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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2019009 Past and projected trends in teacher demand and supply in Michigan
State and district leaders in Michigan have described a need for better and more comprehensive information on the existence and extent of teacher shortages within the state of Michigan in recent years and projected into the near future. Michigan has experienced challenges matching the active supply of teachers to the demand for the kinds of teachers that districts need. This study aims to provide a systematic understanding of teacher supply, demand, and shortages in Michigan. This study used data from the 2013/14 to 2017/18 school years to examine trends in teacher supply and demand in Michigan, and make projections for the next five years. Data used include personnel, certification, and substitute permit data from the Michigan Department of Education as well as publicly available data from the MI School Data portal and the federal Title II website. Methods used include descriptive statistics and regression analysis to project teacher supply and demand. The study found that total student enrollment in Michigan public schools declined by 2.8 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18, while the enrollment of English learner students increased by 27.1 percent over the five-year period. The size of the teacher workforce, as measured by teacher full-time equivalents, decreased by 2.1 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18. The number of newly certified, active teachers decreased by 23.4 percent between 2013/14 and 2017/18. Although the overall active supply of teachers in Michigan public schools is projected to meet the demand over the next five years, shortages are expected in a few subject areas (for example, business education and career and technical education) and regions (for example, the Northwest and Upper Peninsula). Study findings suggest leverage points in teacher retention and certification to address potential teacher shortages. Moreover, efforts to increase the supply of qualified teachers should be focused on those subject areas, regions, and locales where shortages are projected.
8/26/2019
REL 2019008 Factors related to teacher mobility and attrition in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota
This report describes teacher and school characteristics related to teacher movement within and out of public school systems in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota. Stakeholders in each of these states expressed interest in better understanding teacher mobility and attrition and related factors. The authors used administrative data provided by state education agencies to examine the characteristics related to the likelihood that teachers would move to different schools or leave state public school systems from 2015/16 to 2016/17. Results suggest that the likelihood of teachers either moving or leaving was most strongly related to age, years of experience in their schools or districts, special education teaching assignments, average salaries, school demographics and performance, and school state accountability designation. Information about factors that contribute to moving and leaving may help decision-makers improve the policy and practices aimed at attracting and keeping teachers.
8/19/2019
REL 2019007 Math course sequences in grades 6–11 and math achievement in Mississippi
The purpose of this study was to examine how students in Mississippi met their mathematics requirements and the extent to which their mathematics sequence is related to student performance and demographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity. The study used data from the Mississippi Department of Education over a six-year period, beginning in 2011/12 and ending in 2016/17. The sample includes all students enrolled in grade 11 in Mississippi public high schools during the 2016/17 school year who had scores on the ACT Mathematics in grade 11 and recorded coursework in grade 6. Sequence analysis was used to summarize and then cluster the mathematics course-taking experience, or mathematics sequence, of these students in grades 6-11. Classification and regression tree analysis facilitated the identification of associations between mathematics sequence, student demographic characteristics, and college-ready performance on the ACT Mathematics in grade 11. Results indicate that membership in a particular mathematics sequence cluster did not improve the classification accuracy of the decision tree predicting risk status over and above the use of student achievement in grade 5 and student race. That these differences have less association with college-ready performance than student grade 5 mathematics achievement suggests a need to focus on prevention efforts before grade 6. Algebra I is often viewed as the gatekeeper course, but it is also possible that mathematics preparation at the elementary level sets a student on the path to taking Algebra I earlier in their mathematics sequence. While this study did not explore the quality of mathematics curriculum and instruction at the secondary level, the results of this study underscore the importance of mathematics instruction at the elementary level.
8/9/2019
REL 2019003 Student and school characteristics associated with academic performance and English language proficiency among English learner students in grades 3–8 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has witnessed an increase in the number of English learner students in grades K–12 over recent years, with students coming from more diverse backgrounds in race/ethnicity, countries of origin, and native language. This requires more support from the district to meet diverse needs in terms of languages, cultures, and educational supports. The Cleveland Partnership for English Learner Success—a partnership among CMSD's Multilingual Multicultural Education office, the research office and researchers from Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest—has prioritized identifying English learner student and school characteristics associated with student achievement and language proficiency. This will provide a step toward improving district and school supports for English learner students. Student and school data from 2011/12 through 2016/17 were obtained from the district administrative records. The study examined means and percentages of student and school characteristics and student achievement of English learner students in grades 3–8 from school years 2011/12 through 2016/17. The study team examined these characteristics for English learner students in grades 3–8 each year separately, enabling the team to identify stable patterns while helping to uncover changes over time.
