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|REL 2021096||A Guide to Identifying Similar Schools to Support School Improvement
To support school improvement efforts, school leaders and education agencies might need to identify groups of schools that are similar so that schools can compare their performance or share practices with other schools in the same group. This could also allow education agencies to provide tailored supports to schools in a group. This guide describes how an education agency can select a distance measure (a statistical rather than a geographic measure) to identify schools that are similar to a target school, using a variety of characteristics that enable school leaders to better understand their schools’ relative performance. This guide is based on work done with the Nebraska Department of Education and is designed to help staff in other education agencies who are interested in implementing a similar approach to support school improvement.
|NCES 2021305||Highlights of School-Level Finance Data: Selected Findings from the School-Level Finance Survey (SLFS) School Years 2015-16 (FY 16) and 2016-17 (FY 17)
This statistical analysis report presents key findings and other data highlights from School-Level Finance Survey (SLFS) in school years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The report focuses on (1) the completeness and comparability of SLFS data and (2) how the SLFS can be utilized to evaluate differences in resource allocation (as measured by school-level expenditures) across schools, school districts, and states.
In discussing the findings, the report presents district- and state-aggregated information on school-level expenditure data collected through the SLFS, including:
The report also includes an assortment of tables and figures to support its key findings on school-level expenditures collected through the SLFS.
|NCES 2020321||2017-18 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) Restricted-Use Data Files
This DVD contains the 2017-18 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) restricted-use data files. The 6 files (Public School Principal, Private School Principal, Public School, Private School, Public School Teacher, and Private School Teacher) are provided in multiple formats. The DVD also contains a 4-volume User's Manual, which includes a codebook for each file.
|NCES 2019140||Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look
This First Look report provides descriptive statistics and basic information from the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey Public School and Private School Data files.
|REL 2018283||Trends in teacher mobility in Texas and associations with teacher, student, and school characteristics
This study provides updated information regarding teacher mobility—defined as teachers moving schools or leaving the public-school system—for Texas public schools during the 2011/12 through 2015/16 school years. Descriptive information on mobility rates is presented at the regional and state levels for each school year. Mobility rates are disaggregated further into destination proportions to describe the proportion of teacher mobility due to within-district movement, between-district movement, and leaving Texas public schools. This study leverages data collected by the Texas Education Agency during the pilot of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) in 57 school districts in 2014/15. Analyses examine how components of the T-TESS observation rubric are related to school-level teacher mobility rates. During the 2011/12 school year, about 18.7 percent of Texas teachers moved schools within a district, moved between districts, or left the Texas Public School system. By 2015/16, this mobility rate had increased to 22.0 percent. Moving between districts was the primary driver of the increase in mobility rates. Results indicate significant links between mobility and teacher, student, and school demographic characteristics. Teachers with special education certifications left Texas public schools at nearly twice the rate of teachers with other teaching certifications. School-level mobility rates showed significant positive correlations with the proportion of special education, economically disadvantaged, low-performing, and minority students. School-level mobility rates were negatively correlated with the proportion of English learner students. Schools with higher overall observation ratings on the T-TESS rubric tended to have lower mobility rates. Findings from this study will provide state and district policymakers in Texas with updated information about trends and correlates of mobility in the teaching workforce, and offer a systematic baseline for monitoring and planning for future changes. Informed by these findings, policymakers can formulate a more strategic and targeted approach for recruiting and retaining teachers. For instance, instead of using generic approaches to enhance the overall supply of teachers or improve recruitment, more targeted efforts to attract and retain teachers in specific subject areas (for example, special education), in certain stages of their career (for example, novice teachers), and in certain geographic areas are likely to be more productive. Moreover, this analysis may enrich the existing knowledge base about schools’ teacher retention and mobility in relation to the quality of their teaching force, or may inform policy discussions about the importance of a stable teaching force for teaching effectiveness.
