BLOG

We Have Skills, Effective and Efficient Social Skills Instruction for Early Elementary

Keith Smolkowski, Hill Walker, Brion Marquez, Derek Kosty, Claudia Vincent, Carey Black, Gulcan Cil, & Lisa A. Strycker

PDF Version

Can Social Skills Instruction be Efficient and Effective?

Yes. A rigorous study shows that the We Have Skills program efficiently and effectively taught the academically related social skills needed for early elementary students to succeed in school. We Have Skills appealed to children, and teachers quickly mastered and readily implemented the program in their classrooms.

Read More

The Meta-Analytic Rain Cloud (MARC) Plot: A New Approach to Visualizing Clearinghouse Data

Kaitlyn G. Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Tipton

PDF Version

What type of data do clearinghouses communicate?

As the body of scientific evidence about what works in education grows, so does the need to effectively communicate that evidence to policy-makers and practitioners. Clearinghouses, such as the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), have emerged to facilitate the evidence-based decision-making process and have taken on the non-trivial task of distilling often complex research findings to non-researchers. Among other things, this involves reporting effect sizes, statistical uncertainty, and meta-analytic summaries. This information is often reported visually. However, existing visualizations often do not follow data visualization best practices or take the statistical cognition of the audience into consideration.

Read More

Experimental Impacts of a Preschool Intervention in Chile on Children's Language Outcomes: Moderation by Student Absenteeism

Summary by: Hang (Heather) Do

PDF Version

What was this study about?

Chronic absenteeism (missing more than 10% of school days or more in one year) negatively impacts children’s school achievement and development. Yet, little is known about how absenteeism influences the effectiveness of interventions. In this study, the authors examined whether absenteeism affected the impacts of an intensive two-year professional development (PD) intervention aiming to improve the quality of Chilean public preschool and kindergarten and enhance the language and literacy outcomes of participating children (UBC (Un Buen Comienzo/A Good Start)).

Read More

The effect of embedding formative assessment on pupil attainment

Jake Anders, Francesca Foliano, Matt Bursnall, Richard Dorsett, Nathan Hudson, Johnny Runge, and Stefan Speckesser

PDF Version

What is formative assessment?

'Formative assessment', often used interchangeably with the term 'assessment for learning' and in contrast to 'summative assessment', refers to assessment activities undertaken by teachers – or students themselves – to obtain evidence which is then used to adapt teaching and learning methods to meet student needs and improve learning outcomes.

Read More

Modeling and Comparing Seasonal Trends in Interim Achievement Data

James Soland & Yeow Meng Thum

PDF Version

Introduction

Interim achievement tests are often used to monitor student and school performance over time. Unlike end-of-year achievement tests used for accountability, interim tests are administered multiple times per year (e.g., Fall, Winter, and Spring) and vary across schools in terms of when in the school year students take them. As a result, scores reflect seasonal patterns in achievement, including summer learning loss. Despite the prevalence of interim tests, few statistical models are designed to answer questions commonly asked with interim test data (e.g., Do students whose achievement grows the most over several years, tend to experience below-average summer loss?). In this study we compare the properties of three growth models that can be used to examine interim test data.

Read More

Performance Evaluations as a Measure of Teacher Effectiveness When Implementation Differs

James Cowan, Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald

PDF Version

Overview

We use statewide data from Massachusetts to investigate the school role in teacher evaluation. Schools classify most teachers as proficient but differ substantially in how frequently they assign other ratings. We show these patterns are driven by differences in the application of standards across schools, not by differences in the distribution of teacher quality.

Read More

The Effects of Higher-Stakes Teacher Evaluation on Office Disciplinary Referrals

David Liebowitz, Lorna Porter & Dylan Bragg

PDF Version

Discussions about teacher evaluation often focus on how evaluations can inform high-stakes job decisions. However, when designing teacher evaluation frameworks, policy makers and system leaders also explicitly seek to promote the development of teachers’ pedagogical skills. One clear emphasis in most measures of teacher practice is that teachers develop a safe and supportive classroom learning environment. Thus, as intended, introducing more intensive teacher evaluation practices could decrease the rate at which teachers send students to the office for misbehavior. This might happen if, through the cycle of observations and feedback, teachers’ classroom management skills improve and they are better equipped to minimize student misbehavior.  In contrast, unintentionally, higher-stakes teacher evaluation policies could increase the rate at which teachers send students to the office for misbehavior. For example, if teachers are stressed about how orderly their classroom seems during an unannounced observation, they might send more students out of class in the hopes that fewer disruptions occur during an evaluative visit. They might also send disruptive students out if they perceive that doing so will maximize the learning environment for their other students.

