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Search Results: (1-15 of 342 records)

 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2016165 Guide to the Competency-based Learning Survey for Students
Many states are beginning to move away from policies that base student advancement on credits and "seat time" toward competency-based learning policies that provide schools with the flexibility to link advancement to a student's mastery of content. As schools and districts implement these changes, information about students' exposure to and understanding of competency-based learning policies and practices can help identify areas of improvement for implementation and communication with students. However, few tools exist for systematically collecting this information. In response to this need, the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands worked with practitioners and researchers to develop a new survey—the Competency-Based Learning Survey for Students. Designed to be administered to students attending high schools in which competency-based learning is being implemented, the survey collects information regarding students' beliefs about, understanding of, and exposure to key elements of competency-based learning. This report describes (1) why the survey was developed, (2) elements of competency-based learning addressed by the survey, (3) how to adapt and administer the survey, and (4) how to analyze the results. The report includes the complete survey instrument.
8/24/2016
REL 2016171 Stated Briefly: Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest Region: Lessons from federal School Improvement Grant implementation
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This study examines implementation of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) transformation model in rural regions, exploring challenges in implementation and technical assistance to support these efforts. This study is not part of the federal evaluation of the SIG, which provides more comprehensive information about SIG schools. Leaders participating in research alliances with REL Northwest and other regional stakeholders requested this study to learn more about how implementation of the SIG transformation model has played out in rural schools across the nation.

Researchers used data from the first cohort of the U.S. Department of Education's SIG baseline database to administer a survey addressing four research questions: 1) How did principals of rural SIG transformation schools rate their school's implementation of the requirements of the transformation model?; 2) To what extent do principals report challenges to implementation of the transformation model?; 3) To what extent do principals report their school received technical assistance for the implementation of the transformation model?; and 4) To what extent are principals' reports of challenges and technical assistance related to implementation? The survey was sent to all cohort 1 SIG principals of rural schools using the transformation model—a group that represented 42 states and Bureau of Indian Education schools. The final sample size was 135 principals (67 percent of the 201 schools where staff members who worked under SIG were still present). All surveyed principals worked in schools that were similar in size and student characteristics to the total sample.

