A discussion paper from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics reports on a randomised controlled trial to improve teacher-pupil-parent feedback in a rural area of central China with a large proportion of left-behind children (children who have both parents working in cities, and are living away from home).
W Stanley Siebert and colleagues collected data from over 4,000 primary school children (Years 4 and 6) over two school terms, which included academic scores from standardised tests. One class from each year group in each school was randomly chosen to be in the feedback group. In these classes, all pupils received bi-weekly feedback from their teachers on their schoolwork and behaviour. Additionally, one-third of pupils in these classes were randomly selected to also have their bi-weekly feedback sent to their parents.
The results suggest that feedback does have a positive
effect on improving maths and language scores for both left-behind and non-left
behind children. In maths, there was an effect size of +0.16 standard
deviations in Year 4 and +0.20 standard deviations in Year 6. For language the
effect size was +0.09 standard deviations for Year 4 and +0.20 standard
deviations for Year 6. When feedback was
communicated to parents the achievement gains were larger for younger
left-behind children than for non-left behind children. For left-behind
children in Year 4 there was an additional +0.30 standard deviations
improvement in maths.
feedback, parent-teacher communication, and academic performance: Experimental
evidence from rural China (February 2018), IZA
Institute of Labor Economics
The Education Endowment Foundation has published an evaluation of Research Leads Improving Students’ Education (RISE). The programme, which was developed and delivered by Huntington School in York, aimed to improve the maths and English achievement of pupils in secondary school using a research-informed school improvement model.
Forty schools took part in the randomised controlled trial and were randomly allocated to either take part in RISE or to a control group which continued with business as usual. Schools participating in RISE appointed a senior teacher as a Research Lead who was responsible for promoting and supporting the use of research throughout the school. Support for Research Leads included an initial eight professional development sessions held over eight months, occasional follow-up meetings over two academic years, a customised email newsletter, a website with resources, a peer network, and school visits by the RISE team. The RISE team also provided a workshop for headteachers and annual workshops for English and maths subject leads.
The evaluation examined the impact on pupils in two cohorts:
in the first cohort (A) the school was only exposed to one year of RISE, while
in the second cohort (B) the school experienced two years of the intervention. For
both the one-year and two-year cohorts, children in RISE schools made a small
amount of additional progress in maths (effect size = +0.09 for cohort A and
+0.04 for cohort B) and English (effect size = +0.05 for cohort A and +0.03 for
cohort B) compared to children in the control-group
schools. However, the differences were small and not significant, so the
evaluation concludes that there is no evidence that participating in one or two
years of the RISE programme has a positive impact on pupil achievement.
In addition, the evaluation highlights the importance of
schools’ ability and motivation to make use of the Research Lead in shaping
school improvement decisions and processes. For example, it suggests that
implementation was stronger when headteachers gave clear and visible support
for the project and Research Leads had additional dedicated time to undertake
Source: The RISE
project: Evidence-informed school improvement (May 2019), Education Endowment Foundation
Researchers at Child Trends, the Claremont Evaluation Center, and LA’s BEST—a large afterschool programme for children aged 5 to 12, in Los Angeles—have developed a white paper for programme leaders, policymakers and other afterschool stakeholders that examines promising practices for promoting positive youth development in afterschool programmes.
The research team conducted a review of the literature (limited to
meta-analyses) on protective and promotive factors that (1) support positive
developmental outcomes among young people, (2) are malleable through
intervention, and (3) have direct relevance to the afterschool context. The
literature review highlighted four categories of actionable, evidence-informed
practices that afterschool programme leadership and staff can implement to
build protective and promotive factors. The four categories are as follows:
organisational practices: practices that afterschool leadership can
purposefully utilise to support the implementation of high-quality programming
in afterschool programmes (eg, leadership engages in thoughtful staff hiring,
onboarding and training practices; leadership fosters collaboration among staff
and across settings).
learning environments: practices fostered by staff that can create
afterschool environments in which young people feel physically and emotionally
safe and supported in various domains of development (eg, staff offer a variety
of activities that align with diverse needs and interests of young people;
staff facilitate small, interactive groups).
