卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief

Types of Evidence

Executive functions training improves thinking and creative abilities

While executive functions have been found closely related to creativity and thinking, the neuroscientific training for such functions has been regarded as difficult in widespread applications. However, based on the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning, research has indicated that reading aloud and simple arithmetic calculation activities could largely increase prefrontal activation. A recent study published in Thinking Skills and Creativity aimed to examine whether such training could improve students’ executive functioning, thinking and creative abilities. Thirty-eight students from a junior high school in Taiwan participated in this study. Half of them were randomly assigned into a training group, the other half were assigned to a control group. Over four weeks on weekdays, the students received 20 fifteen-minute sessions. Students in the training group read aloud and performed arithmetic calculations in each session. There were three difficulty levels for the reading materials and the arithmetic calculations to provide...

31 07 2019
How do teacher-student interactions affect emotions and behaviors?

A recent study published in PLOS ONE examined how classroom environment shapes the emotions and behaviors of students. Using a sample of Chinese students, Wang and colleagues examined the association between classroom environment and emotional and behavioral problems across different school stages, while also considering the influences of students’ personality and family environment. In two primary schools and four secondary schools in Liaoning Province, northeast China, the study collected valid responses from 5,433 students (2,039 from primary schools; 2,091 from junior high schools; 1,303 from senior high schools) and 244 classroom teachers (92 from primary schools; 96 from junior high schools; 56 from senior high schools). The students were asked about their emotional and behavioral problems, personality, family environment, perceptions of teacher-student interaction through a questionnaire; and the teachers reported their depressive symptoms. The authors found that: The greatest influences on students’ emotions and behaviors were personality and family characteristics...

31 07 2019
Improving times table fluency

The Institute for Effective Education (IEE) in the UK has published a new report from a project funded by their Innovation Evaluation Grants. The IEE Innovation evaluations are small-scale and test the kinds of innovations that schools are interested in. Thirty-four Year 4 classes took part in the evaluation of Improving times table fluency, which was conducted by Underwood West Academy. A total of 876 children were included in the study. Five groups of four or five classes were created by matching the pre-test scores on a 25-item tables test and the percentage of children in receipt of pupil premium (additional funding for schools in England, designed to help disadvantaged students). All groups had similar pre-test scores and similar percentages of children in receipt of pupil premium. Each class used a different balance of conceptual and procedural activities during times tables lessons. Conceptual activities were games that focused on the connections...

31 07 2019
Is there a gender gap in IT?

Previous studies have revealed gender differences in attitudes towards information technology (IT) literacy, with boys generally considering their IT literacy to be higher than that of girls. A new meta-analysis, published in Educational Research Review, tests whether the same gender differences can be seen in students’ actual performance on IT literacy tasks as measured by performance-based assessments. In total, 46 effect sizes were extracted from 23 studies using a random-effects model. The main findings suggest that: Girls perform better than boys on performance-based IT literacy assessments (ES= +0.13). Gender differences in favor of girls are larger in primary schools (ES= +0.20) than in secondary schools (ES= +0.11). The overall effect size is robust across several analysis conditions. Overall, the gender differences in IT literacy are significant but small. As these findings seem to contrast those obtained from previous meta-analyses that were based on self-reported IT literacy, the researchers conclude that the IT...

31 07 2019
Inattentive students can fall behind

Students with attention problems can fall behind their peers, even if their problems are only mild, according to a study in Learning and Individual Differences. The researchers studied 46,369 children in 1,812 English primary schools. Children’s early reading and math were assessed at the start of school. Rating scales were completed by class teachers at the end of their first year, with nine items related to inattention, six items to hyperactivity, and three items to impulsivity. English and math achievement were measured using standardized tests. There was a strong negative association between inattention and achievement. If a child met one additional criterion on the nine-point scale related to inattention, their progress toward math and English achievement at age 11 was 0.1 standard deviations below that of their peers of similar deprivation and the same sex. A child meeting all nine inattention criteria was almost one standard deviation lower in English and math...

17 07 2019
Study shows delayed kindergarten entry yields mental health benefits

A study out of Stanford University and the Danish National Centre for Social Research provides evidence that children who delay kindergarten entry by one year demonstrate better self-regulation skills when compared to children who start kindergarten on time. These benefits persisted as the students progressed through elementary school. The data were obtained from a national Danish mental-health screening tool completed by more than 54,000 parents of 7-year-olds and a follow-up of almost 36,000 parents when these same children were 11 years old. Given that increased ability to control behavior and pay attention in class leads to improved academic performance, researchers examined school assessment scores and found that students who delayed kindergarten entry demonstrated higher scores than those who did not. The authors found that the one-year delay resulted in a 73% reduction in inattention and hyperactivity by the time the average student was 11 years old. Children in the U.S. have...

17 07 2019
Do sleep problems in early childhood predict performance at school?

A study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology looks at whether problems with sleep and self-regulation might be used to predict how children settle in at school. The study involved 2,880 children from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Child sleep problems and emotional self-regulation were assessed via reports from mothers at three time points between birth and age five. Child attentional regulation was assessed by the mothers at two time points, and school adjustment was measured by teacher reports of classroom self-regulation and social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment at school, when the children were aged 6-7 years. Three profiles were found: A normative profile (69% of children) had consistently average or higher emotional and attentional regulation scores and sleep problems that steadily reduced from birth to five. The remaining 31% of children were members of two non-normative profiles, both characterized by escalating sleep problems across early...

17 07 2019
Does exercise improve children’s cognitive performance?

Research published in Frontiers in Psychology looks at the effects of a nine-week program of daily exercise on children’s cognitive performance, aerobic fitness, and physical activity levels. Vera van den Berg and colleagues conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial in 21 classes in eight Dutch primary schools. A total of 512 children aged 9 to 12 participated. The intervention consisted of daily classroom-based exercise breaks of moderate to vigorous intensity. Each break lasted approximately ten minutes, and children were asked to mimic dance moves from a video. Children in the control group watched 10- to 15-minute information and educational videos related to the body, exercise, and sports. Before and after the intervention, children were asked to perform four cognitive tasks to measure their cognitive performance in selective attention, inhibition, and memory retrieval. Children’s aerobic fitness was measured with a shuttle run test, and accelerometers were used to measure physical activity throughout the day....

17 07 2019
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