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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021065 Understanding the Teacher Pipeline for Indiana's K-12 Public Schools
Leaders at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana Department of Education are concerned about teacher shortages and want a better understanding of the educator pipeline for Indiana’s K–12 public schools. This study examined the characteristics and outcomes for three cohorts of undergraduate education student in Indiana’s public colleges and universities. This study used longitudinal data for undergraduate education students in the 2010/11–2012/13 cohorts. The study team calculated the proportion of undergraduate education students who completed a bachelor’s degree in education, the proportion of degree completers who earned an initial instructional license, and the proportion of those with licenses who entered teaching in Indiana’s K–12 public schools, describing the demographic characteristics and academic preparation for students who reached those milestones. For those who entered teaching in Indiana’s K–12 public schools, the study team also described their retention and evaluation ratings in their first three years of teaching. The study team used statistical models to examine the extent to which completing a bachelor’s degree in education was related to individual and institutional factors. The study found that 41 percent of the undergraduate students completed a bachelor’s degree in education by 2017/18; among the completers, 55 percent earned an initial instructional license; and among those licensed, 69 percent entered teaching in Indiana public schools. Compared with the initial group of students entering education programs, students who completed a bachelor’s degree, those who earned initial instructional licenses, and those who entered teaching in Indiana public schools were less likely to be from racial/ethnic minority groups or have been eligible for the national school lunch program in high school. The study found that students who entered an education program in their third year of college or later had a lower probability of completing an education degree than students who entered an education program in their first year of college. Students who received Indiana’s 21st Century Scholarship in their first year of college or who received financial aid beyond their first year were more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in education. However, students who received a Pell Grant were less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in education. State and teacher education leaders in Indiana may want to prioritize strategies that increase diversity in teacher pipelines and consider a holistic approach to support students from low-income backgrounds which includes both increasing financial aid support to these students and expanding other support resources for them. Higher education institutions may want to encourage students to enroll in education program early in their college years and offer supports to assist students in making informed decisions about majors early on.
REL 2021070 Characteristics of Approved Universal Prekindergarten Programs in Vermont in 2018/19
In an effort to increase access to high-quality prekindergarten (preK) programs for all of Vermont's young children, Vermont passed universal preK legislation in 2014 (Act 166). All 3- and 4-year-old children have access to 10 hours a week of state-funded preK through a mixed-delivery system of public school and private programs. Families can enroll their children at no cost in any approved preK program across the state regardless of location. To better understand the characteristics of universal preK programs related to program availability, program quality, and family choice, Vermont partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands to describe the characteristics of preK programs overall and separately for private and public school programs and programs located in local education agencies with different population sizes and poverty levels. The study found that in 2018/19, fewer than 50 percent of programs were at capacity, with more private programs and more programs in high-poverty local education agencies at capacity, raising questions about the availability of preK programs in high-poverty areas. Local education agencies at different population sizes and poverty levels had programs of similar quality within their boundaries, suggesting that Act 166, as enacted, allows for an equitable preK system for families living in rural and low-income areas of the state as it relates to program quality. The results also suggest that the current ability of families to access preK in locations other than their local education agency of residence must be retained if Vermont is to maximize availability of preK for families living in local education agencies that have few—sometimes only one—preK programs. Private programs reported being open more hours per day and weeks per year than public school programs, which may reduce the need for transitions throughout the day and year for children in private programs who need additional child care beyond the 10 hours per week of universal preK.
REL 2021066 Alternative Career Readiness Measures for Small and Rural Districts in Texas

This study examined the extent to which Texas high school graduates, particularly graduates in small districts and rural districts, met college, career, and military readiness (CCMR) accountability standards. The study also examined whether graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards demonstrated career readiness via alternative career readiness options identified by the Texas Education Agency: career and technical education (CTE) completer, CTE concentrator, CTE explorer, CTE participant, and work-based learner. The study further explored whether graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards but who met the alternative career readiness options attained similar postsecondary college and career outcomes to graduates who met career readiness accountability standards.

The study used descriptive statistics to calculate the percentage of 2017–18 high school graduates in each of four mutually exclusive CCMR accountability standard categories: met a college ready accountability standard, met a career ready accountability standard, met a military ready accountability standard, and did not meet CCMR accountability standards. For graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards, the study team calculated the percentage of these graduates who demonstrated career readiness via alternative career readiness options. The study team used longitudinal data to compare postsecondary outcomes for graduates who met alternative career readiness options and graduates who met career readiness accountability standards.