Principal responses highlight challenges in both implementation and technical assistance. The results confirm previous research, by finding that certain elements of the transformation model are challenging for rural schools to implement—particularly, those related to ensuring high-quality staff and family and community engagement. The study also finds that principals are more likely to implement strategies for which they receive technical assistance; at the same time, they implement fewer strategies that present challenges. This suggests that rural schools working on improvement strategies need help beyond just grant funding.
8/23/2016
REL 2016161 Retention, attrition, and mobility among teachers and administrators in West Virginia
Due to increasing evidence that high rates of teacher and administrator turnover adversely affect student academic outcomes, stakeholders in West Virginia were interested in learning more about retention, mobility, and attrition rates in their public school districts. The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia partnered with the West Virginia School Leadership Research Alliance to conduct a descriptive study examining the average rates of retention, attrition, and mobility for teachers and administrators in West Virginia public school districts for the academic years 2008/09–2012/13. The findings describe the average rates in these three areas for teachers and administrators across all West Virginia public school districts, as well as how these rates varied by personnel and district characteristics. On average, about 90 percent of both teachers and administrators stayed in the same West Virginia public school district from one year to the next. Retention rates were lower for teachers and administrators with fewer than 4 or more than 15 years of experience, for those with doctoral degrees, and for those earning the highest salaries. Average rates of retention, mobility, and attrition varied by school district, but rates for administrators varied more than for teachers. Both teacher and administrator attrition rates were higher in districts with greater percentages of students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Administrator attrition rates were higher in rural and town districts, in districts with enrollments between approximately 2,000–4,000 students, in districts with lower percentages of racial/ethnic minority students, and in districts serving fewer limited English proficient students. Average mobility rates were less than 3 percent for teachers and less than 6 percent for administrators, suggesting that teachers and administrators are leaving the system rather than moving to different West Virginia school districts. Attrition rates were highest for beginning teachers—those who were initially employed in the West Virginia public school system during one of the academic years examined (2008/09–2012/13). About a fifth of beginning teachers left after their first year of teaching, and nearly a third had left by the end of their fourth year. These findings contribute to the sparse literature on teacher and administrator retention, attrition, and mobility in West Virginia, indicating that the workforce is largely stable. This study also provides information that can be used to inform state and district policy initiatives that aim to improve teacher and administrator retention in school districts serving specific student populations, such as those with the highest proportions of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. At the state level, the information could be used to inform the development of policies aimed at improving retention of beginning teachers.
8/23/2016
REL 2016218 Self-study guide for implementing high school academic interventions
This Self-study Guide for Implementing High School Academic Interventions was developed to help district- and school-based practitioners plan and implement high school academic interventions. It is intended to promote reflection about current district and school strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of high school academic interventions, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. The guide provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion that may improve the implementation of high school academic interventions and decrease the number of students failing to graduate from high school on time.
8/23/2016
REL 2016140 "Double-dosing" in math in North Carolina public schools
Double-dosing expands time for students to learn mathematics by having them participate in two (or occasionally more) mathematics classes during the regular school day in a given school year. Although the practice can take different forms and be used for different grade levels, most research on double-dosing has focused on students who need preparation to make the transition to Algebra I or similar rigorous high school mathematics classes—typically, grade 8 or grade 9 students. This study provides a more complete picture of the prevalence of double-dosing in mathematics in one state for the most recent year data were available: North Carolina in 2011/12. In addition to describing the prevalence of double-dosing in mathematics, the study reports the extent of its use for remediation, grade-level maintenance, and enrichment. The report also compares schools that offer double-dosing in mathematics with those that do not and examines the various characteristics of students enrolled in double-dosing.
8/3/2016
REL 2016164 Survey methods for educators: Analysis and reporting of survey data (part 3 of 3)
Educators at the state and local levels are increasingly using data to inform policy decisions. While student achievement data is often used to inform instructional or programmatic decisions, educators may also need additional sources of data, some of which may not be housed in their existing data systems. Creating and administering surveys is one way to collect such data. However, documentation available to educators about administering surveys may provide insufficient guidance about sampling or analysis approaches. Furthermore, some educators may not have training or experience in survey methods. In response to this need, REL Northeast & Islands created a series of three complementary guides that provide an overview of the survey research process designed for educators. The guides describe (1) survey development, (2) sampling respondents and survey administration, and (3) analysis and reporting of survey data.

Part three of this series, "Analysis and Reporting of Survey Data," outlines the following steps, drawn from the research literature:

1. Review the analysis plan
2. Prepare and check data files
3. Calculate response rates
4. Calculate summary statistics
5. Present the results in tables or figures
The guide provides detailed, real-world examples of how these steps have been used in a REL research alliance project. With this guide, educators will be able to analyze and report their own survey data.
8/2/2016
REL 2016160 Survey methods for educators: Selecting samples and administering surveys (part 2 of 3)
Educators at the state and local levels are increasingly using data to inform policy decisions. While student achievement data is often used to inform instructional or programmatic decisions, educators may also need additional sources of data, some of which may not be housed in their existing data systems. Creating and administering surveys is one way to collect such data. However, documentation available to educators about administering surveys may provide insufficient guidance about sampling or analysis approaches. Furthermore, some educators may not have training or experience in survey methods. In response to this need, REL Northeast & Islands created a series of three complementary guides that provide an overview of the survey research process designed for educators. The guides describe (1) survey development, (2) sampling respondents and survey administration, and (3) analysis and reporting of survey data.

