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Educ. Sci., Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle In Search of Dialogicity: A Comparison of Curricular Documents and Classroom Interactions from Finland and Hong Kong
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 76; doi:10.3390/educsci7040076
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
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Abstract
The prevailing consensus is that science teaching should be more student-centered and guide learners towards more phenomenon-based and authentic problem-solving activities. This approach is reflected in educational policies and recently reformed curricula. However, there is limited research on how these frameworks actually manifest
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The prevailing consensus is that science teaching should be more student-centered and guide learners towards more phenomenon-based and authentic problem-solving activities. This approach is reflected in educational policies and recently reformed curricula. However, there is limited research on how these frameworks actually manifest in curricula and how to facilitate student-centered pedagogy. In this study, we examine the student-centered features of the curricula of two countries: Finland and Hong Kong. Student-centeredness in the classroom can be assessed using the principles of dialogicity. Dialogic principles underpin student-centeredness, particularly in teacher-orchestrated whole-class discussions. Dialogic interactions include mutual consideration of different and even diverging views. This study first reviews the dialogic themes in the curricula, then explores the ways in which student-centered approaches can be realized in practice by analyzing the dialogic interactions in two classroom examples. The dialogic themes identified in the curricula are considered in the context of the classroom examples. As science classroom interactions are still prevailingly teacher-centered and authoritative, the insights into alternative approaches generated by the examples are discussed. This study prepares the context for further discussion of curricular development, dialogicity and its implications for teaching and teacher education. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring and Comparing Student Performance: A New Technique for Assessing Directional Associations
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 77; doi:10.3390/educsci7040077
Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Measuring and comparing student performance have been topics of much interest for educators and psychologists. Particular attention has traditionally been paid to the design of experimental studies and careful analyses of observational data. Classical statistical techniques, such as fitting regression lines, have traditionally
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Measuring and comparing student performance have been topics of much interest for educators and psychologists. Particular attention has traditionally been paid to the design of experimental studies and careful analyses of observational data. Classical statistical techniques, such as fitting regression lines, have traditionally been utilized and far-reaching policy guidelines offered. In the present paper, we argue in favour of a novel technique, which is mathematical in nature, and whose main idea relies on measuring distance of the actual bivariate data from the class of all monotonic (increasing in the context of this paper) patterns. The technique sharply contrasts the classical approach of fitting least-squares regression lines to actual data, which usually follow non-linear and even non-monotonic patterns, and then assessing and comparing their slopes based on the Pearson correlation coefficient, whose use is justifiable only when patterns are (approximately) linear. We describe the herein suggested distance-based technique in detail, show its benefits, and provide a step-by-step implementation guide. Detailed graphical and numerical illustrations elucidate our theoretical considerations throughout the paper. The index of increase, upon which the technique is based, can also be used as a summary index for the LOESS and other fitted regression curves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Using Mathematics Educational Software for the Learning of First-Year Primary School Students
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 79; doi:10.3390/educsci7040079
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 15 October 2017
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Abstract
The use of educational software offers many advantages but may also become a frustrating experience for teachers and students that lack experience of its use. We presented an evaluation of the use of Maths educational software to support the learning of first-year primary
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The use of educational software offers many advantages but may also become a frustrating experience for teachers and students that lack experience of its use. We presented an evaluation of the use of Maths educational software to support the learning of first-year primary students in the city of Mazatlan, Mexico. One of our reasons was to determine whether the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) would motivate students and make learning easier, more interesting and even fun. Three surveys were conducted wherein the following people participated: teachers who teach Maths in the first-year of primary school; managers of the computing facilities used in this study; and first-year primary students. Due to time constraints, the three surveys were only applied in three schools, in two shifts in each school. Overall, our study suggests three key aspects for learning to be improved through ICTs, namely: (1) learning activities should be designed considering the use of educational software; (2) learning materials and activities should include guiding material to facilitate learning; and (3) promote learning through play. We propose a few design principles for educational software to support learning better and more effectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using a Collaborative Assessment Design to Support Student Learning