REL 2021078 Students' Use of School-Based Telemedicine Services and Rates of Returning to Class After These Services in a Small Elementary School District
In 2018, a small elementary school district in California introduced school-based telemedicine services for K–6 students to address the health, well-being, and attendance challenges that can interfere with school success. During the first two years of implementation, about a quarter of the students used telemedicine services at least once, and nearly one in ten used telemedicine services multiple times. Descriptive results indicated that students in the lower and upper elementary grades did not differ in their use of telemedicine, though there were some differences in telemedicine use and reasons for seeking services by student race/ethnicity. This suggests that the needs, awareness, level of comfort, or rate of parent/guardian consent for receiving these services may vary across student groups. Results also indicated that telemedicine can treat students during the school day, enabling them to attend classes for the remainder of instruction the day of the visit. For these students, this resulted in an average of 3 hours of instruction instead of being sent home with an unmet health need. Telemedicine may hold promise to help students stay healthy and in school, whether they are learning from home during the pandemic or when schools buildings are open.
REL 2021059 Using High School Data to Predict College Success in Palau
The purpose of this study was to examine the college success of students who graduated from Palau High School between spring 2013 and spring 2015 and who enrolled at Palau Community College the fall semester immediately following their high school graduation. It also examined the relationships between student characteristics and three college success outcomes. The study’s sample included 234 students. The college success outcomes used in the study were first-year college cumulative grade point average, persistence to a second year of college, and earning an associate degree or certificate. Using existing data, researchers calculated descriptive statistics to describe the percentage of students who met each college success outcome. Multiple logistic regression models determined which student demographic and academic preparation characteristics predicted meeting the college success outcomes. The study results show that 60 percent of all students had a first-year college cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher, 56 percent persisted to a second year, and 20 percent earned an associate degree or certificate within three years. Having higher high school grade point averages predicted having higher first-year college grade point averages and being more likely to complete a degree or certificate within three years. Additionally, having higher grade 12 Palau Achievement Test scores, a standardized test administered in the Republic of Palau, predicted being more likely to have a higher first-year college grade point average. High school English course grades also predicted some college success outcomes. Specifically, earning a grade C or higher in grade 9 English predicted completing a certificate or degree within three years, and earning a grade of C or higher in grade 12 English predicted persisting to a second year. Finally, students who enrolled in the Palau High School Construction Technology Career Academy were less likely than students in other career academies to persist to a second year or complete a degree or certificate within three years. These findings suggest that most students achieved the early college success outcomes of earning a first-year college grade point average of 2.0 or higher and persisting to a second year, but that this did not always translate to graduating with a college degree or certificate within three years. Providing additional supports for students in college based on their high school performance, examining supports available for English learners at Palau High school, and reviewing the alignment of the Palau High School Construction Technology Career Academy and the needs of students who plan to attend college could help inform efforts to support the college success of students in Palau. Palau Community College may also want to conduct future studies to examine additional factors at the college, such as the effects of course sequencing or academic counseling services, to improve college success.
REL 2021061 Changes in Exclusionary and Nonexclusionary Discipline in Grades K-5 Following State Policy Reform in Oregon
Oregon has enacted policy reforms to reduce exclusionary discipline and increase racial equity in school discipline practices. One such reform passed in 2015 limits the use of exclusionary discipline (i.e., removing students from classroom instruction through suspension and expulsion) for students in grades K-5 for infractions that do not pose a direct threat to the safety of others. This study examined school discipline practices in a voluntary sample of 401 Oregon elementary schools to determine whether the 2015 policy reform was associated with shifts in how exclusionary discipline and nonexclusionary discipline was applied among racial and ethnic student groups. Nonexclusionary discipline does not remove students from classroom instruction and may include teacher conferences, parent/guardian contact, detention, and other consequences. Descriptive findings indicate that there was an increase in the total number of exclusionary and nonexclusionary discipline actions after the 2015 policy reform compared to the pre-policy years. Black students, in particular, experienced the largest increase in exclusionary discipline after the 2015 policy reform than before the reform, and were two to three times more likely to experience exclusionary discipline than all other students across study years. For most racial and ethnic student groups, office discipline referrals for minor, disruptive, and/or aggressive behavioral infractions that were not a school safety concern became less likely to result in exclusionary discipline, and therefore more likely to result in nonexclusionary discipline than before the reform. However, for Black students the opposite was true. Office discipline referrals issued to Black students after the 2015 policy reform became more likely to result in exclusionary discipline for all office discipline referrals and referrals issued for disruptive behaviors. The study findings provide information that will help state policymakers better understand the changes in exclusionary and nonexclusionary discipline practices before and after the 2015 policy reform and identify areas for improving racial equity in school discipline actions.
