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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCEE 2016002 Can student test scores provide useful measures of school principals' performance?
This study assessed the extent to which four principal performance measures based on student test scores--average achievement, school value-added, adjusted average achievement, and adjusted school value-added--accurately reflect principals' contributions to student achievement in future years. Average achievement used information on students' end-of-year achievement without taking into account the students' past achievement; school value-added accounted for students' own past achievement by measuring their growth; and adjusted average achievement and adjusted school value-added credited principals if their schools' average achievement and value-added, respectively, exceeded predictions based on the schools' past performance on those same measures. The study conducted two sets of analyses using Pennsylvania's statewide data on students and principals from 2007/08 to 2013/14. First, using data on 2,424 principals, the study assessed the extent to which ratings from each measure are stable by examining the association between principals' ratings from earlier and later years. Second, using data on 123 principals, the study examined the relationship between the stable part of each principal's rating and his or her contributions to student achievement in future years. Based on results from both analyses, the study simulated each measure's accuracy for predicting principals' contributions to student achievement in the following year. The study found that the two performance measures that did not account for students' past achievement--average achievement and adjusted average achievement--provided no information for predicting principals' contributions to student achievement in the following year. The two performance measures that accounted for students' past achievement--school value-added and adjusted school value-added--provided, at most, a small amount of information for predicting principals' contributions in the following year, with less than one-third of each difference in value-added ratings across principals reflecting differences in their future contributions. These findings suggest that principal evaluation systems should emphasize measures that were found to provide at least some information about principals' future contributions: school value-added or adjusted school value-added. However, study findings also indicate that even the value-added measures will often be inaccurate in identifying principals who will contribute effectively or ineffectively to student achievement in future years. Therefore, states and districts should exercise caution when using these measures to make major decisions about principals and seek to identify nontest measures that can accurately predict principals' future contributions.
9/29/2016
NCEE 20164010 Focusing on Mathematical Knowledge: The Impact of Content-Intensive Teacher Professional Development
A popular strategy for improving student achievement in math is to provide teachers with professional development (PD) that deepens their conceptual understanding of math. This report examines the effectiveness of such a PD program. The PD program included an 80-hour summer workshop (Intel Math) that focused on grades K-8 math, as well as 13 additional hours of collaborative meetings focused on analyzing student work and one-on-one coaching based on observations of teachers' lessons. More than 200 4th-grade teachers from six districts in five states were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that received the study PD or a control group that did not. The study PD had a positive impact on teachers' math knowledge and on their use and quality of mathematical explanations in class. However, the study PD did not have a positive impact on student achievement.
9/28/2016
NCEE 20164004 Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After Three Years
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), now named the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program, provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. The report provides implementation and impact information after three years. Implementation was similar across the three years, with most districts (88 percent) implementing at least 3 of the 4 required components for teachers. In a subset of 10 districts participating in the random assignment study, educators' understanding of performance measures continued to improve during the third year, but many teachers still did not understand that they were eligible for a bonus. They also underestimated the maximum amount they could earn. The pay-for-performance bonus policy had small, positive impacts on students' reading and math achievement.
8/24/2016
NCEE 20164007 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Features of Schools in DC
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), established in 2004, is the only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents in the United States. This evaluation brief is based on a 2014 survey of Washington DC school principals and compares features of DC traditional public schools, charter schools, and those private schools that participate in the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). Findings suggest public school principals, compared to OSP private school principals, viewed their schools less favorably in areas such as academic climate, teachers' instructional skills, and school safety. However, public school principals reported students spent more time receiving math and reading instruction than did private school principals.
8/2/2016
NCEE 20164002 Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Final Report
This evaluation report tracks the implementation of School Improvement Grants (SIG) by examining the actions and reactions of 25 SIG schools as they attempt to turn around a history of low performance.
4/14/2016
NCEE 20164000 Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practices for Elementary School Reading
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a framework for collecting and using data to match students to interventions of varying intensity. This study examines the implementation of RtI in Grade 1–3 reading in 13 states during the 2011–12 school year, focusing on 146 schools that were experienced with RtI. Full implementation of the RtI framework in Grade 1–3 reading was reported by 86 percent of the experienced schools. Fifty-five percent of these schools focused reading intervention services on Grade 1 students reading below grade level, while 45 percent of the schools also provided reading intervention services for Grade 1 students reading at or above grade level. Students who scored just below school-determined benchmarks on fall screening tests, and who were assigned to interventions for struggling readers, had lower spring reading scores in Grade 1 than students just above the threshold for intervention. In Grades 2 and 3, there were no statistically significant impacts of interventions for struggling readers on the spring reading scores of students just below the threshold for intervention.
11/3/2015
NCEE 20164001 Summary of Research Generated by Striving Readers on the Effectiveness of Interventions for Struggling Adolescent Readers
The Striving Readers program aimed to raise the literacy levels of middle and high school students reading below grade level and to build a strong research base on effective adolescent literacy interventions. This report summarizes the results of a systematic review of evaluations of the ten different interventions funded by the Striving Readers grant program in 2006 and 2009. Twelve of the 17 evaluations met What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards without reservations, three evaluations met WWC evidence standards with reservations, and two evaluations did not meet WWC evidence standards. Based on findings from the evaluations found to meet WWC evidence standards with or without reservations, four of the ten interventions funded by Striving Readers had positive, potentially positive, or mixed effects on reading achievement. Three of these four interventions had not previously been reviewed by the WWC.