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 80; doi:10.3390/educsci7040080
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of the study was to try to develop an understanding of how groups of pre-service teachers organised, planned and built two information and communication technologies (ICT) resources using a learn-technology-by-design framework. The benefits for students in using a learn-by-design approach have
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The purpose of the study was to try to develop an understanding of how groups of pre-service teachers organised, planned and built two information and communication technologies (ICT) resources using a learn-technology-by-design framework. The benefits for students in using a learn-by-design approach have been well researched, and the research has covered a broad range of research streams. A design-based research approach underpins the research. This paper presents the observational data, which was collected in an ICT in the Education unit of study. The collaborative design assessment provided pre-service teachers with the opportunity to collaboratively build an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) resources and a web-based teaching (website) resource. In this study, seven groups were observed while they engaged in a long-term collaboration and completed two group assessment tasks. The results suggest that students needed both guidance and time to develop their skills in collaboration. While there were variations in the collaborative patterns, these variations did not impact the success of the groups in the development of their ICT resources. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Stay in the Box! Embedded Assistive Technology Improves Access for Students with Disabilities
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 82; doi:10.3390/educsci7040082
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
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Abstract
Assistive technology is not only a required component of a student’s IEP; it can be an effective way to help students with (and without) disabilities access their education and to provide them with required instructional accommodations. Teachers, however, are often not adequately prepared
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Assistive technology is not only a required component of a student’s IEP; it can be an effective way to help students with (and without) disabilities access their education and to provide them with required instructional accommodations. Teachers, however, are often not adequately prepared in their pre-service course work and ongoing professional development to address the technology needs of their special education students and have not had the opportunities to access technology due to limited availability and cost. While assistive technology can be purchased to augment an existing computer, it is often unnecessary to do that. Both Microsoft and Apple operating systems in “off-the-shelf” computers and handheld devices have embedded assistive technology that is easy to access and easy to use. This embedded technology can help teachers become familiar with technology and assist students with sensory, physical, learning, and attention disabilities, and it might have practical applications with Universal Design for Learning. This paper provides a discussion on how embedded technology can support students with disabilities in the school setting and provides examples for access and use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology Enhancing the Skills of Students with Disabilities)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Mixed Methods Study on the Effect of Flipping the Undergraduate Medical Classroom
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 83; doi:10.3390/educsci7040083
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
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Abstract
The flipped classroom model is increasingly being adopted in healthcare education, despite the fact that recent systematic reviews in the nursing and medical education literature suggest that this method of instructional design is not inherently better or worse than the traditional classroom. In
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The flipped classroom model is increasingly being adopted in healthcare education, despite the fact that recent systematic reviews in the nursing and medical education literature suggest that this method of instructional design is not inherently better or worse than the traditional classroom. In this study, we used a sequential, explanatory mixed methods design to assess the impact of flipping the hepatology classroom for preclinical medical students. Compared to students in the traditional classroom, students in the flipped classroom had significantly lower mean (SD) ratings of their learning experiences (3.48 (1.10) vs. 4.50 (0.72), p < 0.001, d = 1.10), but better performance on the hepatology content of the end-of-course examination (78.0% (11.7%) vs. 74.2 (15.1%), respectively, p < 0.01, d = 0.3). Based upon our qualitative data analyses, we propose that the flipped classroom induced a change in the learning process of students by requiring increased preparation for classroom learning and promoting greater learner autonomy, which resulted in better retention of learned material, but reduced enjoyment of the learning experience. This dissonance in outcomes is captured in the words of one flipped classroom student: “…I hated it while I was learning it, but boy did I remember it…”. Based upon our dissonant outcomes and the inconsistent findings in the literature, we feel that there is still equipoise regarding the effectiveness of the flipped classroom, and further studies are needed to describe ways of making the flipped classroom a more effective (±more enjoyable) learning experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Flipped Classroom in Higher Education: Research and Practice)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle What Really Makes Secondary School Students “Want” to Study Physics?
