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Meta-Analysis Database of Instructional Strategies

Explore our data firsthand. As a service to the educational research community, MRL is proud to share our foundational data so that others may use it in their quest to find useful strategies for educators. The Meta-Analysis Database of Instructional Strategies captures our findings from action research conducted by over 500 teachers on 22 instructional strategies. The data indicates the grade level, subject area, and unit topic for each study on a target strategy, the number of students in the control and treatment groups, the effect size of the implemented strategy, and other relevant factors. Get the information you need to improve student performance today.

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Researched Strategies

The Meta-Analysis Database of Instructional Strategies contains the findings for 22 researched strategies. The number of each strategy corresponds to the strategy field (labeled ST) in the database. When an independent action research study involved more than one instructional strategy, its results were reported for each strategy.

  1. Advance organizers: Providing students with a preview of new content
  2. Building vocabulary: Using a complete six-step process to teach vocabulary that includes teacher explanation, student explanation, student graphic or pictographic representation, review using comparison activities, student discussion of vocabulary terms, and use of games
  3. Complex cognitive tasks: Working on complex tasks such as investigation, problem solving, decision making, and experimental inquiry
  4. Cooperative learning: Students working together in small groups
  5. Cues and questions: Using hints and questions to activate prior knowledge and deepen student understanding
  6. Effort and recognition: Reinforcing and tracking student effort and providing recognition for achievement
  7. Engagement strategies: Using activities designed to capture students’ attention
  8. Feedback: Providing students with information relative to how well they are doing regarding a specific assignment
  9. Graphic organizers: Providing a visual display of something being discussed or considered (e.g., using a Venn diagram to compare two items)
  10. Homework: Providing students with opportunities to increase their understanding through assignments completed outside of class
  11. Identifying similarities and differences: Identifying similarities and/or differences between two or more items
  12. Interactive games: Using academic content in game-like situations
  13. Kinesthetic activities: Students representing new content physically
  14. Nonlinguistic representations: Providing a representation of knowledge without words (e.g., a graphic representation or physical model)
  15. Note taking: Recording information that is considered important
  16. Partial vocabulary: Using one or more aspects of a six-step process to teach vocabulary which may include teacher explanation, student explanation, student graphic or pictographic representation, review using comparison activities, student discussion of vocabulary terms, and use of games
  17. Practice: Massed and distributed practice on a specific skill, strategy, or process
  18. Setting goals/objectives: Identifying a learning goal or objective regarding a topic being considered in class
  19. Student discussion/chunking: Breaking a lesson into chunks for student or group discussion
  20. Summarizing: Requiring students to provide a brief summary of content
  21. Tracking student progress and scoring scales: Using scoring scales and tracking student progress toward a learning goal
  22. Voting technology: Using interactive clicker technology to collect data regarding student knowledge during class

Methodology

From 2004–11, data was collected through action research at 87 schools in 26 districts, involving 509 teachers. Of these, 198 teachers indicated that they conducted studies involving more than one instructional strategy. Data for those teachers is listed in the database with each strategy. Each action research study represents a snapshot of time in the classroom.

Because each teacher develops a personal style of teaching based on experiences and education, it would not be a fair comparison to analyze the results of one teacher with those of another. So, each teacher acted as his or her own control by administering the same pretest and posttest to two different groups of students. One group, the control group, was taught without the use of the target instructional strategy. The other group, the treatment group, was taught with the use of the target instructional strategy.

Except where noted, data was analyzed using the general linear model. One independent variable (treatment/control condition) was analyzed as a fixed effect. In each case, the pretest was used as the covariate. In effect, a fixed-effects analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was executed for the dependent measure.

The advantage of using an ANCOVA with the pretest as the covariate is that it statistically adjusts for students’ initial status on the measure in question. In other words, it is a way of controlling for students’ differences in what they know about a topic prior to the beginning of instruction. When random assignment to groups is not feasible, the ANCOVA design (with pretest as covariate) is commonly used to address students’ prior achievement relative to the dependent variable.

What Is Meta-Analysis?

“Meta-analysis is a summary, or synthesis, of relevant research findings. It looks at all of the individual studies done on a particular topic and summarizes them.”

—Robert J. Marzano

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