|REL 2018282||Understanding the role of noncognitive skills and school environments in students' transitions to high school
The purpose of this study was to: examine differences in students' perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments by race/ethnicity, and explore whether students’ perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments were related to three outcomes that have been identified in the research as mattering most for a success transition to high school—grade 9 GPA, grade 9 absences, and grade 9 course failures. The study used administrative and survey data from students in 14 high schools in New Mexico. Regression analyses were used to investigate differences in students' responses on scales measuring their perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments. Structural equation modeling was used to assess relationships between students' perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environments and their grade 9 outcomes. The results of this study revealed significant differences in students' perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environment by race/ethnicity. The results also suggest that students' perceptions of their noncognitive factors and school environments are associated with the grade 9 outcomes. Although no casual relationships can be derived from this study, the results can help schools or districts to determine where they might want to focus some of their efforts with regard to helping students to make successful transitions to high school. Given that Hispanic and Native American students have lower graduation rates, improving the noncognitive skills or school environment factors that are strongly related to grade 9 performance for these groups may well provide a substantial return on investment in dropout prevention.
|NCES 2017156||2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) Restricted-Use Data Files
This DVD contains the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) restricted-use data files. The 3 files (Public School Principal, Public School, and Public School Teacher) are provided in multiple formats. The DVD also contains a 4-volume User's Manual, which includes a codebook for each file.
|REL 2018274||The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System rubric: Properties and association with school characteristics
The purpose of this study was to examine the data from the 2014/15 pilot implementation of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) in order to understand certain properties of the T-TESS rubric, which consists of 16 dimensions classified within 4 domains of teacher effectiveness. The dataset included over 8000 teachers across 251 schools and 51 districts that participated in the pilot. Descriptive statistics were reviewed to assess the extent to which the T-TESS rubric ratings differentiate teacher effectiveness. Correlational analysis was performed to determine the internal consistency of the rubric. Uniqueness values, which resulted from a factor analysis of T-TESS’s 16 dimensions, were examined to determine whether each dimension makes some unique contribution. Lastly, regression analysis was conducted to explore the relationships between T-TESS performance ratings and school characteristics. Results indicate that in the 2014/15 pilot of T-TESS, 1.6 percent of teachers were rated as improvement needed, 24.9 percent as developing, 68.3 percent as proficient, 3.7 percent as accomplished, and 1.5 percent as distinguished based on the T-TESS rubric for teacher effectiveness. The T-TESS rubric is internally consistent at both the domain and dimension levels. All dimension-to-dimension within domains and domain-to-domain correlations are positive, suggesting that none of the domains or dimensions stand out as unrelated or contradictory to the rest of the system. Findings also suggest that the T-TESS rubric is efficient. None of the domains or dimensions are clearly redundant, as supported by findings that no correlation is close to one. In addition, an analysis of uniqueness reveals that each dimension makes some unique contribution. Although statistically significant relationships are found between observation ratings and school characteristics, the combination of observed student and school characteristics explains, at most, approximately 8 percent of the variation in overall observation ratings for high schools, and explains even less for elementary and middle schools. One area for future research is the validation of the ratings with other measures of teacher effectiveness, such as student growth. However, the validity of a teacher evaluation system itself may not necessarily translate into improvements in teacher effectiveness or into long-term outcomes, such as teacher retention and greater student achievement. Therefore, further research could explore whether the implementation of such systems do in fact relate to the more distal measures.
|REL 2017273||Opportunities for teacher professional development in Oklahoma rural and nonrural schools
The purpose of this study was to fill the gap in statewide information about teacher professional development opportunities in Oklahoma and compare the opportunities in rural and nonrural schools. The Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest, along with members of the Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance, developed a survey that measured how professional development is structured, how it is planned, and what supports and barriers teachers may face in accessing professional development. The sampling frame was obtained from the website of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Principals from 1,609 public elementary and secondary schools in Oklahoma were invited to participate in the online universe survey. The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability administered the survey in spring 2016, and 51.3 percent of the principals completed the survey. A nonresponse bias analysis was conducted, and nonresponse weights were created. All the results were adjusted by the nonresponse weights. In the descriptive results, Oklahoma schools are divided into rural versus nonrural schools using the urban-centric locale classification in the 2013/14 Common Core Data. The results report differences between rural and nonrural schools if they are significant at the p < .05 level based on a t-test and if the difference is at least 5 percentage points. Results indicate that the majority of rural schools in Oklahoma offer multiple types of professional development structures for teachers, such as conferences and workshops. However, rural schools offer fewer types than do nonrural schools. The biggest barrier that keeps both rural and nonrural teachers from attending any type of professional development is scheduling conflicts with other school or professional activities, and the barrier is more prevalent for rural teachers. The findings of this study show that rural schools provide a substantial amount of support for their teachers’ professional development, but the support is less likely in rural schools than in nonrural schools to be provided by peers (e.g., common planning and collaboration time, teacher-led coaching and mentoring, and collaborative learning). Rural schools could look for ways to increase collaborative learning between teachers so that teachers can support and mentor each other. Taking greater advantage of online resources could help rural schools supplement local, in-person professional development.