REL 2021058 Trends and Gaps in Reading Achievement across Kindergarten and Grade 1 in Two Illinois School Districts
To assess educational progress in the early grades and identify achievement gaps, the Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance examined reading achievement data among students in kindergarten and grade 1 in two districts in Illinois. The study documents overall reading achievement in these and examines disparities in achievement among groups defined by race/ethnicity, eligibility for the national school lunch program, English learner status, participation in special education, and gender. District administrators, policymakers, and educators can use the findings to make decisions about allocating resources to students and schools. This study analyzed student records and assessment data from two cohorts of kindergarten and grade 1 students—one from Elgin Area Schools (District U–46) and one from Springfield Public Schools (District 186). District U–46 used the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System—a formative reading assessment administered by teachers—to assess the reading proficiency of kindergarten and grade 1 students. District 186 used the Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades assessment, an adaptive assessment that is appropriate for universal screening and growth measurement of students’ reading. The study team performed separate analyses for both districts given a discrete, categorical outcome variable for District U–46 and a continuous outcome variable for District 186. The study found that reading achievement increased across the kindergarten and grade 1 years for all students. However, there were differences in reading achievement across student demographic groups. In both districts, Asian and White students had higher achievement than Black and Hispanic students, and students not eligible for the national school lunch program and students not in special education had higher achievement than students with this eligibility and this status. In District U–46, non-English learner students had higher achievement levels than English learner students. In District 186, female students started kindergarten and ended grade 1 with slightly higher levels of reading achievement than male students. District administrators, policy makers, and educators can use these findings to make decisions about allocating resources—such as professional development, literacy coaches, or books—to schools that serve larger concentrations of Black or Hispanic students, students eligible for the national school lunch program, students in special education, or English learner students. Examining achievement patterns by student demographic group is an important first step in identifying whether districts or schools need to distribute resources or opportunities differently to achieve more equitable outcomes across student demographic groups. District administrators, policy makers, and educators can use the results to motivate conversations about the root causes of inequities and how to resolve them.
REL 2021054 How Nebraska Teachers Use and Perceive Summative, Interim, and Formative Data
Teachers have access to more data than ever before, including summative (state-level), interim (benchmark-level), and formative (classroom-level) assessment data. Yet research on how often and why teachers use each type of these data is scarce. The Nebraska Department of Education partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Central to conduct a study of teachers and principals in 353 Nebraska schools to learn about teachers’ use and perceptions of summative, interim, and formative data and inform a state-level professional learning plan to support teachers’ data use. The findings indicate that teachers used formative data more often than interim or summative data and they perceived formative data to be more useful. Teachers with the least experience (5 years or less) reported using formative data more often than did teachers with the most experience (22 years or more). Teachers' perceptions of their competence in using data, their attitudes toward data, and their perceptions of organizational supports for data use (professional learning, principal leadership, and computer systems) were each positively associated with teachers' instructional actions with data. When teachers reported greater competence in using data, more positive attitudes toward data, or more organizational supports for data use, they more often took instructional actions with formative and interim data. Teachers with an advanced degree reported that they felt more competent in, and positive toward, using data than did teachers with a bachelor's degree.
REL 2021063 Virginia High School Graduates' Career and Technical Education Credentials: Top Credentials Over Time and Across Student Groups
In Virginia, all high school students can earn either a Standard diploma or an Advanced Studies diploma, the latter being a college preparatory diploma. Starting in 2017, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) began requiring students graduating with the Standard diploma to earn a career and technical education (CTE) credential to encourage them to pursue opportunities that enhance their career readiness. This is likely to be particularly important for students graduating with the Standard diploma, as they have been shown to have limited success in postsecondary education.

