Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools: a systematic review. This Campbell Collaboration systematic review examines the impact of class size on academic achievement. The review summarizes findings from 148 reports from 41 countries. Reducing class size is viewed by many educators as an essential tool for improving student performance, and is especially popular among teachers. But smaller class sizes come at a steep cost. Education policymakers see increasing class size as a way to control education budgets. Despite the real policy and practice implications, the research on the educational effects of class‐size differences on student performance is mixed. This meta-analysis suggests, at best only, a small impact on reading achievement. The study finds a small negative effect on mathematics. Given the fact that class size reduction is minimally effective while being costly, aren’t there better solutions that are both cost-effective, benefits students, and can help teachers be successful in a very challenging profession?
Citation: Filges, T., Sonne‐Schmidt, C. S., & Nielsen, B. C. V. (2018). Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 14(1), 1-107.
Do Pay-for-Grades Programs Encourage Student Cheating? Evidence from a randomized experiment. Pay-for-grades programs are designed to increase student academic performance. One of the claims of those opposing such incentive systems is monetary incentives may lead to academic cheating. This randomized controlled study of 11 Chinese primary schools examines the effects of pay-for-grades programs on academic fraud. The study found widespread cheating behavior for students regardless of being in the control or experimental group, but no overall increase in the level of cheating for students in the pay-for-grades program. The authors conclude that educators need to be on the lookout for academic dishonesty, especially on standardized tests, while using moderate incentives to encourage student learning did not lead to increased levels of gaming the system.
Citation: Li, T., & Zhou, Y. (2019). Do Pay-for-Grades Programs Encourage Student Academic Cheating? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment. Frontiers of Education in China, 14(1), 117-137.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders and Classroom-Based Interventions: Evidence-Based Status, Effectiveness, and Moderators of Effects in Single-Case Design Research. Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) traditionally struggle academically and behaviorally. The issues associated with ADHD challenge teachers in meeting the needs of these students. This meta-analysis of single-case design studies evaluates intervention effectiveness, evidence-based status, and moderators of effects for four intervention types (behavioral, instructional, self-management, and environmental) when implemented with students with ADHD in classroom settings. This study suggests that interventions that target academic learning strategies and behavioral challenges produced medium effect sizes. The instructional and self-management interventions examined in this study were deemed as evidence-based by What Works Clearinghouse standards.
Citation: Harrison, J. R., Soares, D. A., Rudzinski, S., & Johnson, R. (2019). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders and Classroom-Based Interventions: Evidence-Based Status, Effectiveness, and Moderators of Effects in Single-Case Design Research. Review of Educational Research, 0034654319857038.
The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance: This new research addresses a number of critical questions: Are a teacher’s cognitive skills a good predictor of teacher quality? Using this measure, does teacher quality account for the wide variation of student achievement across ours and other nations? This study examines the student achievement of 36 developed countries in the context of teacher cognitive skills. It uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which generates the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which tests the literacy and numeracy skills of 15 year old students and the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) which tests literacy and numeracy skills of adults 16-65 (which includes teachers).
Existing research demonstrates that teachers have the greatest impact of any other school-based factor. It also tells us that teachers’ experience, advanced degrees, and professional development are not very good predictors of teacher effectiveness. There is increasing evidence that a teacher’s own scholastic performance (literacy and numeracy cognitive skills) is consistently related to student outcomes.
The study used multiple approaches to examine the data, and found that: (1) there was great variability in both student achievement and teachers’ cognitive skills across countries, (2) the higher the teachers’ cognitive skills, the more academically successful the students, (3) the effects were more pronounced within a subject area (teachers with higher numeracy skills in math produced higher student achievement in math than reading and vice versa), and (4) students performed better where teachers had higher salaries. One of the implications of the study is the value of targeting potential teachers with higher cognitive skills. High scoring Singapore, Finland, and Korea recruit their teachers exclusively from the top third of their college graduating class. Less than a quarter of U.S. teachers came from this same group.
Citation: Hanushek, E. A., Piopiunik, M., & Wiederhold, S. (2014). The value of smarter teachers: International evidence on teacher cognitive skills and student performance (No. w20727). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018: This report examines key indicators on the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race/ethnicity. There is extensive data on thirty indicators across home, K-12 education, and postsecondary environments, including: demographics, education participation, achievement, student behavior, completion rates, and post school results. The report also has special sections on public school teachers by race/ethnicity and characteristics of postsecondary institutions serving specific minority racial/ethnic groups.
