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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2017187 Advanced course enrollment and performance among English learner students in Washington state
Taking advanced high school courses (for example, honors, Advanced Placement, and dual-credit courses that offer college credits in high school) can help prepare students for postsecondary education and careers. English learner students, however, face unique obstacles to taking advanced courses because they must divide their time between acquiring English proficiency and learning academic content. This descriptive study examines patterns in advanced coursetaking among current and former English learner students and never-English learner students in Washington state. Using state data about students enrolled in Washington public schools between 2009/10 and 2012/13, this study analyzed advanced course enrollment patterns and performance among the groups of students. It finds that where students attend school and their academic preparation account for much of the difference in advanced coursetaking. Specifically, current and former English learner students take 0.5 to 1 fewer advanced courses per school year than their never-English learner peers but enroll in advanced classes at similar rates when they are similarly prepared. The study also found that, compared to never-English learner students, current and former English learner students are 40 to 50 percent less likely to complete algebra I in middle school and students who pass this course in middle school take more than twice as many upper-level math courses as students who pass algebra I in grade 9. Current, former, and never-English learner students earn similar grades in those upper-level math courses. In addition, schools with the lowest percentages of current and former English learner students offer more advanced courses than other schools, even after accounting for school characteristics such as average standardized math and reading test scores. To improve access to advanced courses, schools, districts, and state agencies could consider investigating why current and former English learner students with high grade point averages or state math test scores are not enrolling in advanced courses as often as never-English learner students. They also might address language barriers and restrictive policies that could deter otherwise qualified students from taking advanced courses and expand advanced coursetaking opportunities at schools with high percentages of English learner students.
NCEE 20174010 Does Content-Focused Teacher Professional Development Work? Findings from Three Institute of Education Sciences Studies
Subject knowledge is widely viewed as important for teaching, and professional development (PD) often aims to build such knowledge. This brief synthesizes findings from three large-scale random assignment studies of PD that were conducted by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in the Institute of Education Sciences. Although the PD programs in each study were different, they all emphasized building teachers' content knowledge or knowledge about content-specific pedagogy. The programs combined summer institutes with periodic teacher meetings and coaching during the school year. These programs were compared to the substantially less intensive PD that teachers typically received in study districts. The studies found that the PD boosted teachers' subject knowledge and some aspects of instructional quality, but did not have a positive impact on student achievement. The studies also found that most of the measured aspects of teachers' knowledge and practice were not correlated with student achievement. This consistent pattern of findings suggests that future studies should seek to better understand on what aspects of teacher knowledge and practice PD should focus, and how PD can achieve a larger impact on this knowledge and practice.
NCEE 20174004 Early Implementation Findings From a Study of Teacher and Principal Performance Measurement and Feedback
This is an impact study of the implementation and impacts of a set of three educator performance measures: observations of teachers' classroom practices, value-added measures of teacher performance, and a 360-degree survey assessment of principals' leadership practices. A set of elementary and middle schools within each of eight districts were randomly assigned to either a treatment group in which the study's performance measures were implemented or a control group in which they were not. A total of 127 schools participated in the study. This report provides descriptive information on the first of two years of implementation. The classroom observation and principal leadership measures were implemented generally as planned, although fewer teachers and principals accessed their value-added reports than the study intended. All three measures differentiated teacher performance, although the observation scores were mostly at the upper end of the scale. For the principal leadership measure, principal self-ratings, teachers' ratings of the principal, and the principal's supervisor's ratings of the principal often differed. Both teachers and principals in schools selected to implement the intervention reported receiving more feedback on their performance than did their counterparts in control schools.
WWC PG111622 Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively
This practice guide presents three evidence-based recommendations for helping students in grades 6-12 develop effective writing skills. Each recommendation includes specific, actionable guidance for educators on implementing practices in their classrooms. The guide also summarizes and rates the evidence supporting each recommendation.
