This review of the research on secondary reading programs focuses on 69 studies that used random assignment (n=62) or high-quality quasi-experiments (n=7) to evaluate outcomes of 51 programs on widely accepted measures of reading.The study found programs using one-to-one and small-group tutoring (+0.14 to +0.28 effect size), cooperative learning (+0.10 effect size), whole-school approaches including organizational reforms such as teacher teams (+0.06 effect size), and writing-focused approaches (+0.13 effect size) showed positive outcomes. Individual approaches in a few other categories also showed positive impacts. The findings are important suggesting interventions for secondary readers to improve struggling student’s chances of experiencing greater success in high school and better opportunities after graduation.
Citation: Baye, A., Lake, C., Inns, A. & Slavin, R. E. (2018, January). A Synthesis of Quantitative Research on Reading Programs for Secondary Students. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research and Reform in Education.
This analysis examines whether the current mechanisms for providing federal education funding to disadvantaged children are effective and whether the system works as originally intended.
Aud, S. L. (2007). A Closer Look at Title I: Making Education for the Disadvantaged More Student-Centered. Heritage Special Report. SR-15. Heritage Foundation.
This report explores some of the most financially disadvantaged school districts in the country and identifies a typology of conditions that have created or reinforced their disadvantage. It report lays out a typology of conditions that lead to severe fiscal disadvantage for local public school systems. It then provides examples of states, state policy conditions, and specific local public school districts identified as being severely financially disadvantaged.
Baker, B. (2014). America's Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts and How They Got That Way. Washington: Center for American Progress.
This report begins by identifying those states where combined state and local revenues are systematically lower in higher-poverty districts–that is, states with “regressive” school funding distributions. Based on this analysis, the authors focus on six states–Illinois, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Carolina–where children attending school in higher-poverty districts still have substantially less access to state and local revenue than children attending school in lower-poverty districts. With these states in mind, the authors then go beyond recent reports on school funding inequities to uncover some nontraditional causes of these imbalances.
Baker, B. D., & Corcoran, S. P. (2012). The Stealth Inequities of School Funding: How State and Local School Finance Systems Perpetuate Inequitable Student Spending. Center for American Progress.
The National Report Card is a critique of state school funding systems and the extent to which these systems ensure equality of educational opportunity for all children, regardless of background, family income, place of residence or school. The report makes the assumption that "fair" school funding is defined as "a state finance system that ensures equal educational opportunity by providing a sufficient level of funding distributed to districts within the state to account for additional needs generated by student poverty."
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2010). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Education Law Center.
The Second Edition of the National Report Card on public school funding, Is School Funding Fair?, shows that far too many states continue to deny public schools the essential resources they need to meet the needs of the nation's 53 million students and to boost academic achievement. The National Report Card rates the 50 states on the basis of four "fairness indicators" - funding level, funding distribution, state fiscal effort, and public school coverage. The Report provides the most in-depth analysis to date of state education finance systems and school funding fairness across the nation.
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2012). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Second Edition. Education Law Center.
The 3rd Edition of Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card details how the Great Recession and its aftermath have affected school funding in the states. The National Report Card (NRC) examines each state's level of commitment to equal educational opportunity, regardless of a student's background, family income, or where she or he attends school. Providing fair school funding -- at a sufficient level with additional funds to meet needs generated by poverty -- is crucial if all students are to be afforded the opportunity to learn and be successful.
Baker, B. D., Sciarra, D. G., & Farrie, D. (2014). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card: Third Edition. Education Law Center.
This report analyzes the disparity in funding and resources in K-12 education for children of color and low-income families. It found that millions of students–largely low-income students and students of color–continue to attend segregated and economically isolated schools. State and district school finance systems perpetuate and compound these inequities by providing less money to students with the greatest need.
Baker, B., & Corcoran, S. (2012). The stealth inequities of school funding. Center for American Progress, Washington, DC.
This article reviews the economic studies on early childhood education and places them in the context of the larger knowledge base on this topic. It concludes that well designed programs and policies do produce significant results but, most current programs and policies are not well designed or implemented effectively.
Barnett, W. S. (2007). Benefits and costs of quality early childhood education. Child. Legal Rts. J., 27, 7.
This report analyzes two critical, and sometimes competing, issues in school finance reformer: fiscal equity and fiscal efficiency. It makes the case that fiscal equity and fiscal effectiveness are not mutually exclusive, and this nation needs to do more to improve both the fairness and the productivity of public school dollars. In other words, we need to make sure that schools and districts not only get enough money to serve their student populations but also that they then spend those dollars wisely.
Boser, U. (2014). Educational Equity and Effectiveness- The Need for Fiscal Fairness and Fiscal Productivity. Washington: Center for American Progress.
