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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2022131 Estimating Changes to Student Learning in Illinois Following Extended School Building Closures due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the education of students in Illinois and around the nation. Leaders at the Illinois State Board of Education and in Illinois public school districts want to better understand how student learning changed during the pandemic. This study examines data from 17 Illinois districts over five years, including four years prior to the pandemic, to measure how student learning changed in fall 2020 relative to fall terms prior to the pandemic. The study demonstrates how learning changed in both mathematics and reading for students in grades 3–8, as well as how these changes varied across student characteristics and district size. The study found that students in grades 4–8 scored lower than expected in mathematics following the onset of the pandemic, after adjusting for other factors. The magnitude varied by grade level. Larger estimated changes in learning occurred in grades 6–8 than in grades 4 and 5. Students in grades 3–8 did not experience any statistically significant changes in learning in reading. A further analysis of learning in mathematics showed that changes in learning varied across students with different characteristics but were unrelated to district size. The study findings should be interpreted with caution, especially when generalizing to the population of Illinois districts and students. The study includes a small number of districts, and the students in these districts differ from the statewide population of students.
12/1/2021
REL 2022128 Impacts of Home Visits on Students in District of Columbia Public Schools
This study examined the impacts of structured relationship-building teacher home visits conducted in grades 1–5 as part of a family engagement program in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Using a matched comparison group research design, the study measured the impacts of the home visits on student disciplinary incidents and attendance. The study found that a home visit before the start of the school year reduced the likelihood of a student having a disciplinary incident in that school year. During the school year following a home visit, 9.27 percent of visited students had a disciplinary incident compared with 12.22 percent of nonvisited comparison students. The study also found that, on average, a home visit slightly improved student attendance. The attendance rate averaged 95.28 percent for visited students and 94.93 percent for nonvisited comparison students.
11/23/2021
REL 2021115 The Effect of Discipline Reform Plans on Exclusionary Discipline Outcomes in Minnesota
In 2017 the Minnesota Department of Human Rights identified 43 local education agencies in the state as being in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act for their use of exclusionary discipline practices (suspensions, exclusions, and expulsions) at higher rates for American Indian students, Black students, and students in special education, as well as for their overall use of discipline practices. The department agreed not to pursue legal action against any identified local education agency that created and implemented a plan to reform its discipline practices. This study examined the use of exclusionary discipline practices by Minnesota local education agencies from 2014/15 through 2018/19 and the extent to which the creation of discipline reform plans by identified local education agencies was associated with changes in discipline outcomes. The study found that creating a discipline reform plan was not associated with a statistically significant change in exclusionary discipline actions experienced by students.
9/13/2021
NFES 2021094 Forum Guide to Staff Records
The Forum Guide to Staff Records was developed to help education agencies effectively collect and manage staff data; protect the privacy of staff data; and ensure that requests for data access and data releases are managed appropriately. The guide builds on information from the 2000 publication, Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies and reflects how agencies have responded to changes in staff data over time. It includes a discussion of types of staff records, updated best practices for data collection and management, and case studies from state and local education agencies.
8/27/2021
REL 2021101 The Effect of School Report Card Design on Usability, Understanding, and Satisfaction

Education policymakers view transparency and accountability as critical to the success of schools. To support these goals, the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has developed an online school report card for communicating information about the characteristics and performance of schools. To support OSSE’s interest in making report cards more usable, this study assessed the effect of different designs on how easy the report cards are to use and understand, how easy it is to find information in them, and whether users would recommend the site to others.

The study found that moving the link to details of the district’s School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) framework from the top of the page to beneath the STAR score improved the site’s usability and that reporting the number of points possible for each metric led to a better understanding of how the score is calculated. The combination of design features that produced the best performance on all measures included these two design changes. Other designs had mixed effects. In particular, making year-over-year change in school performance salient made it easier to identify which schools had improved the most, but participants disliked this feature (demonstrated by lower ratings for usability and satisfaction). In general, participants who accessed the site with mobile devices had more difficulty using it. This study illustrates how policymakers and practitioners in other states can efficiently test school report card design changes at scale.

