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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCEE 2023003 Possible Ways of Increasing College Access Among Adults from Underserved Backgrounds: A Study of College Transition Text-Based Messaging
For adults with low incomes and potential first-generation college-goers, enrolling in college can be challenging. The U.S. Department of Education-funded Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) provide supports to help navigate some of the barriers to enrollment, including assistance with completing college and financial aid application processes, academic advising, and personal counseling. This study tested a text messaging program provided as a supplement to EOCs' typical services. The program included a set of personalized, automated text messages focused on how to secure financial aid, complete key college enrollment steps, and navigate other potential barriers to college entry. Clients from 18 EOCs were randomly assigned to receive the text messages in addition to typical EOC services or to receive typical EOC services only. The study compared the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and college enrollment rates of these two groups to determine the effectiveness of the messaging program.
5/4/2023
NCEE 2023004 Evaluating the Federal Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority: Early Implementation and Progress of State Efforts to Develop New Statewide Academic Assessments
Education officials have long hoped that the statewide academic assessments most students take each year could be used not only for accountability, but also to guide instruction. Congress established the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) program in 2015 to help address this goal, offering states temporary flexibility from certain federal testing requirements so that they may more easily make progress toward replacing their current assessments with more innovative ones. However, states approved for IADA must still show that their innovative assessments meet most requirements for federal accountability, and they are expected to implement the new assessments statewide within 5 years. This report describes the progress of the first five IADA systems through the 2020–21 school year. The report is primarily based on an analysis of states' IADA applications and performance reports to the U.S. Department of Education and is part of a broader evaluation of IADA required by Congress.
4/27/2023
NCEE 2023002 Federal Support for Attracting, Training, and Retaining Educators: How Districts Receiving Teacher and School Leader Grants Use Their Funds
Ensuring students' equitable access to talented educators remains a national priority. Congress established the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive competitive grant program in 2015 to help address this goal, providing financial support to selected school districts to improve their systems for hiring, supporting, and retaining educators, particularly in high-need schools. Grantees can use TSL funds flexibly to improve their basic infrastructure for generating and managing data or on strategies that use these data to improve their educator workforce. This report provides the first comprehensive review of the activities 2017 TSL grantee districts prioritized with their TSL funds and how well these activities aligned with key aspects of the program. The report is based on interviews conducted near the end of the initial 3-year grant period for the 24 districts that were part of the 2017 TSL cohort and is part of a broader evaluation of TSL required by Congress.
3/21/2023
NCEE 2023001 Linking Adult Education to Workforce Development in 2018-19: Early Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act at the Local Level
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 includes new requirements and incentives to strengthen the link between its Title II -- adult education -- and the overall workforce development system. This report from a national evaluation of Title II examines the extent to which local adult education providers’ instructional approaches and coordination with other agencies in 2018-19 reflected this link and highlights the challenges providers reported collecting related performance data. A compendium provides detailed tables supporting the policy report.
3/8/2023
REL 2023001 Stabilizing subgroup proficiency results to improve identification of low-performing schools
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify schools with low-performing student subgroups for Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI). Random differences between students’ true abilities and their test scores, also called measurement error, reduce the statistical reliability of the performance measures used to identify schools for these categorizations. Measurement error introduces a risk that the identified schools are unlucky rather than truly low performing. Using data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the study team used Bayesian hierarchical modeling to improve the reliability of subgroup proficiency measures, allowing PDE to target the schools and students that most need additional support. PDE plans to incorporate stabilization as a “safe harbor” alternative in its 2022 accountability calculations. The study also shows that Bayesian stabilization produces reliable results for subgroups as small as 10 students—suggesting that states could choose to reduce minimum counts used in subgroup calculations (typically now around 20 students), promoting accountability for all subgroups without increasing random error. Findings could be relevant to states across the country, all of which face the same need to identify schools for TSI and ATSI, and the same tension between accountability and reliability, which Bayesian stabilization could help to resolve.
2/27/2023
WWC 2023003 Reading Apprenticeship® Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on the effectiveness of Reading Apprenticeship®, a professional development program that aims to help teachers improve student literacy skills in core academic subjects, including English, mathematics, science, and social studies. Reading Apprenticeship® trains teachers to model reading comprehension strategies and help students practice these strategies. Based on five studies that meet WWC standards, the WWC found moderate evidence that Reading Apprenticeship® positively impacted student science achievement and overall grade point average, compared with students whose teachers did not receive Reading Apprenticeship® professional development. The WWC found uncertain effects on student achievement in life sciences, social studies, literacy, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and mathematics.
1/26/2023
REL 2023148 Interpreting Findings from an Early Learning Inventory Pilot Study
This project was part of a larger REL Southwest coaching series to support the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) in using an early learning inventory (ELI) to assess children’s knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry and to improve state-funded early learning programs. The goals of the project were to assist OSDE in (1) preparing to implement an ELI pilot study, (2) preparing for sampling and recruitment for the ELI pilot study, (3) developing data collection measures to collect information during the pilot study about how the ELI is implemented and teacher outcomes, and (4) analyzing and interpreting data from the ELI pilot study. The coaching was delivered over the course of five sessions from fall 2020 to fall 2022. OSDE staff were the primary participants.