6/11/2019
REL 2018284 Teacher certification and academic growth among English learner students in the Houston Independent School District
This study assesses whether a teacher’s certification type (that is, being a certified bilingual teacher or a certified English as a second language [ESL] teacher) and route to certification—alternative, postbaccalaureate, traditional, or additional exam—correlate with academic growth and growth in English proficiency among English learner students in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). The student sample consisted of HISD students in grades 4 or 5 during the 2005/06–2014/15 school years who were classified as English learner students, participated in HISD's bilingual or ESL program in grades 4 or 5, and had Spanish as their home language. Data from the four most recent cohorts (2011/12–2014/15) were used for the analyses of mathematics and reading outcomes using the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment program. All cohorts were used for the analyses of the English proficiency outcomes using the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System assessment. The corresponding teacher sample consisted of HISD teachers who taught mathematics or reading to the student sample described. The study used student achievement models, sometimes called value-added specifications, to examine whether specific teacher certification types and routes were associated with larger achievement gains.

For math, having a teacher with bilingual certification was associated with higher student growth in achievement in grade 4 but lower growth in achievement in grade 5 compared with having a teacher without bilingual or English as a second language certification. Having a teacher with bilingual certification through the alternative route was associated with the highest growth in achievement in grade 4 math. For reading, having a teacher with bilingual certification was associated with higher student growth in achievement in grade 4 compared with having a teacher without bilingual or English as a second language certification. Having a teacher with bilingual certification through the traditional route was associated with the highest growth in achievement in grade 4 reading. For English proficiency, having a teacher with bilingual certification through the postbaccalaureate route was associated with the highest student growth in grade 4. Having a teacher with bilingual certification through the alternative route was associated with the highest growth in English proficiency in grade 5.

Given the inconsistent results, there are no clear implications for practice. Additional research might investigate alternate methods for identifying which teachers are effective.
2/13/2018
REL 2018288 Special education enrollment and classification in Louisiana charter schools and traditional schools
This study is an exploratory analysis of the enrollment rates of students with individualized education programs (IEPs) in the charter school and traditional school sectors. It also examines factors associated with variation in classification and enrollment rates of students with IEPs across these school sectors in the four educational regions of Louisiana with three or more charter schools. Those areas are Region 1, which includes New Orleans; Region 3, which includes Jefferson and five other parishes near New Orleans; Region 5, which includes Ouachita and five surrounding parishes in the northeast corner of the state; and Region 8, which includes Baton Rouge. In the 2013/14 school year, 77 percent of charter students in Louisiana attended school in one of these four regions.

The study found that the enrollment rate of students with IEPs was lower in public charter schools than traditional public schools in the four Louisiana educational regions in the study from 2010/11 through 2013/14. This gap, however, declined from 2.5 percentage points in 2010/11 to 0.5 percentage points in 2013/14. For three of the four study years the gap was largest in schools serving grades K–5, and for all four study years it was smallest in schools serving grades 9–12. In 2013/14 the special education enrollment rate was higher for charter schools than traditional schools at the high school level (a 2.0 percentage point difference). The gap varied by disability type, as enrollments were higher in charter schools for students with emotional disturbance but higher in traditional schools for students with most other disabilities. Charter school enrollment was not clearly associated with the likelihood of being newly classified as requiring an IEP. However, charter school enrollment was associated with an increased likelihood of being declassified as requiring an IEP, though less than 1 percent of students with an IEP in both charter schools and traditional schools were declassified over the study period. The gap in the declassification rate of 0.04 percentage points favoring charter school declassifications over the four years of the study was too small to explain the 2 percentage point reduction in the charter school special education enrollment gap.

