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August 20, 2014

New from ECS

Reading intervention in early, later years
Schoolwide models for extensive literacy instruction and intervention, such as “response to intervention” models, have proved effective in improving reading skills for children in kindergarten through third grade. An evaluation of the effects of those same interventions on students in grades 4 through 12 finds that the effects are far smaller, indicating that accelerating reading growth in the upper grades may be more challenging than in the earliest grades. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)

What States Are Doing

Blended learning goes statewide
The Learning Accelerator, a nonprofit organization supporting implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts and states across the country, and the Rhode Island Department of Education announced an initiative to make Rhode Island the first fully blended learning state in the nation. Blended learning is the combination of traditional face-to-face teaching with elements of personalized online and proficiency-based learning.

Prevention and intervention for young readers
Mississippi starts the school year with a launch of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, which puts reading coaches in targeted elementary schools and will mandate holding back third graders who read below grade level. To identify reading problems, teachers will assess K-3 students’ reading ability at the beginning and end of the school year. Students who are behind will get intensive reading instruction, and their families will be given tips for at-home work.

Good Reads

Back to school with the U.S. Census Bureau
Folks at the Census Bureau may be number crunchers, but they’re often interesting numbers. For example, Back to School: 2014-2015 reveals that back-to-school clothes shopping cost roughly $8.6 million in August 2013. Twenty-six percent of the entire population aged 3 and older are enrolled in school. Seventy-four percent of those with a STEM bachelor’s degree were not employed in a STEM occupation. And in October 2012, one in four students elementary through high school age had at least one foreign-born parent. (U.S. Census Bureau)

How has the teaching force changed in recent years?
Authors of this report were surprised to find: 1) PreK-12 teachers, who make up the largest occupational group in the nation, ballooned in number in the two decades prior to 2008, then decreased a little during the recession; 2) the number of teachers in private schools has grown faster than in public schools, despite a sharp decrease in private school students; and 3) the trend of teacher retirements causing a teacher shortage is pretty much over. The portion of teachers 50 years or older has decreased since 2008, as have the number retiring. (Consortium for Policy Research in Education)

Help for English language learners
Looking at the 2013 career- and college-readiness status of linguistically diverse high school students, ACT found 45 percent did not meet any of ACT's college-readiness benchmarks. That's compared to 31 percent of all high school graduates. Results point to the need for special attention, including out-of-school support on Saturdays, during summer and after school. Communities are encouraged to take advantage of federally funded programs like TRIO and GEAR UP, and districts are urged to track these students with longitudinal data systems. (ACT)

Compendium of research on the Common Core
Fulfilling the need for a synthesis of existing research on the Common Core State Standards, this compendium will inform policy discussions and implementation as well as future research. Each research summary includes focus, methodology, key findings, a URL when available or a citation. The studies have been categorized into nine areas: communications and public opinion; comparison of CCSS content to wide-scale assessments; content, curriculum and alignment; cost analysis; governance and leadership; implementation; teacher preparation; professional development and testing and assessment. (Center on Education Policy)

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