Part two of this series, "Sampling Respondents and Survey Administration," outlines the following steps, drawn from the research literature:

1. Define the population
2. Specify the sampling procedure
3. Determine the sample size
4. Select the sample
5. Administer the survey
The guide provides detailed, real-world examples of how these steps have been used in a REL research alliance project. With this guide, educators will be able to develop their own sampling and survey administration plans.
8/2/2016
REL 2016163 Survey methods for educators: Collaborative survey development (part 1 of 3)
Educators at the state and local levels are increasingly using data to inform policy decisions. While student achievement data is often used to inform instructional or programmatic decisions, educators may also need additional sources of data, some of which may not be housed in their existing data systems. Creating and administering surveys is one way to collect such data. However, documentation available to educators about administering surveys may provide insufficient guidance about the survey development process. Furthermore, some educators may not have training or experience in survey methods. In response to this need, REL Northeast & Islands created a series of three complementary guides that provide an overview of the survey research process designed for educators. The guides describe (1) survey development, (2) sampling respondents and survey administration, and (3) analysis and reporting of survey data.

Part one of this series, "Collaborative Survey Development," outlines the following steps, drawn from the research literature:
1. Identify topics of interest
2. Identify relevant, existing survey items
3. Draft new survey items and adapt existing survey items
4. Review draft survey items with stakeholders and content experts
5. Refine the draft survey using cognitive interviewing