7/27/2021
REL 2021096 A Guide to Identifying Similar Schools to Support School Improvement
To support school improvement efforts, school leaders and education agencies might need to identify groups of schools that are similar so that schools can compare their performance or share practices with other schools in the same group. This could also allow education agencies to provide tailored supports to schools in a group. This guide describes how an education agency can select a distance measure (a statistical rather than a geographic measure) to identify schools that are similar to a target school, using a variety of characteristics that enable school leaders to better understand their schools’ relative performance. This guide is based on work done with the Nebraska Department of Education and is designed to help staff in other education agencies who are interested in implementing a similar approach to support school improvement.
7/6/2021
REL 2021085 Relationship between State Annual School Monitoring Indicators and Outcomes in Massachusetts Low‑Performing Schools
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports low-performing schools through a process that draws on qualitative and quantitative data from monitoring visits. The data are used to produce ratings for 26 turnaround indicators in four turnaround practice areas relating to school leadership, instructional practices, student supports, and school climate. This study analyzed data on school indicator ratings collected during school years 2014/15–2018/19 from 91 low-performing schools, with a focus on the distribution of the ratings among schools during their first year in the monitoring system and on the relationship of ratings to school outcomes. During the first year in which ratings data were available for a school, a majority of schools were in the two highest rating levels for 21 of the 26 indicators. Schools generally had lower rating levels for indicators in the student supports practice area than in the other three practice areas. Ratings for half the indicators were statistically significantly related to better schoolwide student outcomes and had a practically meaningful effect size of .25 or greater, and none was statistically significantly related to worse outcomes. Two indicators in the leadership practice area (school leaders' high expectations for students and staff and trusting relationships among staff) were related to lower chronic absenteeism rates. Ratings for five indicators in the instructional practices area were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math; two of these indicators (use of student assessment data to inform classroom instruction and school structures for instructional improvements) were related to higher growth in both English language arts and math. Ratings for four indicators in the student supports practice area (teacher training to identify student needs, research-based interventions for all students, interventions for English learner students, and interventions for students with disabilities) were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math. Two indicators in the school climate practice area (schoolwide behavior plans and adult–student relationships) were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math or lower chronic absenteeism rate. Eight indicators were not statistically related to any of the outcomes of interest.
5/17/2021
NCES 2021305 Highlights of School-Level Finance Data: Selected Findings from the School-Level Finance Survey (SLFS) School Years 2015-16 (FY 16) and 2016-17 (FY 17)

This statistical analysis report presents key findings and other data highlights from School-Level Finance Survey (SLFS) in school years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The report focuses on (1) the completeness and comparability of SLFS data and (2) how the SLFS can be utilized to evaluate differences in resource allocation (as measured by school-level expenditures) across schools, school districts, and states.

In discussing the findings, the report presents district- and state-aggregated information on school-level expenditure data collected through the SLFS, including:

  • universe coverage and survey item response rates, by state;
  • comparison of SLFS finance data with comparable state-level finance data collected through the National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS); and
  • statistics on a wide variety of school-level expenditures (and school-level expenditures per pupil), by school characteristics such as urbanicity and school poverty indicators such as Title I eligibility.

The report also includes an assortment of tables and figures to support its key findings on school-level expenditures collected through the SLFS.

3/30/2021
NCES 2021139 Pre-COVID Ability Grouping in U.S. Public Schools
This report examines whether ability grouping was used to organize classes or students in public schools in the United States. It presents information about the prevalence of ability grouping and the characteristics of schools using this method during school year 2017–18.
3/30/2021
REL 2021074 Steps to Develop a Model to Estimate School- and District-Level Postsecondary Success
This tool is intended to support state and local education agencies in developing a statistical model for estimating student postsecondary success at the school or district level. The tool guides education agency researchers, analysts, and decisionmakers through options to consider when developing their own model. The resulting model generates an indicator of a school's or district's contribution to the postsecondary success of its students after contextual factors are accounted for that might be outside a school's or district's control, such as student demographic characteristics and community characteristics. State and local education agencies could use the information generated by the models they develop to help meet federal and state reporting requirements and to inform their own efforts to improve their students’ postsecondary success.
3/22/2021
NFES 2021013 Forum Guide to Strategies for Education Data Collection and Reporting (SEDCAR)
The Forum Guide to Strategies for Education Data Collection and Reporting (SEDCAR) was created to provide timely and useful best practices for education agencies that are interested in designing and implementing a strategy for data collection and reporting, focusing on these as key elements of the larger data process. It builds upon the Standards for Education Data Collection and Reporting (published by the Forum in 1991) and reflects the vast increase over the past three decades in the number of compulsory and/or continual data collections conducted by education agencies. This new resource is designed to be relevant to the state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) of today, in which data are regularly collected for multiple purposes, and data collection and recording may be conducted by many different individuals within an agency.
3/11/2021
WWC 2021003 National Institute for School LeadershipTM (NISL) Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on National Institute for School LeadershipTM (NISL). NISL is a professional development program that aims to develop effective, strategic school leaders focused on preparing schools to provide high-quality instruction in a supportive learning environment. NISL professional development consists of 12 two-day units that are offered over 12 to 15 months. As part of the program, school leaders learn how to apply NISL's teacher coaching model to support teachers in core content areas. No studies of NISL that fall within the scope of the WWC review met WWC standards. Because no studies met standards, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions at this time about the effectiveness of NISL on student, teacher, or school leader outcomes.
3/10/2021
NCEE 2021006 State and District Use of Title II, Part A Funds in 2018-19
Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides over $2 billion per year in funding to states and districts to support effective instruction through the preparation, recruitment, and training of educators. The 2015 reauthorization of ESEA, as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provided greater flexibility for states and districts in how they use Title II A funds, by expanding the option to transfer funds to other ESEA programs, authorizing states to set aside additional funds for training principals and other school leaders, and authorizing new allowable uses of the funds. This report describes the use of those flexibilities and provides a national picture of state and district priorities for Title II A funds in the 2018-19 school year. The report finds that districts most often used Title II A funds to provide professional development. Other common uses included reducing class sizes and recruiting and retaining effective teachers and principals. Half of the states and a quarter of districts used the new flexibility provided under ESSA. Subsequent rounds of these annual surveys will show the evolving responses of states and districts to the new ESSA provisions.
2/25/2021
NCES 2021009 Digest of Education Statistics, 2019
The 55th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest's purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.
2/25/2021
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.
2/18/2021
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