Kristin Rogde and colleagues from the Campbell Collaboration have completed a systematic review that examines the effects of linguistic comprehension teaching on generalised measures of language and reading comprehension skills. Examples of linguistic comprehension skills include vocabulary, grammar and narrative skills.
The authors searched literature dating back to 1986, and
identified 43 studies to include in the review, including samples of both
pre-school and school-aged participants. Randomised controlled trials and
quasi-experiments with a control group and a pre-post design were included.
Key findings of the review were as follows:
The linguistic comprehension programmes
included in the review display a small positive immediate effect on generalised
outcomes of linguistic comprehension.
The effect of the programmes on generalised
measures of reading comprehension is negligible.
Few studies report follow-up assessment of
According to the authors, linguistic comprehension teaching has
the potential to increase children’s general linguistic comprehension skills.
However, there is variability in effects related to the type of outcome measure
that is used to examine the effect of such instruction on linguistic
effect of linguistic comprehension instruction on generalized language and
reading comprehension skills: A systematic review (November 2019), Campbell Systematic Reviews
A meta-analysis synthesises the
quantitative findings of many studies on a given topic. The guidance paper
outlines the characteristics that make a meta-analysis in a systematic review
high quality, discussing unbiased screening and coding procedures, establishing
a protocol for carrying out a review, and then discussing in depth the best
practices for computing effect sizes and reporting the data.
The authors conclude that “the role of researchers using systematic review and meta-analysis is to produce both high-quality analyses and to interpret those results in ways accessible to a wide audience. A high-quality systematic review and meta-analysis is difficult and time-consuming to produce; it is worth the effort to ensure that the results inform future research and policymaking through clear discussion of the results. Researchers should consider preparing different summaries of their review tailored to their audience of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.”
Source: Methodological guidance
paper: High-quality meta-analysis in a systematic review (September 2019), Review of Educational Research
This Campbell systematic review examines the evidence on the correlation between teacher qualifications and the quality of early childhood learning environments, as measured by the Environment Rating Scale (ERS). The review summarises findings from 48 studies with 82 independent samples. The studies had to be comparative or correlational and report either an overall quality scale or an environment rating scale.
Overall, the review suggests that higher teacher
qualifications are positively associated with classroom quality in early
childhood education and care (effect size = +0.20). The review also suggests a
positive correlation between teacher qualifications and classroom quality on a
number of subscales, including:
structure – focusing on the schedule, time for free play, group time and
provisions for children with disabilities (ES = +0.22).
– this relates to fine motor, art, music/movement, blocks, sand/water, dramatic
play, nature/science, maths/number, use of digital technologies, and promoting
acceptance of diversity (ES = +0.20).
and reasoning – encouraging children to communicate, use language to
develop reasoning skills, and the informal use of language (ES = +0.20).
The researchers conclude that while there is evidence for
the relationship between teacher qualification and classroom quality as
measured by the ERS, further research is also needed into the specific knowledge
and skills that are learned by teachers with higher qualifications that enable
them to complete their roles effectively. It is important to note also, that
while higher quality in early childhood education and care may lead to improved
outcomes for children, we cannot assume that this is the case.
relationship between teacher qualification and the quality of the early
childhood education and care environment (January 2017), Campbell Systematic Reviews, Volume 13, Issue 1.
The Nuffield Foundation has published a systematic review by researchers at Ulster University that analyses the outcomes of classroom-based mathematical interventions.
The systematic review included studies that assessed the
outcomes of interventions aimed at improving maths achievement in primary
school children. Forty-five randomised controlled trials were included along
with thirty-five quasi-experimental studies. The studies were published between
2000 and 2017, and were mostly conducted in the US and Europe.
The results of the review suggest that there are effective
strategies teachers can use to help with learning maths and being fluent with
mathematical facts. It also found there are many different ways teachers can
support children to have a wide bank of strategies to complete mathematical
problems, and for children to know when is best to apply them. Technology in
the classroom can also be helpful as long as these tools have been developed
with a clear understanding of how children learn.
The report concludes that the evidence base on mathematical
interventions is weak, and recommends that researchers should test how
effective mathematical interventions are in order to help teachers support
to improve mathematical achievement in primary school-aged children. A systematic
review (June 2019), Nuffield Foundation
A meta-analysis in the Journal of Research in Reading has synthesised the findings of studies comparing print and digital text regarding time required to read, reading comprehension and readers’ perceptions of their comprehension. Researcher Virginia Clinton performed a systematic literature review, only including studies using random assignment and that were published between 2008 and 2018, yielding 29 reports of 33 studies for analysis. She found that readers require equal amounts of time to read print and digital text, although screen reading negatively impacted reading comprehension (effect size = -0.25). Readers were more accurately able to judge their comprehension on paper (effect size = +0.20) than on screen.
The negative effect on performance for reading text from
screens rather than paper did not vary for readers who were adults or children
(under 18). However, the author suggests this finding should be interpreted
with caution because there were more studies with adult participants (26) than
child participants (7).
Best Evidence in Brief reported on an earlier meta-analysis solely examining reading comprehension, whose results also favoured printed text.
Source: Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta‐analysis (May 2019), Journal of Research in Reading, volume 42, issue 2
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