The guide provides detailed, real-world examples of how these steps have been used in REL research alliance projects. With this guide, educators will be able to develop their own surveys in collaboration with other practitioners, researchers, and content experts.
8/2/2016
REL 2016170 Stated Briefly: Exploring the foundations of the future STEM workforce: K-12 indicators of postsecondary STEM success
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The purpose of this study was to review recent peer-reviewed studies in order to identify malleable factors measured in K-12 settings that are related to students' postsecondary STEM success, particularly for Hispanic students. Postsecondary STEM success was defined as enrollment in, persistence in, and completion of postsecondary STEM majors or degrees. Twenty-three relevant studies were identified, yet only 4 examined K-12 factors predictive of postsecondary STEM success specifically for Hispanic students. The review found that the number of high school mathematics and science courses taken, and the level of those courses is a consistent predictor of postsecondary STEM outcomes for all student subgroups. However, the literature indicates that minority students, including Hispanics, were less likely to take the highest-level mathematics and science courses. Students' interest and confidence in STEM at the K-12 levels was also predictive of postsecondary STEM success. Yet, despite lower levels of postsecondary STEM success, some studies indicate racial/ethnic minority and White students had similar levels of interest and confidence in STEM. The reviewed research suggests that reducing disparities in mathematics and science preparation between Hispanic and White students and increasing the rates at which Hispanic students take high-level mathematics and science classes has promise for informing interventions designed to improve STEM outcomes.
7/28/2016
REL 2016157 Stated Briefly An analysis of student engagement patterns and online course outcomes in Wisconsin
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The purpose of the study was to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students' engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course. The study used data collected by Wisconsin Virtual School's learning management system and student information system, including 1,512 student enrollments in 109 online elective, core, and Advanced Placement high school courses. Group-based trajectory modeling was employed to estimate the number and shapes of engagement patterns evident in the sample, and hierarchical linear modeling assessed the associations between engagement group membership and course outcomes, controlling for demographic characteristics. Analyses revealed six distinct patterns of student engagement in online courses. Students with relatively low but steady engagement had better outcomes than students with similar initial engagement that diminished throughout the course. Overall, students engaging two or more hours per week had better online course outcomes than students who engaged less than two hours per week.
7/6/2016
REL 2016147 An analysis of student engagement patterns and online course outcomes in Wisconsin
Student enrollment in online courses has increased over the past 15 years and continues to grow. However, there is much that is not known about students' educational experiences and outcomes in online courses. The purpose of the study conducted by REL Midwest in partnership with the Virtual Education Research Alliance was to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students' engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course. The study used data collected by Wisconsin Virtual School's learning management system and student information system, including 1,512 student enrollments in 109 online elective, core, and Advanced Placement high school courses. Group-based trajectory modeling was employed to estimate the number and shapes of engagement patterns evident in the sample, and hierarchical linear modeling assessed the associations between engagement group membership and course outcomes, controlling for demographic characteristics. Analyses revealed six distinct patterns of student engagement in online courses: Initial 1.5 Hours with Decrease, Steady 1.5 Hours, Initial 2 Hours with Spike, Steady 2.5 Hours, 4+ Hours, and 6+ Hours. Students with relatively low but steady engagement had better outcomes than students with similar initial engagement that diminished throughout the course. Overall, students engaging two or more hours per week had better online course outcomes than students who engaged less than two hours per week. Wisconsin Virtual School directors and directors of other online learning programs can use information from this study to consider the supports they implement to help students successfully complete their courses, especially students who display engagement patterns that are associated with poorer course outcomes. Other online learning programs across the country can use the results of this project as a framework for investigating the data they have available in their learning management systems and student information systems.
7/6/2016
REL 2016145 Understanding field experiences in traditional teacher preparation programs in Missouri
The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics of field experiences in traditional teacher preparation programs completed by first-year teachers in Missouri and how experiences vary by teaching certificate type. This descriptive study is based on data from a survey administered in early 2015 to first-year teachers in Missouri public schools who completed traditional teacher preparation programs. Findings show that first-year teachers had field experiences that varied substantially in duration and diversity and that experiences varied for teachers with different types of teaching certificates. Most first-year teachers reported that their student teaching experiences aligned with their career teaching plans and first teaching assignments. Perceptions of the quality of resources and support in field experience schools were generally positive and first-year teachers reported frequent professional collaboration. Parent and community interaction during field experiences was less frequent. Observation and feedback activities during field experiences were frequent and first-year teachers engaged in a variety of instructional activities. Findings suggest that state and program administrators in Missouri and elsewhere may wish to monitor field experiences closely to ensure that expectations are met. Survey data suggest potential areas of focus including interaction with parents and community during field experiences; selection, training, and expectations of teacher candidate mentors; connections between course pedagogy to field experiences; and collaboration between teacher preparation programs and preK–12 schools. The survey developed for this study provides a data collection tool that can be adopted or adapted by state and teacher preparation program administrators and used as part of a system for monitoring program implementation. Detailed information about the implementation of teacher preparation programs may be used in future research on aspects of teacher preparation that are associated with more positive outcomes for program completers and their preK–12 students.
7/6/2016
REL 2016118 Identifying early warning indicators in three Ohio school districts