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 84; doi:10.3390/educsci7040084
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract
This paper reports on a mixed-methods study with high school students. The study focused on the reasons they give with regard to “what they find interesting about their physics lesson” and “what makes them want to study their physics lesson” during a school
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This paper reports on a mixed-methods study with high school students. The study focused on the reasons they give with regard to “what they find interesting about their physics lesson” and “what makes them want to study their physics lesson” during a school year. The sample consisted of 219 students, who attended public high schools, located in various geographical regions of Greece. Journal entries made by all students—that is, students from junior high and senior high schools—were content-analyzed through a grounded theory approach. A total of eight categories were identified. Quantitative differences between these categories, and between the two groups of students, were also identified. Even though some of the identified categories are well-known motivators in science education, three specific categories deserve particular attention: “connection to one’s own self”, “purpose”, and “utility”. Notwithstanding the limitations of the present research design (i.e., volunteer sample, lack of standardization in students” and especially in teachers’ activities), these categories, along with two quantitative indicators—that is, number of journal entries and student percentages—challenge us to rethink what makes the ideas of science, especially those of physics, meaningful or simply relevant to the life of the students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science Education)
Open AccessArticle Remote Laboratories as a Means to Widen Participation in STEM Education
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 85; doi:10.3390/educsci7040085
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, a discussion is presented into how remote laboratories can be utilized in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in order to provide and promote access to laboratory experiments via the Internet. This provision can be considered from a range
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In this paper, a discussion is presented into how remote laboratories can be utilized in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in order to provide and promote access to laboratory experiments via the Internet. This provision can be considered from a range of viewpoints in how to use Internet-based technologies to allow remote access to physical laboratory experiments whilst taking into account the needs and wishes of the individual. In recent years, countries around the world have placed an increased emphasis on promoting access to education for traditionally underrepresented groups and also to improve the quality of STEM education. Despite this, gaining access to laboratory facilities and experiments for many people can still be a problem. Remote laboratories can, however, be designed, developed, and deployed to support access to STEM education by providing remote access to facilities that would not otherwise be accessible to an individual. Recently, a range of solutions have been developed and successfully deployed which can be used to both provide access to and improve the quality of an educational offering. This paper will consider how the remote laboratory can be developed and used. It can also be considered as an assistive technology which could be used to provide access to individuals with specific needs, such as disability. The paper will consider what a remote laboratory is and how it can be developed with accessibility in mind. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in STEM Education)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Chemistry Student Teachers’ Diagnostic Competence—A Qualitative Cross-Level Study
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 86; doi:10.3390/educsci7040086
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 2 December 2017
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Abstract
Diagnostic competence is an important skill of professional teachers and is a part of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). Because increasing heterogeneity and diversity characterize our schools, diagnostic competence plays a prominent role in teacher pre- and in-service courses. At our university, two modules
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Diagnostic competence is an important skill of professional teachers and is a part of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). Because increasing heterogeneity and diversity characterize our schools, diagnostic competence plays a prominent role in teacher pre- and in-service courses. At our university, two modules are focused on examining student teachers’ diagnostic competence in chemistry. The present paper describes a cross-level case study analyzing three groups of student teachers in different phases of their university teacher training program. The study is based on a qualitative research study with a total of 108 participants. The results show both positive and negative developments in teacher trainees’ diagnostic competence. They show that attitudes and beliefs about heterogeneity can be changed from a rather negative viewpoint to a more positive one. The results will be presented and discussed below. Suggestions for further development will be given. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating Undergraduate Research Experiences—Development of a Self-Report Tool
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 87; doi:10.3390/educsci7040087
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Despite many millions of dollars being spent each year to support undergraduate research experiences for students in the sciences, there has been little in the way of solid evaluation of these experiences. Recently, research has surfaced that addresses this issue and provides tools
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Despite many millions of dollars being spent each year to support undergraduate research experiences for students in the sciences, there has been little in the way of solid evaluation of these experiences. Recently, research has surfaced that addresses this issue and provides tools that are useful for researchers and evaluators to assess the gains students make from participation. This paper offers a new tool that can be used to measure student gains as a result of participation in these experiences. We discuss the development of the tool and use confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate the quality of the tool for measuring change over time in student confidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science Education)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Identifying Initial Conceptions of Engineering and Teaching Engineering
