卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Maths and Science Learning

An intervention for high school chemistry and physics

Designed by a group of Finnish and American interdisciplinary researchers, the Crafting Engaging Science Environment (CESE) intervention aims to increase both students’ interest and performance in secondary-level science subjects. The intervention, containing 3 lessons each in Chemistry and Physics, constructs its lessons using Project-Based Learning (PBL). By challenging students in the lessons, the intervention seeks to elevate students’ engagement and pursuit of meaningfulness. Lessons center on “real-world phenomena” to enhance students’ ability to plan and investigate by themselves. Schneider et al. conducted research with 61 schools, 119 teachers, and 4,238 students in California and Michigan, looking into the possible effects of CESE. Participating teachers and students were evenly divided into two groups–one followed the instructions of the CESE intervention while the other continued with business as usual. A 2-level Hierarchical Linear Model was used to evaluate the intervention effects between the groups among different races and ethnicity while adding on...

02 05 2022
Effectiveness of a PD program in a repeated randomized study

A study published in Evaluation Review evaluated the effect of a teacher professional development program on student math achievement in two experiments. The evaluation was conducted through repeated randomized control trials on two consecutive cohorts of teachers. Since replication is rare in education, the authors wanted to evaluate the relevance of program implementation on its effectiveness. Two cohorts of 730 teachers and their 13,000 sixth grade students participated in the study in 2008 and 2010. In both cohorts, teachers were randomly assigned to the intervention or to the control group for three years of program implementation. The PD program, named PON M@t.abel+, was promoted by the Italian Ministry of Education to train math teachers in using strategies close to the students’ everyday life and learning by doing. Training was provided to groups of teachers (15-20 each group) by a tutor using both in-person and online sessions. The training covered different...

25 03 2022
Does small group mathematics instruction work for all students?

A recent randomized evaluation conducted in Norway investigated the effects of a small group mathematics instruction on student academic achievement in elementary school. The study involved 159 elementary schools and 14,891 students in 10 municipalities in Norway. Schools were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or business as usual. Students in the intervention group were pulled out from their regular math class into small groups homogenous for ability for 3-4 hours per week. Therefore, the small group instruction was delivered to all students in the class, not only to low-achieving students or pupils at risk for failure. The intervention lasts for one or two years with two periods of 4-6 weeks of intervention each year. The authors evaluated the effects of the intervention on student mathematics achievement in fifth grade – after one or two years of intervention – through the Norwegian national test. Results showed significant positive effects for...

11 03 2022
Parent engagement in science education: the more the merrier?

Parents are the first teachers of their children. The success of school education needs parental engagement. However, there is a cost to everything. What are the costs of encouraging more parental involvement in children’s science education? Robinson and her colleagues used a randomized field experiment to examine the effects of a text-messaging intervention in science education and identified opportunity costs of shifting parental effort from other subjects to science. The study took place in England. Grades 7-11 students from 5 secondary schools were randomly assigned to the treatment condition (n = 1,729) or the control condition (n = 1,754). Pre-treatment covariates showed no statistically significant differences between conditions. Through a pre-existing texting platform, parents of students in the treatment condition received around two text messages per week nudging them to ask students specific questions tied to their science curriculum. All else equal, parents in the control condition did not receive...

25 02 2022
School improvement meta-analysis

In a recent meta-analysis, Schueler and colleagues investigated the effects of school improvement initiatives spanning four major categories: turnaround, labeling, charter conversion, and closure. The search covered the years 2000-2019, effectively capturing the school improvement landscape from No Child Left Behind up until the COVID-19 pandemic school closures. Following a literature search and inclusion review, 67 studies were utilized in the analysis as the authors sought to determine the general effects of school improvement initiatives on low-performing K-12 student achievement along with specific effects associated with features of these initiatives. The general impacts of school initiatives were shown below. For effects on high-stakes achievement test scores: a significant positive effect was found (ES = + 0.06) on math achievement and an insignificant effect on English achievement. For effects on low-stakes achievement test scores: a significant positive effect was found in both STEM (ES = +0.07) and the humanities (ES =...

11 02 2022
Digital games for improving student motivation in mathematics

The Journal of Computer Assisted Learning has recently published a meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of digital games for the enhancement of K-12 student motivation in mathematics. To be included in the review, studies had to use randomized or quasi-experimental designs and evaluated interventions involving the use of digital games in mathematics in school contexts. A total of 20 studies were included in the review. Of them 10 studies took place in the United States and 5 in European countries. The studies used different measures of student motivation, most of them were based on the expectancy-value theory. This theory postulates that student behavior is determined by expectancy – students are more likely to achieve an outcome when they believe in their success – and value – how much students value the outcome to be achieved. Results of analysis were showed below. Overall, a significant positive effect of digital games on...

07 01 2022
Relations among phonological processing skills and mathematics

A recent meta-analysis was published that investigated the association between phonological processing skills and mathematics in children. A total of 94 studies (135 unique samples, 826 effect sizes) was examined in the study. To be included for analysis, studies had to focus on participants in kindergarten or primary school. Effect sizes, Pearson’s correlation, were collected between the phonological processing measures and the mathematics outcomes, as well as children’s characteristics (e.g., age, grade). Phonological processing refers to the use of the sound structure of language to manage written and oral information and consists of three components, namely, phonological awareness (PA), rapid automatized naming (RAN), and phonological memory (PM). Phonological awareness refers to awareness of the sound structure of language. RAN signifies the rate of access to phonological information in long-term memory, and it is usually measured by how fast an individual can name symbol stimuli (e.g., colors, letters, digits). In contrast,...

07 01 2022
Pre-K math instruction in different settings

09 A recent analysis of a cluster-randomized trial of a pre-K math intervention by McCormick and colleagues provides insight on the differences between public school pre-K instruction compared to pre-K in community-based organizations. The study investigates the differences in instruction between public school settings and community-based organizations as well as the effects of a math intervention called Making Pre-K Count (MPC), which includes the implementation of a 2-year math curriculum along with training and coaching for teachers. The study was conducted in New York City and consisted of 35 sites (24 public schools and 11 community-based organizations) assigned to the treatment and 34 sites (23 public schools and 11 community-based organizations) assigned to the control group.  In total, there 1389 students from 173 classrooms enrolled in the study. The differences between two settings: Lead teachers in public school settings are significantly more likely to have a master’s degree (96.6% of...

07 01 2022
Efficacy of Zoology One, a science and literacy program for kindergartners

  Gray and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania examined the effects of Zoology One, an integrated science and literacy curriculum, on Philadelphia kindergarteners’ literacy skills and reading motivation. As shortages of students entering STEM careers grow larger, an emergent body of literature supports the need for engagement in science instruction early on in schooling. Young students who naturally show an appetite for scientific inquiry, this motivation for science tends to be weakened as they get older. As such, early science exposure offers the roots for scientific understanding that can be developed in later grades and serve as a motivating force for science learning. The researchers employed a randomized control trial design in 71 classrooms of 21 schools, randomly assigning classrooms to treatment or control conditions. Treatment classrooms implemented Zoology One in place of regular literacy instruction for 2 hours per day throughout the entire school year. The curriculum’s four...

03 12 2021