卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Types of Evidence

Rethinking the use of tests

Olusola O Adesope and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to summarise the learning benefits of taking a practice test versus other forms of non-testing learning conditions, such as re-studying, practice, filler activities, or no presentation of the material. Analysis of 272 independent effect sizes from 188 separate experiments demonstrated that the use of practice tests is associated with a moderate, statistically significant weighted mean effect size compared to re-studying (+0.51) and a much larger weighted mean effect size (+0.93) when compared to filler or no activities. In addition, the format, number and frequency of practice tests make a difference for the learning benefits on a final test. Practice tests with a multiple-choice option have a larger weighted mean effect size (+0.70) than short-answer tests (+0.48). A single practice test prior to the final test is more effective than when pupils take several practice tests. However, the timing should be carefully considered. A gap...

08 11 2017
Can friendships as a teenager predict later mental health?

Research by Rachel Narr and colleagues at the University of Virginia looked at whether the quality of friendships during adolescence can predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health. The study looked at a sample of 169 teenagers over 10 years, from age 15 to 25. They were surveyed annually and asked about who their closest friends were along with questions about those friendships. They were also assessed on anxiety, social acceptance, self-worth and symptoms of depression. The researchers found that teens who prioritised close friendships at age 15 had lower social anxiety, an increased sense of self-worth and fewer symptoms of depression at age 25 than their peers. However, teens who had lots of friends, rather than a few close friendships, had higher levels of anxiety as young adults. The study also determined that there was a low relation between teens having high-quality friendships and being more sought after by...

01 11 2017
How much guidance should we give our students?

How much guidance should be provided to benefit students’ learning? According to the worked example effect, providing detailed worked examples might help students transferring knowledge to long-term memory. On the other hand, the generation effect suggested that requiring students to generate items themselves, instead of to do simply reading, might lead to better memory. A recent research study carried out by Chen and colleagues, published in Learning and Instruction, attempts to find out whether students learn better with higher or lower level of guidance, when the complexity of instructional materials in trigonometry and the levels of learner expertise are considered. Participants were 94 Year 10 and 11 students in Chengdu, China. Fifty were Year 11 students who were regarded as relative expert learners as they had previously studied the trigonometry formulae, and the other 44 Year 10 students were novice learners. Students were randomly assigned into two groups for trigonometry learning before they...

01 11 2017
What does the evidence say about technology use?

New educational technology programmes are being released faster than researchers can evaluate them. The National Bureau of Economic Research in the US has written a working paper, Education Technology: An Evidence-Based Review, which discusses the evidence to date on the use of technology in the classroom, with the goal of finding decision-relevant patterns. Maya Escueta and colleagues compiled publicly available quantitative research that used either randomised controlled trials or regression discontinuity designs (where pupils qualify for inclusion in a programme based on a cut-off score at pre-test). All studies had to examine the effects of an ed-tech intervention on any education-related outcome. Therefore, the paper included not only the areas of technology access, computer-assisted learning and online courses, but also the less-often-studied technology-based behavioural interventions. Authors found that: Access to technology may or may not improve academic achievement at the K-12 level (Years 1–13), but does have a positive impact on...

01 11 2017
Evaluation of a parent-delivered early language enrichment programme

A study, published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, evaluates the effectiveness of a parent-delivered language programme on pre-school children’s language and emerging reading skills. Kelly Burgoyne and colleagues conducted a randomised controlled trial with 208 pre-school children (mean age 3 years, 1 month) and their parents living in socially diverse areas of the UK. Children and parents received either an oral language programme or an active control programme targeting motor skills. Parents delivered the 20-minute sessions to their child at home every day over 30 weeks. Children were assessed at pre-test, post-test, and 6 months after post-test on measures of language and motor skills. Early literacy skills (letter-sound knowledge, phoneme awareness and regular and irregular word reading) were assessed at 6 months after post-test only, as children were non-readers at pre- and post-test. Children who received the language programme made larger gains in language skills (effect size =...

01 11 2017
Parental Scaffolding in Kindergarten Children’s Self-Regulated Learning Behaviours

The findings of a recent study have extended our understanding of the role of parental scaffolding in kindergarten pupils’ self-regulated learning (SRL) in the Chinese context. Zhang and Whitebread, from the University of Cambridge, conducted a study on 130 pupils and their parents from three kindergartens in Beijing to examine the relationship between children’s SRL strategic behaviours, their task performance and parental scaffolding behaviours. The study involved two stages of test. The children were asked to complete a puzzle task and an origami task with their parents first. Three weeks later, children were assigned to accomplish the same two tasks by themselves. The difficulty of the parent-child tasks and the child-alone tasks was different for studying parents’ scaffolding behaviours and pupil’s SRL strategic behaviours respectively. The problem-solving processes were video-taped for an in-depth observational analyses. Pupil’s task performance was predicted by the use of metacognitive strategic behaviours. Well-performed pupils used behaviours such...

25 10 2017
A century of research on ability grouping and acceleration

Researchers Saiying Steenbergen-Hu and colleagues recently analysed the results of almost 100 years of research on the effects of ability grouping (which places pupils of similar skills and abilities in the same classes) and acceleration (where pupils are given material and assignments that are usually reserved for older year groups) on pupils’ academic achievement. After screening thousands of studies, their secondary meta-analysis, recently published in Review of Educational Research, synthesised the results of thirteen earlier meta-analyses on ability grouping and six on acceleration that met inclusion criteria for the final review. They divided ability grouping into four types: (1) between-class ability grouping, where pupils in the same year are divided into low-, medium-, or high-level classes; (2) within-class ability grouping, where pupils within a classroom are taught in groups based on their levels; (3) cross-year subject grouping, where pupils in different year groups are combined into the same class depending on...

25 10 2017
What do pupils believe about learning and intelligence?

This study examined reported attitudes and beliefs about growth mindset (the belief that intelligence and academic ability are not fixed and can be increased through effort and learning) for a sample of 103,066 pupils and 5,721 teachers in grades 4–12 (Years 5–13) in Nevada’s Clark County School District in the US. Three-quarters of pupils reported having beliefs that are consistent with a growth mindset. The average growth mindset score across all pupils was 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 indicates agreement with all statements that suggest a fixed-ability mindset, and 5 indicates disagreement). In addition, reported beliefs were found to differ depending on pupils’ ethnicity, school year, prior achievement and whether pupils were native English speakers or not. For example, the average growth mindset score for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) was lower (3.5) than the average growth mindset score for non-EAL pupils (4.0)....

25 10 2017
Gender stereotypes about intelligence begin early

Girls as young as six years old associate high-level academic ability with men more than women, according to a report published in the journal Science. The study also found that although girls aged five to seven were more likely than boys to associate their own gender with good grades, they did not link these achievements to innate abilities of “brilliance”. Lin Bian and colleagues carried out a number of tests with children, half of whom were girls, to test the influence of gender stereotypes on children’s ideas of intellectual ability. In the first test, boys and girls aged five, six, and seven were read a story about a highly intelligent person and then asked to guess the person’s gender. Next, they were shown pictures of pairs of adults, some same-sex, some opposite sex, and asked to pick which they thought were highly intelligent. Finally, the children were asked to match...

25 10 2017