The purpose of this study was to identify a set of data elements for students in grades 8 and 9 in three Ohio school districts that could serve as accurate early warning indicators of their failure to graduate high school on time and to comparatively examine the accuracy of those indicators. In order to identify the set of indicators with the optimal accuracy for each district, the research team collected student-level data on two cohorts of grade 8 and 9 students in each school district. Datasets used in the analyses included students’ four-year graduation status (the outcome) and 8th and 9th grade data on attendance, coursework, suspensions, and test score records (the candidate early warning indicators). Logistic regression and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to identify the candidate indicators that were the consistent predictors of students’ failure to graduate on time in each district and to identify the cut points on the original scales that most accurately distinguish students who were at risk of not graduating on time from those who did graduate on time. The analyses were restricted to students who were first-time freshmen within the districts in 2006/07 or 2007/08, and excluded students who entered the district after grade 9. Students in the 2006/07 cohort graduated in 2010, and students in the 2007/08 cohort graduated in 2011. The three districts included in the study varied in size, demographic composition, and locale. Results show that the optimal cut point for classifying students as at risk varied significantly across districts for five of the eight candidate indicators included in the study. Across the three districts and two grades, different indicators were identified as the most accurate predictors of students’ failure to graduate on time. End-of-year attendance rate was the only indicator that was a consistent predictor for both grades in all three districts. The most accurate indicators in both grade 8 and grade 9 were based on coursework (GPAs and course credits). Consistent with prior literature, failing more than one class and earning one or more suspensions also were strong predictors of failure to graduate on time. On average, indicators were more accurate in grade 9 than in grade 8. Findings illustrate why it is important for districts to conduct local validation using their own data to verify that indicators selected for their early warning systems accurately predict students’ failure to graduate on time. The methods laid out in this study can be used to help districts identify the best off-track indicators, and indicator cut points, for their particular early warning systems.
7/6/2016
REL 2016139 Online credit recovery: Enrollment and passing patterns in Montana Digital Academy courses
Most U.S. school districts (88 percent) offer credit recovery programs that allow students to make up courses that they need to meet graduation requirements. Online credit recovery options are popular, especially in rural states, because they allow schools to serve students in remote areas throughout the year, across a range of subjects, and with few additional resources. Such programs offer students greater flexibility and choice, which results in more opportunities to make up classes and a greater likelihood that they will stay in school and stay on track to graduate. Despite the growing popularity of online credit recovery courses, however, there is still little research about which students take these courses or how well they perform in them. This REL Northwest report addresses that gap by examining 2013/14 data from the Montana Digital Academy (MTDA), the only statewide funded program offering online credit recovery courses in Montana. The report provides a descriptive analysis of course-enrollment and course-completion patterns and also draws on interviews with education leaders across Montana to provide context and to describe other credit recovery strategies in the state. The analysis finds that more boys than girls enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses, and students in grades 10 and 11 make up a larger proportion of MTDA student enrollment than those in grades 9 or 12. More students enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses in English language arts than any other subject area. Slightly less than 60 percent of MTDA online credit recovery students receive a passing grade, with passing rates lowest in math (49 percent) and English language arts (52 percent). Also, students who take one MTDA online credit recovery course per semester have lower passing rates (40 percent) than those who take multiple courses in a semester. The report offers educators an early look at the potential of online credit recovery courses to help struggling students get back on track to graduation. It can also help state leaders compare MTDA to other online programs and to identify possible areas for additional investigation or improvement when designing credit recovery options.
6/28/2016
REL 2016146 Ramping up for college readiness in Minnesota high schools: Implementation of a schoolwide program
This study examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness program (Ramp-Up) differs from college readiness supports that are typically offered by high schools, whether high schools were able to implement Ramp-Up to Readiness to the developer's satisfaction, and how staff in schools implementing Ramp-Up to Readiness perceive the program. The researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with staff in two groups of schools: (1) a group of 10 schools that were in the first year of implementation of Ramp-Up to Readiness, and (2) a group of 10 other schools that were not implementing the program. The researchers also administered surveys to staff employed by these 20 schools as well as to students in grades 10–12 in these schools. Through these data collection efforts, the researchers obtained information on the types of college readiness programming and supports in the two types of schools, students' perceptions of college-focused staff-student interactions, schools' success at implementing Ramp-Up to Readiness' core components and sub-components, and the opinions of staff in implementing schools about the program. Compared with non-Ramp-Up schools, those implementing Ramp-Up offered more college-oriented structural supports, professional development, and student-staff interactions. Ramp-Up schools also made greater use of postsecondary planning tools. Students in Ramp-Up schools perceived more emphasis on four of five dimensions of college readiness than students in comparison schools. Ramp-Up schools met the program developer's threshold for adequate implementation on four of five program components (structural supports, professional development, curriculum delivery, and curriculum content). However only 2 of the 10 schools met the developer's adequacy threshold for the other component (use of postsecondary planning tools). Staff at Ramp-Up schools generally had favorable perceptions of the program. Schools that implement Ramp-Up were able to offer deeper college readiness support to more students than comparison schools. Schools that adopt Ramp-Up can implement the program as intended by the program developer, but some program components are more challenging to implement than others. Additional studies should be performed to examine whether implementation improves after a second year of implementation and whether Ramp-Up improves the likelihood that students will enroll and succeed in college.
6/28/2016
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