卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Does encouraging contingent talk benefit language development?

A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry examines whether language outcomes for low socio-economic status (SES) children can be improved by encouraging contingent talk (how often the parent talks about objects in the child’s current focus of attention) through a low-intensity intervention.

In a randomised controlled trial with high- and low-SES families, 142 children aged 11 months and their parents were randomly allocated to either a contingent talk intervention or a dental health control. Families in the intervention watched a video about contingent talk and were asked to practice it for 15 minutes a day for a month. Families were visited in their home twice when children were 11, 12, 18 and 24 months. Questionnaires were also collected by mail at 15 months. Parent communication was assessed at 11 months (baseline) and after one month. Infant communication was assessed at baseline, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months.

At baseline, the amount of contingent talk children hear is found to be associated with SES, with lower-SES parents engaging in less contingent talk. At post-test (when children were 12 months old) all parents who had taken part in the intervention engaged in more contingent talk, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Lower-SES parents in the intervention group reported that their children produced more words at 15 and 18 months. However, effects of the intervention didn’t persist at 24 months. So while parents’ contingent talk is increased through the intervention, and this is effective in promoting vocabulary growth for lower-SES infants in the short term, these effects are not long-lasting. The study concludes that follow-up interventions may be necessary to produce benefits lasting to school entry.

 

Source: McGillion, M., Pine, J. M., Herbert, J. S., & Matthews, D. (2017). A randomised controlled trial to test the effect of promoting caregiver contingent talk on language development in infants from diverse socioeconomic status backgrounds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.… Read the rest

Cross-age peer tutoring benefits for EAL pupils and native English speakers

Research suggests that peer tutoring helps reading achievement, especially for pupils with English as an additional language (EAL). Studies of cross-age peer tutoring, where older pupils tutor younger pupils, have shown positive effects on vocabulary and comprehension. Given that EAL pupils often lag behind their non-EAL peers in reading, University of Maryland’s Rebecca Silverman and colleagues conducted the first study to examine whether the benefits of cross-age peer tutoring are equivalent for EAL pupils and native English speaking pupils.

For the study, researchers used a “reading buddies” design, pairing kindergarten pupils (Year 1 in the UK) with fourth grade (Year 5) pupils to discuss books they’d read about STEM-related topics. The programme incorporated strategies demonstrated to be effective with EAL pupils, such as explicit instruction about specific word meaning and using multi-modalities to demonstrate word learning and comprehension. Following development and field testing, the researchers evaluated the effects of the final programme, called the MTS Buddies Program, in 24 classrooms with high EAL populations. The sample included 12 classrooms (6 kindergarten, 6 fourth grade) that used the MTS Buddies Program and 12 classrooms (6 kindergarten, 6 fourth grade) that continued with business as usual.

All pupils were tested on vocabulary and comprehension using both standardised and researcher-made tests before and after receiving the 14-week intervention. Results showed benefits for vocabulary learning in kindergarten (Year 1) and fourth grade (Year 5) and also reading comprehension and strategy use for the fourth grade pupils. Both EAL pupils and native English speaking pupils demonstrated gains. Although expressive vocabulary scores were lower for EALs than non-EALs, the overall positive effects indicate that the MTS Buddies Program could be helpful for all pupils’ vocabulary learning, regardless of English proficiency.

 

Source: Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. M., Hartranft, A. M., McNeish, D. M., Artzi, L., & Nunn, S. (2017). Effects of a Cross-Age Peer Learning Program on the Vocabulary and Comprehension of English Learners and Non-English Learners in Elementary School. The Elementary School Journal117(3), 485-512.… Read the rest

Do Visual Skills predict Chinese Reading Acquisition with Correlation Evidence?

A group of researchers from the University of Iowa (USA), Xiamen University (China) and Fordham University (USA) conducted a meta-analysis on the association between visual skills and Chinese reading acquisition for preprimary and primary students. In order to be included in the review, studies must include preprimary or primary school participants who learned to read the Chinese writing system, were native Chinese speakers, either Mandarin or Cantonese and report at least one correlation between an independent variable measuring visual skills and a dependent variable measuring Chinese reading performance. A total of 34 empirical studies published between 1991 and 2011 met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis.

