Search Results: (16-30 of 102 records)
|REL 2017264||Establishing and sustaining networked improvement communities: Lessons from Michigan and Minnesota
The purpose of this report is to share lessons learned by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest researchers as they worked with educators in Michigan and Minnesota to establish and sustain two networked improvement communities (NICs). A NIC is a type of collaborative research partnership that uses principles of improvement science within networks to learn from variation across contexts. At the request of the Michigan Department of Education, REL Midwest worked with educators at the school, district, intermediate school district, and state levels to establish the Michigan Focus NIC, with the goal of reducing disparities in student achievement within schools. At the request of the Minnesota Department of Education, REL Midwest worked with educators at the state and regional levels to establish the Minnesota Statewide System of Support NIC. This NIC aimed to improve the supports that the Minnesota Department of Education provides to its six Regional Centers of Excellence, which implement school improvement strategies in the schools in the state with the lowest performance and largest achievement gaps. Although there is practical guidance for how NICs should structure their work, few published accounts describe the process of forming a NIC. Through its experience working with educators to form two NICs, REL Midwest learned that it is important to: build a cohesive team with members representing different types of expertise; reduce uncertainty by clarifying what participation would entail; build engagement by aligning work with ongoing efforts; use activities that are grounded in daily practice to narrow the problem of practice to one that is high leverage and actionable; and embed capacity building into NICs to build additional expertise for using continuous improvement research to address problems of practice. This report offers guidance to researchers and educators as they work to establish and sustain NICs. The lessons learned come from efforts to establish NICs in two specific contexts and therefore may not be generalizable to other contexts.
|REL 2017262||Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances
The purpose of this project was to share the lessons learned about the common challenges that Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest researchers brought to a professional learning community, the strategies they identified to address the challenges, and the tools used to ultimately overcome those shared challenges. The lessons highlighted in this document are observations made by the professional learning community members and senior REL Midwest staff during the 2012-2017 REL contract. Researchers experienced three common challenges: adjusting to changing roles and additional responsibilities; planning for and engaging in consistent, meaningful interactions with practitioner partners; and developing products that speak directly to their intended audience. To overcome these challenges, researchers developed and carried out three strategies: built a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities that they and their practitioner partners' needed to play; honed communication and facilitation skills; and co-developed plans with their practitioner partners for how to communicate about the partnership and its projects. Several tools were developed to support the implementation of these strategies. These lessons come from one professional learning community's experience and therefore may not be generalizable to all researchers. However, the intent is to inform others as they work to support researchers’ efforts to engage in authentic collaboration with their practitioner partners.
|REL 2017260||Academic achievement and classification of students from the Freely Associated States in Guam schools
This report from Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific examines academic achievement, English language learner, and special education classification rates for students from the Freely Associated States (FAS) as compared to other students in Guam. To compare FAS and non-FAS academic achievement and English language learner and special education classification rates, REL Pacific used information about students who took the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition (SAT-10) exams during the 2013/14 school year, the only available dataset that included all variables of interest: performance outcomes, ethnicity, and program classification in Guam schools. The study found that more than 21.0 percent of test takers had an FAS ethnicity, and while few test takers scored at proficient or advanced levels on the SAT-10 sub-tests, FAS students were less likely than non-FAS students to receive a proficient or advanced score across all subtests. In addition, 85 percent of FAS test takers were classified as English learner students, compared to 59.5 percent of non-FAS test takers. However, the percentage of test takers classified as special education was lower for FAS students (4.2 percent) than for non-FAS students (5.8 percent).
|REL 2017230||Characteristics and career paths of North Carolina school leaders
This study examines the demographics, educational attainment, licensures, and career paths of those who were assistant principals or principals ("school leaders") in North Carolina from 2001/02 through 2003/2004. The career path analyses focus specifically on retention and recruitment. The retention analyses describe the top-10 paths that school leaders took, starting from their initial leadership position and over the 10 year period examined. The recruitment analyses describe the top-10 paths for school leaders before they took on their leadership roles during the 10 year period examined. Finally, the study describes and compares the demographics, educational attainment, educational licensure, and career paths of school leaders in rural and non-rural schools over the 10 year period.
