卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Reviewing the research on school climate and social-emotional learning

A new research brief, School climate and social and emotional learning: the integration of two approaches, by David Osher and Juliette Berg at AIR reviews research on how positive school climates support social-emotional learning (SEL) and how improved SEL contributes to improved school climate in primary and secondary schools.

The authors present research from various journal articles, research briefs, policy guides and other sources. Key findings were as follows:

  • Supportive relationships, engagement, safety, cultural competence and responsiveness and academic challenge and high expectations create positive school climates that can help build social and emotional competence.
  • The relationship between positive school climate and SEL is interactive and co-influential, occurs in all settings and pupil-teacher-staff interactions and influences pupils and teachers directly and indirectly.
  • Rigorous evaluations of school climate and SEL approaches have provided some direct evidence that one can improve the other.

The authors say that the research and practice communities could benefit from greater clarity and alignment in definitions, goals, messaging and measurement of SEL and school climate and understanding of how each one can complement the other.

 

Osher, D., & Berg, J. (2017). School climate and social and emotional learning: the integration of two approaches. Old Main, PA: Edna Bennet Pierce Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University.… Read the rest

New guidance to support schools to put evidence to work in their classrooms

A new guidance report from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) aims to give schools the support they need to put evidence to work in their classrooms and implement new programmes and approaches effectively.

The report highlights how good and thoughtful implementation is crucial to the success of any teaching and learning strategy, yet creating the right conditions for implementation – let alone the structured process of planning, delivering and sustaining change – is hard.

The authors offer six recommendations to help schools give their innovations the very best chance by working carefully through the who, why, where, when and how of managing change. These recommendations can be applied to any school improvement decision: programmes or practices, whole-school or targeted approach, internally or externally generated ideas. The report frames implementation in four stages: explore, prepare, deliver and sustain. The six recommendations are:

  • Treat implementation as a process, not an event; plan and execute it in stages.
  • Create a leadership environment and school climate that is conducive to good implementation.
  • Define the problem you want to solve and identify appropriate programmes or practices to implement.
  • Create a clear implementation plan, judge the readiness of the school to deliver that plan, then prepare staff and resources.
  • Support staff, monitor progress, solve problems, and adapt strategies as the approach is used for the first time.
  • Plan for sustaining and scaling an intervention from the outset and continuously acknowledge and nurture its use.

These suggestions provide guidance on how schools can create the right environment for change, from supporting staff to getting leadership on board.

 

Sharples, J., Albers, B., & Fraser, S. (2018). Putting evidence to work: a school’s guide to implementation. Guidance Report. London, England: The Education Endowment Foundation.… Read the rest

Can schools help prevent childhood obesity?

A study published in The BMJ tests the effectiveness of a school and family based healthy lifestyle intervention (WAVES) in preventing childhood obesity in England.

Almost 1,500 pupils, aged five- and six-years-old, from 54 primary schools in the West Midlands took part in a randomised controlled trial of the WAVES programme. The twelve-month intervention encouraged healthy eating and physical activity, and included an additional 30 minutes of daily physical activity at school and a six-week programme with a local premiership football club.

Children’s measurements – including weight, height, percentage body fat, waist circumference, skinfold thickness and blood pressure – were taken when they started the trial. These measurements were taken again 15 months and 30 months later and were compared with children in a control group.

The results were:

  • At the first follow-up at 15 months, the mean body mass index (BMI) score was not significantly lower for the intervention group compared with the control group.
  • At 30 months, the mean difference was smaller and remained non-significant.

The results suggest that schools alone may not be effective in preventing childhood obesity.

 

Adab, P., Pallan, M. J., Lancashire, E. R., Hemming, K., Frew, E., Barrett, T., … Cheng, K. K. (2018). Effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention programme delivered through schools, targeting 6 and 7 year olds: cluster randomised controlled trial (WAVES study). BMJ, 360, k211.… Read the rest

Preventing depression in secondary school pupils

In Australia, Helen Christensen and colleagues conducted a cluster randomised trial to investigate the effectiveness of an intervention for the prevention of depression in secondary school pupils.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reported on the results of a trial of the SPARX-R programme, a gamified online cognitive behaviour intervention that is delivered to pupils prior to facing a significant stressor – in this case final secondary school exams.

A total of 540 final-year pupils from 10 secondary schools in Sydney, Australia, took part and clusters at the school level were randomly allocated to SPARX-R or the control intervention (lifeSTYLE, an online interactive control programme). Interventions were delivered weekly in class under teacher supervision, in seven 20- to 30-minute modules. Symptoms of depression were measured by the Major Depression Inventory (MDI).

  • Pupils in the SPARX-R group showed a greater reduction in MDI scores than those in the control group, both post-intervention and at the 6-month follow-up.
  • Effect sizes were small post-intervention (+0.29) and at the 6-month (+0.21) and 18-month follow-ups (+0.33).

The study highlights the potentials of using an engaging interactive tool for developing cognitive behaviour therapy skills and depression prevention in advance of a key stressor.

 

Perry, Y., Werner-Seidler, A., Calear, A., Mackinnon, A., King, C., Scott, J., … Batterham, P. J. (2017). Preventing Depression in Final Year Secondary Students: School-Based Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(11), e369.… Read the rest

Science achievement gaps start early and persist

A study published in Educational Researcher looks at the profile of science achievement gaps to the age of 14.

The researchers used data from the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), which followed 7,757 children from kindergarten (Year 1) to eighth grade (Year 9). In kindergarten, the children completed a general knowledge test covering the physical, biological, and social sciences. In the following years, there were further assessments of science, reading, and mathematics achievement, as well as approaches to learning and parenting quality.

The findings include:

  • Large gaps in science general knowledge were already evident when children entered kindergarten.
  • These gaps continued into first grade (Year 2), third grade (Year 4), and ultimately eighth grade.
  • Between third and eighth grade, lower reading and mathematics achievement was also predictive of the persistence of these science achievement gaps.

The authors argue that interventions may need to be implemented very early in children’s development to counteract these early general knowledge gaps. Improving reading and mathematics achievement and behavioural self-regulation, and decreasing school racial segregation may also contribute to reducing the science achievement gaps.

 

Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., & Maczuga, S. (2016). Science achievement gaps begin very early, persist, and are largely explained by modifiable factors. Educational Researcher, 45(1), 18–35.… Read the rest