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Department of Education

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Tianning obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with Data Science at University College London. After that, Tianning completed a master’s degree in International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Selected Publications

Zhou X, Li Y, Zhu T, Xu Y. Individuals with long-term illness, disability or infirmity are more likely to smoke than healthy controls: An instrumental variable analysis. Front Public Health. 2023 Jan 9;10:1015607. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1015607. PMID: 36726634; PMCID: PMC9885293.

Supervisors

Ariel Lindorff and Steve Strand

Junlong (Charlie) Li is a DPhil student in Applied Linguistics. His research interests focus on English medium instruction (EMI), translanguaging, and language learning motivation.

Junlong obtained his BA (Hons) in English Education at Shenzhen University and MPhil in Education (Research in Second Language Education) at the University of Cambridge with Distinction. Junlong is CELTA-qualified. Prior to his DPhil study, he served as a secondary school English teacher and an IELTS speaking teacher in China.

Junlong has published and reviewed articles in several top-tier applied linguistics journals including English Today, Applied Linguistics Review, the Language Learning Journal, etc. He has also presented papers and posters at many international conferences. Junlong’s DPhil project will explore Chinese students’ motivational dynamics and translanguaging experiences during the transition to EMI higher education from an ecological perspective. He is keen on contributing new insights to second language education research.

Supervisors

Heath Rose and Kari Sahan

W1, 10/10/22

Prof. Stephen Gorard, Dept. of Education, University of Durham

Making schools better for disadvantaged students.

Around the world, governments, charities and other bodies are concerned with improving education, especially for the lowest attaining and most disadvantaged students. This concern has been magnified recently as such organisations try to help their schooling systems recover from a global pandemic that has reportedly affected the education of disadvantaged students more than their peers, on average. This talk presents up-to-date evidence on how funding might be best deployed to improve schooling and narrow the disadvantage attainment gap.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.

According to generalized internal/ external (GI/E) frame-of-reference model, motivational beliefs are explained through academic achievement. In Africa respective studies are rare. In the present study, we investigated the model’s applicability to expectancy, utility, and cost beliefs of Rwandan lower-secondary students (N = 771; 51.0% female) within Chemistry and Math (quantitative domain) as well as English and Kinyarwanda (language domain). Through multiple-group structural equation models (SEM) we compared the model’s applicability to basic-education and boarding schools. Admission to boarding schools depends amongst others on performance during national school examinations. Hence, both school types can be interpreted as different tracks within Rwanda’s system of school-level ability grouping of students. The model’s applicability differed across school types. Within basic-education schools, achievement predicted mainly cost beliefs. Within boarding schools, achievement predicted cost and especially expectancy beliefs. Across both types, respective beliefs were positively predicted by achievement within subjects. Within basic-education schools, beliefs within one language were also positively predicted by achievement in the other language (i.e., assimilation effects). Within boarding schools, beliefs within subjects of one of the domains (i.e., language or quantitative) were negatively predicted by prior achievement in subjects of the other domain (i.e., contrast effects). We therefore concluded that school-level contextual factors such as multilingualism may moderate motivational processes that Rwandan secondary students experience. This may have implications especially for the design of motivational interventions whose potential has not been fully explored within the African context.

Traditional invariance testing via multiple group CFA is of limited utility when the number of groups is not small. Alignment optimization was recently developed to address this practical issue when the number of groups is not small (see Muthen & Asparouhov, 2013, 2014). This talk introduces alignment optimization and its utility in educational measurement invariance testing. A comparison with the traditional approach and examples of applications from recently published research are provided. Finally, a new measurement invariance study of intersectional groupings (ethnicity, gender, SES) and two longitudinally cohorts of several self-efficacy scales is presented, including discussions of the substantive findings, technical issues, and future directions.