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 88; doi:10.3390/educsci7040088
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
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Abstract
The present study reports the use of an interview task to identify the initial conceptions of engineering and teaching engineering held by secondary mathematics and science teachers upon entering a professional development program. Results obtained from this task gave insight on several points,
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The present study reports the use of an interview task to identify the initial conceptions of engineering and teaching engineering held by secondary mathematics and science teachers upon entering a professional development program. Results obtained from this task gave insight on several points, including: (1) the requirements for a task to be considered engineering; (2) the role of a student in practicing engineering; (3) the role of the teacher in teaching engineering; and (4) the differences in discourse choices, between mathematics and science teachers, pertaining to conceptions of engineering and teaching engineering. Through understanding the beliefs of our teachers, appropriate action may be taken to ensure that we are fostering desirable classroom environments, as well as better understand how to prepare them for challenges that may present themselves in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in STEM Education)
Open AccessArticle Narrative Inquiry on the Teaching of STEM to Blind High School Students
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 89; doi:10.3390/educsci7040089
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to elevate the experiences and voices of teachers who led the STEM informal education program summer series: National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (NFB EQ). Through its integration with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), NFB EQ opened opportunities
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This study aimed to elevate the experiences and voices of teachers who led the STEM informal education program summer series: National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (NFB EQ). Through its integration with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), NFB EQ opened opportunities from 2013–2016 in Baltimore, Maryland, for 60 blind students (Grades 9–12) to learn about engineering. The purpose of this narrative inquiry study was to understand how teachers foster interest towards STEM among blind students. The participants were two sighted teachers, one blind teacher, one sighted teacher–researcher, and one sighted researcher participant. We collected data in the form of field notes, semi-structured interviews, personal narratives, collective narratives, a focus group discussion, and teaching artifacts. We engaged in conversation analysis and used MAXQDA 12 software for data analysis. Guided by the principles of community of practices and universal design for learning, our results identified the importance of teacher awareness and positionalities in guiding blind students’ inclusion and identity in the STEM classroom. Findings also suggest teachers are in a unique position to allow or prevent inclusive opportunities from occurring in their classrooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in STEM Education)
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Open AccessArticle Prediction of Students’ Use and Acceptance of Clickers by Learning Approaches: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 91; doi:10.3390/educsci7040091
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
The student response system (a.k.a clickers) had been widely used in classrooms for various pedagogical purposes these years. However, few of the studies examine students learning approaches toward both technology and engagement. The present study adopted a cross-sectional study method to investigate the
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The student response system (a.k.a clickers) had been widely used in classrooms for various pedagogical purposes these years. However, few of the studies examine students learning approaches toward both technology and engagement. The present study adopted a cross-sectional study method to investigate the relationship between students’ user acceptance of clickers, learning approaches, and general engagement in the clicker classes. A group of 3371 university students were investigated by an online questionnaire that contained with Unified Theory of Use and Acceptance of Technology, Study Process Questionnaire, and National Survey of Student Engagement across a two-semester span in 2015 and 2016. A regression analysis had been adopted to examine the relationship between those variables. Results indicated that a deep learning approach significantly predicted all user acceptance domains towards using clickers and significantly predicted several engagement domains such as collaborative learning and reflective and integrative learning. We concluded that deep learners tend to share a constructive attitude toward using clickers, especially when their peers are also using the clickers. While deep learners prefer integration of knowledge and skills from various sources and experiences, we hypothesize that their willingness to integrate clicker activities in their learning process stems from seeing clickers as a medium for consolidation in the learning process. Future research is, therefore, necessary to provide more detailed evidence of the characteristic of deep learners on the qualitative arm or in a way of mixed research method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collaborative Learning with Technology—Frontiers and Evidence)
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Open AccessArticle Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Student Interest in STEM Careers: The Roles of Motivation and Ability Beliefs
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 92; doi:10.3390/educsci7040092
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 15 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Amid growing concerns about the future of the U.S. economy and workforce, educators and policymakers alike have increasingly emphasized the need to expand the number of students interested in, qualified for and actually pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The
