卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Maths and Science Learning

Stories about struggling scientists improved science grades?

A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology looks at the impact of “struggle stories” on success in science. Students who think that success in science is only possible with exceptional talent may become demotivated and, for example, turn away from the idea of studying science in college. In this study, 402 students in ninth and tenth grades in New York City schools read one of three kinds of story about an eminent scientist who: Struggled intellectually (e.g., made mistakes and overcame them through effort); Struggled personally (e.g., was poor or lacked parental support, but overcame it); or Made great discoveries (a control condition, without struggle). The intervention lasted five weeks. Student achievement was measured using grades from the six-week sessions before and after the intervention, and motivation was measured using a pre- and post-test. The study found that: Students in both of the “struggle story” conditions had higher grades than the...

29 07 2020
A review of reading and math interventions for struggling secondary students

Through a systematic review published by Campbell Collaboration, Jen Dietrichson and colleagues examined the effect of school-based reading and math interventions on struggling and at-risk secondary students. The study examined programs focused on skill areas in reading and math, including reading comprehension, fluency, algebra, and fractions. They also reviewed studies that addressed certain instructional methods—student peer-assisted learning, introducing incentives, small group instruction, progress monitoring, computer-assisted instruction (CAI), and subject-specific coaching for teachers. Dietrichson and colleagues reviewed the effect sizes of 71 studies, primarily randomized control trials (52 or 75%), 59 of which were from the United States. Included studies targeted school-based academic skills for struggling or at-risk students in Grades 7-12, used treatment and control groups (either through a randomized control trial or a quasi-experimental design), and relied on standardized tests in math or reading as their output. The results were as follows: Interventions that included peer small group instruction (ES =...

01 07 2020
Positive results for school-readiness intervention

A study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly reports on a randomized controlled trial of an intervention designed to improve the quality of teaching in early childhood settings and increase children’s school readiness. “Play and Learn” is a low-cost, 20-week, teacher-delivered early childhood program that targets skills for both teachers and children. For teachers, the intervention aims to improve their teaching and interactive skills. The aim of the intervention for children is to improve their language and math skills and increase school readiness. The randomized controlled trial involved 1,116 children ages 18 to 36 months who were enrolled in 87 childcare centers in Denmark. Childcare centers were randomized to either an intervention or control group, with childcare centers in the intervention group implementing the Play and Learn program. Teachers implementing the program received training materials and tools to support their teaching and help them to be more explicit and intentional in their interactions...

17 06 2020
Results of a content literacy intervention to improve pupils’ reading comprehension and subject knowledge

A study published in Journal of Educational Psychology investigates the effectiveness of a content literacy intervention – the Model of Reading Engagement (MORE) – on first grade students’ science subject knowledge, reading engagement, and reading comprehension. The MORE intervention aims to help young children acquire conceptually-related vocabulary while learning subject-specific content. In this study, classroom teachers taught first-grade children about science knowledge while they conducted literacy lessons. MORE lessons consisted of one unit on the life science topic of Arctic animal survival, taught over ten 60-minute lessons. Prior to the intervention, teachers participated in two-hour after-school professional development workshops.  A total of 674 pupils from 38 classrooms across 10 elementary schools took part in a randomized controlled trial. Classrooms were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: MORE at school (MS); MORE at school plus home condition (MS-H), which included reading at home in addition to the MS lessons; or usual lessons....

02 06 2020
More time in class benefits the best

Spending more time at school benefits the best-performing students disproportionately, according to a study. The researchers used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K). The ECLS-K followed the cohort class of 1998-1999 from kindergarten to their eighth grade, while the present study used the data from the autumn and spring semesters in the 1998-99 school year during kindergarten for analysis. This included more than 20,000 children from 1,000 kindergarten programs in schools for children who entered kindergarten in 1998. Children were given math and reading tests in the fall and spring. Because there was essentially random variation in when these tests were delivered, there were variations in the amount of instructional time between the two tests. The researchers used this to analyze the progress made, but also the difference in progress among the different percentiles within the class. They found that: On average, reading scores increase by...

24 03 2020
In-person vs. online collaboration in science

In an article published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, researchers studied whether online collaborative learning was more effective than in-person collaborative learning in middle school science classes in relation to students’ understanding of science concepts. In the study, 90 eighth graders from five classes taught by two teachers at a Virginia public school participated over nine weeks. One teacher taught the experimental group and the other taught the control group. Following a pre-test using the Misconceptions-Oriented Standards-Based Assessment Resources for Teachers (MOSART), both groups were given traditional in-class instruction on the same science topics. At least twice a week, collaborative assignments were then given to the classes, the only difference being that the experimental group collaborated online and did not receive immediate teacher feedback on their theories, unlike the control group who collaborated in person. After nine weeks, the groups were post-tested using MOSART. Results showed that the online...

24 03 2020
Math homework effort: Increasing autonomous motivation through support from family and school

An article published in Frontiers in Psychology examined how math homework effort among middle school students is influenced by adult support from family and school. The authors hypothesized that support from parents and teachers could promote the autonomous motivation of students by providing a sense of having free choice, and by generating interest.   A questionnaire was distributed to 666 seventh and eighth graders from three schools in Hubei Province of China. The questionnaire sought information about students’ math homework effort, autonomous motivation, math teacher support, and parental autonomy support. The results were as follows: Students perceived that parental autonomy support and math teachers’ support facilitated students’ autonomous motivation, which in turn enhanced their effort in homework. Furthermore, students perceived that parental autonomy support directly promoted their math homework effort. The authors concluded that parents and teachers should provide more support for middle school students’ math learning. Specifically, they provided three...

10 03 2020
Computer games to improve children’s math and science achievement

An independent evaluation in the UK of Stop and Think: Learning Counterintuitive Concepts has found evidence of a positive impact in math and science outcomes for students in Key Stage 2 . The Learning Counterintuitive Concepts project, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Wellcome, aimed to improve science and math achievement for Year 3 (7-8 year olds) and Year 5 (9-10 year olds) using an intervention called Stop and Think. When learning new concepts in science and math, students must be able to inhibit prior contradictory knowledge and misconceptions to acquire new knowledge successfully. Stop and Think is a computer-assisted learning activity that aims to improve a learner’s ability to adapt to counterintuitive concepts by training them to inhibit their initial response, and instead, give a slower and more reflective answer. The randomized controlled trial involved 6,672 children from 89 schools across England. The intervention was delivered to the whole class...

18 12 2019
The reciprocal effects of homework self-concept, interest and effort on math achievement

Math achievement has been thought to be interrelated with self-concept, interest and effort. In a recent longitudinal study published in Contemporary Educational Psychology, researchers examined how they influence each other over time using a sample of Grade 8 students in China.  702 students in Grade 8 from 14 classes in two public schools in East and South China completed an assessment of their math achievement, homework self-concept, interest, and effort at six weeks after the start of the school year and at the end of the school year. The analysis showed that:  Reciprocal effects were found between math self-concept and achievement, effort and achievement, as well as interest and effort.  In particular, the authors found that higher homework interest led to a higher subsequent effort, and higher prior effort could promote higher homework interest.  Moreover, self-concept had no significant effect on subsequent interest, but prior interest led to higher self-concept, possibly reflecting...

18 12 2019