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Objectives: Educational resilience is the exhibition of positive educational experiences and outcomes despite exposure to risk. It is also the product of a multidimensional interaction between the child and their immediate environment. There is a growing number of unaccompanied refugee minors worldwide seeking asylum and protection. In response, education systems in host countries must deepen their knowledge and engagement with the needs and circumstances of unaccompanied refugee minors. There is still little empirical evidence on the educational resilience of unaccompanied refugee minors.

Methods: The study analyzed the reading skills outcomes of 410 Palestinian refugee minors enrolled at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in Jordan at age 15 in 2009 (91 of whom are unaccompanied). Using stepwise multilevel regression, this study sought to identify student-level and school-level factors that function as educational resilience correlates for Palestinian refugee minors in Jordan.

Findings: Young age, female gender, high socio-economic status, positive teacher-student relations, and exposure to structuring and scaffolding strategies were associated with higher reading skills among Palestinian unaccompanied refugee minors. Educational and school-based interventions and programs need further elaboration to account for educational resilience correlates specific to this population.

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Abstract

The universalisation of school education in India has altered the playing field, changing the expectations placed on teachers and schools to provide ‘quality’ teaching in the face of increasing diversification of the student population, growing privatisation of schooling, and what is frequently termed a ‘learning crisis’. In this context, this presentation explores some of the trends in school and teacher performance and classroom practices in two states in Southern India, using multilevel analysis of quantitative school survey data from the Young Lives study.

Policymakers, conceptualized here as principals, disagree as to whether US student performance has changed over the past half century. To inform conversations, agents administered seven million psychometrically linked tests in math (m) and reading (rd) in 160 survey waves to national probability samples of cohorts born between 1954 and 2007. Estimated change in standard deviations (sd) per decade varies by agent (m: –0.10sd to 0.27sd, rd: –0.02sd to 0.12sd). Consistent with Flynn effects, median trends show larger gains in m (0.19sd) than in rd (0.04sd), though rates of progress for cohorts born since 1990 have increased in rd but slowed in m. Greater progress is shown by students tested at younger ages (m: 0.31sd, rd: 0.08sd) than when tested in middle years of schooling (m: 0.17sd, rd: 0.03sd) or toward the end of schooling (m: 0.06sd, rd: 0.02sd). Young white students progress more slowly (m: 0.28sd, rd: 0.09sd) than Asian (m: 46sd, rd: 0.28sd), black (m: 0.36sd, rd: 0.19sd), and Hispanic (m: 0.29sd, rd: 0.13sd) students. These ethnic differences generally attenuate as students age. Young students in the bottom quartile of the SES distribution show greater progress than those in the top quartile (difference in m: 0.08sd, in rd: 0.15sd), but the reverse is true for older students. Moderators likely include not only changes in families and schools but also improvements in nutrition, health care, and protection from contagious diseases and environmental risks. International data suggest that subject and age differentials may be due to moderators more general than just the United States.

Read more: Shakeel, M.D. & Peterson, P.E. (2022). A Half Century of Progress in US Student Achievement: Agency and Flynn Effects, Ethnic and SES Differences. Educational Psychology Review.

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There is large interest in intensive longitudinal data analysis in the social, educational and health sciences. Datasets can include (1) self-reports or multiple-reporter data (e.g., observed on-task behaviour, self-reported situation-specific competence) collected using diaries, experience sampling, or ecological momentary assessments, (2) task-data (e.g., trace-data, executive functioning), (3) real-time ambulatory data (e.g., accelerometer, electrodermal activity, eye-tracking), or mixtures of these. In the talk I will focus on challenges researchers face when they (i) handle and aggregate data, (ii) consider the time-structure for analysis, and (iii) specify statistical models. Time-series-based Dynamic Structural Equation Models (DSEM) using the Bayesian estimator are emerging, allowing researchers to switch focus from modelling fixed and random effects, to modelling individual processes over time. In the talk, I will illustrate intensive longitudinal data handling and modelling with on-going research, in order to highlight its relevance for understanding intraindividual processes in educational research.