Results indicated that the global construct of visual skills had an average medium effect size associated with general Chinese reading acquisition (effect size = +0.32), and there were no regional differences between Hong Kong and Mainland China. But differences were found by grade level, namely that the lower the grade level became, the higher the effect sizes of visual skills were displayed.

Among the four components of visual skills that were measured-- visual perception, memory, speed and visual-verbal association, the last component (visual-verbal association) had a large correlation effect size with Chinese reading acquisition in both lower grades (effect size = +0.58) and higher grades (effect size = +0.64) while the other three components of visual skills had medium correlations with Chinese reading acquisition, ranging from +0.34 to +0.44 for lower grades and only +0.12 to +0.20 for higher grades.

The research demonstrated that the visual-verbal association can predict Chinese reading ability and suggested future research to understand whether the visual-verbal association is a cause of Chinese reading acquisition .

 

Source: Yang, L., Guo, J., Richman, L.C., Schmidt, F.L., Gerken, K.C., & Ding, Y. (2013). Visual skills and Chinese reading acquisition: A meta-analysis of correlation evidence. Education Psychology Review ,25, 115–143… Read the rest

New WWC practice guide on preventing dropout in secondary schools

The What Works Clearinghouse has released a new practice guide, Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools , that offers research-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and secondary schools. The goal is to help educators and administrators learn strategies for identifying at-risk pupils and addressing the challenges they face.

The WWC and an expert panel chaired by Russell Rumberger from the University of California, Santa Barbara synthesised existing research on the topic and combined it with insight from the panel to identify the following four recommendations, which include a rating of the strength of the research evidence supporting each recommendation:

  • Monitor the progress of all pupils, and proactively intervene when pupils show early signs of attendance, behaviour, or academic problems (minimal evidence).
  • Provide intensive, individualised support to pupils who have fallen off track and face significant challenges to success (moderate evidence).
  • Engage pupils by offering curricula and programmes that connect schoolwork with college and career success and that improve pupils’ capacity to manage challenges in and out of school (strong evidence).
  • For schools with many at-risk pupils, create small, personalised communities to facilitate monitoring and support (moderate evidence).
  • Each recommendation provides specific, actionable strategies; examples of how to implement the recommended practices in schools; advice on how to overcome potential obstacles; and a description of the supporting evidence.

     

    Source: Rumberger, R., Addis, H., Allensworth, E., Balfanz, R., Bruch, J., Dillon, E., Duardo, D., Dynarski, M., Furgeson, J., Jayanthi, M., Newman-Gonchar, R., Place, K., & Tuttle, C. (2017). Preventing dropout in secondary schools. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.… Read the rest

    Evaluation of an early language intervention

    randomised controlled trial, conducted by Silke Fricke and colleagues, looked at the effect of an oral language intervention and compared the extent to which a 30-week programme beginning in nursery and continuing for 20 weeks in Reception was more effective than delivering a 20-week programme starting in Reception.

    Children from 34 nurseries in the UK were randomly allocated to a 30-week intervention (n= 132), a 20-week intervention (n=133), or an untreated waiting control group (n=129). Allocation was minimized for gender, age and verbal skills. The children in the 30-week intervention group received the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme for 10 weeks in nursery and continued for 20 weeks in Reception. The 20-week intervention group received only the final 20 weeks of the intervention, beginning when they entered primary school. The control group received their usual schooling.

    Children in both the 20- and 30-week programme intervention groups showed greater improvement in oral language skills on measures including the CELF Expressive Vocabulary and CELF Sentence Structure subtests, and the Information Score from the Renfrew Action Picture Test, compared to children in the control group (effect size for the 20-week programme = +0.21; effect size for the 30-week programme = +0.30). However, there was no evidence to suggest that either programme improved early literacy or reading comprehension skills.

     

    Source: Fricke, S., Burgoyne, K., Bowyer‐Crane, C., Kyriacou, M., Zosimidou, A., Maxwell, L., ... & Hulme, C. (2017). The efficacy of early language intervention in mainstream school settings: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication.… Read the rest