Mobile messaging programs are a low-cost, scalable approach to building parents’ knowledge and capacity to support their children’s development. These programs directly deliver simple and straightforward information, tips, and activities that parents can incorporate into daily routines.
The Efficacy of Digital Media Resources in Improving Children’s Ability to Use Informational Text: An Evaluation of Molly of Denali from PBS KIDS
Informational text—oral or written text designed to inform—is essential to daily life and fundamental to literacy. Unfortunately, children typically have limited exposure to informational text. Two nine-week randomized controlled trials with a national sample of 263 first-graders examined whether free educational videos and digital games supported children’s ability to use informational text to answer real-world questions. Participants received data-enabled tablets and were randomly assigned to condition. Study 1 found significant positive intervention impacts on child outcomes; Study 2 replicated these findings. Combined analyses demonstrated primary impact on children’s ability to identify and use structural and graphical features of informational text. Results are discussed in the context of the scalability of educational media to support informational text learning.
A pre-print version of the manuscript submitted to the American Educational Research Journal is available on ResearchGate.
Over 450 children living in low-income households across the U.S. participated in this study, which explores whether providing families with access to PBS KIDS The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! ™ videos, digital games, and hands-on activities can help 4- and 5-year old children learn physical science and engineering concepts and practices.
Teachers’ perceptions of students’ executive functions: Disparities by gender, ethnicity, and ell status.
Teacher-report is commonly used to assess executive functions (EFs) in schools, but teachers’ perceptions of EF skills may be biased by students’ demographic characteristics. In this short-term longitudinal study, we assessed whether students’ gender, ethnicity, and English language learner (ELL) status predicted teachers’ reports of students’ EFs, beyond what would be expected based on direct assessment of EFs. In addition, we tested whether these associations changed between the fall and spring. Data were drawn from a school-based study of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students (N = 558, 33 classrooms, 8 schools) in which students’ EFs were measured using direct assessments and teacher reports in the fall and spring. Using path analysis to control for the contribution of the direct assessment of EFs, we found systematic gender, ethnic, and ELL status disparities in teachers’ reports of students’ EFs. Moreover, these disparities did not change between the fall and spring. Given increased interest in incorporating teachers’ report of students’ EF skills into student report cards and school accountability indices, researchers and practitioners should further investigate and address the potential for systematic disparities in teachers’ reports of EFs. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)
Educational Impact and Implications Statement—Teacher-report is widely used to measure executive functions (EFs) and related self-regulated behavior in schools, yet it is unknown whether teachers’ reports of EFs are biased by students’ demographic characteristics. This study found evidence that teachers viewed boys, African Americans, and students with limited English proficiency as having worse EFs than girls, White students, and English dominant students, respectively, beyond what would be expected based on a direct assessment of their EFs. Given the importance of teachers’ perceptions for later academic achievement, these findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions of students’ EFs may contribute to persistent disparities in academic and behavioral outcomes. Researchers and practitioners should further investigate and address the sources and consequences of systematic disparities in teachers’ perceptions of students’ EFs. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)
Peers matter: Links between classmates’ and individual students’ executive functions in elementary school
Students’ executive functions (EFs) are linked to school success. Although school-age children spend much of their time interacting with peers, few studies have explored how children’s classmates may promote EF development in elementary school. In this study, we test whether mean levels and variability in classmates’ EF skills are associated with growth in individual students’ accuracy and speed on EF tasks among third, fourth, and fifth graders (N = 806). We find that classmates’ speed, but not accuracy, on EF tasks is linked to significant improvements in individual students’ EFs over the school year. Classmates’ average EFs, as indexed by faster accurate responses on EF tasks, are associated with improvements in individual students’ speed on EF tasks. These results were robust to the inclusion of individual students’ general processing speed. In contrast, variability in classmates’ accuracy and speed on EF tasks was not associated with individual students’ EF growth. Our results highlight the role of peers and the school context for EF development in middle childhood.
Getting Ready to Learn describes how educational media have and are continuing to play a role in meeting the learning needs of children, parents, and teachers. Based on years of meaningful data from the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, chapters explore how to develop engaging, playful, and developmentally appropriate content. From Emmy-Award-winning series to randomized controlled trials, this book covers the media production, scholarly research and technological advances surrounding some of the country’s most beloved programming.
What parents talk about when they talk about learning: A national survey about young children and science
This study used a nationally representative parent survey, combined with in-depth interviews and home visits with a smaller sample of families, to learn how parents of young children, particularly low-income parents, encourage and take part in their children’s learning, especially their science learning. This study also investigated parent perceptions and reported use of science-related educational media, such as television shows, videos, online games, and mobile apps.
The classroom language context and english and Spanish vocabulary development among dual language learners attending head start
Using a nationally representative sample of dual language learners (DLLs) attending Head Start, this study investigated how the language used for instruction and the proportion of DLLs in the class was associated with English and Spanish receptive vocabulary development between the fall and spring (n = 531). Based on teacher report of the language or languages used for instructional activities in the classroom, teachers were categorized as using (1) English only, (2) a mix of English and Spanish, or (3) mostly Spanish. Three-level hierarchical linear models showed that children in classrooms using a mix of English and Spanish had English vocabulary scores that were no different than children in English-only classrooms. Children in mostly Spanish classrooms, however, had significantly lower spring English scores than children in English-only classrooms. In addition, children in English-only classrooms had significantly lower Spanish vocabulary scores than children in the other two categories of classrooms, which did not differ from each other. The higher the proportion of DLLs in a class the lower were spring English scores, but not Spanish vocabulary scores. Findings suggest that using bilingual instruction, and sharing classrooms with English-dominant peers can promote English vocabulary development without a cost to Spanish vocabulary development.