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Improving Hispanic Achievement: Implications for State Policy PDF - On October 19, 2010 President Obama signed an Executive Order creating a presidential advisory commission on Hispanic education. Many ECS constituents are deeply committed to improving educational outcomes for Hispanics. This ECS Alert contains a sampling of ECS policy tracking, analysis and research syntheses aimed at helping state policymakers work towards this important goal....

Achievement Gaps: How do State Standards, Assessments, Curriculum Influence Achievement? - Access related research titles from the ECS Research Studies Database. Links embedded in titles will take you to each study's major findings and recommendations....

Creating Pathways to Prosperity: A Blueprint to Action - In the spring of 2013, a conference at Harvard considered the design of quality career pathways systems spanning grades 9-14. Summaries and recommendations from that conference, "Creating Pathways to Prosperity," constitute this report. Key elements required to build and maintain a quality career pathways system are: career information and guidance; curriculum development and teacher training; effective intermediary organizations; engaged employers; supportive federal and state policies. The project has become a movement which now is in 10 states. (Ronald F. Ferguson and Sara Lamback, Harvard Graduate School of Education, June 2014)...

Predictors of Postsecondary Success - Intended to help policymakers and educators identify qualities that predict postsecondary success, this brief summarizes research on the subject from early childhood to high school. At the lower levels, predictors mostly related to leapfrogging to achievement at higher levels, for example kindergarten readiness predicting third-grade reading proficiency. At high school, there were numerous indicators and predictors reflecting a breadth of research. (Vanessa Hein, Becky Smerdon and Megan Sambolt, American Institutes for Research, November 2013)...

Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward - Of the 35 richest countries, the United States has the second highest child poverty rate; first highest is Romania. Twenty-two percent of American children are living in poverty and while education has long been touted as the great equalizer, that is more myth than reality, write researchers who took a hard look at the relationship between poverty and educational outcomes. Fortunately the report ends with strategies for mitigating poverty’s influence on educational outcomes. (Richard J. Coley and Bruce Baker, ETS Center for Research on Human Capital and Education, July 2013)...

Uneven at the Start: Differences in State Track Records Foreshadow Challenges and Opportunities for Common Core - Some states might be more successful in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) than others. Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the paper compares states' rates of improvement from 2003 to 2011 and their relative performance in 2011. Then they are rated overall and by how subgroups did on the NAEP. While states' past track records don't necessarily predict the future, the author writes that they might foreshadow challenges and strengths. (Natasha Ushomirski, Education Trust, July 2013)...

Road to Equity: Expanding AP Access and Success for African-American Students - Of 75 school districts whose demographics make them eligible for the Broad Prize for Urban Education, only six have student populations in which African-American students were improving their passing rates for Advanced Placement (AP) exams while keeping participation levels steady: Cobb and Fulton counties, Ga., Garland Independent, Tex., Jefferson County, Ky., Orange county, Fla., and San Diego Unified, Ca. Garland was the only district increasing participation and pass rates for African-Americans and Hispanics at levels outpacing their white peers. This brief explores strategies used by all six, among them: cast a wider net for academic potential, impose a rigorous curriculum in elementary school, apply gifted strategies to all children, open AP to everyone, offer a broad array of support, and place a premium on teacher training. (Broad Prize for Urban Education, Summer 2013)...

Advancing Equity: Removing Roadblocks to Achieving High Academic Standards - This issue of Educational Testing Service's Policy Notes provides highlights from the second "Saturdays at ETS" series on the challenges facing standards-based education reform. The conference was co-convened by the Council for Opportunity in Education, the Education Law Center and the National Urban League. (Educational Testing Service, July 2012) ...

Closing the Achievement Gap for Economically Disadvantaged Students? - Three key questions are addressed in this analysis: (1) Has student achievement on math and language arts state-administered assessments improved significantly since NCLB, particularly for students from economically disadvantaged families? (2) Has the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students closed since NCLB implementation? (3) Are state trends in student achievement on state assessments confirmed by achievement trends on NAEP assessments? (CCSSO, April 2011)...

Not Prepared for Class: High Poverty Schools Continue to Have Fewer In-Field Teachers - Nearly a decade after federal law was enacted to ensure that low-income students and students of color had a fair shot at being assigned to strong teachers, students in high-poverty schools are still disproportionately taught by out-of-field and rookie teachers. Abundant research has concluded that among schoolhouse variables, teacher quality has the single most significant impact on student academic gains. (Sarah Almy and Christina Theokas, The Education Trust, November 2010)...

The Black-White Achievement Gap: When Progress Stopped - This report traces the Black-White educational achievement and attainment gaps back to the early 20th century and presents a variety of data in an effort to understand why the gaps stopped closing over the last several decades. Barton and Coley conclude that we have spun a wide and sticky web of conditions that are holding back progress in closing the achievement gap. Getting over just one strand of that web will not allow an escape from it. It will be necessary to move forward with all deliberate thought, care and speed. (Paul Barton and Richard Coley, Educational Testing Service, August 2010)...

A Call to Action to Raise Achievement for African American Students - The first part of this brief summarizes key results for African Americans on the state tests used for accountability under the No Child Left Behind Act. The second part of the brief considers policies that could be undertaken at the local, state and federal level to raise achievement for African American students. The authors arrived at these policy implications after reviewing studies by other researchers about possible factors underlying the black-white achievement gap and possible strategies to address the gap. (Center on Education Policy, June 2010)...

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