The final two sessions of this coaching project included a review of the pilot study findings and methodology. This project equipped OSDE staff with information to make evidence-based decisions about the ELI and to conduct a more rigorous future study with the ELI.
1/23/2023
WWC 2023001 Dual Language Programs Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on dual language programs. Dual language programs can help native English speakers develop proficiency in a second language and English learners develop proficiency in both their native language and English. Typically, in dual language programs, classroom teachers instruct students from an early age and over multiple years in both English and a second language called the partner language. These programs vary widely by partner language, primary language of the student population, and duration. Most of the studies examined do not meet WWC standards. Based on the two studies that meet WWC standards, the WWC found moderate evidence that dual language programs positively impacted student literacy achievement in English compared with instructional programs in English only. The WWC found uncertain effects on science and mathematics achievement. More high-quality research is needed to understand the effects of dual language programs in varied contexts.
12/29/2022
REL 2023147 The Louisiana Believe and Prepare Educator Preparation Reform: Findings from the Pilot and Early Implementation Years
Believe and Prepare is a teacher preparation reform implemented by the Louisiana Department of Education in collaboration with school systems and teacher preparation programs across the state. It was piloted in the 2014/15 school year and became mandatory in July 2018 for incoming teacher candidates in all 18 institutions of higher education that offer traditional teacher preparation programs. The reform focused on competency-based curricula, extended clinical experiences, and rigorous mentor teacher training. A central requirement of the reform is that teacher candidates must participate in a yearlong residency with a mentor teacher. This replaced the prior shorter-term student teaching requirement, typically six weeks.

To explore the extent to which the reform is contributing to expected improvement in outcomes for early career teachers, this study examined the association between the reform and in-service teacher performance ratings, teacher retention, student test scores, teacher competency, and the likelihood of three placement outcomes (being placed in the school where the teacher completed a residency, filling a teaching position in a shortage area, and being placed in a rural school). Teachers who completed a program that had implemented Believe and Prepare were 2 percentage points more likely than teachers who completed a program that had not implemented it to stay in Louisiana for at least one year and 7 percentage points more likely to stay in the same school district for at least three years. Grade 4–8 students whose teachers completed a preparation program that had implemented Believe and Prepare during the pilot years scored 0.04 standard deviation lower on English language arts tests than students whose teachers completed a program that had not implemented it. Other teacher outcomes such as in-service performance ratings, competency as measured by Praxis II scores, school placement, and job assignment were not statistically different between teachers who completed a program that had implemented Believe and Prepare and teachers who completed other programs.
12/12/2022
REL 2023143 Encouraging Families to Visit a Literacy Website: A Randomized Study of the Impact of Email and Text Message Communications
The Arkansas Department of Education partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest to study the feasibility and effectiveness of using brief email and text message communications to increase the number of parent and guardian visits to the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.) state literacy website.

In November 2021, the department sent test messages to families to determine the percentage of households with children in kindergarten–grade 6 in Arkansas public schools that had a working email address or cell phone number and whether the percentage differed by school locale (rural or nonrural) or demographic composition (percentage of economically disadvantaged students, Black students and Hispanic students, or English learner students). Subsequently, the study team randomly assigned 700 Arkansas public elementary schools to one of eight conditions, which varied the mode of communication (email only or email and text message), the presentation of information (no graphic or with a graphic), and the type of sender (generic sender or known sender). In January 2022 households with children in these schools were sent three rounds of communications with information about literacy and a link to the R.I.S.E. website. The study examined the impact of these communications on whether parents and guardians clicked the link to visit the website (click rate) and conducted an exploratory analysis of differences in how long they spent on the website (time on page).
12/7/2022
REL 2023146 Indicators of School Performance in Texas
The School Improvement Division of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) identifies, monitors, and supports low-performing schools. To identify low-performing schools, TEA assigns annual academic accountability ratings to its districts and schools, but these ratings are only provided once per year and are vulnerable to disruptions in the assessment system. Schools that receive low accountability ratings do not meet accountability expectations and are considered low-performing.
12/5/2022
REL 2023140 Biliteracy Seals in a Large Urban District in New Mexico: Who Earns Them and How Do They Impact College Outcomes?
New Mexico is one of 48 states that offer a biliteracy seal to high school graduates to recognize their proficiency in a non-English language. The Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest English Learners Research Partnership collaborated with a large urban district in New Mexico to study the characteristics and college readiness of students who earn different types of biliteracy seals (state, district, and global seals) and whether earning a seal improves college outcomes. The study used data from three cohorts of students who graduated from high school in the district from 2017/18 to 2019/20. The study examined the characteristics and college readiness of students who earned different types of seals, the number of students who met some requirements for a seal but did not earn one, and the effect of earning a seal on college outcomes.
12/1/2022
REL 2023145 Examining student group differences in Arkansas’ indicators of postsecondary readiness and success
Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to examine Arkansas’s middle and high school indicators of postsecondary readiness and success, building on an earlier study of these indicators (Hester et al., 2021). Academic indicators include attaining proficiency on state achievement tests, grade point average, enrollment in advanced courses, and community service learning. Behavioral indicators include attendance, suspension, and expulsion. Using data on statewide grade 6 cohorts from 2008/09 and 2009/10, the study examined the percentages of students who attained the readiness and success indicators and the percentages of students who attained postsecondary readiness and success outcomes by gender, race/ethnicity, eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, English learner student status, disability status, age, and district locale. The study also examined whether the predictive accuracy, specificity, and strength of the indicators varied by these student groups.

