卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
How do students in China and the U.S. perceive school climate differently?

School climate includes factors that serve as conditions for learning and support physical and emotional safety, connection, support, and engagement, as the U.S. Department of Education suggests. In this study published in School Psychology Quarterly, Bear and colleagues examined how students in China and the U.S. perceive school climate differently and how it relates to their engagement in schools.

3,716 Chinese students from 18 schools in Guangzhou and 4,085 American students from 15 schools in Delaware were compared in this study. All schools were suburban schools or urban schools. The sample of American students was randomly selected from a larger dataset consisting of 37,255 students prepared by the Delaware Department of Education to match the student numbers of the Chinese student sample. Students who participated in this study were from grades 3-5, 7-8 and 10-12. Grade 6 and grade 9 were excluded from this study since students in these two grades were placed in different levels in Chinese and American Schools.

Students were compared in their perceptions of school climate, which included teacher-student relations, student-student relations, fairness of school rules, clarity of behavioral expectations, respect for diversity, school safety, engagement schoolwide, and bullying schoolwide. Students’ engagement was measured by the Delaware Student Engagement Scale. The findings showed:

  • Chinese students perceived all aspects of school climate significantly more positively than American students during middle school and high school.
  • The difference was smaller in elementary schools, with no significant differences for fairness of rules, clarity of behavioral expectations and school safety.
  • US students’ engagement was greater in elementary schools, while Chinese students reported greater emotional engagement in middle and high schools.
  • A significant relation between school climate and engagement was found for American students but not Chinese students.

The authors suggested that the findings might encourage schools to develop and promote those social-emotional competencies, values, and norms which have been shown to underlie the high academic achievement of Chinese students in addition to school climate.

 

Source: Bear, G. G., Yang, C., Chen, D., He, X., Xie, J. S., & Huang, X. (2018). Differences in school climate and student engagement in China and the United States. School Psychology Quarterly33(2), 323.… Read the rest

Promoting positive youth development in afterschool programs

Researchers at Child Trends, the Claremont Evaluation Center, and LA’s BEST—a large afterschool program in Los Angeles—have developed a white paper for program leaders, policymakers, and other afterschool stakeholders that examines promising practices for promoting positive youth development in afterschool programs.

The research team conducted a review of the literature (limited to meta-analyses) on protective and promotive factors that (1) support positive developmental outcomes among youth, (2) are malleable through intervention, and (3) have direct relevance to the afterschool context. The literature review highlighted four categories of actionable, evidence-informed practices that afterschool program leadership and staff can implement to build protective and promotive factors. The four categories are as follows:

  • Intentional organizational practices: practices that afterschool leadership can purposefully utilize to support the implementation of high-quality programming in afterschool programs (e.g., leadership engages in thoughtful staff hiring, onboarding, and training practices; leadership fosters collaboration among staff and across settings).
  • High-quality learning environments: practices fostered by staff that can create afterschool environments in which youth feel physically and emotionally safe and supported in various domains of development (e.g., staff offer a variety of activities that align with diverse needs and interests of youth; staff facilitate small, interactive groups).
  • Supportive and nurturing relationships:practices that enhance staff members’ interactions and communications with, and responses to, youth enrolled in afterschool programs (e.g., staff model and reinforce positive behaviors, empower youth to discover and embrace their unique identities, set and enforce clear rules and expectations).
  • Intentional and explicit focus on youth skill development: staff can focus on this area through concrete supports that help youth develop malleable individual characteristics and competencies (e.g., supporting the use of effective problem-solving skills, helping children develop positive interpersonal relationship skills, and working with children to develop their understanding of emotions).