Results from the study show that demographic make-up of North Carolina’s principal workforce has largely remained stable from 2001/02 through 2012/12, including in rural schools. Also, overall school leaders have largely earned the same degrees and hold the same licenses. The majority of assistant principals and principals spent time as a classroom teacher prior to becoming a school leader. From 2001/02 through 2012/13, leaders in rural schools were generally similar, in terms of demographics, educational attainment, licenses, and positions held to their peers in non-rural schools. The descriptive study provides a deeper understanding of the backgrounds andc professional paths of school leaders, including in rural schools. North Carolina stakeholders might consider study findings when contemplating their next steps towards increasing the number and improving the quality of school leaders in rural and non-rural schools. Information from the study can also potentially support efforts to enhance retention and succession planning in these schools.
|REL 2017216||Earning college credits in high school: Options, participation, and outcomes for Oregon students
To increase students' postsecondary attainment, many states are promoting accelerated college credit (ACC) options in high school such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual-credit courses. This study describes the various ACC options available to Oregon students and the characteristics of the students who enroll in them. Using information from college websites and dual-credit coordinators--along with data from state agency and community college databases in Oregon--the study explores which students participate in ACC and examines participation by gender, racial/ethnic group, and eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch. Findings show that Oregon has a variety of ACC options available at public institutions, but cost, eligibility requirements, and geographic coverage of these options vary greatly across institutions. In addition, Oregon has higher rates of community college dual-credit participation than the national average and Oregon students taking dual-credit courses through a community college typically enroll and earn credit in multiple courses. While most students earn credit after enrolling in a community college dual-credit course, students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch pass those courses at lower rates than students who are not eligible. Also, community college dual-credit participants are more likely to be White, female, high achievers, and not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Males of all racial and ethnic groups participate in community college dual credit at lower rates than females; in each racial or ethnic group, the gender gap in participation is similar. Oregon stakeholders can use the study findings to better understand ACC options in the state and gaps in access that currently exist. Nationally, this study provides an example for other states of potentially useful data collection and analyses that could inform improvements to ACC programs.
|REL 2017229||College and career readiness profiles of high school graduates in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Stakeholders in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands have identified the college and career readiness of high school graduates as a key concern; however, it has been unclear what data were available to determine student readiness for college and careers. This report examines the availability of college and career readiness indicators; how many of the Data Quality Campaign's 10 Essential Elements of high quality data systems were in place; and the college and career readiness of a graduating class within each jurisdiction. In American Samoa, the study found that data were available to construct five college and career readiness indicators and that six of the Data Quality Campaign's 10 Essential Elements were in place. In addition, the study found that, among the 843 high school completers in the American Samoa sample, students’ mean grade point average was 2.84, fewer than 50 percent took a math class beyond Algebra II, and most students scored at the below basic proficiency level on the SAT-10 reading and math exams. In the Northern Mariana Islands, data were available to construct six college and career readiness indicators, and three of the Data Quality Campaign's 10 Essential Elements were in place. Among the 587 high school completers in the Northern Mariana Islands sample, students' mean grade point average was 2.81, few students completed pre-calculus or calculus, and most students scored at the average proficiency level on the SAT-10 reading and math exams.
|REL 2017250||How well does high school grade point average predict college performance by student urbanicity and timing of college entry?
This report examines how well high school GPA and college entrance exams predict college grades for particular subgroups of students who enrolled directly in college math and English in the University of Alaska system over a four-year period. The report builds on a previous Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest study and examines whether high school GPA is less predictive for certain groups of students, such as students who come from different parts of the state or recent high school graduates versus older students. This study used regression analysis to assess the extent to which high school GPA and test scores predict college grades. Regressions were estimated separately for English and math course grades and within each subject area for students who took the SAT, students who took the ACT, and students who took ACCUPLACER. Overall, high school GPA surpassed test scores in explaining variance in college course grades regardless of where students were from in Alaska. High school GPA explained 9-18 percentage of variance in course grades for urban students, while test scores explained 1-5 percentage of variance. Similarly, high school GPA explained 7-21 percentage of variance in course grades for rural students, while test scores explain 0-3 percentage of variance in course grades. High school GPA was also more predictive of college course performance for students who directly entered college from high school compared to those who delayed entry. These findings provide evidence of the predictive power of high school GPA in explaining the readiness of college students for college English and math across different groups of students. Secondary and postsecondary stakeholders can use these findings to engage in conversations regarding whether and how to use high school grade point average as part of the placement process.
