participants of the included studies were primary school, middle school or high school students. Key findings of those are as follows: Overall, there was a small and positive relationship between homework and achievement in math and science. The homework-achievement relationships were stronger in the studies operationally defined homework as “homework completion”, “homework grade”, and “homework effort” than the studies defined that as “homework frequency” and “time spent on homework”. The relationship for elementary and high school students was stronger than that for middle school students. The homework-achievement relationship was the strongest in studies involving US students while...

08 11 2017
Pupil may do better on tests if they can go back and check their work

Joseph Hardcastle and colleagues conducted a study to compare pupil performance on computer-based tests (CBT) and traditional paper-and-pencil tests (PPT). More than 30,000 pupils in grades 4–12 (Years 5–13) were assessed on their understanding of energy using three testing systems: a paper and pencil test; a computer-based test that allowed pupils to skip items and move freely through the test; or a CBT that did not allow pupils to return to previous questions. Overall, the results showed that being able to skip through questions, and review and change previous answers, could benefit younger pupils. Elementary (Years 5 and 6) and middle school (Years 7–9) pupils scored lower on a CBT that did not allow them to return to previous items than on a comparable computer-based test that allowed them to skip, review, and change previous responses. Elementary pupils also scored slightly higher on a CBT that allowed them to go back to...

08 11 2017