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Amid growing concerns about the future of the U.S. economy and workforce, educators and policymakers alike have increasingly emphasized the need to expand the number of students interested in, qualified for and actually pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The current study draws on survey responses from a sample of 3852 high school students at inclusive STEM schools across the U.S. to investigate how project- and problem-based learning (PBL) may work to address this need. Multivariate regression results indicate that student ratings of PBL are associated with interest in pursuing a career in STEM, as well as with intrinsic motivation for science and students’ ability beliefs for both science and math. Further, mediation analysis using Hayes’ (2014) MEDIATE macro suggests that science intrinsic motivation and ability beliefs mediate the relationship between perceived PBL experiences and student interest in a future STEM career (IFSC). Our results highlight the important potential of PBL for increasing student STEM attitudes and interest in future STEM careers. As one of the only large-scale quantitative analyses of its kind, this study provides critical information for educators, school administrators and policymakers as they continue to seek effective ways of encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Research Foundations for Evidence-Informed Early Childhood Intervention Performance Checklists
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 78; doi:10.3390/educsci7040078
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 8 October 2017
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Abstract
The research evidence for early childhood intervention practices performance checklists is described. Performance checklists include lists of the tasks or steps required to complete a practice competently. The checklists were developed using a conceptualization-operationalization-measurement framework where findings from research syntheses and empirical studies
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The research evidence for early childhood intervention practices performance checklists is described. Performance checklists include lists of the tasks or steps required to complete a practice competently. The checklists were developed using a conceptualization-operationalization-measurement framework where findings from research syntheses and empirical studies informed the selection or development of checklist indicators. This paper includes a meta-review of empirical evidence demonstrating practice-outcome relationships consistent with the purposes and goals of each of the performance checklists. Findings from more than 200 narrative reviews, meta-analyses, integrative reviews, and other types of research syntheses were the sources of evidence and foundations for 26 early childhood intervention performance checklists. The research evidence, taken together, indicates that the checklist indicators have a substantial evidence base for each of the performance checklist practices. Strengths and limitations of the meta-review are described. Full article
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Open AccessReview Academic Advising Systems: A Systematic Literature Review of Empirical Evidence
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 90; doi:10.3390/educsci7040090
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to provide the reader with a comprehensive background for understanding current knowledge on Academic Advising Systems (AAS) and its impact on learning. It constitutes an overview of empirical evidence behind key objectives of the potential adoption of AAS in generic
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This paper aims to provide the reader with a comprehensive background for understanding current knowledge on Academic Advising Systems (AAS) and its impact on learning. It constitutes an overview of empirical evidence behind key objectives of the potential adoption of AAS in generic educational strategic planning. The researchers examined the literature on experimental case studies conducted in the domain during the past ten years (2008–2017). Search terms identified 98 mature pieces of research work, but inclusion criteria limited the key studies to 43. The authors analyzed the research questions, methodology, and findings of these published papers and categorized them accordingly. The results have highlighted three distinct major directions of the AAS empirical research. This paper discusses the emerged added value of AAS research and highlights the significance of further implications. Finally, the authors set their thoughts on possible uncharted key questions to investigate both from pedagogical and technical considerations. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessBenchmark Effects of Educational Efficiency on National Competitiveness Based on Cross-National Data
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 81; doi:10.3390/educsci7040081
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
The importance of education to national competitiveness and future development is self-evident. Resource input secures educational development. However, the efficiency of educational resources, their input–output ratio, and their effects on national competitiveness are matters of concern. This study aims to measure the efficiency
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The importance of education to national competitiveness and future development is self-evident. Resource input secures educational development. However, the efficiency of educational resources, their input–output ratio, and their effects on national competitiveness are matters of concern. This study aims to measure the efficiency of educational resources of a country within the scope of financial capacity. This study further evaluates the effects of educational efficiency on national competitiveness. Data envelopment analysis was applied to measure the efficiency of educational resources, and two-way fixed-effect panel data were used to evaluate the effects on national competitiveness. This study corroborated that among 53 countries, those with high educational efficiency and stable development are mainly concentrated in East and Southeast Asia. According to different levels of development and/or regional location, the driver of education is only significant in the most competitive economies. In addition, given the development stage, governments should depend on their own level of competitiveness in determining priority areas of development. Full article
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