|REL 2017234||Characteristics and postsecondary pathways of students who participate in acceleration programs in Minnesota
Minnesota high school students have the opportunity to take advanced courses that simultaneously earn high school and college credit, yet little is known about what types of students are participating and succeeding in these programs, or their college pathways after high school. This study examined participation in the various acceleration programs available to Minnesota high school students, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate coursework, postsecondary enrollment options, concurrent enrollment, and other/unknown programs. Student- and school-level data on the 2011 cohort of Minnesota high school graduates (N = 59,499) were obtained from the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System. The study team used descriptive statistics to examine differences in (a) rates of participation and credit awarded at the college level between student demographic and academic subgroups, and high school size and locale; and (b) college enrollment patterns and early college success between participants and nonparticipants. The study team also used hierarchical linear modeling to examine the association between acceleration program participation and college enrollment, achievement, and persistence while controlling for other student- and school-level characteristics. Almost half of the 2011 cohort of Minnesota high school graduates participated in at least one acceleration program during high school, and half of participants were awarded dual credit by the Minnesota colleges in which they enrolled. Participation and dual credit award rates varied by acceleration program and student subgroups; economically disadvantaged students, racial/ethnic minorities, and academically lower achieving students did not participate in acceleration programs and were not awarded credit at a rate equivalent to their peers. The majority of Minnesota colleges where acceleration program participants enrolled and were awarded credit were selective and very selective four-year colleges. Students who participated in acceleration programs had higher rates of college enrollment, readiness, and persistence than nonparticipants, and this difference was statistically significant after controlling for student gender, race/ethnicity, ACT/SAT scores, economic status, and high school size and locale, regardless of whether credit was awarded at the college level. Half of all high school graduates participated in acceleration programs, however participation was disproportionately white, economically advantaged, and academically high achieving. While more rigorous research is needed to examine the effectiveness of participation in these programs, the results of this study point to a relationship between acceleration program participation and positive early college outcomes, regardless of the number of credits awarded by colleges.
|REL 2017249||Overview of selected state policies and supports related to K–12 competency-based education
This report categorizes and summarizes state laws and regulations relevant to competency based-education. Competency-based education is a system where students must demonstrate mastery of course content to be promoted to the next class or grade rather than spend a prerequisite number of hours in a class, with students allowed to take as much or as little time necessary to achieve a comprehensive understanding of course content. Policies associated with competency-based education are summarized for the seven states in the Regional Educational Laboratory Central region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming), as well five states identified as being proactive in aligning their policies to support competency-based education (Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, and Oregon). This study also categorizes the different types of assistance and resources these states have provided to intentionally support competency-based education.
State laws and regulations were classified into the following three broad policy categories: credit flexibility, academic progression flexibility, and individual learning options. Identified categories of state-provided supports for competency-based education included informational and technical assistance resources, support for educational collaboratives, and funding for pilot programs and demonstration sites. Descriptions and examples of each policy and support category are provided. State and school administrators can use the information in this report to learn about the policies and supports in their state and others as they consider implementing competency-based education.
|REL 2017222||How do Algebra I course repetition rates vary among English learner students by length of time to reclassification as English proficient?
This study examines the variation in performance and course repetition among different English proficiency status student subgroups. Using data from one high school district in California and five of its seven feeder elementary school districts, the authors found that long-term English learner students who were never reclassified to English proficient have the highest rates of repeating algebra I at 67.5 percent, followed by long-term English learner students reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 at 58.6 percent, those who were never designated as English learner students at 44.2 percent, and finally English learner students reclassified before grade 7 at 30.2 percent. Among students who repeat algebra I, this study found that English learner students reclassified before grade 7 tended to perform the best, with 52.0 percent of these students earning an average grade of C or better when repeating. Higher proportions of these students also completed algebra II or higher with an average grade of C or better, at 20.4 percent. In comparison, long-term English learner students never reclassified and those reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 had the lowest rates of earning an average grade of C or better when repeating algebra I, and they had the lowest proportion of students to complete algebra II or higher with an average grade of C or better by grade 12. A similar ranking pattern was also observed among students who never repeated algebra I. These findings show that long-term English learner students and those reclassified to English proficient after grade 6 tend to struggle with algebra I in comparison to other students, and that English learner students reclassified before grade 7 tend to perform the best—even compared with students who were never classified as English learner students. Additional resources may need to be directed toward long-term English learner students and those reclassified after grade 6. Such resources can include differentiated support based on student needs before students enroll in the course as well as while they are enrolled in the course.
|REL 2017213||Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations
The purpose of this report was to determine which Mississippi public schools perform better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Additionally, this study identified profiles of schools within Mississippi, or groups of schools with similar socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. This study identifies Mississippi public schools as "beating the odds" when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a multiple linear regression approach. The study identified distinct socioeconomic and demographic profiles of schools using latent profile analysis. Results indicate that 18 schools are beating the odds in English language arts and 19 schools are beating the odds in mathematics. Seven schools (about 3 percent) are beating the odds in both English language arts and mathematics. Four distinct demographic profiles of schools were identified, with the majority of schools having a profile consisting of high percentages of minority and low socioeconomic status students. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the improvement of low performing schools in Mississippi.
