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Search Results: (1-15 of 399 records)

 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2017223 State strategies to facilitate adult learners' transitions to postsecondary opportunities
The purpose of this study was to catalog the array of strategies Midwest states use to support adult learners' transitions to postsecondary opportunities. Prior research has categorized adult education post-program transition strategies in the U.S. into five broad categories: (1) advising, (2) "GED-plus," (3) English as a second language, (4) career pathways, and (5) college preparatory (Zafft, Kallenbach, & Spohn, 2006). Using data from interviews with one state administrator and one local adult education director in each of six Midwestern states, this exploratory study found that these strategies often are combined in novel ways and that there are many "sub-strategies" within and across these categories. In addition, this exploratory study found that although data from the National Reporting System for Adult Education Programs (NRS) indicate there is large variation in adult learners’ post-secondary participation, these data may not be reported consistently nationwide. This report suggests areas for future research that can build off the findings raised here; for example, future studies may investigate the degree to which NRS data are comparable across states, or the efficacy of the policies, programs, and strategies described here on outcomes of interest.
1/12/2017
REL 2017219 Rubric for evaluating reading/language arts instructional materials for kindergarten to grade 5
This rubric was developed in response to a request by Improving Literacy Research Alliance members at the Florida Department of Education to be used in their instructional materials review process. It is a tool for evaluating reading/language arts instructional and intervention materials in grades K–5 based on rigorous research and standards. It can be used by practitioners at the state, district, or school level or by university faculty involved in reviewing instructional materials. The rubric is organized by content area for grades K–2 and for grades 3–5. Each item is aligned to recommendations from six What Works Clearinghouse practice guides. Each content area (for example, writing) includes a list of criteria that describe what should be consistently found within the instructional materials. Reviewers use a 1–5 scale to rate the degree to which the criteria were met. The rubric includes a guide for when and how to use it, including facilitator responsibilities, professional learning for reviewers, and ways to use the scores. Alliance members and reading coaches involved in a statewide literacy initiative in Mississippi provided feedback on the rubric.
1/11/2017
REL 2017168 Stated Briefly: A comparison of two approaches to identify beating-the-odds high schools in Puerto Rico
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands conducted this study using data on public high schools in Puerto Rico from national and territory databases to compare methods for identifying beating-the-odds schools. Schools were identified by two methods, a status method that ranked high-poverty schools based on their current observed performance and an exceeding-achievement-expectations method that ranked high-poverty schools based on the extent to which their actual performance exceeded (or fell short of) their expected performance. Graduation rates, reading proficiency rates, and mathematics proficiency rates were analyzed to identify schools for each method. The identified schools were then compared by method to determine agreement rates—that is, the amount of overlap in schools identified by each method. The report presents comparisons of the groups of schools—those identified by each method and all public high-poverty high schools in Puerto Rico—on descriptive information. Using the two methods—ranking by status and ranking by exceeding-achievement-expectations—two different lists of beating-the-odds schools were identified. The status method identified 17 schools, and the exceeding-achievement-expectations method identified 15 schools. Six schools were identified by both methods. The agreement rate between the two lists of beating-the-odds schools was 38 percent. The analyses suggest that using both methods to identify beating-the-odds schools is the best strategy because high schools identified by both methods demonstrate high levels of absolute performance and appear to be achieving higher levels of graduation rates and percent proficiency than might be expected given their demographics and prior performance.
1/10/2017
REL 2017215 Stated Briefly: Teacher demographics and evaluation: A descriptive study in a large urban district
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This descriptive study analyzed teacher characteristics, such as age, race, and gender and teachers' evaluation outcomes in a large, urban district in the Northeast. Descriptive analyses of frequencies were conducted to examine the characteristics, summative performance ratings, and improvement on ratings over time for approximately 3,000 teachers in each year (2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15). Results indicate that a disproportionate percentage of teachers age 50 and older, black teachers, and male teachers were rated below proficient compared to their representation in the total population of teachers. Examining the data over three years revealed that while the percentage of older teachers, black teachers, and male teachers who received below proficient ratings decreased over time in some cases, the gaps between their ratings and the ratings of their younger, white, and female counterparts persisted. Moreover, these analyses revealed that the percentage of teachers who improved their ratings during all three year-to-year comparisons did not vary by teacher characteristics, that is, by race, age, or gender. These results suggest that there are meaningful differences in teachers' evaluation outcomes by age, race, and gender, and that these differences have persisted over time. Therefore, the district may want to consider what programs or policies aimed specifically at these teachers and their evaluators may increase their chances for improvement and reduce the gaps. In addition, longitudinal research is needed to examine whether these patterns continue to persist over time or whether district-level interventions and supports might reduce the gaps or otherwise address the disproportionate below proficient ratings among teachers in certain groups.