This study examined the CTE credentials Virginia high school graduates most commonly earned from 2011 through 2017. The five most commonly earned CTE credentials in Virginia remained the same during this time period, but the percentage of students earning the Workplace Readiness Skills (WRS) and W!se Financial Literacy Certification credentials increased. Both of these credentials cover broad skills relevant to a wide range of jobs, as opposed to a specific occupation or industry. Although the new CTE requirement applies only to Standard diploma graduates, there were few differences in the top 10 credentials by diploma type, both in terms of which credentials were most common as well as the rates at which students earned these credentials. Regardless of diploma type, in 2017, 9 of the top 10 credentials were broad credentials that were not narrowly aligned to a specific occupation or industry. This study also looked at the top 10 credentials earned by 2017 Standard diploma graduates across a variety of student subgroups, including English learner students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and racial/ethnic subgroups. English learner students and students with disabilities earned the top 10 credentials at lower rates than other Standard diploma graduates. Student credential-earning rates differed the most by geographic region, both in terms of which credentials appeared in the top 10 and the percentage of students earning the top 10 credentials.

This study highlights the need for additional analyses to help CTE stakeholders and policymakers understand the value of different types of CTE credentials. In particular, Virginia and other states might explore the relative value of broad CTE credentials that apply to a wide range of jobs and have become increasingly prevalent in Virginia compared with CTE credentials that are more narrowly aligned with a specific occupation or industry.
REL 2021056 Exploring Teachers’ Influence on Student Success in an Online Biology Course
This study of an online high school biology course offered by Florida Virtual School examined the amount of variation in course completion, students’ final exam scores, and time to completion that is attributable to the influence of teachers. This study examined three different student outcomes for segment 1 of the course: the rate of course completion, score on the final exam at the end of the course segment, and time taken to complete the segment. Students' end-of-segment exam varied only slightly across teachers, but teachers showed more influence on completion rates and time to completion. As a result, students with the highest- and lowest-performing teachers had notable differences in their time to completion and minor differences in course completion and exam scores.
REL 2021051 District Changes in Student Achievement and Local Practice under Georgia’s District and School Flexibility Policy
Georgia instituted a flexibility policy in 2007 that provided districts with waivers from state education rules, provisions, and guidelines. Granted waivers and annual accountability targets are agreed upon in district performance contracts with the state. The performance contracts are meant to encourage districts to implement innovative practices to increase achievement for all students in Georgia. Between 2008/09 and 2016/17, 178 of Georgia’s 180 districts entered into performance contracts with the state. The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) asked Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast to analyze how districts’ achievement changed after the start of their performance contracts and factors related to those changes. GaDOE also requested information on districts’ implementation of and experiences with the state’s flexibility policy, focusing on how districts have used their performance contracts to prioritize local innovations in practice. Overall, the study found little evidence of that changes in academic achievement coincided with performance contract adoption but significant variation in changes in achievement across districts, after adjusting for other factors. Changes in achievement were largely unrelated to district characteristics, including urbanicity, timing of performance contract adoption, and district type, as well as features of the performance contract. District leaders indicated prioritizing innovations related to college and career readiness, teacher certification requirements, instructional spending, and funding for school improvement. Leaders perceived broad benefits from the priority innovations they identified, especially in relation to staff and school climate, but they also indicated that, in many cases, waivers were not required to implement the innovations they identified as priorities. Despite the perceived benefits, changes in achievement were largely unrelated to the academic, human resources, and financial innovations that districts indicated prioritizing after implementing their performance contracts.
REL 2021044 Participation in State-Funded Prekindergarten in Oklahoma
Oklahoma offers state-funded prekindergarten (preK) to all 4-year-old children. The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest Early Childhood Education Research Partnership members in Oklahoma requested more comprehensive evidence on disparities in student participation in state-funded preK by student characteristics and geographic locale. Such disparities in participation can indicate challenges in access to or use of the program. Using administrative records from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, REL Southwest calculated the percentages of first-time public school kindergarten students who participated in Oklahoma’s state-funded preK program in the prior year for five cohorts (2014/15 through 2018/19). In addition to describing unadjusted participation rates, the study also used multivariate statistical models to estimate relationships between student characteristics, the local availability of preK options (measured as estimated travel time), and students’ participation in state-funded preK. Across the five years examined, 74 percent of public school kindergarten students had attended state-funded preK in the prior year. Participation varied across the state, and a substantially greater percentage of students in rural districts participated than students in nonrural (that is, urban or suburban) districts. In addition, the study identified groups of students by student characteristics that participated less often, including students eligible for free lunch, Black/African American students, and Pacific Islander students. The study also examined relationships between participation and geographic measures of access to early learning and care. Students who lived further from a state-funded preK site were less likely to participate, and students who lived further from a Head Start Center were more likely to participate in state-funded preK. The differences in student participation across geographic areas and student characteristics indicate an opportunity for policies and strategies to promote greater awareness of, and enrollment in, state-funded preK or other early learning and care opportunities.
