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from the Education Commission of the States
 

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October 15, 2014

New from ECS

Determining teaching quality
This study presents new evidence from experimental studies of the Rapid Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness (RATE) that suggest bigger, faster, cheaper observations are possible. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)

What States Are Doing

Making progress on personalized learning plans
The Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Personalized Learning Plan Work Group have developed a series of resources to help schools consider ways in which they can plan for and implement the Personalized Learning Plans that were required by Act 77 in mid-2013.

Bulletin on missing children to public schools
California’s recently enacted S.B. 1066 requires the attorney general to distribute a missing children and at-risk adults bulletin on a quarterly basis to local law enforcement agencies, district attorneys and public schools.

Good Reads

Dropout rate hits record low
According to data from the Census Bureau, last year just 7 percent of the country’s 18- to 24-year-olds had dropped out of high school; in 2000, that number was 12 percent. At least in part, the decline has been driven by fewer Latino and African-American youth dropping out of school. (Pew)

Federal voucher program
The only voucher program created and funded by the U.S. Congress, the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) was changed at its reauthorization two years ago. This report suggests those changes have not drawn more private schools into the OSP and that participating schools are now more likely to report tuition rates above the OSP amounts and to have less diverse populations. (Institute of Education Sciences)

Educational assessment needs to change
The time is ripe for a major shift in educational assessment. State and federal policymakers should reconsider their overreliance on standardized tests, and they should embrace the use of multiple measures that, in combination, provide much deeper and more useful information about students’ readiness to succeed after high school. (Jobs for the Future)

What’s up with educational service districts?
States, districts and schools should consider educational service agencies like Washington's Educational Service Districts (ESDs) for more coordinated and efficient instructional services. This descriptive study finds: 1) funding is almost evenly divided between instructional and non-instructional programs; 2) the number of districts served and expenditure per district vary and 3) ESD staff say the most important services don't always get the most funding. (REL Northwest)

Competency education as it operates abroad
An analysis of ways high-performing countries are investing in a shift toward personalization and competency education favors competency-based learning as it is embedded in national and regional policy. Since U.S. states and districts enjoy relative independence in education policy, they can learn from other countries and adopt what appeals.  (iNACOL and Competency Works)

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