卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
The effect of a World Cup on students’ effort and achievement

A study published in the Journal of Public Economics examines how leisure time can impact students’ effort and educational achievement by looking at the overlap of major soccer tournaments (the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship) with GCSE exams in England (GCSEs are high-stakes exams taken in the UK).

Using seven years of subject data on students in England, taken from the National Pupil Database, Robert Metcalfe and colleagues estimated the overall effect of a tournament by comparing within-student variation in performance during the exam period between tournament and non-tournament years.

  • Overall, they found a negative average effect of the tournament on exam performance, as measured by whether students achieved a grade C or higher in at least 5 subjects at GCSE.
  • In tournament years, the odds of achieving the benchmark of a grade C or higher in at least 5 subjects fell by 12%.
  • For students who are likely to be very interested in soccer (defined as likely to be white, male, disadvantaged students), the impact is greater, with the odds of achieving the benchmark reduced by 28%.

This result is important, as this group is already the lowest performing, with only 21.3% achieving a grade C or higher in at least 5 subjects at GCSE in non-tournament years. The result is also consistent with previous studies which found that some students perform less well in their GCSEs in years when there is a major international soccer tournament taking place.


Source: Metcalfe, R., Burgess, S., & Proud, S. (2019). Students’ effort and educational achievement: Using the timing of the World Cup to vary the value of leisure. Journal of Public Economics, 172, 111–126. Read the rest

Neuromyths in education

Possessing greater general knowledge about the brain does not appear to protect teachers from believing in “neuromyths” – misconceptions about neuroscience research in education. 

A study reported in Frontiers in Psychology found that teachers who are interested in the application of neuroscience findings in the classroom find it difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from scientific facts. They tested 242 primary and secondary school teachers in the UK and the Netherlands with an interest in the neuroscience of learning, using an online survey containing 32 statements about the brain and its influence on learning, of which 15 were neuromyths.

Results showed that

  • On average, teachers believed 49 percent of the neuromyths, particularly myths related to commercialized education programs.
  • One of the most commonly believed myths was “Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic),” which was believed by over 80 percent of teachers in the study.

Although loosely based on scientific fact, these neuromyths may have adverse effects on educational practice, and the study concludes that there is a need for enhanced interdisciplinary communication to reduce such misunderstandings in the future and establish a successful collaboration between neuroscience and education.


Source (Open Access): Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00429Read the rest

Teachers and students don’t always agree on learning styles

A study published in Frontiers in Education investigates whether there is an association between students’ self-reported preferred learning styles and teachers’ evaluation of each student’s learning style, and whether teachers’ assessments are informed by their students’ intellectual ability.

The term “learning styles” is used to account for differences in the way that individuals learn, and the idea that students learn better if teachers can tailor their teaching to a student’s preferred style of learning, often described as either visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.

In the study conducted by Marietta Papadatou-Pastou and colleagues, 199 fifth and sixth grade students from five schools in Athens, Greece, chose which was their preferred learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). They also completed a short IQ test (the Raven’s matrices). Their teachers were asked to identify each of their student’s preferred learning style. Each student’s learning style was judged by one teacher. It was found that:

  • There was no significant correlation between the teachers’ judgements of their students’ preferred learning styles and the students’ own assessment.
  • There was also no association between the teachers’ judgments of their students’ learning style and the students’ intellectual ability, suggesting that the teachers were not using intellectual ability as a proxy for learning style.

The authors suggested that identifying learning style could be a hit-and-miss process, in which the assessments made by teachers and students did not always agree.


Source (Open Access): Papadatou-Pastou, M., Gritzali, M., & Barrable, A. (2018). The learning styles educational neuromyth: lack of agreement between teachers’ judgments, self-assessment, and students’ intelligence. Frontiers in Education, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2018.00105Read the rest

Children’s temperament and teachers as mediators

An article in Child Development reports on a Finnish study of children’s temperament and their math and reading development, focusing on whether teachers’ interaction style acts as a mediator between students’ temperament characteristics and their skill development.

The study followed 156 Finnish children, each from a different class, during their first year of primary school. The participating children completed math and English tests in October and April, and parents and teachers completed questionnaires about the child’s temperament. Teachers also answered daily questionnaires over a one-week period about their interaction style with the target child.

There were four components of the child’s temperament: Task orientation (activity, persistence, and distractibility); inhibition; positive mood; and negative emotionality. There were three components of teacher’s interaction styles: Affection (a positive and warm daily relationship with the child); behavioral control (the degree to which the teacher aimed to directly influence the child’s behavior); and psychological control (teachers expressing disappointment and appealing to guilt).

The authors found different results for reading and math.

  • Although children’s low task orientation and negative emotionality were negatively associated with the children’s initial reading skill level at the beginning of the year, temperament did not predict children’s subsequent reading skill development during the year. The authors suggest this may reflect the relatively late school starting age and the consistent nature of Finnish orthography.
  • In contrast, the study indicated that for math, temperament does play a role, perhaps reflecting the different learning process. The results showed that the impact of children’s low task orientation and negative emotionality on math skill development was mediated by teachers’ behavioral control and, among girls, also by psychological control.
  • However, the negative impact of children’s inhibition on math skill development was not mediated by teachers’ interaction style.

The authors suggested that the results indicated that children with different temperament would evoke different reactions and responses from their teachers.


Source: Viljaranta, J., Aunola, K., Mullola, S., Virkkala, J., Hirvonen, R., Pakarinen, E., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2015). Children’s temperament and academic skill development during first grade: Teachers’ interaction styles as mediators. Child Development, 86(4), 1191–1209.Read the rest

Program considering personality traits demonstrates positive results

A studypublished in School Psychology Review investigated the effects of the program INSIGHTS into Children’s Temperament on the critical thinking, math, and reading skills of K-1 children compared to a control group of children assigned to a supplemental after-school reading program. The goal of the INSIGHTS program is to train teachers and parents to recognize students’ personality types and adjust the learning environment as needed. 

The program followed 350 kindergarten students in 22 urban low-income schools during kindergarten and into first grade. While all children in the INSIGHTS program demonstrated gains, the greatest gains were made in groups of children classified as shy. The results were:

  • Students whose teachers and parents were involved in the INSIGHTS group demonstrated greater gains in critical thinking than control students
  • Also, they did not lose math skills during the summertime as the control students did.
  • Reading skills were comparable for both groups.

Shy children can be overlooked in the classroom and INSIGHTS provides strategies to help children who are shy to reach their potential.


Source: O’Connor, E. E., Cappella, E., McCormick, M. P., & McClowry, S. G. (2014). Enhancing the academic development of shy children: A test of the efficacy of INSIGHTS. School Psychology Review, 43(3), 21.Read the rest