An evaluation published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis evaluates the impact of the Digital Conversion Initiative on pupil outcomes for one US school district in North Carolina.
The initiative provided laptop computers to every pupil from the fourth grade (Year 5) upwards, while also providing teachers with training on how to best use the technology in their lesson plans.
Marie Hull and Katherine Duch used administrative school data from 2005 to 2013 to determine the programme’s impact on maths and reading achievement for pupils in grades 4 to 8 (Years 5 to 9), as well as the impact of the programme on pupil behaviour. They compared the district’s data from before and after implementation, as well as data from neighbouring school districts without one-to-one programmes to determine the short- and medium-term effects.
Their results suggest there is potential for one-to-one laptop programmes to help improve pupil outcomes. They found that:
- Maths scores for pupils improved by 0.11 standard deviations in the short term and 0.13 standard deviations in the medium term.
- No significant change in reading scores in the short term, and mixed evidence of improvement in the medium term.
- Time spent on homework stayed constant.
- Pupils spent more of their homework time using a computer.
Source: One-to-one technology and student outcomes: Evidence from Mooresville’s Digital Conversion Initiative (September 2018), Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
A meta-analysis, published in Review of Educational Research, examines how shared book reading affects the English language and literacy skills of young children learning English as an additional language (EAL)
Shared book reading involves an adult reading with one or more children, and is considered to be an effective practice for language and literacy development. It may also involve interactive practices such as dialogic reading techniques to engage children or reinforce specific ideas or words from the text.
For this meta-analysis, Lisa Fitton and colleagues identified 54 studies of shared reading interventions conducted in the US that met their inclusion criteria. The total number of participants across the studies was 3,989, with an average age of six.
Results revealed an overall positive effect of shared reading on EAL outcomes (effect size = +0.28). Children’s developmental status moderated this effect, with larger effect sizes found in studies including only typically developing children (+0.48) than in studies including only participants with developmental disorders (+0.17).
Source: Shared book reading interventions with English learners: a meta-analysis (October 2018), Review of Educational Research, volume: 88 issue: 5
Several recent Best Evidence in Brief articles describe the positive effects on reading achievement of providing free vision screening and glasses to pupils who need them. Adding to the evidence showing that vision is one of the most important health outcomes for academic success, a recent study describes the results of one such programme, Florida Vision Quest.
Florida Vision Quest (FLVQ) is a programme designed to provide pupils in high-poverty schools with vision screening and free vision testing in a mobile vision clinic. If children are found to need glasses, they receive them at no charge. Two pairs are given to each child.
Within three school districts in Central Florida, elementary Title I schools were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: Full treatment (n=19), screen only (n=19), or control (n=38). Only pupils in grades 4 and 5 (Year 5 and 6) were involved in the study. Outcomes were determined for all pupils in those grades, not just those who needed glasses.
Findings showed there were significant positive effects on reading (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Tests, or FCAT) for schools that received the full treatment (effect size = +0.13) but not for those that received screening only. There were no effects for maths.
Source: The Impact of Providing Vision Screening and Free Eyeglasses on Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Title I Elementary Schools in Florida (Spring 2018), Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
A paper by Lisa Boonk and colleagues, published in Educational Research Review, reviews the research literature on the relationship between parental involvement and students’ academic achievement.
To be eligible for the paper, studies had to (a) investigate parental involvement and its relation with academic achievement of learners aged 0 to 18; (b) provide clear descriptions of the parental involvement construct and measurements and type of academic outcome; and (c) be published in the period 2003 to 2017 in a peer-reviewed journal. A total of 75 studies were included.
After reviewing the literature, the authors found that parental involvement variables that show promise according to their correlations with academic achievement are:
- reading at home
- parents who hold high expectations/aspirations for their children’s academic achievement and schooling
- communication between parents and children regarding school
- parental encouragement and support for learning.
Source: A review of the relationship between parental involvement indicators and academic achievement (June 2018) Educational Research Review.
Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI) is a programme that uses webcam technology to allow kindergarten and first grade (Year 1 and Year 2) teachers to help struggling readers while being observed by a coach who gives them real-time feedback as they work with a pupil. TRI trains teachers in their strategies during a three-day workshop in the summer, with webcam observations and feedback during the school year.
Researchers at the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina evaluated the effect of TRI in a two-year randomised evaluation to examine its one-year effects on struggling readers, and to examine if having a teacher teach the programme for two years affected pupil achievement.
The study took place in kindergarten and first grade (Year 1 and Year 2) classrooms in ten schools in high-poverty south eastern rural counties in the US. Subjects were equivalent at baseline on standardised testing in the autumn, and randomisation occurred at the classroom level. During the two years of the study, a total of 50 kindergarten (Year 1) classrooms (26 treatment, 24 control) and 50 first grade (Year 2) classrooms (29 treatment, 21 control) at each school were randomised, and then three struggling readers from each classroom were selected to either the treatment or control condition in each year of the study. In total, 305 pupils were assigned to receive TRI training, and 251 pupils served in the untreated control group. Treatment pupils worked with teachers one-to-one, 15 minutes a day every day for six to eight weeks. Spring post-tests showed that struggling readers who received TRI showed greater gains than struggling readers in the control condition (effect size =+0.26). Longevity of teaching the programme did not show any significant effect on pupil achievement.
Researchers also report on the results for the subset of pupils experiencing the programme who had English as an additional language, which may be found here.
Source: Improving struggling readers’ early literacy skills through a tier 2 professional development program for rural classroom teachers: The Targeted Reading Intervention (June2018), The Elementary School Journal 2018 118:4, 525-548
An evaluation conducted for the Education Endowment Foundation looked at whether the Good Behaviour Game (GBG) improved pupils’ reading skills and behaviour.
The GBG intervention is a classroom management approach designed to improve pupil behaviour and build confidence and resilience. The game is played in groups and rewards pupils for good behaviour. More than 3,000 Year 3 pupils from 77 UK schools took part in a randomised controlled trial of GBG over two years. Around a quarter of the pupils in the schools were eligible for free school meals, around a fifth were pupils with special educational needs, and 23% had English as an additional language.
The analysis indicated that, on average, GBG had no significant impact on pupils’ reading skills (effect size = +0.03) or their behaviour (concentration, disruptive behaviour and pro-social behaviour) when compared to the control group pupils. However, there was some tentative evidence that boys at risk of developing conduct problems showed improvements in behaviour.
Source: Good Behaviour Game: Evaluation report and executive summary (July 2018), Education Endowment Foundation