REL 2021047 Participation in a Professional Development Program on Culturally Responsive Practices in Wisconsin
State and school district leaders in Wisconsin are interested in improving educational outcomes among Black students across the state. Implementing culturally responsive practices aims to improve the academic achievement and behavioral outcomes of minority students. Through continued support from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, a professional development training program for culturally responsive practices, Building Culturally Responsive Systems, has been one of the primary models to inform culturally responsive practices. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and education stakeholders in Wisconsin have asked for more comprehensive information about schools’ participation in this program. Using data from the 2012/13–2018/19 school years, this study examined the program’s uptake and reach across the state and its relationship to school outcomes. The study used data on Wisconsin school characteristics from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data. Also, the study used data on attendance at the professional development training program for culturally responsive practices and data on implementation of culturally responsive practices from the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center. The study team calculated descriptive statistics to examine the number and percentage of schools that participated in the program and to compare school characteristics between schools that participated in the program and schools that did not participate. The study team examined the relationship between participation in the program and school outcomes. The study found that 4 percent of schools in Wisconsin sent teachers and administrators to participate in the professional development program for culturally responsive practices. Among the schools that participated in the program, only 17.2 percent reported implementing culturally responsive practices in reading instruction. Schools that participated in the program had larger school enrollment, were more likely to be eligible for Title I funds, were more often from cities and suburbs, and had similar percentages of Black students than schools that did not participate in the program.
REL 2021041 The Association between Teachers’ Use of Formative Assessment Practices and Students’ Use of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies
Three Arizona school districts surveyed more than 1,200 teachers and more than 24,000 students in grades 3–12 in spring 2019 to better understand the relationship between their teachers’ use of formative assessment practices and their students’ use of self-regulated learning strategies, to help shape related teacher development efforts moving forward. Descriptive results indicated that students regularly track their own progress but less frequently solicit feedback from teachers or peers. On the other hand, teachers regularly give students feedback but less frequently provide occasions for students to provide feedback to one another. There was only a small, positive association between the number of formative assessment practices teachers used and the average number of self-regulated learning strategies among their students. The correlation was stronger in elementary classrooms and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) classrooms than in others. Some of teachers’ least-used formative assessment practices—facilitating student peer feedback and student self-assessment—had the strongest, positive associations with the average number of self-regulated learning strategies their students used. The more that teachers reported using these particular practices, the more self-regulated learning strategies their students reported using.
REL 2021043 College Enrollment and Completion among Texas High School Graduates with a Disability
Higher education stakeholders often have limited information about the extent to which their institutions serve students with different types of disabilities and the pipeline of students with disabilities from high school to college entry and completion. This study used longitudinal administrative data from Texas to examine college enrollment and completion among four statewide cohorts of Texas public high school graduates (2006/07 through 2009/10) by disability status in high school, type of disability, and other student characteristics. The population included 106,736 high school graduates with disabilities and 902,672 graduates without disabilities. The findings demonstrate that 30.6 percent of graduates with designated disabilities in grade 12 enrolled in a Texas institution of higher education within two years. A large majority of the high school graduates with disabilities who enrolled in higher education (90.2 percent) initially enrolled in a public two-year institution. Enrollment in four-year institutions was substantially lower for graduates with disabilities than for graduates without disabilities. Within four years of initial enrollment in a two-year institution, 16.5 percent of the graduates with disabilities who enrolled had attained a certificate or associate degree, or transferred to a four-year university. Within seven years of initial enrollment in a two-year or four-year institution, 15.6 percent of the high school graduates with disabilities who enrolled had attained a baccalaureate degree. Attainment of college credentials and degrees was substantially lower for graduates with disabilities than for graduates without disabilities, particularly for baccalaureate degrees. College enrollment and attainment among high school graduates with disabilities was substantially lower for students eligible for the federal school lunch program and substantially lower for Hispanic and Black students compared to White students. College enrollment and attainment also varied by type of primary disability, higher for students with auditory, speech, visual, orthopedic and other health impairments than for students with intellectual and learning disabilities. These findings can inform efforts to identify students with disabilities in college and explore providing different services to support transition from high school and college success, particularly at two-year institutions, where most of the Texas students with disabilities enrolled.
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