June 14, 2017
Creating Supportive School Cultures for Beginning Teachers: Mitigating the Cultural Contextual Factors
This systematic literature review examines factors that affect new teachers as they become employed. It suggests that new teachers experience significant stress as they transition from teacher preparation programs to everyday teaching. The pressures experienced by novice instructors are evidenced by high rates of turnover during the first 5 years of teaching. This initial period entails a steep learning curve as new teachers try to match and adjust what they learned in pre-service training with the unique cultural practices of their new placements. To mitigate the challenges new teachers face, schools have implemented an array of practices subsumed under the heading “teacher induction.” Unfortunately, the literature review finds that the lack of standardization of practices including mentoring to coaching has reduced the overall impact of teacher induction and the ability of schools to effectively align the education philosophy and cultural values of new teachers with the strategies, procedures, needs, and resources of the schools where the new teachers are beginning their careers.
Citation: Kutsyuruba, B, Walker, K. D., and Gooden, L., (2017). Creating supportive school cultures for beginning teachers: Mitigating the cultural contextual factors. International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership, 24(2), 1–18.
June 13, 2017
Effective ongoing assessment, referred to in the education literature as formative assessment or progress monitoring, is indispensable in promoting teacher and student success. Feedback through formative assessment is ranked at or near the top of practices known to significantly raise student achievement. For decades, formative assessment has been found to be effective in clinical settings and, more important, in typical classroom settings. Formative assessment produces substantial results at a cost significantly below that of other popular school reform initiatives such as smaller class size, charter schools, accountability, and school vouchers. It also serves as a practical diagnostic tool available to all teachers. A core component of formal and informal assessment procedures, formative assessment allows teachers to quickly determine if individual students are progressing at acceptable rates and provides insight into where and how to modify and adapt lessons, with the goal of making sure that students do not fall behind.
Citation: States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2017). Overview of Formative Assessment. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. http://www.winginstitute.org/student-formative-assessment.
April 17, 2017
Teacher Merit Pay and Student Test Scores: A Meta-Analysis
Teacher merit pay has garnered significant attention as a promising reform method for improving teacher performance and, more importantly, student achievement scores. This meta-analysis, which examined findings from 44 studies of teacher merit pay, found that merit pay is associated with a modest, statistically significant, positive effect on student test scores. The research also found that not all merit pay programs are equal. The best results are dependent on constructing efforts that incorporate sound, evidence-based practice elements. The authors of the meta-analysis concluded that while a merit pay program has the potential to improve student test scores, success hinges on school administrators and policymakers paying close attention to how the program is structured and implemented. The meta-analysis also recognized the need for additional research to better delineate features and practice elements that produce the best results.
Citation: Pham, L., Nguyen, T., & Springer, M. (2017). Teacher Merit Pay and Student Test Scores: A Meta-Analysis. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.
February 8, 2017
The Tennessee Department of Education combines coaching, instruction in evidence-based reading practices, and a multitiered system of supports in a new initiative called Read to be Ready. The initiative trains teachers in the best ways to teach children literacy skills. Ample evidence supports the importance of students reading at grade level. Effective reading has been shown to be a reliable indicator of future success in school and adulthood. This initiative is designed to increase literacy by coaching teachers on how to use evidence-based practices of reading. For the past 20 years much attention has been paid to explicit instruction of phonics to improve students’ reading scores. This initiative will build on these efforts by also requiring explicit comprehension instruction to build skills for deriving meaning, analyzing the logic of argumentation, generating conclusions, and interpreting content.
January 25, 2017
What One Hundred Years of Research Says About the Effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration on K–12 Students’ Academic Achievement: Findings of Two Second-Order Meta-Analyses
This paper analyzed the results of research on the effects of ability grouping and acceleration on students’ academic achievement. Nineteen meta-analyses met criteria for inclusion for the review. The researchers divided ability grouping into four types:
- between-class ability grouping, students in the same grade divided into low, medium, or high level classes;
- within-class ability grouping, students within a classroom taught in groups based on levels;
- cross-grade subject grouping, students of different grades combined into the same class depending on achievement; and
- grouping for gifted students
Results were found for improved academic achievement within-class grouping, cross-grade grouping by subject, and grouping for the gifted. No positive effects were identified for between-class grouping. The results were consistent regardless of whether students were high, medium, or low achievers. The study found acceleration appeared to have a positive, moderate, and statistically significant impact on students’ academic achievement.
Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M. C., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2016). What One Hundred Years of Research Says About the Effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration on K–12 Students’ Academic Achievement: Findings of Two Second-Order Meta-Analyses. Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 849-899.
December 9, 2016
Within Our Grasp Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep
Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep is the tenth annual publication in the State Teacher Policy Yearbook report series released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). This report focuses on teacher preparation program compliance with admissions policies required at the state level. A strong body of research supports a relationship between student performance and the selectivity of admissions into teacher preparation. Nations, such as Finland, whose students outperform ours on national tests recruit teacher candidates from the top 10 percent of their college graduates.
Walsh, K., Joseph, N., and Lewis, A. (2016). Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep. National Council on Teacher Quality
July 11, 2016
Adequate yearly progress reports by state –
http://www.schoolsmatter.info Read More…
December 18, 2014
This paper considers issues confronted by National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) upon publishing their second edition of Teacher Prep Review, a comprehensive evaluation of programs that train new teachers. Read More…
December 15, 2014
In a recent article in The New Yorker, James Surowiecki makes the argument that high performance coaching for athletes and classical musicians has become the standard for these professions and posits that it should be for educators as well. His position is that coaching is the best way to assure that teachers know the right things to do and continue to do them.
Surowiecki, J. (Nov. 10, 2014) Better all the time. The New Yorker.
November 19, 2014
This commentary addresses concerns regarding the application of value-added modeling commonly used to evaluate teachers as well as implications for the use of these metrics to assess graduates of preparation programs. Read More…