1/10/2017
REL 2017220 Advanced course enrollment and performance in Washington state: Comparing Spanish-speaking students with other language minority students and English-only speakers
This study examined differences in advanced course enrollment and performance for groups of language minority students and native English speakers in Washington state high schools. With data from more than a million students enrolled in Washington state high schools between 2009/10 and 2012/13, the study used regression analysis and calculations of percentages and averages to highlight outcomes for Spanish-speaking students—the largest group of language minority students in the state—and for students from other language backgrounds, including native English speakers. The study found that Spanish-speaking students, regardless of their English learner status, take fewer advanced courses than English-only speakers and speakers of other languages. Spanish-speaking students also earn lower grades in advanced courses than non–Spanish-speaking students, but these differences disappear when students have the same grade point average and test scores in the prior year and attend the same school. In addition, schools with the lowest percentage of Spanish-speaking English learner students offer more advanced courses than schools with higher percentages of these students. The findings suggest that school districts may want to identify gaps and monitor progress toward the goal of equitable advanced course offerings for all students. In doing so, they should take into account the fact that language minority students are a heterogeneous group and that different supports and approaches may be needed for students who speak different languages.
1/10/2017
REL 2017217 Stated Briefly: Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This report describes the results of a REL Southeast study comparing short- and longer-term student successes after completion of online credit recovery courses compared to student successes after completion of other credit recovery options, such as traditional face-to-face courses and summer school courses. Credit recovery refers to when a student fails a course and then retakes the same course to earn high school credit. This research question was motivated by the growing importance of online learning in traditional public school settings and a desire on the part of many stakeholders to understand better how students are adjusting to that transition. The data for this study covered eleven core high school courses (courses required for graduation) taken between 2008/09 and 2011/12 in North Carolina. The study compares the likelihood of a student: (a) succeeding on the state end-of-course test for the recovered course; (b) succeeding in the next course in a recovered course sequence (for instance, in English II after English I); (c) remaining in school after credit recovery; and (d) graduating and graduating on time. Results suggest that there was little difference between the short-term success rates of students who completed state-supported online credit recovery and students who completed other credit recovery options. However, on measures of longer-term success, students who completed state-provided online credit recovery courses and did not subsequently drop out were more likely than other credit recovery students to graduate on time. Among credit recovery participants in state-provided online courses, Black students were less likely to reach proficiency in their recovered courses but more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework after their online experience. Because of limitations in the analyses possible with available data, it is not possible to directly attribute these outcomes to participation in online credit recovery, but the results do point toward intriguing and potentially beneficial areas for future, more rigorous study.
1/4/2017
REL 2017208 Stated Briefly: Patterns of classroom quality in Head Start and center-based early childhood education programs
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. REL researchers analyzed data from the 2002/03 Head Start Impact Study (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) using latent class analysis to determine whether multiple measures, each designed to address one aspect of classroom quality, could collectively differentiate classrooms in a consistent and substantively meaningful way. Using data on measures such as structural quality, process quality, teacher-child interactions, and instructional activities, they found that Head Start (n = 1,061) and center-based (n = 421) classrooms may be grouped according to three classroom quality patterns: good, fair, and poor. The researchers also found that classroom quality measures determined by independent observers distinguish classroom quality groups better than self-reported measures.

There are three main implications of this study: (1) it is possible to use multiple dimensions of the classroom experience to identify classroom quality patterns; (2) identifying classroom quality patterns will likely require independent observers; and (3) an individual classroom may not be perfectly characterized by its classroom quality group. This exploratory study, which was supported by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, shows an alternative way to measure classroom quality and provides an example of what patterns of classroom quality exist in programs serving Head Start-eligible children across the country—thus informing practitioners about what quality looks like in these settings and adding to the literature regarding measuring quality in early childhood education. Practitioners and policymakers can use the results of this study to inform the way that they measure the quality of their classrooms and to examine further the characteristics and practices of the different groups of classrooms.
1/4/2017
REL 2017211 Participation in Kentucky's college preparatory transition courses: An update
Kentucky offers college preparatory transition courses in mathematics, reading, and English to grade 12 students. These courses are designed as one possible intervention for students who have not met Kentucky's college readiness benchmarks on the ACT in grade 11. This study uses descriptive statistics to update previous REL Appalachia research about participation in these courses for the 2014/15 school year. Data are disaggregated by student and school characteristics. In 2014/15, the approximately half of grade 12 students needed an intervention to prepare them for college in mathematics (53 percent), reading (50 percent), or English (40 percent). Nearly two-thirds of Kentucky high schools offered transition courses as an intervention option, and such courses were more common in small, rural, and low-performing high schools. Statewide, more than twice as many students enrolled in mathematics transition courses than in English language arts transition courses (22 and 10 percent, respectively). Of students who had not met college readiness benchmarks, approximately 40 percent participated in mathematics transition courses and approximately 20 percent participated in English language arts transition courses. Some additional students who had already met state benchmarks also participated in the courses.
