[RFHF] In the News: Play=Success and identifying good research

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Mon Apr 2 11:01:58 PDT 2012

Hi! I came across two good articles this morning. I don't have as much time as usual to read through them thoroughly and process them in advance, but in my brief review I think they are noteworthy.

Toddlers' make-believe games 'help poor pupils succeed'<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17562431> by Hannah Richardson, BBC New Education Reporter
This article covers a newly released study called Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education 3-14 Project (EPPSE 3-14) Report from the Key Stage 3 Phase: Influences on Students Development from age 11-14<https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RR202.pdf> which is available for free online. This study took place in the UK so it is important to note the potential difference in population. The most noteworthy key findings covered in the article are:

*         "...early learning activities can give children a three-year academic boost by age 14."

*         These beneficial early learning activities are defined as "being read to, planning with numbers and letters, doing craft activities, but also playing with friends at home and elsewhere, as well as enjoying 'make believe' games like dressing up."

*         "The study says that difference in academic attainment and social development related to background emerge in children by the age of three."

*         "Learning opportunities in the home such as reading with children, playing with letters and shapes, sharing nursery rhymes, (and) going to the library all have positive effects later in the secondary phase, in fact, more than parental occupation or income."

Evidence-based practice: Separating the wheat from the chaff<http://tiny.cc/bmf5bw> by Washington Learning Systems
This is a short article that is well-worth reading in full because it describes how to "identify the most accurate information, leading us to the most effective methods". Here is the list of specific criteria for evaluating research from the article. If you are not familiar with these criteria already, I suggest printing them out and posting them next to your computer.

  *   "The age range of the children should match the group you are working with."
  *   "The geographic location of the study should be representative of your students.  Even within the U.S. there are regional differences."
  *   "Ideally, studies should use the "gold standard" of empirical research:  random assignment to treatment groups."
  *   "Research studies should be published no earlier than 1985.  However, do not reject foundational literature written before 1985, e.g., Piaget  and Vygotsky."
  *   "The study should measure child change.  Knowing that you have changed parent or teacher behavior is useful, but is not as convincing as demonstrating child change directly."
  *   "Finally, look for information in good quality, peer reviewed journals."
  *   These two are not listed in the article, but are criteria I personally use.
     *   How large is the study group? The larger the number of people, the more potential for all types of diversity in the group and the more broadly it may apply, e.g., a study on 3,000 children may have more validity than a study on 50 children.
     *   Has a similar study been done with similar results? The more studies that are conducted the same way with the same results the more valid the argument/research.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

If the hyperlinks don't work, try cutting and pasting these URLs into your browser:

*         BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17562431

*         Full, almost 196 page report on the study: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RR202.pdf

*         Evidence-based practice: http://www.walearning.com/articles/evidence-based-practice-separating-the-wheat-from-the-chaff/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Early+Literacy+Newsletter+April+2012&utm_content=Early+Literacy+Newsletter+April+2012+CID_834ae9e4d5377b139949eef3cc5b51a1&utm_source=Mailing+List&utm_term=Read+more

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