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 Pub Number  Title  Date
WWC 2022005 Social Belonging Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on Social Belonging interventions that support postsecondary success. Social Belonging interventions for college students aim to reduce the impacts of negative stereotypes that may burden students in underrepresented groups and affect their persistence in college. Examples of such groups are racial or ethnic minority groups, women in engineering, and first-generation college students. There are different variations of Social Belonging interventions, but they all have in common a goal of influencing students' sense that they could be successful within a college setting. Based on the research, the WWC found that Social Belonging interventions have mixed effects on academic achievement and progressing in college, and have no discernible effects on college enrollment.
1/19/2022
NCEE 2022001 How to Text Message Parents to Reduce Chronic Absence Using an Evidence-Based Approach
Chronic absence is a nationwide problem, even among young students. A recent Institute of Education Sciences (IES) study found that a carefully designed text messaging strategy improved attendance in elementary schools. Based on the study, this guide provides districts with information and tools for carrying out their own evidence-based attendance text messaging.
12/2/2021
REL 2022123 Academic Mindsets and Behaviors, Prior Achievement, and the Transition to Middle School

Middle school is an important crossroad in a student’s academic journey. As students enter middle school, their academic achievement and engagement frequently declines. This is true particularly for Black and Latinx students. Poor middle school grades are often a harbinger of poor performance in high school and beyond. In particular, having a grade point average (GPA) below 2.0 is a strong signal of continuing negative academic outcomes. Previous research has found that academic outcomes around the transition to middle school are related to, and might even be driven by, academic mindsets, including growth mindsets (such as beliefs about the malleability of academic ability and the payoff to effort) and performance avoidance (fears of failure and the desire to avoid academic effort), and resulting academic behaviors (such as completing homework).

This study examined the relationship between 2016/17 grade 5 student responses to a Clark County School District (Nevada) survey on levels of academic mindsets and behaviors and the predicted probability of earning a low GPA (below 2.0) at the end of the first semester of grade 6 (the first year of middle school) in 2017/18. Grade 5 students who reported high levels of growth mindset and academic behavior and low levels of performance avoidance had a lower predicted probability of having a GPA below 2.0 in the first semester of grade 6. Once student scores on grade 5 state standardized math and English language arts achievement exams were accounted for, levels of academic mindsets and behaviors among grade 5 students with scores at or above the district median did not predict meaningful differences in the probability of having a GPA below 2.0 in the first semester of grade 6. However, among grade 5 students with prior academic achievement below the district median, students who reported high levels of growth mindset and academic behaviors and low levels of performance avoidance had a lower predicted probability of having a GPA below 2.0 in the first semester of grade 6, even after differences in individual grade 5 prior academic achievement were accounted for. These patterns were essentially the same for all racial/ethnic groups as well as for both English learner students and non–English learner students.

10/25/2021
REL 2021114 Using a survey of social and emotional learning and school climate to inform decisionmaking

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has prioritized efforts to support students' social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies, such as perseverance and social awareness. To measure students' SEL competencies and the school experiences that promote SEL competencies (school climate), DCPS began administering annual surveys to students, teachers, and parents in 2017/18. DCPS partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory to study how the district could use these surveys to improve students' outcomes. The study found the following:

