卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Parental Scaffolding in Kindergarten Children’s Self-Regulated Learning Behaviours

The findings of a recent study have extended our understanding of the role of parental scaffolding in kindergarten pupils’ self-regulated learning (SRL) in the Chinese context. Zhang and Whitebread, from the University of Cambridge, conducted a study on 130 pupils and their parents from three kindergartens in Beijing to examine the relationship between children’s SRL strategic behaviours, their task performance and parental scaffolding behaviours.

The study involved two stages of test. The children were asked to complete a puzzle task and an origami task with their parents first. Three weeks later, children were assigned to accomplish the same two tasks by themselves. The difficulty of the parent-child tasks and the child-alone tasks was different for studying parents’ scaffolding behaviours and pupil’s SRL strategic behaviours respectively. The problem-solving processes were video-taped for an in-depth observational analyses.

Pupil’s task performance was predicted by the use of metacognitive strategic behaviours. Well-performed pupils used behaviours such as indicative of planning, self-monitoring and awareness of errors. They, for instances, talked to themselves “I have to put pieces of the lions together” before started working on the puzzle. Parental contingency, instead of cognitive and emotional support, independently predicted children’s SRL behaviours. Parents’ abilities to provide instructions contingent on children’s levels of understanding enable children to use SRL strategies. Neither posing yes/no questions when children had a clear understanding of the task, nor using questions to encourage performance monitoring when children understood the task poorly was considered as contingent.

This Chinese study found a higher level of motivational strategic behaviours usage among children comparing to previous research, which may be related to the Confucian teaching’s emphasis of effort. The researchers remarked that the sample may not reflect the diversity of the Chinese population.

 

Source: Zhang, H., & Whitebread, D. (2017). Linking parental scaffolding with self-regulated learning in Chinese kindergarten children. Learning and Instruction, 49, 121-130.… Read the rest

A century of research on ability grouping and acceleration

Researchers Saiying Steenbergen-Hu and colleagues recently analysed the results of almost 100 years of research on the effects of ability grouping (which places pupils of similar skills and abilities in the same classes) and acceleration (where pupils are given material and assignments that are usually reserved for older year groups) on pupils’ academic achievement. After screening thousands of studies, their secondary meta-analysis, recently published in Review of Educational Research, synthesised the results of thirteen earlier meta-analyses on ability grouping and six on acceleration that met inclusion criteria for the final review.

They divided ability grouping into four types: (1) between-class ability grouping, where pupils in the same year are divided into low-, medium-, or high-level classes; (2) within-class ability grouping, where pupils within a classroom are taught in groups based on their levels; (3) cross-year subject grouping, where pupils in different year groups are combined into the same class depending on their prior achievement; and (4) grouping for pupils considered gifted.

Results showed academic benefits of within-class grouping, cross-year grouping by subject, and grouping for the gifted, but no benefit of between-class grouping. Results were consistent regardless of whether pupils were high-, medium-, or low-achievers. Analyses of acceleration groups for pupils labelled as gifted showed that these pupils performed the same as older non-gifted pupils, and that being in accelerated classes had positive effects on these pupils’ grades.

 

Source: Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M. C., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2016). What one hundred years of research says about the effects of ability grouping and acceleration on K–12 students’ academic achievement: Findings of two second-order meta-analyses. Review of Educational Research86(4), 849-899.… Read the rest

What do pupils believe about learning and intelligence?

This study examined reported attitudes and beliefs about growth mindset (the belief that intelligence and academic ability are not fixed and can be increased through effort and learning) for a sample of 103,066 pupils and 5,721 teachers in grades 4–12 (Years 5–13) in Nevada’s Clark County School District in the US.

Three-quarters of pupils reported having beliefs that are consistent with a growth mindset. The average growth mindset score across all pupils was 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 indicates agreement with all statements that suggest a fixed-ability mindset, and 5 indicates disagreement). In addition, reported beliefs were found to differ depending on pupils’ ethnicity, school year, prior achievement and whether pupils were native English speakers or not. For example, the average growth mindset score for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) was lower (3.5) than the average growth mindset score for non-EAL pupils (4.0). Lower-achieving pupils reported lower levels of growth mindset than their higher-achieving peers (a difference of 0.8 points).

Teachers’ average growth mindset score was 0.5 points higher than their pupils’ (4.5 compared with 4.0). For the most part, their beliefs regarding growth mindset did not vary significantly depending on the characteristics of the pupils attending their schools

 

Source: Snipes, J., & Loan, T. (2017). Growth mindset, performance avoidance, and academic behaviors in Clark County School District (REL 2017–226). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory West.… Read the rest

Gender stereotypes about intelligence begin early

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Girls as young as six years old associate high-level academic ability with men more than women, according to a report published in the journal Science. The study also found that although girls aged five to seven were more likely than boys to associate their own gender with good grades, they did not link these achievements to innate abilities of “brilliance”.

Lin Bian and colleagues carried out a number of tests with children, half of whom were girls, to test the influence of gender stereotypes on children’s ideas of intellectual ability. In the first test, boys and girls aged five, six, and seven were read a story about a highly intelligent person and then asked to guess the person’s gender. Next, they were shown pictures of pairs of adults, some same-sex, some opposite sex, and asked to pick which they thought were highly intelligent. Finally, the children were asked to match objects and traits, such as “being smart”, to pictures of men and women.

The results revealed that at age five, girls are just as likely as boys to associate intelligence with their own gender. However, by ages six and seven, girls were less likely than boys to make this association, with girls identifying their own gender as “really, really smart” 48% of the time compared to 65% of the time for boys.

Source: Bian, L., Leslie, S. J., & Cimpian, A. (2017). Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science355(6323), 389-391.… Read the rest