In this study, we tested whether higher-accountability teacher evaluation polices, implemented in response to the 2009 Race to the Top competition, affected how teachers responded to classroom misbehavior in the form of Office Disciplinary Referrals (ODRs). We examined this question using a sample of 2,564 schools, all of which were attempting to implement the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework throughout the 12 years of our sample.

Read More

Effects of a Reading Intervention and Mentoring Intervention for Ninth-Grade English Learners with Reading Difficulties

Sharon Vaughn, Leticia Martinez, Kelly J. Williams, Jeremy Miciak, Anna-Maria Fall, & Greg Roberts

PDF Version

How does an intensive reading intervention affect the reading achievement of ninth-grade English learners with reading difficulties?

Some English learners (ELs) in ninth grade have difficulty comprehending grade-level text, preventing them from learning content in other subject areas. To address this we implemented an intensive, multicomponent reading intervention for one year with ninth-grade ELs with reading difficulties. The intervention was provided in addition to core instruction and focused on word-reading, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension. Foundational skills and strategies were taught through explicit instructional methods, and students worked in cooperative learning groups to apply these skills and strategies to content area texts. ELs who received the reading intervention performed better on some measures of reading achievement (sentence-level fluency and comprehension, taught vocabulary words) than ELs who did not receive the reading intervention. On other measures, there were not substantial differences between the two groups (word-reading, untaught vocabulary words, and text comprehension).

 

Read More

The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement and College Entrance

Heidi H. Erickson, Jonathan N. Mills, and Patrick J. Wolf

PDF Version

How did the LSP affect student outcomes?

A new study estimates the average impact of the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) on student achievement in math, English Language Arts (ELA), and science after four years of the program. After large initial declines in achievement in the first year of the program, students in grades 1-5 who used LSP scholarships won through lotteries regained some of their lost ground. However, they continued to perform below similar students who did not receive a scholarship by a lottery.

Read More

English Corequisite Remediation Improves Students’ Early Course Progression Outcomes but Does Not Increase Persistence Rates

Trey Miller, Lindsay Daugherty, Paco Martorell, and Russell Gerber

PDF Version

What are corequisites?

Faced with troubling evidence on the success of students who take traditional developmental education (DE) courses, states and higher education institutions across the United States are rethinking the way they address college readiness. Corequisite remediation is one promising and common approach to DE reform. Under corequisite remediation, students skip the traditional DE course(s) and move immediately into a foundational college-level course, while also being required to enroll in concurrent DE support in that same semester. Corequisites also call for changes to instruction to better align content in DE with college-level coursework and some models build in opportunities for more personalized support and/or peer support through various design features such as smaller class sizes and the mixing of college ready and DE students.

Read More

Impacting 9th Grade Educational Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the BARR Model

Trisha Borman, Johannes Bos, So Jung Park & Amelia Auchstetter

PDF Version

BARR students earn more core course credits, perform better on math standardized tests, and report better in-school experiences

The transition from eighth grade to ninth grade is a critical point for students. It can set them on a path toward successfully graduating from high school or dropping out. A growing number of schools have sought to support ninth-grade students through the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) model. BARR focuses on building in-school relationships and using students’ strengths to improve student outcomes.

Read More

Identifying Progress Toward Ethnoracial Achievement Equity across U.S. School Districts: A New Approach

Allison Atteberry, Kendra Bischoff, Ann Owens

PDF Version

How do we identify districts where ethnoracial achievement disparities have shrunk since 2009?

We draw on district-level test score data to describe an approach for measuring ethnoracial achievement gaps and assessing trends toward achievement equity from 2009 to 2016. We assess the national landscape to examine if (and to what extent) school districts’ achievement gaps have shrunk or widened since 2009.

Read More

The Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Children’s Attendance in Preschool

Summary by: Jonathan Seiden

PDF Version

What was this study about?

When children are absent from early childhood education (ECE) at centers and preschools they are unable to fully realize the positive effects ECE can have on their lives. Younger children and those from families with lower income are more at risk for absenteeism and may benefit most from ECE. Therefore, efforts to reduce absenteeism could have greater-than-average benefits for these students.

Read More

Comprehensive College Transition Program Increases Students’ Psychosocial Outcomes

Tatiana Melguizo, Paco Martorell, Elise Swanson, W. Edward Chi, Elizabeth Park, & Adrianna Kezar

PDF Version

Is there an added benefit of providing college students with comprehensive support in addition to a scholarship?

