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May 22, 2013
New from ECS
Teacher Training, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement
While research points to the critical role of teacher quality in improving student achievement, little consensus exists on which factors best enhance educator effectiveness. This research study found that the impact of professional development, advanced degrees, and in-service experience varied dramatically based on whether a teacher taught in an elementary, middle, or high school. As a result, state policymakers should consider their investments based on which factors most affect teacher productivity in each school context. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)
Investing in California's Future
In addition to higher ongoing funding for public education, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.'s state budget revision proposes to invest $1 billion in one-time revenues to fund professional development, instructional materials, and enhancements to technology to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
Toward High School Competencies
Oklahoma legislation enacted this spring brings high schools one step closer to adopting a competency-based model. H.B. 1038 clarifies that graduation requirements for the default college preparatory/work ready curriculum may be fulfilled by either course completion or "sets of competencies." The bill also makes clear that instruction in these skills and competencies is to be without regard to instructional time, and it permits districts to adopt high school course schedules other than block or period schedules to allow for instruction in sets of competencies.
How Do We Know We're Making Progress?
Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed S.B. 5491, which calls for the identification of data points to determine the health of the educational system and progress toward achieving student and system outcomes. As the legislation notes, "By monitoring these statewide indicators over time, it is the intent of the legislature to understand whether reform efforts and investments are making positive progress in the overall education of students and whether adjustments are necessary." The bill also expresses legislative intent to align education reform efforts across state agencies to hold all stakeholders "accountable to the same definitions of success."
Brave New World: Using Student Data to Evaluate PreK-3 Teachers
If teacher evaluation is a hot-button issue for teachers in fourth through 12th grades, imagine the difficulties of assessing the impact of someone who's dealing with much younger children. To a great extent, it's new territory, but this study presents problems already encountered in five states and three districts. Most use one or a variety of three approaches: student learning objectives, shared assessments, and shared attribution. Opportunities and risks for each are listed. (Early Education Initiative, New America Foundation)
What Makes a Successful GED Program?
The GED Bridge to Health and Business at La Guardia Community College program was the subject of a small, multi-year study by MDRC comparing Bridge students with those in traditional GED programs. Bridge students were more likely to finish the course, pass the exam, and enroll in college. Why? Bridge instructors are full-time and don't focus solely on passing the test. The Bridge GED curriculum incorporates areas of student interest—health care or business—students were intensively advised, and they spent more time in class. (MDRC)
Play a Piano, Do Better in Math
Arts Education Partnership (AEP) created ArtsEdSearch.org, the nation's first clearinghouse of research concerning ways the arts prepare students for success in school, work, and life. This brief shows how art education affects students of all ages. In school, research indicates the arts boost literacy and English language arts, and students who study the arts, especially music, do better on math assessments. (AEP)
How High Schools Influence Ninth Graders' College Attitudes
The United States now is 16th out of 36 developed countries in percentage of workers aged 25 to 35 who hold a postsecondary degree, so attention is turning to high school guidance counselors and their influence on ninth graders' interest in college attendance. The National Center for Education Statistics surveyed 24,000 of them in public and private high schools, their parents, math and science teachers, school administrators, and lead school counselors. The average student-counselor ratio was 250 to 1 and about half the counselors spent 21% or more of their time on college counseling. Among ninth graders, only 18% had spoken with a counselor about college. (National Association for College Admission Counseling)
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Is No Longer Just Preparation for Entry-Level Jobs
Preparing students for a more complex future, modern CTE pathways must ensure that coursework involves applied, contextual learning so students can see relevance in their studies and a relationship to their goals, according to this report. Evolving into an academically rigorous course of study, CTE now is seen as preparation for both college and careers. States can move CTE along by providing alternative certification options for industry experts to become CTE instructors, professional development for current and would-be CTE instructors, and soliciting feedback from workforce stakeholders. (American Institutes for Research)
Cost of Teacher Evaluation
This report presents case studies of the efforts by three school districts—Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), Memphis City Schools (MCS), and Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS)—to launch, implement, and operate new teacher evaluation systems as part of a larger reform effort called the Partnership Sites to Empower Effective Teaching. This calculates what the programs cost to implement. (RAND Education and American Institutes for Research)
College Readiness Assessments in High School
Thirty-eight states offer some form of early college readiness assessments that can inform students of additional skills they need to gain in mathematics, reading, or writing to enter college without having to take remedial courses. Of these, 25 are implemented through state initiatives and 13 are initiated locally. Some states combine assessments with structured interventions—transition curricula—which are often under development in states affiliated with the Southern Regional Education Board. (Community College Research Center)
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