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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021048 Creating and Using Performance Assessments: An Online Course for Practitioners
This self-paced, online course provides educators with detailed information on performance assessment. Through five modules, practitioners, instructional leaders, and administrators will learn foundational concepts of assessment literacy and how to develop, score, and use performance assessments. They will also learn about the role of performance assessment within a comprehensive assessment system. Each module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, with additional time needed to complete the related tasks, such as creating a performance assessment and rubric. Participants will be provided with a certificate of completion upon finishing the course.
11/2/2020
REL 2021014 Continuous Improvement in Education: A Toolkit for Schools and Districts

Continuous improvement processes engage key players within a system to focus on a specific problem of practice and, through a series of iterative cycles, test changes, gather data about the changes, and study the potential influence of these changes on outcomes of interest (Bryk et al., 2015). This practitioner-friendly toolkit is designed to provide an overview of Continuous Improvement processes in education, with a focus on the use of Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles (Langley, Moen, Nolan, Nolan & Norman, 2009). It also offers related tools and resources that educational practitioners can use to implement continuous improvement processes in their own schools, districts, or agencies.

The toolkit includes a customizable workbook, reproducible templates, and short informational videos. The toolkit begins with an introduction to continuous improvement, followed by customizable content for a series of meetings that guide a team of educators through the process of identifying a common problem, generating a series of evidence-based change practices to test and study, testing those change practices, collecting and analyzing data, and reflecting on and using evidence to identify next steps.

The toolkit leads educational practitioners through a series of PDSA cycles, designed explicitly for an educational setting. Real-world case examples illustrate the process in an educational context.

10/26/2020
REL 2021042 A First-Grade Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
A First Grade Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills will be part of a suite of resources teachers can use with families to encourage and facilitate literacy support for children at home. The suite of resources will include a Teacher Guide, Family Activities, and Family Videos. The information in the Teacher Guide will be designed to assist teachers in sup-porting out-of-school literacy activities that are aligned to classroom instruction, informed by student need, grounded in evidence-based practices (the Foundational Reading Skills Practice Guide), and facilitated by ongoing parent-teacher communication. The Teacher Guide will provide a framework for literacy support activities presented during schools' family literacy nights and parent-teacher conferences.

The Family Activities will contain evidence-based literacy activities that the teacher can give to the parent during family literacy night or at parent-teacher conferences for the parents to do at home with their child. Each activity will use family-friendly language and include a user-friendly format. Materials needed (e.g., letter cards) for each activity will be included.

The Family Videos will depict families using the activities to support children's literacy at home. The videos can be shown at the school's literacy night or during parent-teacher conferences to illustrate family involvement in first grade literacy.