A sample of the many analyses include: (1) the percentage of children under the age of 18 living in poverty was 31% for Black children, 26% for Hispanic, 10% for White, and 10% for Asian; (2) over half of Hispanic (60%) and Black (58%) students attended schools where the enrollment of minority students was at least 75% of total enrollment versus 38% of Asian students and 5% of White students; (3) there has been no significant change in the reading and math White-Black and White-Hispanic achievement gaps; (4) over 5% of public school students received one or more out-of-school suspensions: 13.7% of Black students, 4.5% of Hispanic, 3.4% of White, and 1.1% of Asian; (5) from 2000 to 2016 the high school status completion rate for Hispanic increased from 64 to 89 percent, for Black students 84 – 92%, and White students 92 – 94%,
Citation: de Brey, C., Musu, L., McFarland, J., Wilkinson-Flicker, S., Diliberti, M., Zhang, A., Branstetter, C., and Wang, X. (2019). Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018 (NCES 2019-038). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved [date] from https://nces.ed.gov/ pubsearch/.
Increasing Teachers’ Use of Behavior-Specific Praise with the Teacher vs. Student Game. Research has long supported the importance of teacher behavior specific praise in the classroom. This study examines the impact of a Teacher Versus Student Game, a program that is based upon The Good Behavior Game (GBG). GBG has been in use since 1967 and is an evidence-based behavioral classroom management strategy that helps children learn how to work together to create a positive learning environment. Pressure for teachers to show academic results is hindered by challenging student conduct. Maintaining control of student behavior is a critical factor in teacher’s ability to effectively deliver instruction that results in increased student academic outcomes. Using group contingencies found in the Teacher Versus Student Game provides teachers another program designed to accomplish this important goal. This paper found that the game increased teachers rates of praise; however, the teachers gradually decreased their use of BSP over time.
Two additional papers on practices to increase teacher praise are identified under citations.
Gage, N. A., MacSuga-Gage, A. S., & Crews, E. (2017). Increasing teachers’ use of behavior-specific praise using a multitiered system for professional development. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 19(4), 239-251.
White, K. (2018). Increasing Teachers’ Use of Behavior Specific Praise Via a Smart Watch.
STEM Performance and Supply: Assessing the Evidence for Education. Policy. Concerns that the United States is not training a sufficient number of students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) has been of ongoing concern for policy makers for decades. This study examines the evidence and concludes that U.S. education system is producing ample supplies of students to respond to STEM labor market demand.
Citation:Salzman, H., & Benderly, B. L. (2019). STEM Performance and Supply: Assessing the Evidence for Education Policy. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(1), 9-25.
The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a policy statement regarding the negative impact that chronic student absenteeism has on children’s health. They cite numerous ways the two are linked. First, evidence clearly documents that chronic absenteeism puts children at a much higher risk of dropping out of school and not graduating. There is a significant amount of research associating poor school performance (resulting in lower education attainment) and poor adult health outcomes, including increased mortality risk and lower life expectancy. The act of missing school itself is also linked to increased risk behaviors, including alcohol consumption, drug use, smoking and risky sexual behavior. Also, children with chronic absenteeism are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested or referred to the juvenile justice system. The policy statement finishes with a discussion of roles the medical community can play working with schools and families to help address this problem. It reviews the evidence regarding possible physical and mental health interventions, including: infection prevention programs, school nurses, school-based health centers, mental health care, health awareness school policies and programs, parent interventions, and coordinated school health models.
Citation: Allison, M. A., & Attisha, E. (2019). The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. Pediatrics, e20183648.
Digest of Education Statistics 2017: The Digest of Education Statistics 2017was just released by The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual publication is thedefinitive compendium of data on virtually every aspects of education from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Its chapters include: All Levels of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Federal Funds for Education and Related Activities, Outcomes of Education, International Comparisons of Education, and Libraries and Use of Technology. It draws from a wide range of government and private sources and applies rigorous review to everything published. It has been published annually since 1962, providing over 50 years of data with which to benchmark education performance at the system level in this country.
Citation: Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018-070). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.