REL 2017191 The content, predictive power, and potential bias in five widely used teacher observation instruments
This study was designed to inform decisions about the selection and use of five widely-used teacher observation instruments. The purpose was to explore (1) patterns across instruments in the dimensions of instruction that they measure, (2) relationships between teachers' scores in specific dimensions of instruction and their contributions to student achievement growth (value-added), and (3) whether teachers' observation ratings depend on the types of students they are assigned to teach. Researchers analyzed the content of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), Framework for Teaching (FFT), Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO), Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI), and UTeach Observational Protocol (UTOP). The content analysis then informed correlation analyses using data from the Gates Foundation's Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. Participants were 5,409 4th-9th grade math and English language arts (ELA) teachers from six school districts. Observation ratings were correlated with teachers' value-added scores and with three composition measures: proportions of nonwhite students, low-income students, and low achieving students in the classroom. Results show that eight of ten dimensions of instruction are captured in all five instruments, but instruments differ in the number and types of elements they assess within each dimension. Observation ratings in all dimensions with quantitative data were significantly but modestly correlated with teachers' value-added scores—with classroom management showing the strongest and most consistent correlations. Finally, among teachers who were randomly assigned to groups of students, observation ratings for some instruments were associated with the proportion of nonwhite and lower achieving students in the classroom, more often in ELA classes than in math classes. Findings reflect conceptual consistency across the five instruments, but also differences in the coverage and the specific practices they assess within a given dimension. They also suggest that observation scores for classroom management more strongly and consistently predict teacher contributions to student achievement growth than scores in other dimensions. Finally, the results indicate that the types of students assigned to a teacher can affect observation ratings, particularly in ELA classrooms. When selecting among instruments, states and districts should consider which provide the best coverage of priority dimensions, how much weight to attach to various observation scores in their evaluation of teacher effectiveness, and how they might target resources toward particular classrooms to reduce the likelihood of bias in ratings.
NCEE 20174008 Do Low-Income Students Have Equal Access to Effective Teachers? Evidence from 26 Districts
This report examines whether low-income students are taught by less effective teachers than high-income students and if so, whether reducing this inequity would close the student achievement gap. It also describes how the hiring of teachers and their subsequent movement into and out of schools could affect low-income students' access to effective teachers. The study includes fourth- to eighth-grade teachers over five school years (2008-2009 to 2012-2013) in 26 school districts across the country. Teacher effectiveness is measured using a statistical approach that estimates a teacher's contribution to student learning controlling for students' prior achievement and other characteristics. The study found small inequities in teacher effectiveness between low- and high-income students. However, in a small subset of districts, there is meaningful inequity in access to effective teachers in math where providing equal access to effective teachers over a five year period would reduce the math achievement gap by at least a tenth of a standard deviation of student achievement, the equivalent of about 4 percentile points. The report also finds patterns of teacher hiring and transfers that are consistent with small inequities in teacher effectiveness while teacher attrition is not.
REL 2017265 What does it mean when a study finds no effects?
This short brief for education decisionmakers discusses three main factors that may contribute to a finding of no effects: failure of theory, failure of implementation, and failure of research design. It provides readers with questions to ask themselves to better understand 'no effects' findings, and describes other contextual factors to consider when deciding what to do next.
REL 2017203 Investigating Developmental and college-level course enrollment and passing before and after Florida's developmental education reform
Beginning with 2014 fall semester, developmental education in Florida was made optional for most students. This report compares enrollment and passing rates in developmental reading, writing, and mathematics courses as well as gateway English and mathematics courses for a cohort of first-time-in-college students in fall 2014 to three cohorts of students in the fall semesters prior to 2014. Compared to prior semesters, once developmental education became optional fewer students enrolled in developmental education courses. Passing rates for developmental education courses in reading, writing, and math increased an average of 2.0 percentage points over fall 2013. More students enrolled in gateway (entry-level, college-credit bearing) courses. Gateway course passing rates declined compared to previous years, with the largest declines occurring in intermediate algebra. The proportion of the first-time-in-college fall cohort students passing a gateway course increased compared to previous years.
