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Search Results: (16-30 of 341 records)

 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2016149 Using computer-adaptive assessments of literacy to monitor the progress of English learner students
The purpose of this study was to examine (a) how teachers and school staff individually administer computer-adaptive assessments of literacy to English learner students in grades 3–5, and (b) how they use the assessments to monitor students' growth. Because adaptive assessments maximize precision of information while minimizing time spent gaining it, they are particularly valuable for students whose performance is outside typical grade-level norms such as English learner students. Three elementary schools with high proportions of English learner students participated in the study. Participating students were at the two lowest levels on the state oral language proficiency measure. At the beginning of the year there were 117 participating students and by the end of the year 102 remained at the same school. To address the first question, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast staff observed the September training and the fall, winter, and spring administration of the Florida Center for Reading Research Reading Assessment (FRA). To address the second question, teachers and school staff individually administered the FRA to participating students in the fall, winter, and spring. They discussed their observations of students' performance during test administration and students' score reports with REL staff after each assessment period. Findings indicated that teachers in grades 3–5 can be trained to individually administer computer-adaptive assessments of literacy to their English learner students three times a year and to participate in data chats after each assessment period to discuss translation of scores to instruction. The report provides recommendations that may aid districts in implementing such adaptive assessments of literacy to monitor the progress of English learner students.
6/28/2016
REL 2016136 The implementation of dual credit programs in six nonurban Kentucky school districts
A key strategy of the Kentucky Department of Education's and Council on Postsecondary Education's College and Career Readiness Delivery plan is to provide opportunities for high school students to earn college credit. Districts across Kentucky are implementing dual credit programs, but there is little sharing of information about the implementation of these programs. REL Appalachia researchers identified six districts in consultation with Kentucky College and Career Readiness Alliance representatives. Profiles describing each district's dual credit programming were created using data from 45 individual interviews conducted with seven distinct stakeholder groups. Each of the six districts offered dual credit programs, with variations in configuration, course offerings, costs, and student supports. Each of the six districts partners with at least one two-year and one four-year postsecondary institution to offer dual enrollment courses. The most prevalent configuration of courses is where courses are offered at a high school and taught by credentialed high school teachers. In cases where high schools are located near postsecondary institutions, this geographic proximity enhances the ability of school districts to offer a variety of courses and program configurations. Assurance of program quality was limited and varied across postsecondary institutions. Dual credit programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credit at reduced costs, but costs and funding support vary by district, postsecondary institution, and program design. Dual credit programs were viewed favorably and heavily promoted in each district, but their expansion is limited by key challenges. These challenges include needing to (1) increase the number of instructors credentialed to teach dual credit courses; (2) increase access to dual credit opportunities, especially in remote, rural locations; (3) ensure student readiness for college coursework; (4) make dual credit programs affordable for all eligible students across the state; (5) ensure course quality; and (6) provide adequate staffing to effectively manage dual credit programs.
6/22/2016
REL 2016137 Dual Enrollment Courses in Kentucky: High School Students' Participation and Completion Rates
Kentucky is using dual enrollment as one strategy to improve access to postsecondary education for its high school students, particularly after passage of Kentucky Senate Bill 1 in 2009, which focused on improving college and career readiness. The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia undertook a descriptive study of participation in and completion of dual enrollment courses for Kentucky students in grades 11 and 12 from 2009/10 through 2012/13. The findings describe the characteristics of students participating in and completing dual enrollment courses, as well as how participation and course completion rates differ based on student, school, and postsecondary characteristics. About 20 percent of the state's public high school students in grades 11 and 12 pursued this opportunity at public postsecondary institutions with about 85 percent of the dual enrollment courses attempted being completed for credit. Participation rates varied by student characteristics, with higher participation rates for students in grade 12, female students, White students, students who were not English language learners, students not eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch, and those students with the highest grade point averages and ACT scores. Course completion rates varied by student characteristics, with lower completion rates for Black students, students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, students with C grade point averages or below, and students with low ACT scores. The findings raise important questions about differential course participation rates for students of different race/ethnicities, genders, and family incomes. In addition, online dual enrollment courses were increasingly attempted by students in grades 11 and 12 over time. The increase in students attempting courses online has important implications for the state as staff consider how best to provide access to dual enrollment courses in rural and remote locations where students may have limited access to online services.
