卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Is there a gender gap in IT?

Previous studies have revealed gender differences in attitudes towards information technology (IT) literacy, with boys generally considering their IT literacy to be higher than that of girls. A new meta-analysis, published in Educational Research Review, tests whether the same gender differences can be seen in students’ actual performance on IT literacy tasks as measured by performance-based assessments.

In total, 46 effect sizes were extracted from 23 studies using a random-effects model. The main findings suggest that:

  • Girls perform better than boys on performance-based IT literacy assessments (ES= +0.13).
  • Gender differences in favor of girls are larger in primary schools (ES= +0.20) than in secondary schools (ES= +0.11).
  • The overall effect size is robust across several analysis conditions.
  • Overall, the gender differences in IT literacy are significant but small.

As these findings seem to contrast those obtained from previous meta-analyses that were based on self-reported IT literacy, the researchers conclude that the IT gender gap may not be as severe as it had been claimed to be.

 

Source: Siddiq, F., & Scherer, R. (2019). Is there a gender gap? A meta-analysis of the gender differences in students’ ICT literacy. Educational Research Review, 27, 205–217. Read the rest

Inattentive students can fall behind

Students with attention problems can fall behind their peers, even if their problems are only mild, according to a study in Learning and Individual Differences.

The researchers studied 46,369 children in 1,812 English primary schools. Children’s early reading and math were assessed at the start of school. Rating scales were completed by class teachers at the end of their first year, with nine items related to inattention, six items to hyperactivity, and three items to impulsivity. English and math achievement were measured using standardized tests.

  • There was a strong negative association between inattention and achievement. If a child met one additional criterion on the nine-point scale related to inattention, their progress toward math and English achievement at age 11 was 0.1 standard deviations below that of their peers of similar deprivation and the same sex.
  • A child meeting all nine inattention criteria was almost one standard deviation lower in English and math than a child meeting no criteria.
  • Impulsivity was associated with an academic advantage, although the effect size was much smaller than for inattention. If all three impulsivity criteria were met, the advantage amounted to 0.15 and 0.12 standard deviations difference in math and English respectively.
  • Hyperactivity was weakly negatively related to achievement, although the association was not statistically significant.

The findings suggest that children with quite modest levels of inattention are at risk of poor academic outcomes, which adds to current knowledge. Such children could be identified by class teachers and could benefit from appropriate school-based interventions.

 

Source: Merrell, C., Sayal, K., Tymms, P., & Kasim, A. (2017). A longitudinal study of the association between inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and children’s academic attainment at age 11. Learning and Individual Differences, 53, 156–161. Read the rest

Study shows delayed kindergarten entry yields mental health benefits

A study out of Stanford University and the Danish National Centre for Social Research provides evidence that children who delay kindergarten entry by one year demonstrate better self-regulation skills when compared to children who start kindergarten on time. These benefits persisted as the students progressed through elementary school.

The data were obtained from a national Danish mental-health screening tool completed by more than 54,000 parents of 7-year-olds and a follow-up of almost 36,000 parents when these same children were 11 years old.

  • Given that increased ability to control behavior and pay attention in class leads to improved academic performance, researchers examined school assessment scores and found that students who delayed kindergarten entry demonstrated higher scores than those who did not.
  • The authors found that the one-year delay resulted in a 73% reduction in inattention and hyperactivity by the time the average student was 11 years old.

Children in the U.S. have traditionally started kindergarten at age 5, but changes in educational practices have resulted in 20% of parents delaying their children’s start until age 6. The authors hope that these findings help parents determine the most appropriate kindergarten entry times for their children.

 

Source (Open Access): Dee, T. S., & Sievertsen, H. H. (2015). The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health (Working Paper No. 21610). Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.3386/w21610Read the rest

Do sleep problems in early childhood predict performance at school?

A study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology looks at whether problems with sleep and self-regulation might be used to predict how children settle in at school.

The study involved 2,880 children from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Child sleep problems and emotional self-regulation were assessed via reports from mothers at three time points between birth and age five. Child attentional regulation was assessed by the mothers at two time points, and school adjustment was measured by teacher reports of classroom self-regulation and social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment at school, when the children were aged 6-7 years.

Three profiles were found:

  • A normative profile (69% of children) had consistently average or higher emotional and attentional regulation scores and sleep problems that steadily reduced from birth to five.
  • The remaining 31% of children were members of two non-normative profiles, both characterized by escalating sleep problems across early childhood and below-mean self-regulation.
  • Children in the non-normative group were associated with higher teacher-reported hyperactivity and emotional problems, and poorer classroom self-regulation and prosocial skills.

The researchers conclude that early childhood profiles of self-regulation that include sleep problems offer a way to identify children at risk of poor school adjustment. Children with escalating early childhood sleep problems could be an important group for interventions to support transition into school.

 

Source: Williams, K. E., Nicholson, J. M., Walker, S., & Berthelsen, D. (2016). Early childhood profiles of sleep problems and self-regulation predict later school adjustment. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(2), 331–350. Read the rest

Does exercise improve children’s cognitive performance?

Research published in Frontiers in Psychology looks at the effects of a nine-week program of daily exercise on children’s cognitive performance, aerobic fitness, and physical activity levels.

Vera van den Berg and colleagues conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial in 21 classes in eight Dutch primary schools. A total of 512 children aged 9 to 12 participated. The intervention consisted of daily classroom-based exercise breaks of moderate to vigorous intensity. Each break lasted approximately ten minutes, and children were asked to mimic dance moves from a video. Children in the control group watched 10- to 15-minute information and educational videos related to the body, exercise, and sports.

Before and after the intervention, children were asked to perform four cognitive tasks to measure their cognitive performance in selective attention, inhibition, and memory retrieval. Children’s aerobic fitness was measured with a shuttle run test, and accelerometers were used to measure physical activity throughout the day. The results were:

  • At the end of the nine weeks, the exercise intervention had no effect on children’s cognitive performance or aerobic fitness.
  • Children in the intervention group spent 2.9 minutes more of the school day involved in moderate to vigorous physical activity compared to the children in the control group.

The study concludes that daily exercise breaks can be implemented in the classroom in order to promote physical activity during school time, but doesn’t improve children’s cognitive performance.

 

Source (Open Access): Van den Berg, V., Saliasi, E., de Groot, R. H. M., Chinapaw, M. J. M., & Singh, A. S. (2019). Improving cognitive performance of 9–12 years old children: Just dance? A randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 174. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00174Read the rest