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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2015097 Development and Examination of an Alternative School Performance Index in South Carolina
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the measures that make up each of the three separate accountability indices of school performance in South Carolina could be used to create an overall, reliable index of school performance. Data from public elementary, middle, and high schools in 2012/13 were used in confirmatory factor analysis models designed to estimate the relations between the measures under different specifications. Four different factor models were compared at each school level, beginning with a one-factor model and ending with a bi-factor model. Results from the study suggest that the measures which currently are combined into three separate indices of school performance can instead be combined into a single index of school performance using a bi-factor model. The reliability of the school performance general factor estimated by the bi-factor model ranged from .89 to .95. Using this alternative school performance rating, the study found that approximately 3 percent of elementary schools, 2 percent of middle schools, and 3 percent of high schools were observed to statistically outperform their predicted performance when accounting for the school’s demographic characteristics. These schools, referred to as schools beating the odds, were found in most of the demographic profiles which represent South Carolina schools. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the development of new accountability indices in South Carolina and other states with similar models.
NCES 2015075 Gender Differences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Interest, Credits Earned, and NAEP Performance in the 12th Grade
This Statistics in Brief describes high school graduates’ attitudes toward STEM courses (specifically, mathematics and science), credits earned in STEM fields, and performance on the NAEP mathematics and science assessments in 2009.
NCEE 20144019 Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Early Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After One Year
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system that included four required components. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. This first of four planned reports provides implementation information prior to educators receiving annual performance measure information or payouts. Fewer than half of all 2010 TIF districts reported implementing all four required program components, although 85 percent reported implementing at least three of the four. In a subset of 10 districts who participated in the random assignment study, educators' reporting of the program indicated most misunderstood the performance measures and the amount of pay-for-performance bonus that they were eligible for. Most educators were satisfied with their professional opportunities, school environment, and the TIF program. Educators in those schools that offered the pay-for-performance aspect of TIF tended to be less satisfied than those in schools that did not offer such bonuses. However, educators in schools offering pay-for-performance bonuses were more satisfied with the opportunity to earn additional pay, and a greater percentage indicated feeling increased pressure to perform due to the TIF program.
WWC SSR232 WWC Review of the Report "The Short-Term Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship on Student Outcomes"
Researchers examined the impacts of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship program on academic and behavioral outcomes of students in grades 9–12 in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS). The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship program offers college scholarships to graduating high school students in the KPS district. The percentage of tuition and fees covered is dependent on how long a student has attended school in the district. Students attending since kindergarten receive the full 100% of tuition and fees. Students attending since ninth grade receive a scholarship covering 65%. Students who enter KPS in tenth grade or later are not eligible to receive the scholarship. To assess the program’s impacts, researchers compared the academic and behavioral outcomes of students in high school, before and after the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship program was introduced. Student outcomes that were included in the study were: student grade point averages, whether students earned course credits, the number of course credits earned, incidence of and number of days spent in suspension, and incidence of and number of days spent in in-school detention. This study uses a quasi-experimental design in which baseline equivalence of the groups cannot be demonstrated. Therefore, the research does not meet WWC group design standards.
WWC QR1221 Charter School Performance in New Jersey
The study examined whether students in grades 3-8 attending charter schools in New Jersey made more gains in math and reading achievement than similar students attending traditional public schools. Based on an analysis across charter schools, the authors reported that charter school students made significantly greater year-to-year gains in math and reading than similar students in non-charter schools. The authors also reported that the impact of attending a charter school on student math and reading achievement gains varied from school to school. Although students at some charter schools showed significantly higher or significantly lower achievement gains compared to students in non-charter schools, most charter schools had student gains that were not different from the gains of students in non-charter schools.
REL 2012138 Performance in Science on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments–Series II for Students in Grades 5 and 8
This report examines how grade 5 and grade 8 student achievement on the 2009/10 MCA–II science assessment differed by student and school characteristics (gender, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, special education status, race/ethnicity, and prior-year academic achievement). The study found that most of the variation in scores was associated with demographic differences among students rather than with differences between schools.

Key findings include:
  • Student achievement on the MCA–II science assessment differed across demographic subgroups, favoring male students, students not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, non–special education students, and White students.
  • After accounting for student characteristics, science achievement tended to be higher in schools with a smaller percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and a larger percentage of White students.
  • No school characteristics based on teacher composition were related to student science achievement after accounting for other student and school characteristics.
REL 2012121 Characteristics of Midwest Region School Districts Identified for Improvement
Like other states across the country, the seven REL Midwest Region states have been striving to meet the performance targets established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Under the act, districts are identified as "in improvement" and schools as "in need of improvement" after two successive years of not meeting adequate yearly progress performance targets. The report, Characteristics of Midwest Region school districts identified for improvement, presents statistical profiles of school districts designated as in improvement in the Midwest Region states as of 2009/10. It compares the prevalence and characteristics of these districts and those of districts not in improvement. It also reports the prevalence of districts in improvement under three states’ own accountability systems.
NCEE 20104004 Error Rates for Measuring Teacher and School Performance Using Value-Added Models
This study estimates error rates in identification of upper elementary school teachers as low or high performing based on student test score gain data. The study develops error rate formulas for commonly-used performance measurement schemes that are based on OLS and Empirical Bayes estimators and value-added models, where educator performance is compared to the district average using hypothesis testing. Simulation results suggest that performance estimates are likely to be noisy using the amount of data that are typically used in practice—1 to 3 years. Type I and II error rates are likely to be about 25 percent based on three years of data and 35 percent based on one year of data. Corresponding error rates for overall false positive and negative errors for all teachers who are subject to misclassification are 10 and 20 percent, respectively. Lower error rates can be achieved by increasing the number of student achievement gain measures that are available for any teacher. School-level results also have less error.
REL 2010087 The Relationship Between Changes in the Percentage of Students Passing and in the Percentage Testing Advanced on State Assessment Tests for Kentucky and Virginia
Under the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, states are required to assess students in reading and math and to identify them as below proficient or as proficient or advanced (both considered passing). Because schools are held accountable only for ensuring that students test proficient or better, there have been concerns that a focus on increasing the percentage of students testing proficient might unintentionally lead to fewer students testing at the advanced level. This REL Appalachia report, The Relationship Between Changes in the Percentage of Students Passing and in the Percentage Testing Advanced on State Assessment Tests for Kentucky and Virginia, finds that schools in Kentucky and Virginia with the greatest increases in the percentage testing proficient or better also have the greatest increases in the percentage testing advanced.
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