and nurturing relationships: practices that enhance staff members’
interactions and communications with, and responses to, young people enrolled
in afterschool programmes (eg, staff model and reinforce positive behaviours,
empower youth to discover and embrace their unique identities, set and enforce
clear rules and expectations).
and explicit focus on youth skill development: staff can focus on this area through
concrete supports that help young people develop malleable individual characteristics
and competencies (eg, supporting the use of effective problem-solving skills,
helping children develop positive interpersonal relationship skills and working
with children to develop their understanding of emotions).
practices for building protective and promotive factors to support positive
youth development in afterschool (November 2018), Claremont Evaluation Center, Claremont Graduate University
An intervention report from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) presents a summary of findings from a systematic review of summer counselling.
In the US, summer counselling interventions are
designed to help ensure that pupils who have finished high school and have an
offer to go on to higher education complete the steps needed to successfully
enrol. These steps could be taking
placement tests, arranging for housing, acquiring medical insurance, obtaining
financial aid, and registering for courses. The interventions are delivered during the months between leaving
high school and enrolment into higher education, and typically involve outreach
by college counsellors or peer mentors via text messaging campaigns, e-mail,
phone, in-person meetings, instant messaging or social media. Summer counselling
is also provided to help pupils overcome unanticipated financial, informational
and socio-emotional barriers that prevent enrolment in to higher education.
The review identified five studies of summer counselling
interventions which met WWC design standards. Together these studies included
more than 13,000 pupils who had recently finished high school in 10 locations
in the US. The results of the systematic review indicated that summer counselling
had potentially positive effects on credit accumulation and persistence, and
mixed effects on access to higher education and enrolment for students who had
recently finished high school.
counseling (March 2018), What Works Clearinghouse
Intervention Report, Institute of Education Sciences
Amanda Inns and colleagues from Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education have completed a research review on effective programmes for struggling readers in elementary (primary) schools. A total of 61 studies of 48 programmes met study inclusion standards. 84% were randomised experiments and 16% quasi-experiments. Results showed positive outcomes for one-to-one tutoring and were positive but not as large for one-to-small group tutoring. There were no differences in outcomes between teachers and teaching assistants as tutors. Whole-class approaches (mostly cooperative learning) and whole-school approaches incorporating tutoring obtained outcomes for struggling readers as large as those found for one-to-one tutoring, and benefitted many more pupils. Technology-supported adaptive instruction did not have positive outcomes, however. The article concludes that approaches mixing classroom and school improvements with tutoring for the most at-risk pupils have the greatest potential for the largest numbers of struggling readers.
Source: A synthesis of quantitative research on
programs for struggling readers in elementary schools (April 2019), Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform
The MindOut programme is a social-emotional learning programme, developed in Ireland, and based on CASEL’s five core competencies for social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management and responsible decision-making. A new article by Katherine Dowling and colleagues in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence reports the results of a cluster-randomised controlled trial of the programme.
The study took place in 34 secondary schools in Ireland (17
intervention, 17 control) with high levels of disadvantage (at least 70% of pupils
classified as educationally disadvantaged). Teachers from the intervention
schools took part in a one-day training session, and then delivered the MindOut
programme over 13 weekly sessions. A total of 675 pupils (ages 15-18) completed
a baseline assessment, with 497 pupils remaining in the study
post-intervention. A range of measures were used to evaluate the impact on social-emotional
skills, mental health and well-being and academic outcomes.
Results showed that for some social and emotional skills,
there were significant improvements for intervention pupils, including the use
of more positive coping strategies and increased social support coping. On
mental health and well-being, the intervention significantly reduced levels of
stress and depressive symptoms. However, there was no effect on academic
outcomes (pupils’ achievement motivation as rated by teachers, and attitudes
Source: A cluster
randomized-controlled trial of the MindOut social and emotional learning program
for disadvantaged post-primary school students (April 2019), Journal of Youth and Adolescence