10/27/2015
NCEE 20154016 State, District, and School Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery Act: 2009-10 through 2011-12
This report, based on surveys completed by all 50 SEAs and the District of Columbia (DC) and nationally representative samples of districts and schools during spring 2011 and 2012, examines implementation of the key education reform strategies promoted by the Recovery Act in 2011–12, the extent to which implementation reflected progress since Recovery Act funds were first distributed, and challenges with implementation. Findings showed variation in the prevalence and progress of reform activities across the areas of reform assessed and by state, district, or school level. Implementation progress was most consistent across the areas of reform at the state level. At all levels, implementation challenges related to educator evaluation and compensation were common.
9/30/2015
NCEE 20154020 Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After Two Years
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. This second report provides implementation and impact information. Ninety percent of all TIF districts in 2012–2013 reported implementing at least 3 of the 4 required components for teachers, and only about one-half (52 percent) reported implementing all four. This was a slight improvement from the first year of implementation. In a subset of 10 districts participating in the random assignment study, educators understanding of key program components improved during the second year, but many teachers still did not understand that they were eligible for a bonus. The pay-for-performance bonus policy had small, positive impacts on students reading achievement; impacts on students math achievement were not statistically significant but similar in magnitude.
9/24/2015
NCEE 20154008 Evaluation of the Regional Educational Laboratories: Final Report
This report is the second from the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program authorized by the Education Sciences Reform Act (P.L. 107-279). For this report, 8 (out of 24) impact study reports produced by the RELs under their 2006-2011 contracts and published by IES were rated by expert panels for their quality and relevance. In addition, samples of state educational agency and school district administrators were surveyed during the 2011-12 school year regarding their education research and technical assistance needs and their awareness of, use of, and satisfaction with the REL program.

What did the study find?
  • Expert panelists rated the 8 impact study reports selected for review as, on average, between "strong" and "very strong" in quality (4.10 on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the highest value), and between "relevant" and "very relevant" (4.06 on a 5-point scale).
  • Eighty-six percent of state educational agency administrators and 52 percent of school district administrators reported being "very familiar," "somewhat familiar," or "a little familiar" with the REL program.
  • Fifty percent of state administrators and 26 percent of district administrators who were at least "a little familiar" with the REL program were "very satisfied" with it.
4/7/2015
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.
2/10/2015
NCEE 20154002 Teaching Residency Programs: A Multisite Look at a New Model to Prepare Teachers for High-Need Schools
In Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, 30 teaching residency programs received funding through one of 28 Teacher Quality partnership grants awarded to establish or expand residency programs. These programs follow a model of teacher preparation in which prospective teachers complete graduate-level coursework alongside a year-long fieldwork experience in the district in which the prospective teacher will be hired. This report provides descriptive information regarding the 30 residency programs. For a purposefully-selected subset of 12 of the programs, in-depth information is provided regarding program participants and the retention rates of teachers once hired by the district.

The residency programs provided a fieldwork experience with a mentor teacher, along with integrated coursework. On average, residents reported being fully in charge of instruction for 21 days during the first half of the residence and 37 days during the second half. The programs included the equivalent of 10 courses, on average. The programs somewhat broadened the pool of people entering the teaching profession in the participating districts. For example, novice teachers from the residency programs were more likely than teachers from other programs to report having worked in a full-time job other than teaching (72 percent versus 63 percent). However, novice residency program teachers and teachers from other preparation programs had similar demographic characteristics. Novice teachers from residency programs had similar retention rates to other novice teachers. Approximately 90 percent of teachers from both groups reported staying in the same district from spring 2012 to fall 2012; about 5 percent of teachers were no longer teaching.
11/18/2014
NCEE 20154000 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: An Early Look at Applicants and Participating Schools Under the SOAR Act
This report explores implementation of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) in the first two years after Congress reauthorized it with some changes under the SOAR Act of 2011. Key findings include the following: (1) Just over half of all DC private schools participated in the OSP, with current schools more likely to have published tuition rates above the OSP scholarship amounts than did participating schools in the past; (2) OSP applicants under the SOAR Act represent between three and four percent of the estimated 53,000 children in DC who meet the eligibility criterion; (3) A number of awarded scholarships go unused, with students from disadvantaged schools and families using awarded scholarships at lower rates than others.
10/7/2014
NCEE 20144019 Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Early Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After One Year
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system that included four required components. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. This first of four planned reports provides implementation information prior to educators receiving annual performance measure information or payouts. Fewer than half of all 2010 TIF districts reported implementing all four required program components, although 85 percent reported implementing at least three of the four. In a subset of 10 districts who participated in the random assignment study, educators' reporting of the program indicated most misunderstood the performance measures and the amount of pay-for-performance bonus that they were eligible for. Most educators were satisfied with their professional opportunities, school environment, and the TIF program. Educators in those schools that offered the pay-for-performance aspect of TIF tended to be less satisfied than those in schools that did not offer such bonuses. However, educators in schools offering pay-for-performance bonuses were more satisfied with the opportunity to earn additional pay, and a greater percentage indicated feeling increased pressure to perform due to the TIF program.
9/16/2014
NCEE 20144015 Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Findings After the First Year of Implementation
The Study of School Turnaround examines the improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 case study schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) over a three-year period (2010-11 to 2012-13 school years). Using site visit, teacher survey, and fiscal data, the case studies describe the school contexts, the principals’ leadership styles, the schools’ improvement strategies and actions, the supports states and districts provide to the schools, school stakeholders’ perceptions of improvement, and how SIG fits into the schools’ change process. Findings after the first year of implementation in the 25 “core” sample schools reveal that while all were low-performing, the schools differed in their community and fiscal contexts, performance and reform histories, interpretations of the causes of—and potential solutions for—their performance problems, and perceptions of improvement after the first year of SIG. However, most schools did report that their improvement strategies and actions during the first year of SIG were a continuation of activities or plans that predated SIG, and few schools appeared to have experienced a disruption from past practice as of spring 2011.
5/28/2014
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