NCEE 20174001 Race to the Top: Implementation and Relationship to Student Outcomes
Race to the Top (RTT), one of the Obama administration's signature programs and one of the largest federal government investments in an education grant program, received $4.35 billion in funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Through three rounds of competition in 2010 and 2011, RTT awarded grants to states that agreed to implement a range of education policies and practices designed to improve student outcomes. Using 2013 interview data from all states, this report documents whether states that received an RTT grant used the policies and practices promoted by RTT and how that compares to non-grantee states. The report also examines whether receipt of an RTT grant was related to improvements in student outcomes. Findings show that 2010 RTT grantees reported using more policies and practices than non-grantees in four areas (standards and assessments, teachers and leaders, school turnaround, charter schools), and 2011 RTT grantees reported using more in one area (teachers and leaders). However, the relationship between RTT and student outcomes was not clear, as trends in test scores could be plausibly interpreted as providing evidence of either a positive, negative, or null effect for RTT.
REL 2017177 Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students
This report describes the results of a REL Southeast study comparing short- and longer-term student successes after completion of online credit recovery courses compared to student successes after completion of other credit recovery options, such as traditional face-to-face courses and summer school courses. Credit recovery refers to when a student fails a course and then retakes the same course to earn high school credit. This research question was motivated by the growing importance of online learning in traditional public school settings and a desire on the part of many stakeholders to understand better how students are adjusting to that transition. The data for this study covered eleven core high school courses (courses required for graduation) taken between 2008/09 and 2011/12 in North Carolina. The study compares the likelihood of a student: (a) succeeding on the state end-of-course test for the recovered course; (b) succeeding in the next course in a recovered course sequence (for instance, in English II after English I); (c) remaining in school after credit recovery; and (d) graduating and graduating on time. Results suggest that there was little difference between the short-term success rates of students who completed state-supported online credit recovery and students who completed other credit recovery options. However, on measures of longer-term success, students who completed state-provided online credit recovery courses and did not subsequently drop out were more likely than other credit recovery students to graduate on time. Among credit recovery participants in state-provided online courses, Black students were less likely to reach proficiency in their recovered courses but more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework after their online experience. Because of limitations in the analyses possible with available data, it is not possible to directly attribute these outcomes to participation in online credit recovery, but the results do point toward intriguing and potentially beneficial areas for future, more rigorous study.
WWC QR82328 Quick Review: Charter schools' effects on long-term attainment and earnings.
The study uses a quasi-experimental design (QED) using matching techniques. The study sample was first restricted to students who attended charter schools in eighth grade. Students then transitioning to a charter high school for ninth grade were placed in the intervention group and those transitioning to a non-charter high school for ninth grade were available for the comparison group. Then, students in the charter high school group were matched to the non-charter group using " . . . a one-to-one nearest-neighbor Mahalanobis matching approach" (p. 5) with no caliper restriction and replacement. Four cohorts of students were included in the sample, including students who were in eighth grade in the school years 1997-1998 through 2000-2001. The two groups included 1,143 students each.
REL 2017181 Projections of California teacher retirements: A county and regional perspective
This report updates a previously published report by projecting California teacher retirements, at the state and county level and by specific teaching fields, during the period from 2014/15 through 2023/24. Teacher retirement projections are based on the current ages of teachers and historical age- and county-specific retirement rates. The study finds that 25 percent of all of California's 2013/14 teachers are projected to retire by 2024. Great variation exists across counties in the proportion of the 2013/14 teacher workforce projected to retire by 2024, with a low of 19 percent projected to retire in Sutter County to a high of 61 percent in Sierra County. This suggests that counties across the state will confront very different staffing situations over the 10-year period due to projected retirements. In terms of the geographic distribution, the more rural counties that are projected to have higher retirement rates tend to lie along the state's northern coast and along the state's northern and eastern borders; lower proportions of retirements are projected in and around the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Sacramento, Orange County/Los Angeles, and Fresno. This report also projects teacher retirements within specific teaching fields, including math, science, English language arts, and special education. Results from these field-specific projections show that, at the state level, from 22 to 26 percent of teachers in these various fields are projected to retire over the 10-year period. However, within these particular fields there is wide variation across counties in projected retirements. With research showing that graduates of teacher preparation programs tend to prefer living close to their hometowns, coupled with a projected statewide shortage of college-educated adults through at least 2025, careful local workforce planning will be essential, particularly in counties projected to experience high proportions of teacher retirements.
