卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Effects of youth mentoring programs

Mentoring programs that pair young people with non-parental adults are a popular strategy for early intervention with at-risk youth. To examine the extent to which these types of interventions improve outcomes for young people, Elizabeth B. Raposa and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of outcome studies of one-to-one youth mentoring programs written in English between 1975 and 2017.

Their analysis included 70 studies with a sample size of 25,286 children and young people (average age = 12 years), and considered five broad outcome categories: school, social, health, cognitive, and psychological outcomes.

The findings from their meta-analysis suggested:

  • There were no significant difference in effect sizes across these five types of outcomes.
  • Overall, they found an average effect size of +0.21 across all studies and outcomes, which is consistent with past meta-analyses that have shown overall effect sizes ranging from +0.18 to +0.21.
  • Programs that had a larger proportion of young males who were being mentored in the sample, a greater percentage of male mentors, or mentors who worked within the helping profession showed larger effect sizes, as did evaluations that relied on questionnaires and youth self-report.

The authors suggested that the findings provided some support to the efficacy of one-to-one, caring relationships with adults, and low-cost mentoring programs.


Source: Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J., Stams, G. J. J. M., Card, N., Burton, S., Schwartz, S., … Hussain, S. (2019). The effects of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(3), 423–443. Read the rest

No impact for sleep education pilot

An evaluation of a pilot of Teensleep, a sleep education program that aims to improve outcomes for students by improving the quality of their sleep, found no evidence that the program led to improvements in students’ sleep.

The Teensleep program trains teachers to promote good ‘sleep hygiene’ as part of students’ Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons. Teachers deliver a series of 10 half-hour lessons highlighting the importance of sleep for effective learning, as well as providing practical advice for better sleep, such as avoiding caffeine in the evening.

Ten UK secondary schools took part in the pilot funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Wellcome Trust. All Year 10 students received the intervention as delivered by their teachers and completed a sleep quiz and sleep survey pre- and post-intervention. Parents and students were informed about the pilot study and parents could opt-out of schools sharing students’ data with the research team, but not out of student participation in the intervention.

  • Overall, the evaluation found there was no evidence that Teensleep improved students’ sleep as measured using a wrist-worn activity monitor before and after the intervention. 
  • However, the evaluation did find some evidence of improvements to sleep-related behavior as reported by students, such as napping less during the daytime.

The authors suggested that further work was needed since the collection and analysis of sleep data was challenging. However, teachers and students were already enthusiastic about Teensleep.


Source (Open Access): Robinson-Smith, L., Hugill, J., Merrell, C., Wareham, H., & Ball, H. (2019). Teensleep: Pilot report and executive summary. London: Education Endowment Foundation.Read the rest

Is social-emotional learning linked to academic performance?

A study published in Contemporary Educational Psychology looks at the benefits of a school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) intervention in relation to academic achievement by examining how the four main components that underlie the SEL model (children’s social-emotional competence, school connectedness, mental health problems, and academic achievement) interact over time.

Margarita Panayiotou and colleagues from Manchester Institute of Education used data drawn from a major cluster randomized trial of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum to present a three-wave (annual assessment, T1, T2, T3) longitudinal sample. The sample included 1,626 students from 45 primary schools in north-west England. They examined the relationship over time between social-emotional competence (T1), school connectedness (T2), mental health difficulties (T2), and academic achievement (T3), and whether exposure to an SEL intervention (in this case PATHS versus usual provision) had any effect on these relationships. Findings were as follows:

  • Social-emotional competence at T1 had a positive influence on school connectedness and mental health difficulties at T2.
  • However, SEL was only a significant predictor and mediator of academic achievement at T3 after controlling for gender and prior academic performance.
  • Students who had greater social-emotional competence at T1 were reported to experience fewer mental health difficulties at T2, and this in turn predicted higher academic achievement at T3 (p<0.01).
  • However, greater connectedness to school at T2 did not predict later academic achievement.

Intervention exposure did not appear to influence these relationships.


Source (Open Access): Panayiotou, M., Humphrey, N., & Wigelsworth, M. (2019). An empirical basis for linking social and emotional learning to academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 193–204. Read the rest

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