卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Why do so few low- and middle-income children attend a grammar school?

new study led by John Jerrim at UCL Institute of Education suggests that private tutoring may be one reason that children from high-income families are more likely to get into grammar schools than children from low-income families.

The research, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study for more than 1,800 children from grammar school areas in England and Northern Ireland. It considers how factors such as family income, prior academic achievement, private tutoring and parental attitudes and aspirations are linked with children’s chances of attending a grammar school.

The study finds that:

  • Children from families in the bottom quarter of household incomes in England have less than a 10% chance of attending a grammar school. This compares to around a 40% chance for children in the top quarter of household incomes.
  • Children who receive tutoring to prepare for grammar school entrance exams are also more likely to get in.
  • Overall, around 70% of those who receive tutoring get into a grammar school, compared to just 14% of those who do not.
  • However, less than 10% of children from families with below average income receive tutoring for the grammar school entrance test, compared with around 30% of children from households in the top quarter of family incomes.

The authors conclude that access to grammar school is not determined by academic ability alone. One of their suggestions is to place an additional tax upon tutoring services and use the raised funds to provide low and middle-income families with subsidised or free private tuition.

 

Source (Open Access) : Jerrim, J. & Sims, S. (2018). Why do so few low and middle-income children attend a grammar school? New evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study. Retrieved from https://johnjerrim.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/working_paper_nuffield_version_clean.pdfRead the rest

Looking at the research on screen time

Courtney Nugent and Lauren Supplee from Child Trends have released a research brief on five ways screen time can benefit children and families. The brief looks at guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and links to multiple sources of research on the topic, such as journal articles in the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction and Infant and Child Development.

The five recommendations are as follows:

  • Certain kinds of digital tools can support family interactions. For example, using video chat (Skype, Facetime, etc) allows family members to connect with one another when in-person interactions may not be possible.
  • It’s important to support children’s healthy development through co-viewing and co-playing. For example, it is important that parents answer and ask questions about the material they are co-viewing, point out important concepts and blend the content they are viewing together into their daily lives and routines.
  • Parents can choose high-quality digital content for their child’s viewing. The brief notes that websites like Common Sense Media, PBS Kids and Sesame Workshop can help parents decide which apps and programs are best for their children.
  • Like physical tools, digital tools can promote school readiness. According to the brief, research suggests that preschool children can learn best from well-designed e-books with limited distracting features (such as games and sounds) and when parents’ questions focus on the stories themselves rather than the features of the electronic medium (such as pushing buttons).
  • Digital tools can support parent and child togetherness.For example, technology can elicit exciting topics for conversation and encourage family members to spend time with one another.

The importance of parent’s engagement when using digital media was highlighted by the new guidelines from the AAP for children aged from zero to five.

 

Source (Open Access) : Nugent, C. & Supplee, L. (2018). 5 ways screen time can benefit children and families. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/child-trends-5/5-ways-screen-time-can-benefit-children-and-families/Read the rest

Screen addicts missing out on GCSE potential

An article in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity investigated the association between GCSE results and three aspects of the way that teenagers had spent their time when they were 14.5 years old:

  1. Physical activity
  2. Screen time sedentary behaviour (TV/films, internet, computer games)
  3. Non-screen sedentary behaviour (reading, homework)

The study was based on 845 teenagers from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Data was taken from the ROOTS study, which aims to determine the relative contributions of genetic, physiological, psychological, and social variables to well-being and mental health during adolescence. Trained researchers administered questionnaires, conducted physical measurements, and gave instructions regarding physical activity measurements at participating schools.

The participants’ median daily screen time was approximately 1.9 hours. The authors found that:

  • Teenagers reporting an extra hour of daily screen time at 14.5 years old achieved 9.3 fewer GCSE points (almost two grades lower) at 16.
  • All three separate screen behaviours were independently negatively associated with academic performance.
  • However, participants doing an extra hour of daily homework and reading (up to four hours/day) achieved 23.1 more GCSE points (an increase of four grades).
  • Physical activity did not appear to be either detrimental or beneficial to academic performance.
  • Boys were more active and less sedentary than girls, and boys reported more screen time but less non-screen sedentary time than girls. Girls had higher academic performance than boys.

The authors noted some limitations in the study, including the possibility that less-academic pupils are likely to be doing the less-academic subjects and may be given less homework.

 

Corder, K., Atkin, A. J., Bamber, D. J., Brage, S., Dunn, V. J., Ekelund, U., … Goodyer, I. M. (2015). Revising on the run or studying on the sofa: prospective associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and exam results in British adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 12, 106.… Read the rest

Screen time or story time?

An article published in Frontiers of Psychology analyses differences in parent-child talk and reading behaviour when reading print versus electronic versions of the same books.

Parents of 102 children aged 17-26 months from Toronto, Canada, were randomly assigned to read either two electronic books or two print format books with their child. The books had identical content, but while the parent read the words in the print books aloud, the electronic books had an automatic voiceover. After reading, the children were asked to identify an animal presented in the books. Children who read the e-book made more correct choices.

Gabrielle Strouse and Patricia Ganea found that:

  • Parents who read the print books pointed more frequently to pages than parents who read the electronic books. But the opposite was true for the children.
  • Parents and children spent almost twice as much time reading the electronic books as the print format books.
  • Children who were read the electronic books paid more attention, made themselves more available for reading, participated in more page turns, and produced more content-related comments during reading than those who were read the print format books.

The researchers point out that while increased engagement does not always translate into increased learning, the positive engagement and content-related language observed in the children who were read the electronic books suggests they have a role in supporting learning for younger children. However, more work should be done to identify the potential benefits and hazards.

 

Strouse, G. A., & Ganea, P. A. (2017). Parent–toddler behavior and language differ when reading electronic and print picture books. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 677.… Read the rest

Mediating media

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics explores parental monitoring of children’s media use. It examines its effects on physical, social, and academic outcomes, and the links between monitoring children’s media use and a wide range of these outcomes.

A total of 1,323 children aged 8-11 from ten schools in Iowa and Minnesota were recruited to participate. The authors collected data at the beginning and end of one school year from home and school surveys, and from a primary caregiver and teacher for each child. Measures included health (height, weight, BMI), as well as demographics, parental monitoring of media, total screen time, media violence exposure, school performance, and well-being.

The study revealed that:

  • Increased parental monitoring was correlated with a reduction in children’s total screen time, which in turn resulted in more sleep.
  • More monitoring was also correlated with improved school performance, increased pro-social behaviour, and lower aggressive behaviour.
  • Exposure to media violence predicted lower pro-social behaviour and higher aggressive behaviour.
  • Increased parental monitoring was correlated with less exposure to media violence, which in turn was correlated with increased pro-social behaviour and decreased aggressive behaviour. The researchers controlled for parental education, marital status, child gender, and minority status.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics makes a number of general recommendations on total screen time, the authors suggest it may be useful for parents to know that there are four types of parental monitoring: co-viewing with the child; restricting amount of time; restricting the types of content; and actively discussing the meaning and effects of media content with children (active mediation).

 

Gentile, D. A., Reimer, R. A., Nathanson, A. I., Walsh, D. A., & Eisenmann, J. C. (2014). Protective effects of parental monitoring of children’s media use: a prospective study. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(5), 479–484.… Read the rest