  • Students' SEL competencies and school experiences are the most favorable in elementary school and the least favorable in middle school and the beginning of high school. This pattern suggests that schools might provide targeted supports before or during grades 6-10 to promote SEL competencies and school experiences when students need the most support.
  • The trajectories of students' SEL competencies and school experiences differed in different schools, to a similar degree as trajectories in academic measures like test scores. To understand why changes in SEL competencies and school experiences differ across schools, DCPS could explore differences in practices between schools with better and worse trajectories. In addition, DCPS could provide targeted support to schools with lower levels of positive change.
  • Of the SEL competencies and school experiences in DCPS's survey, self-management—how well students control their emotions, thoughts, and behavior—is most related to students' later academic outcomes. Programs or interventions that target self-management might have the most potential for improving students' outcomes compared to those that target other SEL competencies or school experiences.
  • In statistical models designed to predict students' future academic outcomes, SEL competency and school experience data add little accuracy beyond prior academic outcomes (such as achievement test scores and attendance) and demographic characteristics. Prior academic outcomes and demographic characteristics predict later outcomes with a high degree of accuracy, and they may implicitly incorporate the SEL competencies and school experiences. These findings suggest that DCPS would not need to use SEL competencies and school experiences to identify whether or not students are at risk of poor academic outcomes.
  • Student, teacher, and parent reports on SEL competencies and school experiences are positively related across schools, but they also exhibit systematic differences, suggesting that some respondent groups may not be aligned in their view of SEL competencies and school experiences. These differences may serve as a tool to help DCPS target efforts to improve communication among students, teachers, and parents.
8/3/2021
REL 2021102 Associations between High School Students' Social-Emotional Competencies and Their High School and College Academic and Behavioral Outcomes in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
This study addressed the need expressed by education stakeholders in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to better understand their high school students' social-emotional competencies and how those competencies might be associated with students' academic and behavioral outcomes in high school and college. Social-emotional competencies refer to the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors that help students recognize and manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In May 2019 grade 11 and 12 students who were enrolled in high schools within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System responded in May 2019 to survey questions regarding their self-management, growth mindset, self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and social awareness using a 5-point scale, with higher scores reflecting greater social-emotional competencies. The study found that high school students and high school students who went on to attend Northern Marianas College scored highest in self-management and lowest in self-efficacy. High school students with higher growth mindset or self-efficacy scores had higher high school grade point averages and grade 10 ACT Aspire math and reading scale scores. Higher self-efficacy scores were also associated with fewer days absent from high school. Students with higher social awareness scores had lower high school grade point averages. Among the high school students who went on to attend college at Northern Marianas College, higher growth mindset scores were associated with higher first semester college grade point averages, after student characteristics were controlled for. None of the four other social-emotional competency domains was associated with any of the college academic or behavioral outcomes.
7/29/2021
WWC 2021008 Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS®)
PATHS® is delivered through short lessons given two to three times a week over the school year. The program is based on the principle that understanding and regulating emotions are central to effective problem solving. The lessons focus on five components: self-control, emotional literacy, social competence, positive peer relations, and interpersonal problem-solving skills.