 

Source (Open Access):Berry, T., Teachanarong-Aragon, L., Sloper, M., Bartlett, J. D., & Steber, K. (2018). LA’s BEST: Protective factors afterschool project. Retrieved from Claremont Evaluation Center, Claremont Graduate University website http://www.cgu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Berry_LAsBest_WhitePaper.pdf.… Read the rest

Learning Chinese through picture book reading for ethnic minority children in China

Si Chen and colleagues examined the efficacy of a picture book reading intervention on Uyghur children’s first language (Uyghur) and second language (Mandarin Chinese) learning. This study, supported by the Ministry of Education of China, was the first randomized controlled language education intervention conducted in Xinjiang kindergartens.

This study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly followed Uyghur children from 31 classes in 12 kindergartens in two cities of Xinjiang in one year. Among the 265 participating Uyghur children aged 4 to 5 years old, 134 of them participated in the experimental group receiving the Xinjian Project intervention, while 131 of them were allocated to the control group.

The intervention design was based on successful strategies learnt from previous book-reading interventions, including using picture books to provide high-quality second language input in reading and discussion, as well as providing a curriculum of vocabulary instruction and teacher training. Chinese-Uyghur bilingual picture books were used in order to support both first and second language vocabulary acquisition. The receptive and expressive vocabulary of Chinese and Uyghur were both assessed every six months. The evaluation showed:

  • There was a faster growth rate among children in the treatment group in Chinese receptive vocabulary (E.S. = +0.68) and Uyghur expressive vocabulary (E.S.= +0.38).
  • However, there were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups in the growth rate of Chinese expressive vocabulary and Uyghur receptive vocabulary.

The authors explained the insignificant growth rate in Chinese expressive vocabulary in terms of developmental age and insufficient intervention time. Nonetheless, they highlighted the potential of a well-designed picture book-reading programme to benefit the development of both home and school languages of minority children at the same time.

 

Source: Chen, S., Lawrence, J. F., Zhou, J., Min, L., & Snow, C. E. (2018). The efficacy of a school-based book-reading intervention on vocabulary development of young Uyghur children: A randomized controlled trial. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 44, 206–219. Read the rest

Does anxiety affect performance, or poor performance cause anxiety?

Math anxiety is the state of discomfort around the performance of mathematical tasks. Does math anxiety cause poor performance in mathematics, or is it poor performance in mathematics that causes math anxiety? The question is important, because it affects the “treatment” that results. Should the focus be on improving students’ confidence, or their math ability?

A review in Frontiers in Psychology considers the evidence supporting the two models – The Deficit Theory, which claims that poor performance leads to high anxiety, or The Debilitating Anxiety Theory, which claims that anxiety reduces performance by affecting the pre-processing, processing, and retrieval of information. The review reveals that the evidence is conflicting –

  • There is research to support the Deficit Theory, with the strongest evidence coming from longitudinal studies and studies of mathematical disabilities.
  • Similarly, there is support for the Debilitating Anxiety Model from studies across all ages that have manipulated anxiety to reveal either a deterioration or improvement in performance.
  • The paper considers that this is indicative of a Reciprocal Theory, where math anxiety and poor performance reinforce each other in a vicious cycle.

This in turn suggests that interventions to address math anxiety should target both the anxiety and mathematics performance.

 

Source (Open Access): Carey, E., Hill, F., Devine, A., & Szücs, D. (2016). The chicken or the egg? The direction of the relationship between mathematics anxiety and mathematics performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01987Read the rest

Improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8

This practice guide from the What Works Clearinghouse provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. The guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students. Recommendations include:

  • Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process.
  • Teach students how to use visual representations.
  • Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies.

The guide presents evidence-based suggestions for putting each recommendation into practice and describes roadblocks that may be encountered, as well as possible solutions. Each recommendation is rated based on the strength of the research evidence that has shown the effectiveness of the recommendation. The recommendations listed above have strong to moderate evidence of effectiveness.

 

Source (Open Access): Woodward, J., Beckmann, S., Driscoll, M., Franke, M., Herzig, P., Jitendra, A., …Ogbuehi, P. (2012). Improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8: A practice guide (NCEE 2012-4055). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.Read the rest