卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Achievement

Why do students cheat?

Academic cheating is a serious worldwide problem that begins during childhood. Inspired by nudge theory from behavior economics, researchers believe physical and verbal nudges can affect cheating rates among children. Zhao and colleagues conducted a study using a naturalistic experimental method to investigate the effects of a contextual factor - message about test difficulty - on academic cheating. Two possible motivations can lead to increased cheating with respect to the difficulty messages. Approach motivation: if students are informed that a test is difficult, cheating is a way to appear capable of academic success. Avoidance motivation: if they are informed that a test is easy, they may be motivated to cheat to avoid appearing incompetent. Researchers conducted an experiment to investigate the relation between messages of test difficulty and cheating behavior. A sample of 201 children (94 girls) from 6 eighth grade (mean age = 13.4 years) classes at a middle...

26 08 2022
The effectiveness of teacher specialization in elementary school

Hwang and Kisida looked to develop a causal model using quasi-experimental methods to assess the effectiveness of subject-area specialization for teachers in elementary school. The authors compared the effectiveness of a teacher in a year when the teacher had a specialization role to a year when the teacher did not have a specialization role. This limited the study to those teachers who were both specialists (teach 1 or 2 subjects out of 4 major subjects) and generalists (teach 3 or 4 subjects) within the timeframe of the study (12% of all math teachers and 36.7% of all reading teachers fit this description). However, given the relatively large sample from the Indiana Department of Education, containing 15,895 math teachers and 17,102 reading teachers, the authors were able to use this model to estimate effects related to teacher specialization. The findings were shown below. A teacher’s effectiveness was lower when teaching math...

12 08 2022
Preventing summer slide through the mail

Summer slide, or the loss of student learning progress over the summer months, is of concern to parents and educators. While summer school has been offered as a possible solution, it can be expensive and difficult to serve all students.  Lighter touch strategies such as engaging students to read and complete book activities through the summer months are popular alternatives.  One such program, Kids Read Now (KRN), engages K-5 students with both school-based and home-based activities while mailing them up to nine self-selected high-quality books. Additionally, parents receive weekly voice or text messages with nudges and tips for reading to and with their children. Students who report reading their selected books receive certificates and a prize. KRN has completed two quasi-experimental studies by Borman and colleagues.  In both studies, students who chose to participate in the program were matched with students who did not choose to participate. The five schools...

12 08 2022
Evaluation of a social skills program for early elementary students: We Have Skills

A study from Smolkowski et al. (2022), published in January 2022 reported on an evaluation of We Have Skills and its impact on both students and teachers. We Have Skills (WHS) is a short, universal curriculum that focuses on improving early elementary students’ academic and social skills, in the meantime increasing teacher classroom management effectiveness.   From 2015 to 2019, 127 early elementary teachers and their 2,817 students from multiple states were randomly assigned to either an immediate-intervention condition or a no-additional-intervention condition. Teachers assigned to the intervention condition received the WHS curriculum as a package, which included videos, skill tickets, a detailed 166-page teacher’s guide, access to the Elementary Social Behavior Assessment (an online screening system), and a brief initial training. Teachers assigned to the control condition were asked to teach students as they normally would.   The results showed that observer impressions of student behavior were positive but...

30 07 2022
Guided play

A meta-analysis study by Skene et al. aimed to examine the effectiveness of guided play on children’s learning progress, especially in Early Childhood Education (ECE). It also studied how guided play is being conceptualized and implemented in experimental studies. Guided play is a type of play-based learning that requires adults to provide guidance during children’s playing while still honoring children’s autonomy and choice. This meta-analysis reviewed 39 studies, of which 17 studies were included. In these studies, children aged from 1 to 8 years were included regardless of their gender, race, and other factors such as socioeconomic status. The studies included randomized controlled trials, in which participants were assigned randomly into control groups, and non-randomized controlled trials. Results suggested that guided play had positive effects on math and some executive functions such as task switching. There was no strong evidence to suggest that guided play could benefit children’s literacy skills...

08 07 2022
The effects of academic interventions on academic achievement and academic anxiety outcomes in elementary school children

A recent meta-analysis by Fishstrom and colleagues examined the effects of academic interventions on academic achievement and academic anxiety in students in kindergarten to Grade 6. The meta-analysis of 11 studies included 34 effect sizes, of which 17 were for academic achievement outcomes, and 17 were for academic anxiety outcomes. The results revealed statistically significant differences favoring academic treatments (g = 0.63, k = 11), consistent with existing research. In contrast, no statistically significant differences were found for academic anxiety outcomes (g = -0.06, k = 11). Despite the limitation of the small number of studies with elementary school students that met the criteria, and the difficulties in measuring academic anxiety, the study suggested that academic anxiety is not necessarily relieved by academic interventions.   Source: Fishstrom, S., Wang, H.-H., Bhat, B. H., Daniel, J., Dille, J., Capin, P., & Vaughn, S. (2022). A meta-analysis of the effects of academic...

08 07 2022
Learning English as a foreign language during early childhood: A burden or a boost?

In modern China, and also around the world, there is a wave of educational policies mandating an early start on learning English as a foreign language (EFL) in order to better prepare children for the globalized world. What makes China different in this wave is that, while the government encourages an earlier start on EFL, it also sets a ban on public elementary schools going too early in order to “protect” children’s development of their native language and prohibits English being taught before third grade. The general public think otherwise, however, which has created an unprecedented passion in society to have children starting EFL very early on at private institutions:   'Earlier is better’. Chinese parents believe early exposure to English will help children learn the language better, and want their children to master the language before hitting the critical period;Instrumental motivation. Competence in English is considered to be a vital...

14 06 2022
Virtual reality and science learning: Two experiments

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of an immersive virtual reality (IVR) simulation method compared with a video for teaching and learning scientific knowledge by conducting 2 experiments. In Experiment 1, 131 students were randomly divided into an IVR condition (n = 64) and a video condition (n = 67) to learn forensic analysis of a DNA sample. Researchers used a prequestionnaire to check students’ prior knowledge and demographic characteristics, and a postquestionnaire to investigate students’ perceived enjoyment, presence, declarative knowledge, and procedural knowledge. In Experiment 2, 165 students replicated the experiment but were randomly assigned to 4 conditions, IVR (n = 42), IVR with enactment (n = 41), video (n = 39), and video with enactment (n = 43), to investigate whether enactment can enhance students’ learning achievements as well as the knowledge transfer process. According to the results of both experiments, students from the IVR groups felt significantly more presence...

14 06 2022
Professional development, coaching, and school leaders: Two randomized studies

Benjamin K. Master and colleagues recently conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of the Executive Development Program (EDP) and other aligned coaching on developing school leaders. In the study, two randomized controlled trials (RCT) were used to individually test the effects of the EDP program alone and the effects of coaching. The EDP intervention began in June 2016 where the schools and principals in the participating districts were divided into two groups — offered EDP immediately (treatment group) and EDP in 28-31 months (control group). The coaching intervention began in Nov 2016 where the schools and principals were randomly assigned to either receive the offer of coaching (treatment) or no coaching (control). A total of 779 schools from 139 school districts across three states agreed to participate in either or both RCTs. The studies explored several questions.  Of the 301 principals offered the EDP, 66% (N=200) fully...

14 06 2022