The exploratory results signal that, by the 2013/14 school year, charter schools in Louisiana were serving students with IEPs in the high school grades at rates similar to or higher than traditional schools in the state. The findings suggest that public charter schools are less successful at attracting and enrolling students with IEPs into their schools in the early elementary grades. Finally, these findings confirm those of prior studies that charter schools declassify students as no longer requiring special education services at higher rates than do traditional schools, but those rates of declassification remain less than 1 percent over a four-year period.
1/23/2018
REL 2018287 An exploratory analysis of features of New Orleans charter schools associated with student achievement growth
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the number of charter schools in New Orleans has rapidly expanded. During the 2012/13 school year—the period covered by this study, of the 85 public schools in New Orleans, 75 were chartered, enrolling more than 84 percent of all public school students in the city in 92 different school campuses. This study explored organizational, operational, and instructional features of New Orleans charter schools serving grades 3–8 that are potential indicators of student achievement growth in English language arts (ELA), math, and science. The organizational characteristic of kindergarten provided as an entry grade was associated with higher levels of VAM on the ELA test. The operational characteristic of an extended school year also was associated with higher levels of ELA VAM. The instructional characteristics of a lower percentage of teachers with graduate degrees, more experienced teachers, and a lower student/teacher ratio were associated with higher levels of ELA VAM. The analysis revealed fewer potential key indicators of charter school effectiveness regarding VAM in math and science. The inclusion of kindergarten as an entry grade was the only school feature that was statistically significant in its association with math VAM; schools with kindergarten were correlated with higher math VAM scores. Having a lower student/teacher ratio and fewer staff in student support roles were the only school features that were statistically significant in their association with higher science VAM scores. None of these associations between potential key indicators and math and science VAM scores remained statistically significant when estimated using 2013/14 outcome data, indicating that the results are not robust to such an additional analysis. Offering kindergarten as an entry grade and having a lower teacher/student ratio were the only potential key indicators with statistically significant associations with more than one VAM outcome. Having kindergarten as an entry grade was positively associated with ELA and math VAM. Having a lower teacher/student ratio was associated with higher ELA and science VAM.
1/3/2018
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.
12/19/2017
REL 2018279 Associations between predictive indicators and postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and math success among Hispanic students in Texas
This study sought to identify factors that predict positive STEM-related postsecondary outcomes for students in Texas, and to determine whether the association between predictive factors and outcomes differs between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students. The research team linked K–12 student academic data to college enrollment data for Texas public high school students who enrolled in colleges and universities in Texas during a period from the 2004/05 to the 2010/11 school years (seven cohorts). Regression models examined relationships between possible indicators (e.g., number and level of math or science classes completed) with the outcomes of interest (declaring a STEM major, persisting in a STEM major, and completing a STEM degree), while controlling for nonmalleable student and school factors as well as for cohort fixed effects. Interaction terms added to the models provided a separate estimate, for Hispanic, Black, non-Hispanic White, and Other ethnicity students, of the association of each indicator with each postsecondary outcome. Measures of academic experiences and performance in math and science during high school were strongly associated with postsecondary STEM outcomes. These associations were generally consistent for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White students. Statistically significant indicators of positive postsecondary STEM outcomes included number of math and science courses completed, number of Advanced Placement courses taken, highest-level math or science course taken, and state assessment scores. This study demonstrates that Hispanic students reap the same benefits of taking higher-level math and science courses in high school as do non-Hispanic White students. Future studies should consider possible factors influencing the academic experiences of Hispanic students in high school science and math, such as access to rigorous courses.
11/21/2017
REL 2018280 Time to proficiency for Hispanic English learner students in Texas
This study examined the time it took for English learner students in Texas public schools to reach key educational outcomes for the first time, including attaining English proficiency and satisfactory performance on reading and mathematics state assessments. The study also estimated the probability of attaining these outcomes based on several student characteristics (e.g., initial English language proficiency, receipt of special education services, and being overaged at grade 1 entry) and educational experiences (e.g., the type of English learner program: English as a Second Language or bilingual). Historical data from the Texas Education Agency was used to construct a cohort of Hispanic students who entered Texas public schools in grade 1 as English learner students in the 2005/06 school year (85,611 students). Students were followed for up to eight years, through the 2012/13 school year, including while classified as English learner students and after exit from English learner status. Discrete-time survival analyses were used to estimate the probability of attaining outcomes over time.
