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Search Results: (16-30 of 297 records)

 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2015097 Development and Examination of an Alternative School Performance Index in South Carolina
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the measures that make up each of the three separate accountability indices of school performance in South Carolina could be used to create an overall, reliable index of school performance. Data from public elementary, middle, and high schools in 2012/13 were used in confirmatory factor analysis models designed to estimate the relations between the measures under different specifications. Four different factor models were compared at each school level, beginning with a one-factor model and ending with a bi-factor model. Results from the study suggest that the measures which currently are combined into three separate indices of school performance can instead be combined into a single index of school performance using a bi-factor model. The reliability of the school performance general factor estimated by the bi-factor model ranged from .89 to .95. Using this alternative school performance rating, the study found that approximately 3 percent of elementary schools, 2 percent of middle schools, and 3 percent of high schools were observed to statistically outperform their predicted performance when accounting for the school’s demographic characteristics. These schools, referred to as schools beating the odds, were found in most of the demographic profiles which represent South Carolina schools. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the development of new accountability indices in South Carolina and other states with similar models.
REL 2015092 Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English Language Learners in the Washington Road Map School Districts To Develop English Proficiency?
Seven high-poverty, diverse districts in Seattle (WA) and South King County are seeking to increase academic proficiency and graduation rates of their English language learner (ELL) students. To meet that goal, the districts have joined together in Road Map for Education Results, which is working with REL Northwest to better understand the needs of their ELL populations. Road Map members specifically want to know how long it takes ELL students in their districts to be reclassified as former ELLs, as well as how this varies by students’ grade level, English proficiency at entry into the U.S. school system, and other student characteristics.
REL 2015094 Suspension, Expulsion, and Achievement of English Learner Students in Six Oregon Districts
States and districts are increasingly concerned about how exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspensions and expulsions) and lost instructional time impacts student outcomes. Also, there is concern about whether there are disparities in exclusionary discipline rates between students from different subgroups and their peers. This study examines data from six Oregon school districts to discern patterns of exclusionary discipline and the association of exclusionary discipline with achievement on state assessments in reading and mathematics for English language learner (ELL) students, who are a large, growing, and challenging population in Oregon schools. The districts will use the results to develop specific plans for making their disciplinary practices both fair and effective.
REL 2015093 Alternative Student Growth Measures for Teacher Evaluation: Implementation Experiences of Early-Adopting Districts
State requirements to include student achievement growth in teacher evaluations are prompting the development of alternative ways to measure growth in grades and subjects not covered by state assessments. These alternative growth measures use two primary approaches: (1) value-added models (VAMs) applied to end-of-course and commercial assessments; and (2) student learning objectives (SLOs) selected by teachers with the approval of their principals. Information is limited, however, on how these alternative growth measures can be used to evaluate teachers and on their costs and benefits. REL Mid-Atlantic sought to develop new information by conducting case studies to examine the implementation experiences of eight districts that were early adopters of alternative measures of student growth. District administrators, principals, teachers, and teachers' union representatives were interviewed for the study.

The study found that alternative growth measures have been used for many purposes other than teacher evaluation, but SLOs are unique in their use to adapt and improve instruction. Although the alternative measures show a wider range of teacher performance relative to previous evaluation systems without measures of student growth, evidence on the reliability and validity of alternative measures--especially SLOs--is limited. Districts implementing SLOs most often reported increased collaboration as a benefit, while alternative assessment-based VAMs were perceived as fairer than SLOs for making comparisons among teachers. Both types of alternative growth measures come with costs and implementation challenges. SLOs are substantially more labor-intensive relative to alternative-assessment based VAMs. More research is needed on the statistical properties of the alternative measures, the approaches districts are taking to offset implementation costs, and innovative solutions to overcome implementation challenges.
REL 2015086 Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice
While the literature on learning disabilities and on second-language acquisition is relatively extensive within the field of education, less is known about the specific characteristics and representation of English learner students with learning disabilities. Because there are no definitive resources and processes for identifying and determining best placement for English learner students with learning disabilities, schools, districts, and states struggle with this issue. As a result, English learner students who may or may not have learning disabilities are both over- and underrepresented in special education. This report aims to inform policymakers interested in developing procedures, including the use of guidelines and protocols, for identifying, assessing, and placing English learner students who may or may not have learning disabilities. The report describes 1) the key issues discussed in the research literature and 2) current state procedures for the 20 states with the largest English learner populations.
REL 2015096 The Effects of the Elevate Math Summer Program on Math Achievement and Algebra Readiness
This randomized trial examined the effects of the Elevate Math summer program on math achievement and algebra readiness, as well as math interest and self-efficacy, among rising 8th grade students in California's Silicon Valley. The Elevate Math summer math program targets students who score in the range between "high basic" and "low proficient" on state math tests. It consists of 19 days of mathematics instruction, consisting of three hours per day in traditional classroom instruction and one hour per day using Khan Academy (a free online learning system).

