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August 27, 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

ACT Scores on Improvement's Cusp
For the 10th straight year, the number of students who took the ACT reached new records. While it's disappointing that scores remained flat, the good news is that many high school graduates were close to college readiness levels — 15 percent were within two points of the science benchmark, for example. Earlier identification of academic deficiencies might elevate scores. Data show encouraging growth in the eight states that administer the ACT to all students. (ACT)

Accountability Fix
Calling for a greater role for state education agencies, Marc Tucker writes that our current system of accountability is punitive to the point that teacher morale is low, teachers are leaving for more rewarding, lucrative professions, and fewer students are applying to education schools. His solution is to test less and use test data to identify struggling schools which state education agencies then would help turnaround. Teachers wouldn't be judged by students' scores but would be part of a professional team, helping each other toward greater student achievement. It is a model used by more successful education systems in other countries. (National Center on Education and the Economy)

Early Childhood for Principals
Early childhood content isn't a required element of principal preparation or professional development in most states. In this brief, CEELO recommends that principal preparation include a wide range of experiences, including classes on child development. There should be incentives to include early childhood content in school administrator licensure and professional development. Selected state examples of early childhood focused principal professional development models provide real-world examples. (Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes)

Sharing of State Longitudinal Information Systems
A pilot project looked at whether and how states might share data from their longitudinal systems to learn more about higher education and employment outcomes without compromising confidentiality. Known as the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE), the pilot used data from Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and proved the MLDE is feasible, data sharing provided more comprehensive information than individual state systems could yield, and offered the possibility of better workforce planning.  (WICHE)

Later School Start Times Advised for Adolescents
Early school start times — before 8:30 a.m. — are strongly implicated in adolescent sleep deprivation, according to a statement released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Chronic sleep loss among teenagers has increasingly become the norm due to several factors, including a later release of melatonin, lifestyle choices and academic demands. Later start times, however, are the easiest and cheapest solution. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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