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|Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practice
This report is part of a broader effort by the Department of Education to identify and disseminate practices and policies to assist efforts to improve the validity and reliability of assessment results. The report draws upon the opinions of experts and practitioners who responded to the Department’s Request for Information (RFI), the comments and discussions from NCES’ Testing Integrity Symposium, and, where available, policy manuals or professional standards published by State Education Agencies (SEAs) and professional associations.
The report focuses on four areas related to testing integrity: (1) the prevention of irregularities in academic testing; (2) the detection and analysis of testing irregularities; (3) the response to an investigation of alleged and/or actual misconduct; and (4) testing integrity practices for technology-based assessments.
|Reading, Mathematics, and Science Achievement of Language-Minority Students in Grade 8
This Issue Brief examines 8th-grade achievement in reading, mathematics, and science for language minority students (i.e., those from homes in which the primary language was one other than English) who began kindergarten in the 1998-99 school year. Data come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K), which tracked the educational experiences of a nationally representative sample of children who were in kindergarten in the 1998–99 school year. The analyses present a picture of students’ achievement at the end of the study by focusing on students’ scores on the standardized assessments that were administered in the spring of 2007, when most students were in grade 8. Students are categorized into four groups according to language background and English language proficiency. Additionally, assessment scores are reported by three background characteristics—students’ race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother’s education—that have been found to be related to achievement.
|Characteristics of GED Recipients in High School: 2002–06
This Issue Brief uses the Education Longitudinal Study of2002 to compare the demographics, high school experiences, and academic achievement of 10th graders who four years later were GED recipients, high school graduates or high school dropouts.
|Tracking Students to 200 Percent of Normal Time: Effect on Institutional Graduation Rates
This Issue Brief examines institutional graduation rates reported at 200 percent of normal time, a time frame that corresponds to completing a bachelor’s degree in 8 years and an associate’s degree in 4 years. The report compares these rates with those reported at 150 percent and 100 percent of normal time for all nine institutional sectors. The purpose is to determine whether the longer time frame results in higher institutional graduation rates.
|English Literacy of Foreign-Born Adults in the United States: 2003
This Issue Brief draws on data from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) to explore the English literacy of foreign-born adults living in households in the United States. The brief presents the English literacy scores of foreign-born adults age 16 and older by race/ethnicity, age of arrival in the United States, years spent in the United States, highest level of educational attainment, and language spoken before starting school. Scores are reported on three literacy scales: prose, document, and quantitative. Findings indicate that English literacy scores of foreign-born adults varied across a variety of background characteristics. For example, Hispanics, who represented approximately half of foreign-born adults, had lower average prose, document, and quantitative literacy scores than their foreign-born Black, White, and Asian peers. In addition, foreign-born adults who had been in the United States the least amount of time (1 to 5 years) had lower average scores on each literacy scale than foreign-born adults who had spent the most amount of time (21 to 30 years and 31 years or more) in the country.
|1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007
This Issue Brief provides estimates of the number and percentage of homeschooled students in the United States in 2007 and compares these estimates to those from 1999 and 2003. In addition, parents’ reasons for homeschooling their children in 2007 are described and compared to 2003. Estimates of homeschooling in 2007 are based on data from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (PFI) of the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES).
|Mathematics Achievement of Language-Minority Students During the Elementary Years
This Issue Brief uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to examine the scores of public-school language-minority students on a mathematics assessment in 1st grade, as well as the gain in their scores between 1st and 5th grades. Scores are reported by three background characteristics--student’s race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother’s education--that have been found to be related to achievement. The findings indicate that language-minority students (English Proficient students and English Language Learners) scored lower on a 1st-grade mathematics assessment than did students whose primary home language was English. Between 1st and 5th grades, there was no measurable difference in gain scores on the mathematics assessment among the three language groups. However, gain score differences within and between the language groups were found by student background characteristics. For example, Asian language-minority students made greater gains than their Hispanic peers.
|Expectations and Reports of Homework for Public School Students in the First, Third, and Fifth Grades
This brief uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to examine (1) the amount of time that students’ public school teachers expected them to spend on reading/language arts and mathematics homework in first, third, and fifth grades; and (2) reports from parents of public school children of how often their children did homework at home in the first, third, and fifth grades. Teachers' expectations are reported by the percentage of minority students in the student's school and parents' reports are reported by the child's race/ethnicity. The findings indicate that the amount of reading and mathematics homework that students' teachers expected them to complete on a typical evening generally increased from first grade to fifth grade. In both subjects and in all grades, differences were found by the minority enrollment of the school. Children in schools with higher percentages of minority students had teachers who expected more homework on a typical evening, whereas generally children in lower minority schools had teachers who expected less homework. In addition, in all three grades, larger percentages of Black, Asian, and Hispanic children than White children had parents who reported that their child did homework five or more times a week.