|REL 2017254||Changes in financial aid and student enrollment at historically Black colleges and universities after the tightening of PLUS credit standards: An update for the 2013/14 school year
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education tightened the credit history standards for obtaining Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Concerned about the possible effects of this change on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), REL Mid-Atlantic's HBCU Research Alliance wanted to measure and understand changes in financial aid and student enrollment at HBCUs during the first full year after the new credit standards were imposed. The resulting report found declines in the number of PLUS recipients and enrollment at HBCUs (Johnson, Bruch, & Gill, 2015). This follow-up study looks at changes in financial aid and enrollment after the summer of 2013, when the Department of Education changed the appeals process for families denied PLUS loans. The study found that the number of PLUS recipients at HBCUs increased in 2013/14, though the number of recipients remained substantially below the level before PLUS credit standards were tightened in 2011. Enrollment at HBCUs continued to decline in 2013/14, as did the enrollment of Black students nationwide.
|REL 2017231||What are the college outcomes after six years for Tennessee's high school class of 2007?
Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) collaborated to conduct this study, which examines college enrollment, persistence, and performance for Tennessee's public high school class of 2007 six years after high school graduation. The study used student-level data from the Tennessee Department of Education to define the graduating cohort of 2007 and to describe students' demographic characteristics. These data were linked with postsecondary data from THEC and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). The NSC provided enrollment and degree-completion data for students enrolled in a public postsecondary institution, and THEC provided data on credits earned and grade point averages (GPA) for students enrolled in a Tennessee public postsecondary institution. Neither source provided data on private institutions, and NSC does not collect credit or GPA data. The study found that just over half of Tennessee's public high school class of 2007 enrolled in a public postsecondary institution within six years. Enrollment rates were highest for Asian or Pacific Islander students (62 percent), followed by White students (57 percent), Black students (52 percent) and Hispanic students (37 percent). Female students also enrolled at higher rates (60 percent) than male students (50 percent). Enrollment rates were highest in the fall immediately after high school (69 percent of those who enrolled within six years). About 16 percent of all graduates completed a four-year degree within six years. The completion rate was higher (37 percent) for students who enrolled immediately after high school. After one year, students enrolled full-time in a four-year institution earned more credits and had higher grade point averages than those in a two-year institution. Results highlight the higher success rates for students who enroll in postsecondary education full-time immediately after high school. The study also points to important subgroup differences—for example, low enrollment and completion rates among Black and Hispanic students. Additional study may reveal both why these differences exist and how they can be mitigated. Policymakers may consider replicating this approach for future cohorts of high school graduates reporting long-term outcomes back to individual districts and schools where local decision-makers can take action.
|REL 2017232||What are the college outcomes for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools high school class of 2007 after six years?
Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia partnered with the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to conduct this study, which examines college enrollment, persistence, and performance for the MNPS high school class of 2007 six years after high school graduation. The study used student-level data from the Tennessee Department of Education to define the graduating cohort of 2007 and to describe students' demographic characteristics. These data were linked with postsecondary data from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). The NSC provided enrollment and degree-completion data for students enrolled in a public postsecondary institution, and THEC provided data on credits earned and grade point average (GPA) for students enrolled in a Tennessee public postsecondary institution. Neither source provided data on private institutions, and NSC does not collect credit or GPA data. The study found that whereas first-time postsecondary enrollment rates for MNPS were similar to the statewide average, degree completion rates were lower for MNPS students than for students statewide. At the same time, gaps in enrollment and degree completion rates between White and Black students were smaller in MNPS than statewide. MNPS students overall performed below their peers statewide in their first year of college, but Black MNPS students had a higher mean GPA and earned more credits than Black students statewide. Results suggest several areas for further study. For example, Black/White enrollment, degree completion, and performance gaps in MNPS may be smaller than those statewide either because students from a single district may be more homogeneous or for reasons specific to MNPS. Additional outcomes or analytical techniques may reveal further differences between MNPS and students elsewhere in the state. In particular, as there were too few students who were non-White and non-Black to include in quantitative analysis, qualitative research may be necessary to determine the performance and needs of these students.
|REL 2017236||Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are "beating the odds"
The purpose of this report was to determine which South Carolina charter schools performed better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This study identified South Carolina charter schools as "beating the odds" when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a hierarchical linear model approach. Results indicate that for grades 3–5 13 schools beat the odds in English language arts and 14 schools beat the odds in mathematics. For grades 6–8, 12 schools beat the odds in English language arts and nine schools beat the odds in mathematics.
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