Three key findings emerged. First, the attainment of indicators of postsecondary readiness and success differed substantially for nearly all student groups, with the number of substantial differences on academic indicators exceeding those on behavioral indicators. The largest number of substantial differences in the attainment of academic indicators were between Black and White students, between students eligible and ineligible for the National School Lunch Program (an indicator of economic disadvantage), and between students who entered grade 6 before and after age 13. Second, attainment of postsecondary readiness and success outcomes varied substantially across student groups, with the largest differences between students with and without a disability. Third, predictive accuracy (the percentage of students with the same predicted and actual outcomes) and strength (the relative importance of a single indicator) were similar across student groups in most cases.

Leaders at ADE and in Arkansas districts can use these findings to identify appropriate indicators of postsecondary readiness and success and to target supports toward student groups who most need them. These findings can help leaders identify and address disparities such as inequitable access to resources and supportive learning environments.
11/21/2022
REL 2023144 English learner proficiency in Texas before and during the COVID-19 pandemic
This study examined levels of English proficiency before and during the COVID-19 pandemic among English learner students in grades 3–12 in Texas. In 2020/21, nearly 750,000 students in grades 3–12—approximately one in five Texas students—were English learner students. In accordance with Texas state law and the Every Student Succeeds Act, English proficiency is measured annually using a statewide assessment, the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), which assesses English learner students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English. This study focused on TELPAS scores among students who took the test in 2020/21 and compared those scores with a matched cohort of similar students from 2018/19. The study found that, despite missing data because of pandemic-related disruptions to testing, students who took the TELPAS were representative of the overall Texas English learner student population in the years prior to and during the pandemic. The study also found that rates of reclassification from an English learner student to an English proficient student declined between 2017/18 and 2020/21, and trends in the characteristics of reclassified students changed, with lower percentages of students in major urban areas, eligible for the National School Lunch Program, who spoke Spanish at home, and who identified as Hispanic reclassified in 2020/21 than in 2017/18. On average, during the pandemic, English learner students in elementary grades earned meaningfully lower scores on the listening, speaking, and reading domains of the TELPAS than similar students earned before the pandemic, particularly in speaking. The findings for secondary grades were mixed; middle school students earned lower scores in listening and high school students earned higher scores in speaking. Finally, the study did not find evidence that English learner student program models, such as dual-language immersion or content-based English as a second language, were meaningfully associated with English proficiency in 2020/21. Leaders at the Texas Education Agency and Texas school districts could consider focusing recovery resources on elementary schools and to some degree on middle schools and identifying and supporting evidence-based strategies to cultivate proficiency. The Texas Education Agency may consider studying the effect of program models on language proficiency and the relationship between reclassification, shifting English proficiency levels, and changing reclassification standards.
11/3/2022
REL 2023142 An Examination of the Costs of Texas Community Colleges
Policymakers in Texas want to understand the funding levels necessary for community colleges to meet their promise of providing an affordable and accessible pathway to a postsecondary certificate or degree. Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest conducted this study to help leaders at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board better understand the extent to which Texas community colleges have adequate funding for reaching the desired levels of student success, as measured by success points milestones used in the state’s performance-based funding system. The study involved three types of analyses: a needs analysis, an equity analysis, and a cost function analysis. The needs analysis found that community colleges with higher percentages of first-generation college students, students who are economically disadvantaged, students who are academically disadvantaged, students older than 24 years, and English learner students earn fewer success points milestones per full-time equivalent student. The equity analysis found that community colleges with higher percentages of students who are academically disadvantaged spent less per full-time equivalent student, suggesting that there may be resource inequities for these students. The cost function analysis found that spending was not high enough to cover the cost of providing an equal opportunity for first-generation college students, students who are economically disadvantaged, students older than 24 years, and English learner students to achieve the same level of outcomes as students without these needs. The findings from this study can inform Texas policymakers’ efforts to distribute funding for community colleges to support equitable opportunities for all students to succeed in college.
10/26/2022
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