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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCES 2023055 Overview of the Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017–18 (MGLS:2017): Technical Report
This technical report provides general information about the study and the data files and technical documentation that are available. Information was collected from students, their parents or guardians, their teachers, and their school administrators. The data collection included direct and indirect assessments of middle grades students’ mathematics, reading, and executive function, as well as indirect assessments of socioemotional development in 2018 and again in 2020. MGLS:2017 field staff provided additional information about the school environment through an observational checklist.
WWC 2021009 Xtreme Reading Intervention Report
The Xtreme Reading curriculum is primarily designed to help students improve their vocabulary, decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension skills. The Xtreme Reading program includes teacher-led whole-group instruction, cooperative group work, paired practice, and independent practice.

Based on the research, the WWC found that Xtreme Reading has no discernible effects on comprehension or general literacy achievement. The WWC based its conclusion on its review of two studies of Xtreme Reading that met WWC group design standards. The two studies included 3,008 students, who were struggling readers based on their low performance on state standardized tests, in 39 high schools in 12 districts across 9 states.
REL 2021055 Effects of an Inquiry-Oriented Curriculum and Professional Development Program on Grade 7 Students' Understanding of Statistics and on Statistics Instruction
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Supporting Teacher Enactment of the Probability and Statistics Standards (STEPSS) program on classroom instruction and student understanding of grade 7 statistics. This randomized controlled trial in 40 Broward County, Florida, middle schools compared the STEPSS program condition (a 20-day replacement curriculum unit designed to support teaching and learning of the probability and statistics standards in grade 7, along with four days of professional development for teachers) with practice-as-usual statistics instruction and teacher professional development. The initial study sample included 155 grade 7 mathematics teachers and 14,045 grade 7 mathematics students in the 40 schools. The STEPSS program improved student performance on a test of conceptual understanding of statistics and increased the levels of cognitive demand and classroom discourse in classroom statistics instruction. The magnitude of the effect on student performance was 23 percent of one standard deviation, which is comparable to an increase of 9 percentile points for an average student. In addition, the study found that teachers involved students in tasks involving higher levels of cognitive complexity and engaged their students in higher levels of reasoning and discussion about each other’s ideas regarding probability and statistics in the schools where teachers participated in the STEPSS program. The results of this study suggest that school districts should consider implementing the STEPSS program as a way to improve student understanding of and instructional practice in grade 7 statistics. Mathematics programs that are subjected to randomized controlled trials rarely result in positive impacts on student test performance of the magnitude attained in this study.
WWC 2020009 Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy (ITSS), a web-based program that provides supplemental literacy instruction and practice for students in kindergarten to grade 8. The program is designed to develop students’ literacy skills needed to understand factual texts encountered in school and everyday life. The program teaches students how to follow the logical structure of factual text and to use text structure to improve understanding and recall. Based on the research, the WWC found that ITSS is likely to increase students’ reading comprehension in grades 4-7.
WWC 2020007 Intervention Report: Project-Based Inquiry Science
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Project-Based Inquiry ScienceTM, a curriculum with units in life science, earth science, and physical science that is designed to improve student science achievement in grades 6 to 8. No eligible studies of Project-Based Inquiry ScienceTM met WWC design standards, so the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions at this time about the effectiveness of this program.
WWC 2020003 Evidence Snapshot: Passport Reading Journeys
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Passport Reading Journeys, a supplemental literacy curriculum that is designed to improve reading comprehension, vocabulary, word study, and writing skills of struggling readers in grades 6-12. Lessons incorporate both teacher-led instruction and technology, including whole-class and small-group instruction, independent reading, video segments, and individualized computer-based practice. The curriculum includes a series of instructional sequences ("expeditions") on topics in science, math, fine art, literature, and social studies. Based on the research, the WWC found that Passport Reading Journeys has inconsistent effects on comprehension and little or no effect on general literacy achievement for struggling adolescent readers.
REL 2019002 Professional Learning Community: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving for Students in Grades 4 Through 8 Facilitator's Guide
REL Southeast developed this facilitator's guide on the topic of mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator's guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator's guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.

