卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Maths and Science Learning

Interleaved practice improves math test scores

The results of a randomized controlled trial, published in Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that a greater emphasis on interleaved practice may dramatically improve math test scores for seventh graders. Whereas most mathematics worksheets consist of a block of problems devoted to the same skill or concept, an interleaved worksheet is arranged so that no two consecutive problems require the same strategy. Doug Rohrer and colleagues conducted the study with 54 classes in a large school district in Florida during the 2017–2018 school year. Over a period of four months, the classes periodically completed either interleaved or blocked worksheets, and then both groups completed an interleaved review worksheet. All students completed the same problems. One month later, students took an unannounced test which was set by the researchers. The study found that: Students who had completed the interleaved assignments performed much better on the unannounced test than those in the blocked assignment...

02 07 2019
Does anxiety affect performance, or poor performance cause anxiety?

Math anxiety is the state of discomfort around the performance of mathematical tasks. Does math anxiety cause poor performance in mathematics, or is it poor performance in mathematics that causes math anxiety? The question is important, because it affects the “treatment” that results. Should the focus be on improving students’ confidence, or their math ability? A review in Frontiers in Psychology considers the evidence supporting the two models – The Deficit Theory, which claims that poor performance leads to high anxiety, or The Debilitating Anxiety Theory, which claims that anxiety reduces performance by affecting the pre-processing, processing, and retrieval of information. The review reveals that the evidence is conflicting – There is research to support the Deficit Theory, with the strongest evidence coming from longitudinal studies and studies of mathematical disabilities. Similarly, there is support for the Debilitating Anxiety Model from studies across all ages that have manipulated anxiety to reveal either...

05 06 2019
Improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8

This practice guide from the What Works Clearinghouse provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. The guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students. Recommendations include: Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process. Teach students how to use visual representations. Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies. The guide presents evidence-based suggestions for putting each recommendation into practice and describes roadblocks that may be encountered, as well as possible solutions. Each recommendation is rated based on the strength of the research evidence that has shown the effectiveness of the recommendation. The recommendations listed above have strong to moderate evidence of effectiveness.   Source (Open Access): Woodward, J., Beckmann, S., Driscoll, M., Franke, M., Herzig, P., Jitendra, A., …Ogbuehi, P. (2012). Improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8:...

05 06 2019
What counts for future success in math?

Which preschool math competencies are most important for later math achievement? A study in Early Childhood Research Quarterly attempts to answer this question for low-income and minority children. The research looked at 781 children who completed the Research-based Early Mathematics Assessment (REMA) in preschool and a further math assessment in fifth grade. The children came from diverse classrooms in New York and Boston, with 53% of the children African-American and 83% qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. Using state-defined preschool mathematics standards documents, the researchers classified the REMA into a number of domains of mathematical knowledge: Counting and cardinality – basic counting (rote counting, number recognition, one-to-one correspondence) and advanced counting (cardinality, counting forward and back) Patterning – extend and duplicate patterns Geometry – identify, compare, and compose shapes Measurement and data – recognize shapes and identify their attributes by measurement It was found that: All the domains were significantly predictive of later achievement,...

05 06 2019
Traditional teaching methods may be putting off math students

Traditional teaching methods, where the teacher stands at the front and dictates to the class, may be affecting students’ attitudes toward math, suggested by researchers at the University of Manchester. More than 13,000 11- to 16-year-old students and 128 teachers at 40 secondary schools across England were asked to complete questionnaires detailing the kind of activities they experienced in math lessons. The study found that: Traditional activities such as copying the teacher’s notes from the board and being asked questions by the teacher were most frequently cited, ahead of alternative learning approaches such as using media-like magazines and videos in class. Students who reported a more traditional teaching experience in their lessons also named math as their least favorite subject. The results of a review in 2009 from the Johns Hopkins School of Education’s Center for Research and Reform in Education, Effective Programs in Middle and High School Mathematics: A Best-Evidence...

05 06 2019
Providing free glasses to students in rural China

Nie and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of providing free eyeglasses to junior high school students in a poor rural area of Western China.  In this study, screening and vision testing were provided to 1,974 grade seven and eight students from 31 schools located in northern Shaanxi province in China before they were divided into treatment group and controlled group. Then, free eyeglasses were distributed in treatment schools to students found to need one, regardless of whether they had one already. In contrast, students from the control group schools received an eyeglass prescription for their parents only. The eyeglass usage of the treatment group increased from 31% at the baseline to 72%, while that of the control group increased from 28% to 50%. The study questioned students about their academic aspirations, administered a standardized exam using items drawn from a bank of questions developed by...

21 05 2019
Understanding math anxiety

While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties. Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when confronted by a math problem. Research conducted by the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge examined the math performance of more than 2,700 primary and secondary students in the UK and Italy who were screened for math anxiety and general anxiety. Researchers then worked one-to-one with the children in order to gain deeper understanding of their cognitive abilities and feelings towards math using a series of cognitive tasks, questionnaires, and interviews. Emma Carey and colleagues found that A general feeling that math was more difficult than other subjects often contributed to feelings of anxiety about the subject, and that teachers and parents may inadvertently play a role. Girls in both primary and secondary school were found to...

08 05 2019
How do young children develop agency, literacy, and numeracy?

A new resource from Deans for Impact summarizes current cognitive-science research related to how young children - from birth to age eight - develop skills across three domains: agency, literacy, and numeracy. It aims to give guidance to anyone working in education who is interested in understanding the science of how young children develop control of their own behavior and intentions, how they learn to read and write, and how they develop the ability to think mathematically. For each domain, the report identifies key questions about learning and provides a short list of the principles from learning science that inform the answers to these questions. The resource then connects these principles to a set of practical implications for specific teaching strategies. For example, the report identified children regulate their behaviors by achieving the following:   Remember their goalsSuppress impulses and not respond to distractionsBe able to change how they think and react...

10 04 2019
Children’s temperament and teachers as mediators

An article in Child Development reports on a Finnish study of children’s temperament and their math and reading development, focusing on whether teachers’ interaction style acts as a mediator between students’ temperament characteristics and their skill development. The study followed 156 Finnish children, each from a different class, during their first year of primary school. The participating children completed math and English tests in October and April, and parents and teachers completed questionnaires about the child’s temperament. Teachers also answered daily questionnaires over a one-week period about their interaction style with the target child. There were four components of the child’s temperament: Task orientation (activity, persistence, and distractibility); inhibition; positive mood; and negative emotionality. There were three components of teacher’s interaction styles: Affection (a positive and warm daily relationship with the child); behavioral control (the degree to which the teacher aimed to directly influence the child’s behavior); and psychological control (teachers expressing disappointment and...

14 03 2019