6/22/2016
REL 2016141 School reading performance and the extended school day policy in Florida
Beginning with the 2012/13 school year, Florida law required that the 100 lowest-performing elementary schools in reading extend the school day. This study examined how the lowest performing schools implemented the extended school day policy and the trends in school reading performance among the lowest performing schools and other elementary schools. The lowest-performing schools were located throughout Florida and on average, were smaller but served higher proportions of minorities and higher proportions of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch compared to other elementary schools. The lowest-performing schools reported increasing the number of minutes of reading instruction provided to students, increasing staff, and providing different instruction in the extra hour than during other reading instructional blocks. An increase in reading performance was observed for the lowest-performing schools the year the extended school day was implemented. However, this increase did not exceed what would have been expected in the absence of the required increase in reading instruction.
6/16/2016
REL 2016158 Getting It Right: Reference Guides for Registering Students With Non-English Names
Getting a student’s name right is the first step in welcoming him or her to school. Incorrectly entering student names can mean that the same student is listed in different databases in various ways and often with incomplete records. Consequently, students who are eligible for services (for example, English learner support) can be unidentified or overlooked. This set of naming conventions guides can serve as a reference for accurately and consistently entering students’ names in school, district, and state databases as well as address and greet parents and other family members in a culturally responsive and respectful way. The guides are available for students with home languages of Cantonese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
6/14/2016
REL 2016159 Stated Briefly: Examining changes to Michigan's early childhood quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. Documenting and improving early childhood program quality is a national priority, leading to a rapid expansion of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs). QRISs document and improve the quality of early childhood education programs and provide clear information to families about their child care choices. This study described how early childhood programs were rated in Michigan's QRIS and examined how alternative approaches to calculating ratings affected the number of programs rated at each quality level. Using extant data from 2,390 early childhood education programs that voluntarily participated in Michigan's QRIS, the study found that programs in Michigan self-rated at low quality (level 1) and high quality (level 5) more often than at moderate quality (levels 2 through 4). The study also found that programs with both a self-rating and an independent observation of quality generally had higher self-ratings than observational ratings. The study used simulated data to compare the distributions of ratings in the original QRIS, the newly revised QRIS with relaxed domain requirements, and an approach that only used programs' overall scores. Findings revealed that in the new relaxed system and the total score approach, programs were rated at higher levels of quality when compared to the original QRIS. Implications of changes to the calculation systems in QRIS are discussed in terms of program ratings and financial implications for states.
6/14/2016
REL 2016143 Development and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems in Midwest Region states
Recent federal and state policies that recognize the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care, such as the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool for All initiative, have led to a rapid expansion of quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs). Although 49 states implement a QRIS in some form, each system differs in its approach to defining, rating, supporting, and communicating program quality. This study examined QRISs in use across the Midwest Region to describe approaches that states use in developing and implementing a QRIS. The purpose was to create a resource for QRIS administrators to use as they refine their systems over time. Researchers used qualitative techniques, including a review of existing documents and semistructured interviews with state officials in the Midwest Region to document the unique and common approaches to QRIS implementation. Findings suggest that the process of applying for a Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant helped advance the development of a QRIS system, even in states that were not awarded funding. Also, all seven states in the Midwest Region use a variety of direct observations in classrooms to measure quality within each QRIS, despite the logistical and financial burdens associated with observational assessment. Five of the states in the Midwest Region use alternate pathways to rate certain early childhood education programs in their QRIS, most commonly for accredited or state prekindergarten programs. Finally, linking state subsidies and other early childhood education funding to QRIS participation encouraged early childhood education providers to participate in a QRIS. Developing and refining a QRIS is an ongoing process for all states in the Midwest Region and systems are continually evolving. Ongoing changes require policymakers, researchers, providers, and families to periodically relearn the exact requirements of their QRISs, but if changes are based on evidence in the field of changing needs of children and families, revised QRISs may better measure quality and better serve the public. Findings from this report can help inform the decisions of state QRIS administrators as they expand and refine their systems.