1/4/2017
REL 2017209 Stated Briefly Benchmarking education management information systems across the Federated States of Micronesia
The chief state school officers of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have called for the improvement of the education management information system (EMIS) in each of the four FSM states (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap). To assist the FSM, Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific conducted separate assessments of the quality of the current EMIS in Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. This report integrates the findings from all four states, thereby providing an opportunity for comparison on each aspect of quality. As part of a focus group interview, knowledgeable data specialists in each of the four states of the FSM responded to 46 questions covering significant areas of their EMIS. The interview protocol, adapted by Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific from the World Bank's System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results assessment tool, provides a means for rating aspects of an EMIS system using four benchmarking levels: latent (the process or action required to improve the aspect of quality is not in place), emerging (the process or action is in progress of implementation), established (the process or action is in place and it meets standards), and mature (the process or action is an example of best practice). Overall, data specialists in all four states rated their systems as either emerging or established.
12/7/2016
REL 2017167 A comparison of two approaches to identifying beating-the-odds high schools in Puerto Rico
The Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands conducted this study using data on public high schools in Puerto Rico from national and territory databases to compare methods for identifying beating-the-odds schools. Schools were identified by two methods, a status method that ranked high-poverty schools based on their current observed performance and an exceeding-achievement-expectations method that ranked high-poverty schools based on the extent to which their actual performance exceeded (or fell short of) their expected performance. Graduation rates, reading proficiency rates, and mathematics proficiency rates were analyzed to identify schools for each method. The identified schools were then compared by method to determine agreement rates—that is, the amount of overlap in schools identified by each method. The report presents comparisons of the groups of schools—those identified by each method and all public high-poverty high schools in Puerto Rico—on descriptive information. Using the two methods—ranking by status and ranking by exceeding-achievement-expectations—two different lists of beating-the-odds schools were identified. The status method identified 17 schools, and the exceeding-achievement-expectations method identified 15 schools. Six schools were identified by both methods. The agreement rate between the two lists of beating-the-odds schools was 38 percent. The analyses suggest that using both methods to identify beating-the-odds schools is the best strategy because high schools identified by both methods demonstrate high levels of absolute performance and appear to be achieving higher levels of graduation rates and percent proficiency than might be expected given their demographics and prior performance.
12/6/2016
REL 2017197 Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data
The Minnesota Department of Education partnered with Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to redesign the state's teacher supply and demand study in order to increase its utility for stakeholders. This report summarizes the four-step process that was followed in redesigning the study, focusing on the state data sources and analytic methods that can address stakeholders' research questions. Because many data elements used in the study are common across states, the process described may help stakeholders in other states improve their studies of teacher supply and demand.
12/1/2016
REL 2017205 High school graduation rates across English learner student subgroups in Arizona
This study examined observed and predicted four-year high school graduation rates among native English speakers (students who have never been designated as English learners) and four English learner subgroups in Arizona: long-term English learner students; new English learner students; recently proficient former English learner students; and long-term proficient former English learner students. These student subgroups were determined by the amount of time a student spent as a designated English learner student and when a former English learner student was reclassified as fluent English proficient prior to high school.

The observed four-year high school graduation rate was calculated for each student subgroup as the percentage of students in each student subgroup who graduated within four years of entering grade 9. The predicted four-year high school graduation rate was calculated for each student subgroup using logistic regression, and adjusted for student demographic characteristics and prior achievement.

Results show that the largest difference in observed graduation rates, 36.1 percentage points, occurred between never English learner students and long-term English learner students. When comparing students with similar demographic characteristics only, the differences in predicted graduation rates across the student subgroups were about the same as those in observed graduation rates; however, when comparing students with both similar demographic characteristics and similar prior academic achievement, the gaps in graduation rates across the subgroups narrowed to a maximum of 5.5 percentage points. These results suggest that prior academic achievement, rather than demographic characteristics, explained most of the differences in graduation rates across the student subgroups and may have been a key factor driving graduation outcomes. To improve high school graduation rate for all the students, policymakers and educators might consider differentiating programs and practices for the needs of these English learner subgroups and developing programs that focus on promoting students’ academic achievement prior to high school. More research is needed about how to help high school English learners (long-term and new English learner students) to learn both academic English and subject matter content knowledge during high school.