Similar guides for kindergarten and grades 2 and 3 will also be available.
10/14/2020
REL 2020032 Guide to Conducting a Needs Assessment for American Indian Students
American Indian communities often bring a deep sense of connection, relationships, and knowledge to their children’s education. However, education research has repeatedly shown that American Indian students trail their peers in achievement, attendance, and postsecondary readiness. Regional Educational Laboratory Central, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, and educators across North Dakota collaboratively developed needs assessment surveys for the state. These surveys are a primary focus of this tool which can be adapted for use in other state and local education agencies across the nation. These surveys can be used to identify and monitor the needs and successes of schools serving American Indian students. Survey development involved rigorous processes to ensure that the surveys were technically sound and culturally appropriate. The surveys provide a means to evaluate different characteristics of schools and the resulting data can guide focused supports for American Indian students. For example, state and local education agency staff may use the information from the surveys to identify target areas of need in order to provide additional resources, such as professional development activities, curricular materials, instructional strategies, and research articles, to schools. As education agencies begin to implement strategies and programs, the surveys can be readministered to monitor progress toward goals. The tool also provides guidance on administering the surveys and analyzing and interpreting the resulting data.
9/17/2020
REL 2020025 Self-Study Guide for Evidence-Based Practices in Adult Literacy Education
The purpose of this self-study guide is to help adult literacy education providers collect, organize, and analyze evidence that they can use to improve program performance. It was designed to help educators consider which types of evidence to collect and which components of adult education instruction may be important for evaluating implementation. Sources of evidence for this review include records and data such as lesson plans, rosters, and student results confirming that processes are in place to monitor teacher and student success. The components important to evaluation of implementation were determined based on a thorough review of the literature on adult education. The guide was developed in partnership with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast's Florida Career Readiness Research Alliance. It was pilot tested with Florida adult literacy educators through the support of the Institute for the Professional Development of Adult Educators.
5/4/2020
REL 2020018 Guide and Checklists for a School Leader’s Walkthrough during Literacy Instruction in Grades 4–12
This tool was developed to assist school leaders in observing specific research-based practices during literacy instruction in grade 4–12 classrooms and students’ independent use or application of those practices. The tool aims to help school leaders conduct brief and frequent walkthroughs throughout the school year. The tool consists of three parts to be used with students in three grade bands: grades 4 and 5, grades 6–8, and grades 9–12. The first is the Pre-Walkthrough Meeting Guide, for use in all grade bands, to facilitate conversation between school leaders and teachers before the walkthrough. The second is a set of eight walkthrough checklists, differentiated by grade band and classroom type (that is, whole class, English language arts class, content area class, and literacy intervention class), which are based on best practices in literacy instruction. The third is the Post-Walkthrough Meeting Guide, for use in all grade bands, to facilitate debriefing between school leaders and teachers.
3/9/2020
REL 2020016 Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
This Kindergarten Teacher's Guide provides information for kindergarten teachers on how to support families as they practice foundational reading skills at home. It serves as a companion to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade. Both guides present four research-based recommendations and how-to steps: the WWC guide is for teaching children at school, and this guide is to help teachers support families in practicing foundational reading skills at home.
br/> The information in this Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide is designed to assist teachers in supporting out-of-school literacy activities that are aligned to classroom instruction, informed by student need, grounded in evidence-based practices, and facilitated by ongoing parent-teacher communication. The Teacher’s Guide provides a framework for literacy support activities presented during schools’ family literacy nights and parent-teacher conferences.
1/6/2020
REL 2020010 A review of instruments for measuring social and emotional learning skills among secondary school students
This purpose of this resource is to support state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments that measure collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulated learning among secondary school students. This resource, developed by the Regional Education Laboratory Northeast & Islands in collaboration with its Social and Emotional Learning Alliance, presents social and emotional learning instruments and the reliability and validity information available for those instruments. Specifically, this resource indicates whether psychometric information was available for reliability and seven components of validity—content, substantive, structural, external, generalizability, consequential, and fairness. To identify and review instruments, researchers conducted a literature search, determined the eligibility of instruments, reviewed the reliability and validity information available for eligible instruments; and determined whether the reliability and validity information provided met conventionally accepted criteria. In total, 17 instruments were eligible for inclusion in the resource. Eligible instruments included six measures of collaboration, four measures of perseverance, four measures of self-regulated learning, and three measures of both perseverance and self-regulated learning. With 12 instruments developed for use in research and 5 instruments developed for formative instruction, practitioners should use caution when using any measure for summative use that has not been developed and validated for that specific purpose. With schools and districts ramping up their efforts to measure social and emotional learning for formative and summative use, practitioners would benefit from the development of additional measures for these specific purposes. Among the 17 instruments eligible for inclusion in this resource, 16 instruments have information on reliability and at least one component of validity. The component of validity most commonly available for eligible instruments was content validity whereas only three instruments had information on fairness and no instruments had information on substantive validity. Practitioners should use caution when using instruments that lack information on substantive validity or fairness, since these measures may not be appropriate for all students that are evaluated.
10/16/2019
REL 2019002 Professional Learning Community: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving for Students in Grades 4 Through 8 Facilitator's Guide
REL Southeast developed this facilitator's guide on the topic of mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator's guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator's guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.