6/1/2016
REL 2016135 Examining the validity of ratings from a classroom observation instrument for use in a district's teacher evaluation system
The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of teacher evaluation scores that are derived from an observation tool, adapted from Danielson's Framework for Teaching, designed to assess 22 teaching components from four teaching domains. The study analyzed principals' observations of 713 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in Washoe County School District (Reno, NV). The findings support the use of a single, summative score to evaluate teachers, one that is derived by totaling or averaging all 22 ratings. The findings do not support using domain- or component-level scores to evaluate teachers' skills, because there was little evidence that these scores measure distinct aspects of teaching. The information that the total score provides predicts the learning of teachers' students. While the relationship is moderate, it is evidence to support interpreting the observation score as an indicator of teachers' effectiveness in promoting learning.
5/31/2016
REL 2016150 Stated Briefly: College enrollment patterns for rural Indiana high school graduates
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This study examined 1) average distances traveled to attend college, (2) presumptive college eligibility, (3) differences between two-year and four-year college enrollment, (4) differences in enrollment related to differences in colleges' selectivity, and (5) degree of "undermatching" (i.e., enrolling in a college less selective than one's presumptive eligibility suggested) for rural and nonrural graduates among Indiana's 2010 high school graduates. "Presumptive eligibility" refers to the highest level of college selectivity for which a student is presumed eligible for admission, as determined by academic qualifications. The researchers obtained student-level, school-level, and university-related data from Indiana's state longitudinal data system on the 64,534 students who graduated from high school in 2010. Of the original sample, 30,624 graduates entered a public two-year or four-year college in the fall immediately after high school graduation. Data were analyzed using Chi-square tests, GIS analysis, and hierarchical generalized linear models. Rural and nonrural graduates enrolled in college at similar rates, but rural graduates enrolled more frequently in two-year colleges than nonrural graduates. About one third of rural graduates enrolled in colleges that were less selective than colleges for which they were presumptively eligible. Rural graduates travel farther to attend both two-year and less selective four-year colleges than nonrural graduates.
5/24/2016
REL 2016142 How are teacher evaluation data used in five Arizona districts?
Recent teacher evaluation reforms instituted across the country have sought to yield richer information about educators' strengths and limitations and guide decisions about targeted opportunities for professional growth. This study describes how results from new multiple-measure teacher evaluations were being used in 2014/15 in five school districts in Arizona (according to interviews with district leaders and instructional coaches and surveys of school principals and teachers), with each district administering its own local evaluation system developed to align with the overarching state evaluation regulations passed in 2011. Findings from a majority of the study districts indicated that online data platforms are facilitating observation-based feedback, with evaluation results reportedly influencing subsequent professional development for teachers—in particular shaping the work of instructional coaches and/or the support opportunities that are suggested for teachers within the district's online system. However, responding teachers in the five study districts expressed some skepticism about the relevance of school- and district-level professional development offerings, and viewed themselves as responsible for their own professional growth activities. In addition, respondents indicated that the timing of the release of standardized state test data renders those data less useful for professional development decisions than observation results. Meanwhile, teacher evaluation data are reportedly being less systematically used in talent management decisions, including to identify teacher leaders or to assign teachers to schools or classrooms. Regarding evaluation's impact, principals and teachers in a majority of study districts agreed that their new teacher evaluations have improved teachers' instructional practice, but teachers in all five study districts were less likely than principals to agree that evaluations have benefitted students. Together, these findings are suggestive of positive benefits from organizational structures that support the review of data during the school year, such as standards-based observation frameworks, benchmark assessments, professional learning communities, and instructional coaching and feedback. However, skepticism among teachers (particularly high school teachers) suggests that they may not yet perceive their evaluations as entirely credible and relevant to their work.
5/19/2016
REL 2016107 Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest Region: Lessons from federal School Improvement Grant implementation
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.
