卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
How much does education improve intelligence?

A recent meta-analysis published in Psychological Science looks at how much education improves intelligence, and suggests that a year of school improves pupils’ IQ scores by between one and five points.

Ritchie and his colleagues looked at three particular types of quasi-experimental studies of educational effects on intelligence:

  1. Those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence.
  2. Those using policy changes that result in individuals staying in schools for different lengths of time.
  3. Those using school-entry age cut-offs to compare children who are similar in age but who have different levels of schooling as a result of their specific birth dates.

Their meta-analysis comprised 142 effect sizes from 42 data sets involving over 600,000 participants.

  • All three study designs showed consistent evidence that the length of time spent in school is associated with increased intelligence test scores (an average effect of +3.4 IQ points for one additional year of education).
  • The third study design, age cut-off, had the largest effect size (+5.2 IQ points).
  • The first study design showed the lowest effect (+1.2 IQ points).
  • For policy change, the effect size was +1 IQ point.

The authors suggested that education seems to be the most consistent, robust, and durable way that has been identified for raising intelligence.

 

Source: Ritchie, S. J., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2018.). How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis, Psychological Science. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1177/0956797618774253.Read the rest

The impact of professional development in early childhood education

Franziska Egert and colleagues in Germany and Amsterdam have conducted a review of the effects of professional development (PD) for early childhood educators on programme quality and children’s educational outcomes.

Studies were only included if they addressed quality of child care or child development, included early childhood teachers (including preschool, kindergarten and centre-based care), were quantitative, were experimental or quasi-experimental, reported effect sizes or data and addressed children 0–7 years old. This yielded 36 studies of 42 programmes evaluating quality ratings, and 9 studies of 10 programmes evaluating both quality ratings and pupil outcomes.

Results showed that:

  • Professional development improved the external quality ratings (as evaluated using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation, Environmental Rating Scales and Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System) of early childhood education (effect size=+0.68)
  • Programmes providing 45–60 PD hours having the greatest impact on classroom practice as compared to programmes offering fewer or more hours. This was true regardless of whether teachers held a university degree or not.
  • Further, programmes that solely used coaching were almost three times as effective as other programmes.

A second meta-analysis of a subset of studies (n=486 teachers, 4,504 children) showed that improvement in the quality of early childhood education programmes was correlated with improvements in child development (effect size=+0.14) as determined by language and literacy scores, math scores, social-behavioural ratings, and assessment of cognition, knowledge and school readiness.

Source: Egert, F., Fukkink, R. G., & Eckhardt, A. G. (2018). Impact of in-service professional development programs for early childhood teachers on quality ratings and child outcomes: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 88(3), 401–433. Read the rest

Factors influencing Chinese middle school students’ help-seeking for math homework

A study published in Learning and Individual Differences investigated factors influencing middle school students’ help-seeking in doing math homework in China.

Jianxia Du at the University of Macau examined 796 8th graders from 46 classes. Four fifths of participating students had math assignments 4 or more days per week, and they spent an average of 34 minutes per day on math homework.

Eight individual-level variables were found to be positively associated with help-seeking: mastery orientation, homework interest, family help availability, peer participation, performance orientation, monitoring motivation, value belief and family help frequency. Mastery orientation and home interest were also positively associated with help-seeking at the class level.

The authors suggested the following:

  • Greater emphasis should be placed on mastery orientation to encourage help-seeking, and teachers play a vital role in making this emphasis.
  • Teachers should make math homework more engaging and purposeful and should guide students to learn to maintain homework motivation to promote help-seeking.
  • Parents’ availability during their children’s homework process matters for students’ help-seeking, and teachers should encourage parents to make themselves available.
  • A norm of peer involvement and support should be nurtured by teachers and parents. Students should be provided with opportunities to discuss, share and reflect on their learning and homework, and encouraged to learn how to clarify and elaborate upon peers’ perspectives.

 

Source: Du, J., Xu, J., & Fan, X. (2016). Investigating factors that influence students' help seeking in math homework: A multilevel analysis. Learning and Individual Differences, 48, 29–35.Read the rest

Disadvantaged pupils hit hardest by math teacher shortages

In England there is currently a shortage of math teachers; among the factors that might be influencing this shortage are that departments lose 40% of teachers during their first six years in the profession, and there are higher private sector wages for math graduates. At the same time, demand for math teachers has increased due to policy measures to increase participation in math for 16 to 18 year olds. To examine what impact this has had, the Nuffield Foundation commissioned researchers from FFT Education Datalab to look at how secondary schools have responded to the shortage.

Allen and Sims (2018) used data from England’s School Workforce Census and found that schools are using their most experienced and well-qualified math teachers for year groups taking high-stakes exams (GCSEs, A-levels, and GCSE retakes), and using inexperienced math teachers and teachers who trained in other subjects to fill staffing gaps elsewhere.

  • In the most disadvantaged schools (those with more pupils eligible for free school meals), pupils across all year groups are more likely to be taught by an inexperienced teacher.
  • At Key Stage 5 (age 16-18) pupils in the most disadvantaged schools are almost twice as likely to have an inexperienced teacher as in the least disadvantaged schools (9.5% versus 5.3%).

The report recommended us to further understand the math teacher shortage problem across schools and year groups by collecting direct measures of shortage data, such as applications per post, appointable applicants interviewed, headteacher perceptions of quality of applicants.

 

Source (Open Access): Allen, R. & Sims, S. (2018). How do shortages of maths teachers affect the within-school allocation of math teachers to pupils? London: Nuffield Foundation. Retrieved online: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/reports-andbriefing-papers… Read the rest

New guidance on preparing for literacy

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published its latest guidance report, Preparing for Literacy, which reviews the best available research to offer early years professionals practical “do’s and don’ts” to make sure all children start school with the foundations they need to read and write well.

The report considers how a wide range of different activities – like singing, storytelling and nursery rhymes – can help to develop children’s early reading. It offers seven recommendations designed to support early years professionals to improve the communication, language and early literacy skills of all their pupils – particularly those from disadvantaged homes. Previous analysis by the EEF found there was already a 4.3 month gap between poorer pupils and their classmates before school starts.

The seven recommendations are as follows:

  • Prioritise the development of communication and language
  • Develop children’s early reading using a balanced approach
  • Develop children’s capability and motivation to write
  • Embed opportunities to develop children’s self-regulation
  • Support parents to understand how to help their children learn
  • Use assessment to ensure all children make good progress
  • Use high quality targeted support to help struggling children

The fifth recommendation focuses on parental engagement and the importance of supporting parents to understand how they can help in their child’s learning. It suggests that shared reading should be a central component for helping children to learn new words. The report also highlights the importance of high-quality interactions between adults and children to develop their communication and language skills. For example, early years professionals should make sure they talk with children – not just to them.

 

Source (Open Access): Education Endowment Foundation. (2018). Preparing for literacy: improving communication, language and literacy in the early years. London: Education Endowment Foundation.Read the rest