Based on the research, the WWC found that PATHS® has no discernible effects on academic achievement, social interactions, observed individual behavior, or emotional status. The WWC based its conclusion on its review of two studies of PATHS® that met WWC group design standards. One study included 1,582 students in 45 schools in 10 districts in the United Kingdom. The second study included 133 students with disabilities in seven elementary schools in three school districts in the state of Washington.
4/8/2021
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 2017226 Growth mindset, performance avoidance, and academic behaviors in Clark County School District
Previous research strongly suggests that beliefs regarding the nature of ability and the payoff to effort (academic mindsets) and the related actions (academic behaviors) play an important role in supporting student success. Not much is known about the distribution of these beliefs among teachers and students in different academic contexts. This study examined the distribution of reported academic mindsets and behaviors in Nevada’s Clark County School District. The analysis revealed that most students reported beliefs that are largely consistent with a growth mindset. However, reported beliefs and behaviors differed significantly depending on students' English learner status, race/ethnicity, grade level and prior achievement. For example, Black and Hispanic students reported lower levels of growth mindset than White students. English learner students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and higher levels of performance avoidance than their non-English learner counter parts. Lower achieving students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and significantly higher levels of performance avoidance than their higher achieving peers. Teachers reported greater beliefs in growth mindset than students, and their beliefs regarding growth mindset did not, for the most part, vary significantly depending on the characteristics of the students attending their schools.
4/5/2017
REL 2017263 Analyzing student-level disciplinary data: A guide for districts
The purpose of this report is to help guide districts in analyzing their own student-level disciplinary data to answer important questions about the use of disciplinary actions. This report, developed in collaboration with the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands Urban School Improvement Alliance, provides information to district personnel about how to analyze their student-level data and answer questions about the use of disciplinary actions, such as whether these actions are disproportionately applied to some student subgroups, and whether there are differences in student academic outcomes across the types of disciplinary actions that students receive. This report identifies several considerations that should be accounted for prior to conducting any analysis of student-level disciplinary data. These include defining all data elements to be used in the analysis, establishing rules for transparency (including handling missing data), and defining the unit-of-analysis. The report also covers examples of descriptive analyses that can be conducted by districts to answer questions about their use of the disciplinary actions. SPSS syntax is provided to assist districts in conducting all of the analyses described in the report. The report will help guide districts to design and carry out their own analyses, or to engage in conversations with external researchers who are studying disciplinary data in their districts.
3/29/2017
REL 2017233 Stated Briefly: Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the findings from another report (REL 2017-257).This study examined rural–nonrural differences in postsecondary educational expectations and the attainment of expectations for grade 10 students attending rural and nonrural high schools in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest region and how these differences compare with rural–nonrural differences in the rest of the nation. For grade 10 students who indicated that they did not anticipate attaining more than a high school education, the study also examined rural and nonrural students' reasons for not expecting to continue their education past the secondary level. Analyses drew on data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 using descriptive statistics, chi-squared tests of association, and multinomial regression models with students nested in schools. The baseline model included only school locale, an indicator for region, and their interaction as predictors; subsequent models added student predictors, family characteristics, teacher expectations, and school contextual variables. Analyses reveal that rural students in the Midwest had lower educational expectations than their nonrural peers, yet similar levels of educational attainment after taking into account student, family, teacher, and school characteristics. For two-thirds of rural and nonrural students, educational attainment fell short of expectations. Importantly, participation in rigorous coursework, parent aspirations, and teacher expectations were more predictive of educational expectations and attainment than whether students grew up in rural areas in grade 10 in 2002. For grade 10 students who did not expect to go to college, both rural and nonrural students perceived financial barriers as the primary reason. Policymakers and other stakeholders in Midwestern states and the rest of the nation can use the results of this study to inform efforts to improve the educational attainment of rural students.
3/8/2017
REL 2017257 Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students
This study examined rural–nonrural differences in postsecondary educational expectations and the attainment of expectations for grade 10 students attending rural and nonrural high schools in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest region and how these differences compare with rural–nonrural differences in the rest of the nation. For grade 10 students who indicated that they did not anticipate attaining more than a high school education, the study also examined rural and nonrural students' reasons for not expecting to continue their education past the secondary level. Analyses drew on data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 using descriptive statistics, chi-squared tests of association, and multinomial regression models with students nested in schools. The baseline model included only school locale, an indicator for region, and their interaction as predictors; subsequent models added student predictors, family characteristics, teacher expectations, and school contextual variables. Analyses reveal that rural students in the Midwest had lower educational expectations than their nonrural peers, yet similar levels of educational attainment after taking into account student, family, teacher, and school characteristics. For two-thirds of rural and nonrural students, educational attainment fell short of expectations. Importantly, participation in rigorous coursework, parent aspirations, and teacher expectations were more predictive of educational expectations and attainment than whether students grew up in rural areas in grade 10 in 2002. For grade 10 students who did not expect to go to college, both rural and nonrural students perceived financial barriers as the primary reason. Policymakers and other stakeholders in Midwestern states and the rest of the nation can use the results of this study to inform efforts to improve the educational attainment of rural students.
3/8/2017
REL 2017248 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Outcomes for different student populations and settings (part 4 of 4)
This is the fourth in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report presents outcomes for the general student population and student subgroups, including students from low-income families, racial/ethnic minority students, male and female students, English learner students, and students from urban and rural locales. Results suggest that SEL programs positively affect social and academic outcomes for the general student population, such as increased academic motivation, self-efficacy, conflict resolution skills, emotion recognition, empathy, and bonding to school; reduced antisocial behaviors and behavior problems; and higher grades and test scores. The outcomes of SEL for student subgroups are mixed. While some successful strategies for implementing SEL with diverse populations have been identified, more research is needed.
2/23/2017
REL 2017247 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning (part 3 of 4)
This is the third in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. The sources reviewed for this report included a large body of evidence regarding individual teacher and classroom practices that promote SEL. This report identifies three classroom factors (other than using SEL curriculum) that impact social and emotional learning: classroom climate (physical space and materials, classroom management, emotional climate), instructional strategies (modeling, reacting, teaching), and teacher social and emotional competence. Teachers and administrators can use the strategies presented in this report either alongside, or in the absence of, a formal SEL program.
2/23/2017
REL 2017246 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Implementation strategies and state and district support policies (part 2 of 4)
This is the second in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report is a review of the literature on the implementation strategies that support SEL programming, including a cycle of continuous improvement. It also presents state and district policy supports for SEL programming, such as engaging stakeholders, assessing resources and needs, adopting evidence-based SEL programs, integrating SEL into teacher and administrator evaluation systems, and developing comprehensive, freestanding SEL learning standards.
2/23/2017
REL 2017245 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Characteristics of effective social and emotional learning programs (part 1 of 4)
This is the first in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report is a review of the literature on stand-alone, evidence-based SEL programs that are associated with positive student behaviors and/or academic performance. The literature reviewed for this report also includes programs that target executive functioning, with an understanding that many SEL approaches represent a hybrid of the two. To assist educators and policymakers, this report presents information on selecting an evidenced-based SEL program and provides recommendations from experts.
2/23/2017
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