Although many factors combine to make a successful school, most people agree that quality teachers and school principals are among the most important requirements for success, especially when success is defined by the ability of the school to raise the achievement of its students. The central question for this study is how the quality of the teachers and principals in high-poverty schools in North Carolina compares to that in the schools serving more advantaged students.
Clotfelter, C., Ladd, H. F., Vigdor, J., & Wheeler, J. (2006). High-poverty schools and the distribution of teachers and principals. NCL Rev., 85, 1345.
Twenty percent of high school students take four or more courses in career and technical education (CTE). Despite this high rate of participation, little is known about what constitutes high-quality CTE and whether high-quality CTE allows participants to accumulate meaningful knowledge and skills to succeed in a career. This study from the Association for Education Finance and Policy examined the impact of participating in CTE on high school attendance, high school completion, professional certifications, and performance on standardized test scores. The evidence suggests that a high-quality CTE program boosts on-time graduation for higher income students and for lower income .
Dougherty, S. M. (2016). The effect of career and technical education on human capital accumulation: Causal evidence from Massachusetts. Education Finance and Policy. doi:10.1162/EDFP_a_00224.
This paper provides a guide to statistically based methods for estimating the extra costs of educating disadvantaged students, shows how these methods are related, and compares state aid programs that account for these costs in different ways. It shows that large, urban school districts with a high concentration of disadvantaged students would receive far more aid (and rich suburban districts would receive far less aid) if statistically based pupil weights were used instead of the ad hoc weights in existing state aid programs.
Duncombe, W., & Yinger, J. (2005). How much more does a disadvantaged student cost?. Economics of Education Review, 24(5), 513-532.
A Learner Response System (LRS) is a classroom feedback tool that is becoming increasing popular. LRS is the practice of teachers and pupils using electronic handheld devices to provide immediate feedback during lessons. Given that feedback has been found to be a powerful tool in learning, it is not surprising that LRS are being adopted. The important question remains, do LRS increase student performance. This study tests a Learner Response System using Promethean handsets to assess whether it improves student outcomes. The study found no evidence that math and reading were improved using the system for 2 years.
Education Endowment Foundation (2017). Learner Response System. Education Endowment Foundation. Retrieved https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/learner-response-system/.
This paper estimates the large array of long-run benefits of an influential early childhood program targeted to disadvantaged children and their families. It is evaluated by random assignment and follows participants through their mid-30s. It has substantial beneficial impacts on (a) health and the quality of life, (b) the labor incomes of participants, (c) crime, (d) education, and (e) the labor income of the mothers of the participants through subsidizing their childcare.
García, J. L., Heckman, J. J., Leaf, D. E., and Prados, M. J. (2016). The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program. Human Capital and Economic Global Working Group
This report examines the widespread and unjust district budgeting practices and offers Congress a straightforward legislative path: Fix the so-called comparability provisions of Title I.
Hall, D., & Ushomirsky, N. (2010). Close the Hidden Funding Gaps in Our Schools. K-12 Policy. Education Trust.
The goal of this paper was to study twin districts and use the data culled to provide recommendations for how districts can best leverage their school funding investments–in other words, achieve a bigger bang for their educational buck. The findings were: When it comes to education, spending does not always equal results. There are significant funding inequities between demographically similar districts. Districts have limited control over their own expenditures.
Hanna R., Morris B. (2014). Parallel Lives, Different Outcomes: A Twin Study of Academic Productivity in U.S. School Districts. Washington: Center for American Progress.
Standardized testing has increasingly been used to hold educators accountable. Incentives are often offered as a way to improve student test performance. This study examines the impact incentives for students, parents and tutors on standardized test results. The researchers provided incentives on specially designed tests that measure the same skills as the official state standardized tests; however, performance on the official tests was not incentivized. This study finds substantial improvement for performance when there were incentives on the results did not generalize to the official test. This calls into question how to effectively use incentives so they will actually produce desired outcomes.
John A. List, Jeffrey A Livingston and Susanne Neckermann. “Do Students Show What They Know on Standardized Tests?” working papers (2016) Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffrey_livingston/19/
This report highlights the lack of innovation, flexibility, and new ideas in state financing of public education. It concludes: many state and education leaders continue to support and employ methods that prevent schools and principals from undertaking the efforts that they think are most needed to improve education in their classrooms. The use of state categorical–funds to school districts with strict limits on their use–exemplifies this lack of innovation in school finance.
Lazarin, M. (2013). How Approaches to Stuck-in-the-Mud School Funding Hinder Improvement. Center for American Progress.
This article provides a summary the issue of cost effectiveness and its applications to educational policy. It concludes that there is great potential for the use of cost-effectiveness applications in education, but there is little capability for doing so among most policymakers. Examples are provided of productive cost-effectiveness applications, and recommendations are made with regard to increasing the capacity of educational evaluators, policy analysts, and decision makers to use the tools appropriately or more efficient source allocation.