5/18/2016
REL 2016123 Developmental education and college readiness at the University of Alaska
This study examines the postsecondary readiness of first-time students who enrolled in the University of Alaska system over a four-year period. The study calculates the proportion of students considered academically underprepared for college and how placement rates for developmental education (that is, non–credit-bearing courses) vary for different groups of students. The study also determines the proportion of students placed in developmental education who eventually enrolled in and passed college English and math. Finally, the analysis looks at whether high school grades, rather than exam performance, are a better predictor of success in college-level courses.

Results show that developmental education rates were higher in math than English for students pursuing any degree type and increased as the gap between high school exit and college entry grew. Among students pursuing a bachelor's degree, developmental placement rates were highest for Black students from urban areas of the state (in math) and Alaska Native students from rural areas (in English) compared to all other student groups. Almost half (47 percent) of students placed in developmental courses eventually passed college English and almost a quarter (23 percent) passed college math. For students who enrolled directly in college, high school grade point average was a stronger predictor of college-level English and math performance than were SAT, ACT, and ACCUPLACER scores. Secondary and postsecondary stakeholders can use the findings to help identify students in need of support to be college-ready and to consider further conversation and additional research regarding whether and how to use high school grade point average as part of the placement process.
5/17/2016
REL 2016134 Stated Briefly: Can scores on an interim high school reading assessment accurately predict low performance on college readiness exams?
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 examine the extent to which performance on Florida's interim reading assessment could be used to identify students who may not perform well on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and ACT Plan. Data included the 2013/14 PSAT/NMSQT or ACT Plan results for students in grade 10 from two districts, as well as their grade 9 results on the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading—Florida Standards (FAIR-FS). PSAT/NMSQT Critical Reading performance is best predicted in the study sample by a student's reading comprehension skills, while PSAT/NMSQT Mathematics and Writing performance is best predicted by a student's syntactic knowledge. Syntactic knowledge is the most important predictor of ACT Plan English, Reading, and Science in the study sample, whereas reading comprehension skills were found to best predict ACT Plan Mathematics results. Sensitivity rates ranged from 81 percent to 89 percent correct across all of the models. These results provide preliminary evidence that FAIR-FS scores could be used to create an early warning system for performance on both the PSAT/NMSQT and ACT Plan.
5/3/2016
REL 2016133 Relationship between school professional climate and teachers' satisfaction with the evaluation process
This study, conducted by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands in collaboration with the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance, reports on the relationship between teachers' perceptions of school professional climate and their satisfaction with their formal evaluation process using the responses of a nationally representative sample of teachers from the Schools and Staffing Surveys. Specifically, the study used logistic regression analysis to examine whether teachers' satisfaction with their evaluation was associated with two measures of school professional climate (principal leadership and teacher influence), teacher and school characteristics, and the inclusion of student test scores in the evaluation system. The results indicate that teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership was associated with their satisfaction with the evaluation system—the more positively teachers rated their principal's leadership, the more likely they were to report satisfaction with their evaluation process. The rating teachers received on their evaluation was also associated with their satisfaction, with those rated satisfactory or higher more likely to be satisfied. Teachers whose evaluation process included student test score outcomes were less likely to be satisfied with that process than teachers whose evaluations did not include student test scores. The findings reinforce current literature about the importance of the school principal in establishing positive school professional climate. The report recommends additional research related to the implementation of new educator evaluation systems.
5/3/2016
REL 2016138 Summary of research on the association between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement
This report presents a summary of research on the associations between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement. The majority of the research focused on one type of state intervention: working with a turnaround partner. In this type of intervention, states assign an individual or team to work with a school to identify strengths and weaknesses, develop a school improvement plan, and provide technical assistance as the school implements the plan. In some cases, additional funding is also provided to support implementation of the school improvement efforts. Most of the studies were descriptive, which limits conclusions about the effectiveness of the interventions. Results of studies of turnaround partner interventions were mixed, and suggested that student achievement was more likely to improve when particular factors were in place in schools such as strong leadership, use of data to guide instruction, and a positive school culture characterized by trust and increased expectations for students. Although researchers sought to include research on a variety of state intervention types, few studies were identified that examined other types of interventions such as school closure, charter conversion, and school redesign.
4/27/2016
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