卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Does school entry age matter?

In the UK, children usually start elementary school in the academic year in which they turn five. However, because entry rules vary across local districts, some schools may defer entry for children born later in the year until the second or third term.

new study by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London looks at what impact an earlier versus later entry into Reception has on students' cognitive and non-cognitive skills up until age 11 (their final year of primary school).

Christian Dustmann and Thomas Cornelissen analyzed information on more than 400,000 children born in 2000-01 who attend state schools in England and whose records are included in the National Pupil Database. This was combined with information on more than 7,000 children born in 2000-01 who took part in the Millennium Cohort study.

The researchers found that

  • Receiving an extra month of schooling before age five increases test scores in language and numeracy at ages five and seven by about 6-11%.
  • But by age 11, the effects on test scores have largely disappeared.
  • For boys from low socioeconomic backgrounds, the benefits of an earlier school entry are even greater. An additional term of schooling before age five reduces the achievement gap between boys from low and high socioeconomic backgrounds at age seven by 60-80%.

The authors suggested their findings contributed to the debate over optimal school starting age.


Source (Open Access): Cornelissen, T., & Dustmann, C. (2019). Early School Exposure, Test Scores, and Noncognitive Outcomes. Working Paper, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College LondonRead the rest

Ethnic minority pupils disproportionately identified with special educational needs

Pupils from ethnic minority groups are over-represented for some types of special educational needs (SEN) and under-represented for other types compared to white British pupils, according to new research led by Steve Strand and Ariel Lindorff at the University of Oxford.

Using data from the England National Pupil Database from 2005–2016, the report looks at all children age five to 16 in England who have been identified with different types of SEN. As well as identifying ethnic disproportionality, the report also considered whether socio-economic factors, such as poverty and neighbourhood deprivation, or children’s early attainment, had any impact on pupils being identified as having SEN.

The key findings of the report suggest:

  • Black Caribbean and mixed white and black Caribbean pupils are twice as likely to be identified with social, emotional and mental health needs as white British pupils.
  • Asian pupils are half as likely to be identified with autistic spectrum disorders as white British pupils.
  • Indian and Chinese pupils are half as likely to be identified with moderate learning difficulties as white British pupils.

While similar research has been done in the US, it is the first time a study with this detail has been conducted in the UK.


Source: Strand, S., & Lindorff, A. (2019.). Ethnic disproportionality in the identification of Special Educational Needs (SEN) in England: Extent, causes and consequences. Oxford: University of Oxford. Read the rest

Effects of youth mentoring programs

Mentoring programs that pair young people with non-parental adults are a popular strategy for early intervention with at-risk youth. To examine the extent to which these types of interventions improve outcomes for young people, Elizabeth B. Raposa and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of outcome studies of one-to-one youth mentoring programs written in English between 1975 and 2017.

Their analysis included 70 studies with a sample size of 25,286 children and young people (average age = 12 years), and considered five broad outcome categories: school, social, health, cognitive, and psychological outcomes.

The findings from their meta-analysis suggested:

  • There were no significant difference in effect sizes across these five types of outcomes.
  • Overall, they found an average effect size of +0.21 across all studies and outcomes, which is consistent with past meta-analyses that have shown overall effect sizes ranging from +0.18 to +0.21.
  • Programs that had a larger proportion of young males who were being mentored in the sample, a greater percentage of male mentors, or mentors who worked within the helping profession showed larger effect sizes, as did evaluations that relied on questionnaires and youth self-report.

The authors suggested that the findings provided some support to the efficacy of one-to-one, caring relationships with adults, and low-cost mentoring programs.


Source: Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J., Stams, G. J. J. M., Card, N., Burton, S., Schwartz, S., … Hussain, S. (2019). The effects of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(3), 423–443. Read the rest

No impact for sleep education pilot

An evaluation of a pilot of Teensleep, a sleep education program that aims to improve outcomes for students by improving the quality of their sleep, found no evidence that the program led to improvements in students’ sleep.

The Teensleep program trains teachers to promote good ‘sleep hygiene’ as part of students’ Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons. Teachers deliver a series of 10 half-hour lessons highlighting the importance of sleep for effective learning, as well as providing practical advice for better sleep, such as avoiding caffeine in the evening.

Ten UK secondary schools took part in the pilot funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Wellcome Trust. All Year 10 students received the intervention as delivered by their teachers and completed a sleep quiz and sleep survey pre- and post-intervention. Parents and students were informed about the pilot study and parents could opt-out of schools sharing students’ data with the research team, but not out of student participation in the intervention.

  • Overall, the evaluation found there was no evidence that Teensleep improved students’ sleep as measured using a wrist-worn activity monitor before and after the intervention. 
  • However, the evaluation did find some evidence of improvements to sleep-related behavior as reported by students, such as napping less during the daytime.

The authors suggested that further work was needed since the collection and analysis of sleep data was challenging. However, teachers and students were already enthusiastic about Teensleep.


Source (Open Access): Robinson-Smith, L., Hugill, J., Merrell, C., Wareham, H., & Ball, H. (2019). Teensleep: Pilot report and executive summary. London: Education Endowment Foundation.Read the rest

Is social-emotional learning linked to academic performance?

A study published in Contemporary Educational Psychology looks at the benefits of a school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) intervention in relation to academic achievement by examining how the four main components that underlie the SEL model (children’s social-emotional competence, school connectedness, mental health problems, and academic achievement) interact over time.

Margarita Panayiotou and colleagues from Manchester Institute of Education used data drawn from a major cluster randomized trial of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum to present a three-wave (annual assessment, T1, T2, T3) longitudinal sample. The sample included 1,626 students from 45 primary schools in north-west England. They examined the relationship over time between social-emotional competence (T1), school connectedness (T2), mental health difficulties (T2), and academic achievement (T3), and whether exposure to an SEL intervention (in this case PATHS versus usual provision) had any effect on these relationships. Findings were as follows:

  • Social-emotional competence at T1 had a positive influence on school connectedness and mental health difficulties at T2.
  • However, SEL was only a significant predictor and mediator of academic achievement at T3 after controlling for gender and prior academic performance.
  • Students who had greater social-emotional competence at T1 were reported to experience fewer mental health difficulties at T2, and this in turn predicted higher academic achievement at T3 (p<0.01).
  • However, greater connectedness to school at T2 did not predict later academic achievement.

Intervention exposure did not appear to influence these relationships.


Source (Open Access): Panayiotou, M., Humphrey, N., & Wigelsworth, M. (2019). An empirical basis for linking social and emotional learning to academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 193–204. Read the rest