|Postsecondary Career/Technical Education: Changes in the Number of Offering Institutions and Awarded Credentials from 1997 to 2006
This issue brief examines trends from 1997 to 2006 in the number of sub-baccalaureate postsecondary institutions that offer programs in career/technical education (CTE), and the number of sub-baccalaureate CTE credentials awarded by postsecondary institutions. Trends were examined by institutional sector, focusing on the three sectors most commonly offering CTE: Public two -year institutions, for-profit less-than-two -year institutions, and for-profit two-year institutions. In 2006, these sectors collectively accounted for 87 percent of the less-than-four-year institutions that offered CTE and awarded 94 percent of all sub-baccalaureate CTE credentials. Overall, the number of less-than-four-year institutions offering CTE increased 3 percent from 1997 to 2006, and the number of sub-baccalaureate CTE credentials awarded increased 24 percent. Over this time period, there was a shift in both CTE-offering institutions and CTE credentials, from public two-year institutions to for-profit two-year and less-than-two-year institutions. Although the number of credentials awarded grew at a faster rate among for-profit institutions than among public two-year institutions, the latter still awarded most sub-baccalaureate CTE credentials in 2006 (58 percent) while for-profit two-year and less-than-two-year institutions combined awarded 35 percent.
|Attrition of Public School Mathematics and Science Teachers
Using data from the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), this Issue Brief reports on trends in the attrition of public school mathematics and science teachers over a 16-year period and examines the reasons given by mathematics and science teachers for leaving teaching employment. Findings from the analysis indicate that the percentage of public school mathematics and science teachers who left teaching employment did not change measurably between 1988–89 and 2004–05. However, the percentage of other public school teachers who left teaching employment did increase over the same period. Differences were found between mathematics and science leavers and other leavers. For example, of those teachers with a regular or standard certification, a smaller percentage of mathematics and science teachers than other teachers left teaching employment. In addition, when asked to rate various reasons for leaving the teaching profession, greater percentages of mathematics and science leavers than other leavers rated better salary or benefits as very important or extremely important.
|Recent Participation in Formal Learning Among Working-Age Adults with Different Levels of Education
This issue brief uses data from the 2001 and 2005 adult education surveys of the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) to examine the participation of adults in formal learning activities during the 12 months preceding the survey, focusing on the participation of adults who at the end of the survey had the lowest levels of education (no high school diploma, or a GED). These adults with low levels of education were found to have participated at relatively high rates in adult basic education, ESL, and GED classes. However, for the most common types of formal learning activities—work-related courses and personal interest courses—adults with low levels of education participated at lower rates and for shorter periods of time than did adults with higher levels of education. Among the adults who did participate in these activities, those with lower levels of education at the end of the survey were less likely than those with higher levels of education to pay at least some course expenses themselves.
|Public School Practices for Violence Prevention
and Reduction: 2003–04
This Issue Brief (1) examines principals’ reports of the prevalence of formal practices in public schools designed to prevent or reduce school violence and (2) describes the distribution of these practices by selected school characteristics. This analysis is based on school-level data reported by principals participating in the school year 2003–04 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Findings from the analysis indicate that schools implemented a variety of school violence prevention and reduction practices and that some practices were more commonly used than others. For example, 59 percent of schools formally obtained parental input on policies related to school crime and 50 percent provided parental training to deal with students’ problem behaviors. In addition, practices differed by school level and other selected school characteristics. For example, high schools were more likely than primary schools to implement safety and security procedures, while primary schools were more likely than high schools to promote training for parents to deal with students’ problem behavior.
|Demographic and School Characteristics of
Students Receiving Special Education in the
This Issue Brief provides a detailed description of the proportion of elementary school students receiving special education in kindergarten, first grade, third grade, and fifth grade; the primary disabilities of these students; and the variation in these measures across a range of demographic and school characteristics. Data for this analysis are drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K). Findings from the analysis indicate that for the cohort of students beginning kindergarten in 1998, specific learning disabilities and speech or language impairments were the most prevalent primary disabilities over the grades studied. The percentage of the student cohort receiving special education grew from 4.1 percent in kindergarten to 11.9 percent of students in fifth grade. The results also indicate that higher percentages of boys than girls and of poor students than nonpoor students received special education.
|Description and Employment Criteria of Instructional Paraprofessionals
This Issue Brief (1) offers a descriptive portrait of the distribution of instructional paraprofessionals in all public elementary and secondary schools by instructional responsibility and selected school characteristics and (2) examines the educational attainment criteria used by school districts in hiring these paraprofessionals. Data for this analysis were drawn from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The findings from this analysis indicate that 91 percent of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States had at least one instructional paraprofessional on staff in 2003–04. A greater percentage of traditional public schools than charter schools had instructional paraprofessionals and a greater percentage of elementary schools than secondary schools report having instructional paraprofessionals. Overall, 93 percent of schools were in districts that required paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The results also indicate that a greater percentage of Title I schools than non-Title I schools were in districts that required instructional paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
|Timing and Duration of Student Participation in Special Education in the Primary Grades
This Issue Brief reports the timing of entry into special education and the number of grades in which students receive special education across the primary grades. About 12 percent of students receive special education in at least one of the grades: kindergarten, first, and third grade, including 16 percent of boys, 8 percent of girls, 18 percent of poor children, and 10 percent of nonpoor children. One in three students who receive special education in early grades, first receive special education in kindergarten. Half of those who begin special education in kindergarten are no longer receiving special education by third grade. In addition to students’ gender and poverty status, results are presented separately for other student and school characteristics, including race/ethnicity and school control, urbanicity, region, and poverty concentration. Data for this brief come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K).