The facilitator's guide focuses on three of the five recommendations from the mathematics problem solving practice guide to ensure in-depth coverage of the topics and to provide ample practice opportunities and time for reflection. The three practice guide recommendations on which the facilitator's guide is based are: teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3), expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4), and help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5). REL Southeast chose these three recommendations because they are interrelated and include critical content to address the two high-leverage regional needs communicated by the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance which include improving classroom discourse in mathematics and enhancing students' mathematical problem-solving skills.
6/10/2019
REL 2017214 Workshop on Survey Methods in Education Research: Facilitator's guide and resources
Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest has developed a tool for state and local education agencies to use to organize and conduct training for their staff members who design and conduct surveys. Surveys are often used by education agencies to collect data to assess needs, inform policy decisions, evaluate programs, or respond to legislative mandates. The workshop presentation materials draw from evidence-based research from the field of survey research methodology and offer guidance on designing and administering high-quality surveys. The materials provide practical advice and examples drawn from experiences in developing surveys for local, state, and national education applications. The workshop includes eight modules that describe the steps of survey design and administration—from planning to data collection—and covers the following topics: planning for a survey, exploring existing item sources, writing items, pretesting survey items, sampling, data collection methods, response rates, and focus groups. The facilitator's guidebook includes the goals for each module, considerations for adapting the materials for various purposes, an annotated agenda, and participant handouts (slide decks and accompanying notes, activities, and handouts). Individuals and groups who are developing surveys can use these materials to facilitate workshops, guide a survey project, or ensure that they are adhering to best practices for designing and conducting surveys. Although this guide is intended to help survey researchers in state and local education agencies organize and conduct a training for their staff, the materials also can be used as a stand-alone resource for anyone wishing to learn the basics about survey design and administration in education settings.
4/11/2017
REL 2017198 Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment
Most state departments of education across the U.S. require or recommend that districts use a home language survey as the first step in a multi-step process for identifying students who qualify for English learner student services. However, existing home language surveys may not reveal accurate information about students' language or students' exposure to English language and literacy and, therefore, can actually contribute to the misidentification of English learner students. In response to this challenge, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands worked with state and district practitioners to develop the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment Tool. This 15-minute self-assessment is designed for use by state leaders who coordinate programs to support students' English language acquisition and achievement in districts, as well as for district leaders who oversee the English learner student identification process in schools. The tool supports the collection of high-quality home language survey data by gathering information from district English learner student coordinators and prompts self-assessment of key practices that impact the quality of home language survey data. The report includes a guiding Data Quality Framework and presents the complete self-assessment tool along with description of how it was developed, how to adapt and administer the self-assessment, and how to engage stakeholders in analyzing and interpreting self-assessment results to identify opportunities for improvement. This engagement at both state and district levels will inform decisions that can contribute to the collection of more accurate data regarding English learner students.
2/28/2017
REL 2017221 The "I" in QRIS Survey: Collecting data on quality improvement activities for early childhood education programs
Working closely with the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance and Iowa’s Quality Rating System Oversight Committee, Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest developed a new tool—the "I" in QRIS Survey—to help states collect data on the improvement activities and strategies used by early childhood education (ECE) providers participating in a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). As national attention increasingly has focused on the potential for high-quality early childhood education and care to reduce school-readiness gaps, states developed QRIS to document the quality of ECE programs, support systematic quality improvement efforts, and provide clear information to families about their child care choices. An essential element of a QRIS is the support offered to ECE providers to assist them in improving their quality. Although all the Midwestern states offer support to ECE providers to improve quality as part of their QRIS, states do not collect information systematically about how programs use these quality improvement resources. This survey measures program-level participation in workshops and trainings, coaching, mentoring, activities aimed at increasing the educational attainment of ECE staff, and financial incentive to encourage providers to improve quality. States can use this tool to document the current landscape of improvement activities, to identify gaps or strengths in quality improvement services offered across the state, and to identify promising improvement strategies. The survey is intended for use by state education agencies and researchers interested in the "I" in QRIS and can be adapted for their specific state context.
2/28/2017
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 2017166 Guide to using the Teacher Data Use Survey
The purpose of the Teacher Data Use Survey is to provide district and school leaders with a survey instrument that will enable to learn more about teachers' use of data, teachers' attitudes toward data, and teachers' perception of supports for using data. The survey was developed by a panel of five experts in data use and was pilot tested in a large urban district. There are three versions of the survey: one for teachers, one for administrators (e.g., principals), and one for instructional support staff (e.g., instructional coaches). Each version asks about teacher data use, thus offering a triangulated picture of teacher data use in a school or district. Survey scale reliabilities (Cronbach's alpha) were all greater than 0.80 and most were greater than 0.90. The Teacher Data Use Survey can thus offer school and district leaders a research-supported evidence base from which to plan ongoing support for teacher data use such as professional development, computer systems, and collaboration.
10/5/2016
REL 2016224 Self-study guide for implementing literacy interventions in Grades 3-8
The Grades 3–8 Self-Study Guide for Implementing Literacy Interventions was developed to help district- and school-based practitioners conduct self-studies for planning and implementing literacy interventions. It is intended to promote reflection about current strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of literacy interventions, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. This guide provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion that may improve the implementation of literacy interventions.
9/22/2016
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