During summer 2014, students were randomly assigned to a treatment group that received access to the program at the beginning of the summer or to a control group that received access to the program later in the summer. End-of-program test scores and survey responses of students in the treatment group were compared with those of students in the control group prior to their exposure to the program. Treatment group students scored significantly higher than the control group (4 points or 0.7 standard deviation) on a test of algebra readiness. They were also significantly more likely (29 percent versus 12 percent) to reach achievement thresholds associated with success in algebra I. However, treatment and control groups did not show significant differences in terms of math interest or self-efficacy.

The results show that the Elevate Math summer program can significantly improve student math achievement and algebra readiness; however, 70 percent of program participants were still not ready for algebra I content. This suggests that summer math programs such as Elevate Math's may be important tools for improving math achievement among rising eighth grade students, but most targeted students will need additional support in order to ensure success in algebra.
REL 2015105 Professional learning communities facilitator's guide for the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Teaching academic content and literacy to English learners in elementary and middle school
The Professional Learning Communities Facilitator's Guide is designed to assist teams of educators in applying the evidence-based strategies presented in the Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School educator's practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse. Through this collaborative learning experience, educators will expand their knowledge base as they read, discuss, share, and apply key ideas and strategies to help K–8 English learners acquire the language and literacy skills needed to succeed academically.

