Many factors influence a child’s responsiveness to an academic programme. The University of Oregon’s Ben Clark and colleagues recently evaluated the effects of baseline maths skills and their interaction with group size on the maths achievement of at-risk kindergartners (Year 1) in the ROOTs programme.
The ROOTS programme is a 50-lesson Tier-2 maths programme that addresses whole-number concepts and skills as a supplement to maths teaching. In this study, the researchers examined data from a randomised evaluation (Clark et al., 2017) studying kindergartners from 69 classrooms during two separate school years. Subjects were tested using five measures of whole-number sense each autumn, and those whose scores fell below a determined threshold were assigned to either a 2:1 ROOTS group (n=120), a 5:1 ROOTS group (n=295), or to the no-intervention control group (n=177). ROOTS pupils received 20-minute small-group sessions five times a week during ten weeks spanning late fall to early spring. Post-tests in the spring of kindergarten (Year 1) and then six months into first grade (Year 2) found that the pupils with lower initial maths skills demonstrated greater gains than others on two of the six outcome measures of the TEMA-3, although there was no correlation with intervention group size.
Source: Exploring the relationship between initial mathematics skill
and a kindergarten mathematics intervention (January 2019) Exceptional Children, 85(2)
An evaluation of a pilot of Teensleep, a sleep education programme that aims to improve outcomes for pupils by improving the quality of their sleep, found no evidence that the programme led to improvements in pupils’ sleep.
The Teensleep programme
trains teachers to promote good ‘sleep hygiene’ as part of pupils’ 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 pupils received the intervention as delivered by their teachers and completed a sleep quiz and sleep survey pre- and post-intervention. Parents and pupils were informed about the pilot study and parents could opt out of schools sharing pupils’ data with the research team, but not out of pupil participation in the intervention.
Overall, the evaluation
found there was no evidence that Teensleep improved pupils’ 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 behaviour
as reported by pupils, such as napping less during the daytime.
Source: Teensleep: Pilot report and executive summary (February
2019) Education Endowment Foundation
Research published in AERA Open examines the features needed for effective teacher professional development (PD) aimed at preparing teachers to support their pupils in mastering language expectations across the curriculum.
Eva Kalinowski and
colleagues conducted a systematic review of studies of PD programmes, published
between 2002 and 2015, which aimed to support teachers to improve their pupils’
academic language ability in different subject areas. Of the 38 studies they reviewed,
all but one were carried out in the US. Eighteen studies used quantitative data
only, three used a mainly qualitative approach, and 17 used mixed methods.
Although the researchers
were unable to conclude which elements actually influenced the effectiveness of
the programmes analysed, they found that all of the studies were effective to
some extent, and shared many characteristics considered to be important in
successful teacher PD across different subject areas. The forms of PD likely to
show some effect for teachers and pupils in this area:
were long-term intensive programmes that included multiple learning opportunities aimed at elaborating and practising newly learned knowledge and strategies
provided practical assistance
enabled and encouraged teachers to work together
considered teachers’ needs as well as pupils’ learning processes and languages spoken at home.
Source: Effective professional development
for teachers to foster students’ academic language proficiency across the curriculum:
A systematic review (February 2-19), AERA
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 randomised 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 pupils 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.
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. Pupils 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.
empirical basis for linking social and emotional learning to academic
performance (January 2019). Contemporary
Educational Psychology, Volume 56
Mentoring programmes 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 programmes 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
The findings from their meta-analysis suggest 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.
Programmes 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.
Source: The effects
of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies (January 2019),
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Megan Millenky and colleagues from MDRC have released a new reporton an evaluation of PACE Center for Girls. PACE, a Florida-based organisation, provides academic and social services to at-risk middle and high school girls. According to the report, PACE operates daily, year-round; on a typical day, girls attend academic classes and receive additional support such as individual counselling, academic advice, and referrals to other services.
The research team used a random
assignment design to evaluate the impact of PACE. From August 2013 to November
2015, a sample of 1,125 girls were enrolled in the study (673 in the programme
group, and 452 in the control group). Data sources included administrative
records, a survey, and interviews.
Key findings from the study were as follows:
The programme group received more academic and social services — and received them more often from a professional source — than the control group.
Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrolment and attendance for the girls it served, compared with the control group. Girls in the programme group were also more likely to be “on track” academically than those in the control group.
Girls in both the programme and control groups appeared goal-orientated and hopeful about their futures and reported relatively low levels of risky behaviour one year after study enrolment.
The cost of PACE’s holistic package of services is, on average, $10,400 per pupil more than the cost of the services received by control group members through academic and social services provided in the community. The additional cost is largely driven by PACE’s extensive social services; the cost of academic services is similar to those of Florida public schools.
The authors note that further follow-up research would be
necessary to see whether PACE affects longer-term academic and delinquency
outcomes and to complete a full benefit-cost analysis.
on girls’ futures: Results from the evaluation of PACE Center for Girls
(January 2019), MDRC