11/3/2017
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.
10/24/2017
REL 2018275 Indicators of successful teacher recruitment and retention in Oklahoma rural school districts
The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with successful recruitment and retention of teachers in Oklahoma rural school districts, in order to highlight potential strategies to address Oklahoma’s teaching shortage. The study was designed to identify teacher-level, district-level, and community characteristics in rural Oklahoma that predict which teachers are most likely to be successfully recruited (as defined in this study as having completed a probationary period of employment in a district for three years and obtained tenure status in their fourth year of teaching) and retained (as defined in this study as the duration of employment of tenured teachers in a given school district). For context, the study also explores patterns of teacher job mobility in Oklahoma in rural and nonrual schools. This correlational study covers a 10-year period, the 2005/06 to 2014/15 school years, and uses data from Oklahoma State Department of Education, Office of Educational Quality and Accountability, and community characteristics from data in federal noneducation sources. The study found that teachers who are male, those who have higher postsecondary degrees, and those who have more teaching experience are harder than others to recruit and retain in Oklahoma schools. Another key finding is that for teachers in rural schools, total compensation and increased responsibilities in job assignment (as measured by full-time equivalent and additional nonteaching assignments) are positively associated with successful recruitment and retention. The exploration of the patterns of teacher job mobility in Oklahoma showed that teachers at rural schools have a 70 percent chance of reaching their fourth year of teaching in the same district and, therefore, reaching tenure; this rate is slightly lower than the rates for teachers in nonrural areas. Also, rural school districts in Oklahoma had consistently lower rates of success in recruiting teachers than nonrural school districts from 2006/07 to 2011/12. In conclusion, the evidence provided by this study can be used to inform incentive schemes to help retain certain groups of teachers and increase retention rates overall. In addition, the results of this study could inform the design of more rigorous studies, such as impact evaluations, of such incentive schemes.
10/11/2017
REL 2017235 Examining school-level reading and math proficiency trends and changes in achievement gaps for grades 3-8 in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina
The purpose of this study was to use growth curve modeling to investigate school-level reading and mathematics achievement trends on the state accountability assessment in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina for grades 3-8. In addition, this study investigated school-level achievement trends for race/ethnicity subgroups and for free or reduced-price lunch eligibility to determine if significant changes in achievement gaps occurred over the 4-6 years studied for each state. Results indicated that in general, average school-level proficiency increased for most subgroups across grades and subjects in all three states. In addition, reductions in achievement gaps were observed for most grades in reading and mathematics. However, achievement gaps remained large despite the observed reductions. The use of growth curve modeling in the current study provides stakeholders in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina with a more in-depth understanding of trends in school-level proficiency than would have been possible using just the sample mean.
4/13/2017
REL 2017270 Educator outcomes associated with implementation of Mississippi's K-3 early literacy professional development initiative
This study examined changes in teacher knowledge of early literacy skills and ratings of quality of early literacy skills instruction, student engagement during early literacy skills instruction, and teaching competencies between winter 2014 and fall 2015. During the time frame examined, the Mississippi Department of Education began providing early literacy professional development to K-3 teachers through a series of online and face-to-face workshops. Over the course of the study, average teacher knowledge started in the 48th percentile and ended in the 59th percentile. In targeted high-need schools, during observations conducted by state literacy coaches, ratings of quality increased from the 31st percentile to the 58th percentile, student engagement increased from the 37th percentile to the 53rd percentile, and teaching competencies increased from the 30th percentile to the 44th percentile. While this study was not intended to determine if the professional development was effective or caused the observed changes, the changes appeared to be associated with teachers' participation in the professional development. At the end of the study, teachers who had not yet started the professional development were in the 54th percentile for teacher knowledge, and teachers who had completed the professional development were in the 65th percentile. Similarly, at the end of the study, teachers who had not yet started the professional development were in the 42nd percentile for quality, 39th for engagement, and 38th for teaching competencies, where as teachers who had completed the professional development were in the 59th percentile for quality, 53rd for engagement, and 54th for teaching competencies.
4/12/2017
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.
4/11/2017
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