11/30/2016
REL 2017192 Measuring Implementation of the Response to Intervention framework in Milwaukee Public Schools
The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of a newly-developed hybrid system to measure the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI), to determine schools' progress toward implementing RTI; and to determine whether implementation ratings were related to contextual factors. School improvement coaches were trained and certified to conduct school data reviews. These reviewers visited 70 elementary schools serving grades K-5 in a single urban school district. During each visit, two reviewers made ratings on the 34-indicator rubric and entered their ratings into a dashboard system. Reviewers reconciled discrepant ratings and the reconciled ratings were analyzed. To determine the reliability of the rubric, the study team estimated inter-rater reliability using percent agreement and Cohen's Kappa to account for chance ratings. Coefficient alphas were calculated to estimate inter-item reliability. To determine how well schools were implementing RTI, average ratings were calculated for each school on the total rubric and six components and converted into categories: "little fidelity", "inadequate fidelity", "adequate fidelity", and "full fidelity". The study team also calculated Pearson product-moment correlations to study relationships between implementation ratings and characteristics of teachers and students in the schools. Results indicated that the ratings made by the trained data reviewers were reliable even when accounting for chance. Among the 68 visited schools that had complete data, 53 percent of the schools were implementing RTI with adequate fidelity after two years. However, 68 percent of the priority schools did not reach adequate levels of implementation fidelity. Findings also revealed that most schools have yet to implement instruction for diverse students and Tier III instruction with fidelity. Of the contextual factors studied, correlations were found between implementation scores and teacher and student characteristics. The system can be used to produce reliable evidence about the level of RTI implementation in schools and which components of RTI need to be the focus of professional development and coaching. Also, if RTI is indeed an effective school improvement strategy, then by monitoring implementation fidelity of RTI, school districts can improve the chances that RTI produces the expected impacts in their school settings. Establishing an implementation monitoring system requires district staff time to complete training, conduct the data reviews, resolve rating discrepancies, and enter the data into a dashboard system.
11/29/2016
REL 2017202 The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina
The purpose of this study was to compare American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina to all other students in the same grades both within the same schools and statewide on student demographics, school characteristics, and education outcomes. The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) requested this research based on a prior report identifying achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students. The primary source of quantitative data for this study is longitudinal administrative data provided to the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These data include student-level outcomes for all students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for the school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Outcomes considered include state test scores, attendance, retention in grade, advanced course taking, graduation rates, and disciplinary referrals. Quantitative analyses include all American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Students of other ethnicities in the same grades and years both within the same schools and statewide serve as comparison groups. Descriptive analyses compare averages for all student characteristics, school characteristics, and education outcomes for American Indian students compared to their within school and statewide peers. Regression analyses using multilevel modeling were used examine the extent to which controlling for student, school, and teacher characteristics accounts for differences in outcomes between American Indian students and their peers. The analyses found that American Indian students are demographically different from non-American Indian students statewide, but similar to other students attending the same schools. Schools attended by American Indian students are more likely to be rural and in the Coastal plain. American Indians also tend to attend schools that serve more economically disadvantaged students and more disadvantaged minority students. Across all middle school and high school standardized tests, American Indian students have lower average scores than other students statewide and within the same schools. American Indian students are absent more often on average than their peers both statewide and within the same school, are less likely to take advanced courses, and graduate at lower rates, but are equally likely to be retained in grade as their peers. When school and student demographics are held constant, the size of the gaps on most outcomes between American Indian students and their peers both within the same schools and statewide are substantially reduced.
11/17/2016
REL 2017196 Stated Briefly: An examination of the movement of educators within Minnesota
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest conducted a study on the mobility of public school teachers and principals (including assistant principals) within Minnesota and presents average one-year and five-year mobility rates between 2006/07 and 2010/11. The study used the staffing data for the 2006/07 through 2011/12 school years and data on school-level performance and demographics for the same school years. REL Midwest analyzed these data to identify mobility rates and mobility patterns over time. The study also examined whether different educator characteristics and the characteristics of the exited schools (that is, the schools educators moved from) were related to the odds that Minnesota educators continuing their employment would change schools rather than stay employed in the same school. The study found that an average of 9.5 percent of teachers changed schools between consecutive years, and 20.8 percent changed schools within a five-year span. Teachers’ years of experience, licensure area, schools’ academic performance, percentage of students in the schools who were economically disadvantaged, school setting, size, and region in the state were related to the one-year and five-year mobility rates for teachers. One- and five-year mobility rates for principals averaged 10.5 and 29.3 percent, respectively. Principal one- and five-year mobility rates were related to principals’ years of experience, percentage of students in the school who were academically proficient, and percentage of students who were economically disadvantaged.
11/15/2016
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