卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Maths and Science Learning

Early childhood science experiences and later science achievement

While much attention centers around the impact of science instruction on achievement in middle and high school, less research focuses on early elementary exposure to inquiry science and its long-term impact on academic outcomes. As such, Kaderavek and colleagues at the University of Toledo embarked on a longitudinal investigation of one science framework-aligned intervention targeted towards students in grades 1-3. The NURTURES program covers two distinct aspects of a child’s early science experience: classroom-based science inquiry instruction and informal science practice at home. NURTURES teachers take part in a summer institute as well as academic-year professional development to better facilitate inquiry-based science practice and discussion with students. Additionally, to engage students’ families, NURTURES teachers give grade-specific family packs to students four times throughout the academic year. These packs further develop students’ use of science practices (such as hypothesis forming, experimental design, and data collection) while at home.  As a final...

01 10 2021
Interest in spatial activities predicts spatial ability development

Evidence has indicated that children’s early interest in specific activities is related to later achievement in the corresponding skills. A recent study published in Contemporary Education Psychology explored the role children’s interest in spatial activities played in their spatial ability development. A total of 197 children (mean age = 52.7 months at baseline) from middle-class families was recruited from 4 local non-profit preschools in Hong Kong. Children’s spatial ability was measured 4 times (T1 to T4) over a two-year period (autumn and spring in preschool years 2 and 3) using a 16-item visual-spatial skill task which requires preschoolers to identify a target figure presented in a partly or totally different orientation from four other figures. The children’s interest in spatial and art activities was reported by their mothers who ranked the interest of their children in a list of 13 activities from the Brief Reading Interest Scale (BRISC). The parents...

01 10 2021
Does order matter?

A recent randomized control trial conducted by Sarama and colleagues compares the order of instructional activities promoted within a learning trajectories (LT) approach to a reverse-sequence (REV) design and a business-as-usual (BAU) design.  The LT approach operates under the assumption that a student learns best when content and activities are sequenced according to the children’s developmental progression or level of thinking.  In comparison, the theoretical approach of the REV design is supported by some research suggesting that challenging students with content beyond their current level of thinking may help them see the value in future instruction designed to facilitate their understanding of the challenging material. The study focused on the development of length measurement understanding and involved 185 kindergarten students, with 69 assigned to the LT condition, 59 assigned to the REV condition, and 57 assigned to the BAU condition.  Students assigned to the LT condition and REV condition received...

03 09 2021
STEM enhancement program prevents decline in math and science achievement

High quality STEM education remains evasive in American public school systems, and disproportionately so in districts serving minority and/or students from low-income families. Jagannathan and her colleagues from Rutgers University examined the impacts of one STEM enhancement program, Nurture thru Nature (NtN), in a randomized controlled study of more than 600 elementary school students over an 8 year period of program implementation. NtN was created through a partnership between Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson (headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ), and the New Brunswick Public School district. It provides enrichment activities to students randomly selected by lottery to participate in the STEM program from fourth grade until high school graduation. NtN focuses on natural and environmental sciences in order to support students’ interest in STEM careers. Students meet twice per week for 3 hours during the year and 3 days per week for 7.5 hours during summer recess, incorporating garden and...

05 08 2021
Web-based teacher coaching develops rigorous mathematics instruction

Web-based coaching programs are a cost effective and scalable option for schools looking to improve instructional quality. Brown University’s Matthew Kraft and Harvard University’s Heather Hill evaluated the efficacy of one such program, Mathematical Quality Instruction (MQI) Coaching, for teachers implementing Common Core-aligned math instruction. The randomized field trial evaluated MQI Coaching’s effect on teachers’ instruction and student achievement over a two-year period. The bi-weekly MQI Coaching cycle included teacher selection of MQI practice development, filming of lessons, meeting with an instructional coach to review lesson clips and stock clips from the MQI library, and identification of a plan for improvement. Two public school districts in a Midwestern state partnered with the authors to evaluate the efficacy of the MQI Coaching model. One was a large, urban district serving 83% low-income families and the other was a smaller suburban district serving 37% low-income families. Participating upper elementary and middle school math teachers...

15 07 2021
How does math anxiety affect achievement? The role of grit and procrastination

The feelings of fear, tension, and apprehension about math pose an obstacle for math learning. In a recent article published in Frontiers in Psychology, Youqing Yu and colleagues examined whether math anxiety’s impact on math achievement could be mediated through grit. The study first conducted a survey among 222 high school students studying grade 10th in China. The questionnaire contained measures of math anxiety, math-specific grit, and domain-general grit (not limited to mathematics). They indexed the math score of the final term examination for the first semester to assess their math achievement. The researchers then conducted another study among 465 Chinese high school students in 11th grade with the same set of measurements plus a measurement of math procrastination. The purpose of this second study was to examine the replicability of the results and whether math procrastination was subject to the influence of math anxiety. The analysis showed that: The...

15 07 2021
Climate change education coupled with hydroponic gardening may increase science achievement scores

As many recognize the pressing need for improved climate change education in our schools, studies evaluating the impacts of such education on science achievement scores become crucial. Kate G. Burt and colleagues explored the impacts of one particular climate change curriculum on New York City fourth graders’ year-end science achievement scores in the 2014-15 school year cycle. The New York Sun Works (NYSW) program builds classroom-based hydroponic lab systems and provides curricula addressing environmental issues in all grade K-12 schools in NYC. Based on schools’ preference, the NYSW program incorporates various hydroponic and aquaponic systems in converted classrooms or full-scale school-based greenhouses. The accompanying project-based curriculum meets New York State’s Science Scope and Sequence requirements and provides intensive training for teachers to implement twice weekly lessons for a total of 80 lessons throughout the school year. 2014-15 achievement scores on the New York State science assessment for fourth grade students (n=638) in...

04 05 2021
Assisting a gender-equal math learning journey

Gender stereotypes are harmful. Many scholars hold the view that gender stereotypic beliefs can undermine students’ math performance. A recent intervention study published in Learning and Instruction strategically combined the reinforcement of gender-equal beliefs with the inculcation of growth mindsets and found promising effects of this joint intervention. Anti-gender-stereotypic treatments emphasize that boys and girls possess the same potential and can perform equally well in math. Meanwhile, growth mindset training can bolster anti-gender-stereotypic beliefs by focusing on the importance of consistent efforts and deliberate practice. Although past literature has not yet established conclusive evidence on such joint intervention, it has been reported that the interaction between the two treatments has additional benefits for students’ learning motivations. To fill the gap in literature and provide rigorous evidence on this topic, researchers from South Korea conducted a cluster randomized trial in a public elementary school with 113 students assigned to the intervention group and 90 students...

07 04 2021
What works in mathematics for elementary school students?

A new review of research, conducted by the team at JHU’s Center for Research and Reform in Education and recently published in AERA Open, analyzes the best available international evidence on math programs for children in elementary school to find out what works in math teaching and learning. Eighty-seven studies of 66 programs were included in the review. Of these, 85% were randomized experiments and 15% were quasi-experiments. Results showed that: There were positive outcomes for tutoring programs (ES = +0.20), with larger effects for one-to-small group tutoring (ES = +0.30) compared to one-to-one tutoring (ES = +0.19). Similar outcomes were found for teachers and teaching assistants as tutors. Professional development (PD) programs were effective when they focused on classroom organization and management (ES = +0.19), such as implementation of cooperative learning, or when they were intended to support the adoption of traditional (non-digital) curricula (ES = +0.12). No impact was found...

07 04 2021