The facilitator's guide focuses on three of the five recommendations from the mathematics problem solving practice guide to ensure in-depth coverage of the topics and to provide ample practice opportunities and time for reflection. The three practice guide recommendations on which the facilitator's guide is based are: teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3), expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4), and help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5). REL Southeast chose these three recommendations because they are interrelated and include critical content to address the two high-leverage regional needs communicated by the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance which include improving classroom discourse in mathematics and enhancing students' mathematical problem-solving skills.
REL 2017242 Stated Briefly: Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ after one year of implementation
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the findings from another report (REL 2017-241). This study examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness program (Ramp-Up) produced impacts on high school students' college enrollment actions and personal college readiness following one year of program implementation. The study also looked at Ramp-Up’s impact on more immediate outcomes, such as the emphasis placed on college readiness and the amount of college-related teacher-student interactions taking place in high schools. The impacts were studied in context by assessing the degree to which schools were implementing Ramp-Up to the developer's satisfaction. Forty-nine Minnesota and Wisconsin high schools were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) the Ramp-Up group that would implement the program during the 2014-15 school year (25 schools), or (2) the comparison group that would implement Ramp-Up the following school year, 2015-16 (24 schools). The researchers collected data from students and school staff during the fall of 2014, before program implementation and during the spring of 2015 after one year of implementation. The study team administered surveys to staff, surveys to students in grades 10-12, and the commitment to college and goal striving scales from ACT's ENGAGE instrument. Researchers also obtained extant student-level data from the high schools and school-level data from their respective state education agencies. The outcomes of most interest were students' submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and their scores on the two ENGAGE scales. Data indicated that following a single year of implementation, Ramp-Up had no impact on grade 12 students' submission rates for the FAFSA or on the commitment to college and goal striving of students in grades 10-12. However, the program did produce greater emphasis on college-readiness and more student-teacher interactions related to college. Implementation data showed mixed results: on average, Ramp-Up schools implemented the program with adequate fidelity, but some schools struggled with implementation and 88 percent of schools did not adequately implement the planning tools component of the program. Schools implementing Ramp-Up demonstrated a greater emphasis on college-readiness than comparison schools, but a single year of program exposure is insufficient to produce greater college readiness among students or FAFSA submissions among grade 12 students. 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.
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 2016180 Predicting math outcomes from a reading screening assessment in grades 3–8
District and state education leaders and teachers frequently use assessments to identify students who are at risk of performing poorly on end-of-year reading achievement tests. This study explores the use of a universal screening assessment of reading skills for the identification of students who are at risk for low achievement in mathematics and provides support for the interpretation of screening scores to inform instruction. The study results demonstrate that a reading screening assessment predicted poor performance on a mathematics outcome (the Stanford Achievement Test) with similar levels of accuracy as screening assessments that specifically measure mathematics skills. These findings indicate that a school district could use an assessment of reading skills to screen for risk in both reading and mathematics, potentially reducing costs and testing time. In addition, this document provides a decision tree framework to support implementation of screening practices and interpretation by teachers.
NCEE 20154006 School Practices and Accountability for Students With Disabilities
This study presents descriptive findings on school practices in 12 states during 2010–11 for elementary and middle schools explicitly held accountable for the performance of the students with disabilities (SWD) subgroup under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The study found that, when surveyed in 2011, elementary schools accountable for the SWD subgroup were 15.8 percentage-points more likely than never-accountable elementary schools to report moving students with disabilities from self-contained settings to regular classrooms over the previous five years. Middle schools accountable for the SWD subgroup were 16.7 percentage-points more likely than never-accountable middle schools to report moving students with disabilities from self-contained settings to regular classrooms over the previous five years.
REL 2014040 Using Assessment Data to Guide Math Course Placement of California Middle School Students
Questions about how best to place students into appropriate middle grade math courses have been central to ongoing education policy and practice discussions in California and across the United States. Recent studies have shown that enrolling in algebra I in grade 8 works well for some students but backfires for others. This REL West report provides findings from a study of placements that were based on different test scores available for middle school students in California. Findings indicate that placement into grade 8 algebra I based solely on students' grade 6 California Standards Test (CST) proficiency status results in some students taking the course who have less than a 40 percent chance of succeeding. Using a higher cut point on the grade 6 CST scale score—as opposed to simply using CST proficiency status—would avoid placing students into grade 8 algebra I who have a lower than 50 percent chance of success, and would increase the overall success rate (from 69 to 75 percent) for students placed into grade 8 algebra I. Prediction accuracy is even higher using grade 7 CST scale scores (78 percent); however, grade 7 scale scores are typically not available until after initial algebra I placements are made. The study also finds that a newly available assessment of algebra readiness developed as part of the Math Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) makes a valuable contribution to decisions about algebra I placement. Placements based on the MDTP result in a success rate (77 percent) that is comparable to that of placements based on the grade 7 math CST. Furthermore, the MDTP test can be administered online at any time during the school year, and MDTP test results are available immediately after students take the test, whereas CST results are not available until the next school year.
WWC IRM624 Vmath
Vmath is a supplemental mathematics curriculum for students in grades 2-8 who are struggling with math. The program provides teachers with a specific, detailed script for each lesson and aims to improve understanding of math concepts and performance on high-stakes assessments. The WWC is unable to draw any conclusions about the impacts of Vmath on elementary school students because none of the available research on the program’s effects on these students meets WWC evidence standards. More high-quality research is needed on the program to determine its effectiveness.
WWC IRS620 Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) The Real Reasons for Seasons
Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) The Real Reasons for Seasons is a curriculum unit for grades 6-8 that focuses on the connections between the Sun and the Earth to teach students the scientific concepts behind the seasons. The WWC identified one study that examined the effects of GEMS The Real Reasons for Seasons on the science achievement of middle school students. The study is a randomized controlled trial that meets WWC evidence standards without reservations and included 4,777 seventh-grade students in 10 middle schools in Maryland. Based on the evidence presented in the study, the WWC found that GEMS The Real Reasons for Seasons has potentially negative effects on general science achievement for middle school students.
NCEE 20124035 Access to Algebra I: The Effects of Online Mathematics for Grade 8 Students
For report NCEE 2012-4021 Access to Algebra I: The Effects of Online Mathematics for Grade 8 Students

This data file contains data from a cluster randomized control trial designed to inform the decisions of policymakers who are considering using online courses to provide access to Algebra I in grade 8. The study indicates that offering Algebra I as an online course significantly affected students’ algebra achievement at the end of grade 8 and increased their likelihood of participating in an advanced coursetaking sequence in high school. The first analytic sample included 440 algebra ready students who attended the participating schools in Maine and Vermont as grade 8 students in 2008/09 (218 in treatment schools, 222 in control schools). Of the 218 algebra ready students who attended treatment schools, 211 (97%) enrolled in the online Algebra I course. The second analytic sample included 1,445 non-algebra ready students (744 in treatment schools, 701 in control schools) who were in grade 8 in 2008/09.
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