An experimental evaluation of the Thompson Scholars Learning Communities (TSLC) program in the University of Nebraska system finds that participating in a comprehensive college transition program increases students’ sense of belonging (e.g. feeling part of the institution) and feelings of mattering (e.g. feeling they are valued on campus) relative to their peers. We find some evidence to suggest that program may be equity enhancing, given large observed increases in feelings of mattering among traditionally underserved students. We focus on the impact of the program on four key psychosocial outcomes that provide insight into students’ experiences on campus and help capture a broader understanding of student success than purely academic outcomes. Our findings suggest that comprehensive programs can improve students’ psychosocial outcomes.

Read More

Technology-assisted Vocabulary Learning for EFL Learners: A Meta-analysis

Tao Hao, Zhe Wang, Yuliya Ardasheva

PDF Version

A core component to learning a second language (L2) is vocabulary acquisition. New technologies have the potential to substantially improve vocabulary acquisition. Technological activities can elicit L2 learners’ interest, provide more verbal and multimedia exposure to the target language, and present opportunities to interact with the target language using various technological devices.

Study Inclusion Criteria

Read More

Effects of apprenticeship on the short-term educational outcomes of vocational high-school students

José de Amesti & Susana Claro

PDF Version

Apprenticeship increase employment opportunities, but what about academic outcomes?  

Apprenticeship-based high schools increase employment outcomes compared to school-based-only vocational education: countries that implement apprenticeship have eased the school-to-work transition and reduced youth unemployment. Despite these promising benefits of apprenticeship, there is almost no evidence of its impact on students’ educational outcomes. In fact, some worry that spending less time at school could motivate students to leave the academic path to join the workplace instead, causing apprentices to achieve lower educational attainment.

Read More

Unpacking the Treatment Contrast in the Head Start Impact Study: To What Extent Does Assignment to Treatment Affect Quality of Care?

Summary by: Elizabeth Hentschel

PDF Version

Background

Attending high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs can lead to positive child outcomes across multiple developmental domains including cognitive and social-emotional. Children from low-income families rarely have access to high-quality ECCE – less than one quarter attend center-based childcare rated as high-quality. The National Head Start (HS) Program is one affordable (free) option to low-income families, but data from 2006 find that only 40% of National Head Start Programs are considered high quality. This study seeks to understand if children who were randomly selected and offered an opportunity to participate in Head Start enroll in higher quality ECCE than they otherwise would have.

Read More

Promoting Parents’ Social Capital to Increase Children’s Attendance in Head Start: Evidence From an Experimental Intervention

Summary by: Samantha Batel

PDF Version

Increasing attendance in early childhood education is a national goal

Head Start is the nation’s largest federally funded early childhood education program for children from low-income families. This type of programming, which is a central policy lever for expanding opportunity, can only be effective if children attend regularly. However, there is no systematic evidence on whether or why strategies to improve attendance are effective. 

Read More

Examining the Earnings Trajectories of Community College Students Using a Piecewise Growth Curve Modeling Approach

Summary by: Lily An

PDF Version

Traditional methods of estimating the returns to community college remain imprecise.

Historically, to estimate the labor market returns to a community college degree, researchers have compared the earnings of students who completed a degree to those who did not, at a single point in time, while controlling for background characteristics. With the expansion of longitudinal data sets, researchers have begun to consider how earnings before and during community college can affect returns to community college. However, even improved econometric analyses overlook some temporal influences on predicted earnings growth, such as the time between graduation and measured earnings, instead estimating averaged returns over time. These influences are particularly salient for community college students, who vary in their time-to-degree completion and often enter college with pre-existing or concurrent work experiences.

Read More

Examining the Impact of QuickReads Technology and Print Formats on Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary Development for Elementary Students

Summary by: Yining Hua

PDF Version

What is QuickReads Technology? Is it effective?

QuickReads (QR) is a curriculum that uses science and social studies texts to build reading skills. It has both print-only and technology + print formats and utilizes 15-minute instructional sessions built on a model with wide and long-lasting support in comprehension instruction. This study finds that QR enhanced students’ reading skills in all evaluated areas: reading fluency, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. The figure shows the outcome of the reading comprehension assessment. The three bars within each grade group represent students who 1) did not use QR (control), 2) used QR print materials, and 3) used QR technology-based and printed materials, respectively (from left to right). Across all grades, QR effectively enhanced students reading fluency.

Read More