REL 2017189 Teacher demographics and evaluation: A descriptive study in a large urban district
This descriptive study analyzed teacher characteristics, such as age, race, and gender and teachers' evaluation outcomes in a large, urban district in the Northeast. Descriptive analyses of frequencies were conducted to examine the characteristics, summative performance ratings, and improvement on ratings over time for approximately 3,000 teachers in each year (2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15). Results indicate that a disproportionate percentage of teachers age 50 and older, black teachers, and male teachers were rated below proficient compared to their representation in the total population of teachers. Examining the data over three years revealed that while the percentage of older teachers, black teachers, and male teachers who received below proficient ratings decreased over time in some cases, the gaps between their ratings and the ratings of their younger, white, and female counterparts persisted. Moreover, these analyses revealed that the percentage of teachers who improved their ratings during all three year-to-year comparisons did not vary by teacher characteristics, that is, by race, age, or gender. These results suggest that there are meaningful differences in teachers' evaluation outcomes by age, race, and gender, and that these differences have persisted over time. Therefore, the district may want to consider what programs or policies aimed specifically at these teachers and their evaluators may increase their chances for improvement and reduce the gaps. In addition, longitudinal research is needed to examine whether these patterns continue to persist over time or whether district-level interventions and supports might reduce the gaps or otherwise address the disproportionate below proficient ratings among teachers in certain groups.
REL 2017174 Benchmarking the state of Kosrae's education management information system
The purpose of this study was to provide information on the current quality of the education management information system (EMIS) in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, so that data specialists, administrators, and policy makers might identify areas for improvement. As part of a focus group interview, knowledgeable data specialists in Kosrae responded to 46 questions covering significant areas of their EMIS. The interview protocol, adapted by Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific from the World Bank's System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results assessment tool, provides a means for rating aspects of an EMIS system using four benchmarking levels: latent (the process or action required to improve the aspect of quality is not in place), emerging (the process or action is in progress of implementation), established (the process or action is in place and it meets standards), and mature (the process or action is an example of best practice). Overall, data specialists scored their EMIS as established, or meeting standards. They reported that the prerequisites of quality, that is, both the institutional frameworks that govern the information system and data reporting, and the supporting resources, are established. They rated integrity of education statistics, referring to the professionalism, objectivity, transparency, and ethical standards by which staff operate and statistics are reported, as established. Data specialists reported the accuracy and reliability of education statistics within their system as mature. They reported that the serviceability (the relevance, timeliness, and consistency of data) and accessibility of education data within their system are established. Results show that data specialists know and can apply sound techniques and validate data and generate statistical reports, and that the institutional frameworks and resources meet standards. Data specialists believe that the system could provide better opportunities for user input and that users should be able to request the level of detail they need from data catalogues. The results of this study provide the Kosrae State Department of Education and the National Department of Education with information regarding the strengths and areas of the EMIS that may benefit from improvement efforts through the development of action plans focused on priority areas.
REL 2017200 Patterns of English learner student reclassification in New York City public schools
This study was designed to describe patterns in reclassification from English learner to English proficient, how the patterns changed over time as students spent more time in New York City (NYC) schools, and how reclassification patterns differed by specific student characteristics. The study utilized existing administrative data for seven cohorts of students who entered New York City public schools as English learner students between the 2003/04 and 2010/11 school years. The seven cohorts were followed for periods ranging from two to nine years, through the 2011/12 school year. The analytic sample included 229,249 students who were initially classified as English learner students. The first research question used the subset of data for students who entered NYC schools as English learner students in kindergarten, with the goal of comparing the probability of reclassification as it changed over grade levels, through the end of grade 7. The second research question used these data combined with the data on students who entered after kindergarten to facilitate comparisons in time to reclassification between students who entered at different grade levels. To address the three student characteristics of interest (grade of entry, initial English proficiency, and disability status), three separate, parallel models were used to investigate the relationship between time to reclassification and each characteristic individually. In the analyses for both research questions, discrete-time survival analyses were used to estimate the probability of reclassification as it changed over time. Approximately half of the students who entered kindergarten in New York City public schools as English learner students were reclassified within four years (that is, by the end of their expected grade 3 year). English learner students who entered New York City public schools in grade 6 or 7 took a year longer to become reclassified than English learner students who entered in kindergarten.
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