The facilitator's guide employs a five-step cycle that encourages professional learning communities to debrief, define, explore, experiment, and reflect and plan. This cycle is supplemented with activities, handouts, readings, and videos. Participants will develop a working knowledge of some of the best practices in the English learner practice guide through analysis of teaching vignettes and other interactive activities. Included in the toolkit of materials are activities along with 31 handouts and 23 videos. Four of the videos provide a narrative overview of each of the four recommendations in the practice guide, and the remaining videos show actual classrooms from three different grade levels putting the recommendations into practice.
REL 2015083 College Enrollment Patterns for Rural Indiana High School Graduates
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. More information is needed about how students learn about their college options, what support structures are in place in order to assist students in enrolling in college, and how these processes and supports differ between rural and nonrural schools.
REL 2015076 Comparing postsecondary enrollment and persistence among rural and nonrural students in Oregon
This REL Northwest study examined whether rural students at all achievement levels were less likely than their nonrural counterparts to enroll in college and persist to the second year. The researchers analyzed college enrollment patterns and persistence among rural and nonrural Oregon high school students, as well as variations among different types of students. The study found that rural students were less likely than nonrural students to enroll in college at any time after high school. In addition, rural and nonrural students were equally likely to enroll in college immediately after high school. Finally, rural students were less likely to persist into their second year of college than nonrural students.
REL 2015090 Stated Briefly: Online course use in Iowa and Wisconsin public schools: The results of two statewide surveys
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The purpose of the study conducted by REL Midwest in partnership with the Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance was to develop and administer a survey to describe online course use in Iowa and Wisconsin brick-and-mortar public high schools during the 2012-13 school year. The Iowa Department of Education and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction administered the survey to representative random samples of 168 public high schools in each state at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Researchers analyzed survey data collected from 117 schools in Iowa and 96 schools in Wisconsin to produce statewide estimates of online course use. Results indicate that the primary uses of online courses in both states were to provide students with opportunities for credit recovery and opportunities to complete core requirements for courses covering the primary academic subjects. Schools cited concerns about the educational experiences of students taking online courses, including the lack of teacher training in Iowa and online course quality in Wisconsin. Further research is needed to examine the short-term and long-term academic outcomes for students enrolled in online courses.
REL 2015089 Measuring principals' effectiveness: Results from New Jersey's principal evaluation pilot
The purpose of this study was to describe the measures used to evaluate principals in New Jersey in the first (pilot) year of the new principal evaluation system and examine three of the statistical properties of the measures: their variation among principals, their year-to-year stability, and the associations between these measures and the characteristics of students in the schools. The study reviewed information that developers of principal practice instruments provided about their instruments and examined principals' performance ratings using data from 14 districts in New Jersey that piloted the principal evaluation system in the 2012/13 school year. The study had four key findings: First, the developers of principal practice instruments provided partial information about their instruments' reliability (consistency across raters and observations) and validity (accurate measurement of true principal performance). Second, principal practice ratings and schoolwide student growth percentiles have the potential to differentiate among principals. Third, school median student growth percentiles, which measure student achievement growth during the school year, exhibit year-to-year stability even when the school changes principals. This may reflect persistent school characteristics, suggesting a need to investigate whether other evaluation measures could more closely gauge principals' contributions to student achievement growth. Finally, school median student growth percentiles correlate with student disadvantage, a relationship that warrants further investigation using statewide evaluation data. Results show a mix of strengths and weaknesses in the statistical properties of the measures used to evaluate principals in New Jersey. Future research could provide more evidence on the accuracy of measures used to evaluate principals.
REL 2015081 What predicts participation in developmental education among recent high school graduates at community college? Lessons from Oregon
This study examines the extent of developmental education participation among Oregon high school graduates students who attend community college and the relationship between high school experiences and subsequent developmental education course-taking. An analysis of state and national data from more than 101,000 Oregon public high school graduates who enrolled in the state’s community colleges shows that 65 percent of high school graduates took at least one developmental education course. Mirroring findings from across the country, the study also finds that students who started at lower levels of developmental education were less likely to stay in college and earn a degree. Finally, the study shows that individual high school academic achievement and enrollment in certain dual-credit courses decreases developmental education course-taking. Overall, the findings emphasize the need to target academic underpreparedness at the high school level and to strengthen partnerships between high schools and colleges in addressing this issue.
REL 2015057 Logic models for program design, implementation, and evaluation: Workshop toolkit
The Logic Model Workshop Toolkit is designed to help practitioners learn the purpose of logic models, the different elements of a logic model, and the appropriate steps for developing and using a logic model for program evaluation. Topics covered in the sessions include an overview of logic models, the elements of a logic model, an introduction to evaluation, uses of a logic model to develop evaluation questions and identify indicators of success, and strategies to determine the right evaluation design for your program or policy. The toolkit, which includes an agenda, slide deck, participant workbook and facilitator’s manual, was delivered to three REL-NEI research alliances: the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance, the Urban School Improvement Alliance, and the Puerto Rico Research Alliance for Dropout Prevention.
REL 2015080 Instructional improvement cycle: A teacher's toolkit for collecting and analyzing data on instructional strategies
This toolkit, developed by REL Central in collaboration with York Public Schools in Nebraska, provides a process and tools to help teachers use data from their classroom assessments to evaluate promising practices. The toolkit provides teachers with guidance on how to deliberately apply and study one classroom strategy over the course of one unit and systematically document and compare results to consider the effects of a given instructional strategy on student learning. The process for testing the strategy uses a scientific approach by comparing the performance of students who receive the strategy to the performance of a similar group of students who do not receive the strategy. Teachers can use this information to reflect on their practice and consider adjustments to their instruction to increase student learning.
REL 2015079 Early Identification of High School Graduation Outcomes in Oregon Leadership Network Schools
The purpose of this study was to examine student characteristics related to completing high school within four years, with particular emphasis on graduation outcomes for male and English language learner students. The authors looked at a cohort of students who began grade 9 in the 2007/08 school year in four Oregon districts. Factors related to three key graduation outcomes were analyzed: dropping out within four years of starting grade 9, graduating on time (within four years), and staying in school but not graduating on time. Findings confirmed previous studies showing that attendance and grade point average (GPA) in grades 8 and 9 are significantly associated with graduating on time. In addition, race/ethnicity and achievement on standardized tests are less predictive of graduating on time after other factors are considered. When the influence of demographic, behavioral, and academic characteristics were considered at the same time, only gender, status as an English language learner, and attendance and GPA in grades 8 and 9 were associated with graduation outcomes. Practitioners and policymakers concerned with early identification of students at-risk of not graduating on time could consider these early warning indicators: grade 8 attendance rates below 80 percent; grade 8 GPA of less than 2.0; grade 9 attendance rates below 80 percent, and grade 9 GPA of less than 2.0.
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education