|REL 2017266||Puerto Rico school characteristics and student graduation: Implications for research and policy
The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between Puerto Rico’s high school characteristics and student graduation rates. The study examines graduation rates for all public high schools for students who started grade 10 in 2010/11 (in Puerto Rico high school begins in grade 10) and were expected to graduate at the end of the 2012/13 school year, which were the most recent graduation data available. Using data provided by the Puerto Rico Department of Education as well as publicly available data, this study first examined the correlational relationships between graduation rates and two types of variables: student composition characteristics, which are not amenable to change or intervention but help to improve the description of graduation trends in Puerto Rico (for example, the percentage of students who are living in poverty); and school characteristics, which are amenable to change or intervention by officials (for example, the ratio of students per teacher). Regression analyses were used to estimate the conditional association between various characteristics and on-time graduation in Puerto Rico high schools after controlling for other factors. The percentage of students proficient in Spanish language arts was associated with higher graduation rates, after controlling for other school characteristics both overall and by subgroup (males, females, students below poverty, and special education students). After controlling for other characteristics, the percentage of students proficient in mathematics was not associated with graduation rates. Lower student-to-teacher ratios were associated with higher graduation rates for males, students living in poverty, and special education students, after controlling for other school characteristics. The percentage of highly qualified teachers was associated with lower graduation rates overall and for all subgroups except females, after controlling for other school characteristics. Correlations between each school characteristic and graduation rates are also presented in the report. The findings from this study provide a starting point for stakeholders in Puerto Rico who are interested in addressing the low rates of graduation in their high schools and communities through the use of data-driven decision-making.
|REL 2017253||Implementing the extended school day policy in Florida's 300 lowest performing elementary schools
Since 2014, Florida law has required the 300 elementary schools with the lowest reading performance to provide supplemental reading instruction through an extended school day. This study found that in 2014/15, on average, the lowest performing schools were smaller than other elementary schools and served higher proportions of racial/ethnic minority students and students eligible for the federal school lunch program. Schools reported using a variety of strategies to comply with the extended school day policy such as increasing reading instruction time each day, increasing staff, providing professional development for teachers, and providing instruction in the extra hour that differed from instruction during the rest of the day. Increased professional development and curricular and pedagogic changes were identified as indirect benefits of implementation.
|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 2017188||Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools' policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked an average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools' policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.
|REL 2016131||State policies for intervening in chronically low-performing schools: A 50-state scan
Recent federal initiatives such as School Improvement Grants and Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility emphasize the role of state education agencies (SEAs) in improving our nation’s lowest performing schools. However, the actions that SEAs can take are limited by the policies in place in their states. This report provides a summary of current policies in all 50 states related to state interventions with chronically underperforming schools. Laws and regulations were classified into six broad categories of interventions related to: school improvement plans, staffing, closing a school, financial incentives or interventions, the day-to-day operation of the school, and the entity that governs or operates a school. State policies show a great deal of consistency in approaches to supporting the lowest-performing schools, perhaps because many of the interventions align closely with federal guidance for improving chronically low-performing schools. Despite strong alignment of state policies with federal guidance, state policies vary in terms of the breadth of interventions they allow states to implement. About a third of states have policies related to all six categories of interventions. Seven states have policies allowing interventions falling into only two or three of the six categories. State policies also vary in the specific interventions allowed within each category. This report can help state education leaders and policymakers learn how other states are approaching the challenge of turning around their lowest-performing schools, which can facilitate communication among states considering similar approaches.
|NCES 2015118||Documentation for the School Attendance Boundary Survey (SABS): School Year 2013-2014
The School Attendance Boundary Survey (SABS) data file contains school attendance boundaries for regular schools with grades kindergarten through twelfth in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2013-2014 school year. Prior to this survey, a national fabric of attendance boundaries was not freely available to the public. The geography of school attendance boundaries provides new context for researchers who were previously limited to state and district level geography.