Levin, H. M. (1988). Cost-effectiveness and educational policy. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 10(1), 51-69.
This article provides a summary of measuring the fiscal impact of practices in education
Levin, H. M., & McEwan, P. J. (2002). Cost-effectiveness and educational policy. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
The United States has committed to improving the lives of students with disabilities for over 40 years. Since the advent of Federal Law PL 94-142 in 1975 that mandated a free and appropriate education for all students regardless of ability and six reauthorizations of legislation, the federal government has emphasized the need to prepare students with disabilities for post-secondary education, careers, and independent living. The federal investment in funding special education services exceeds $15 Billion annually. It is reasonable to ask, are student with disabilities substantially benefiting from these efforts? The National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) provides the most recent data on youth with disabilities and efforts to address their needs. The study used surveys in 2012 and 2013 on a nationally representative set of nearly 13,000 students. The student included were mostly those with an individualized education program (IEP) and expected to receive special education services. The data reveal participation in key transition activities by youth with an IEP and their parents have declined, although they are just as likely to have gone to an IEP meeting. The findings from this report suggest a closer examination of current practices is warranted with a focus on achieving the stated outcomes the laws were designed to remedy.
Lipscomb, S., Hamison, J., Liu Albert, Y., Burghardt, J., Johnson, D. R., & Thurlow, M. (2018). Preparing for Life after High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education. Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012. Volume 2: Comparisons across Disability Groups. Full Report. NCEE 2017-4018. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.
This study demonstrates, for the first time, that providing all 20% of the nation’s three- and four-year-old children who live in poverty with a high-quality ECD program would have a substantial payoff for governments and taxpayers in the future.
Lynch, R. G. (2004). Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal, and Social Beneﬁts of Investment in Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.
Over the past twenty years many reading interventions have been proposed. One of these, “Book Flooding”, proposes that providing an enriched environment in which books are present and readily available can improve reading. Much of the research on this topic has focused on exposing children in the early grades to storybooks. Given the greater importance on reading complex text in meeting new reading standards, this study examines the impact of book flooding of books that stress academic words and technical terms. This quasi-experimental study examines the influence of a book distribution program targeted at enhancing children’s exposure to information books. The research examined whether a flood of information books in early childhood settings could affect growth in language, content-related vocabulary, and concepts of comprehending information text. The study concludes there were no significant effects on student outcomes and that book distribution programs on their own need to be reevaluated if they are to improved student reading performance.
Neuman, S. B. (2017). The Information Book Flood: Is Additional Exposure Enough to Support Early Literacy Development?. The Elementary School Journal, 118(1), 1-27.
A recent large-scale evaluation of Reading Recovery, a supplemental reading program for young struggling readers, supports previous research that found it to be effective. In a 4 year, federally funded project, almost 3,500 students in 685 schools found that generally students benefitted from the intervention. Students receiving Reading Recovery receive supplemental services in a 1:1 instructional setting for 30 minutes 5 days a week from an instructor trained in Reading Recovery. In the study reported here, students who received Reading Recovery had effect sizes of .35-.37 relative to a control group across a number of measures of reading. These represent moderate effect sizes and account for about a 1.5 month increase in skill relative to the control group. Even though the research supports the efficacy of the intervention, it also raises questions about its efficiency. The schools that participated in the study served about 5 students and the estimated cost per student has ranged from $2,000-$5,000. These data raise questions about the wisdom of spending this much money per student for growth of about a month and a half.
Sirinides, P., Gray, A., & May, H. (2018). The Impacts of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373718764828.
"The Mirage" describes the widely held perception among education leaders that they already know how to help teachers improve, and that they could achieve their goal of great teaching in far more classrooms if they just applied what they knew more widely. However, research suggests that despite enormous and admirable investments of time and money, education leaders are much further from that goal than has been acknowledged, and the evidence base for what actually helps teachers improve is very thin. Like a "mirage," it is not a hallucination but a refraction of reality: Growth is possible, but the goal of widespread teaching excellence is further out of reach than it seems. This report presents findings from surveys and interviews and offers recommendations including: (1) "Redefining" what it means to help teachers improve; (2) "Reevaluating" existing professional learning supports and programs; and (3) "Reinventing" how we support effective teaching at scale. The following are appended: (1) The Mirage: Technical Appendix of Data and Analysis; (2) Detailed Summary Method for Estimating Teacher Improvement Spending; and (3) Overview of the Development Profile Analysis. Endnotes are also included.
TNTP. (2015). The Mirage: Confronting the truth about our quest for teacher development. Retrieved from: https://tntp.org/publications/view/the-mirage-confronting-the-truth-about-our-quest-for-teacher-development
If teachers are to have a significant impact on student learning it is necessary for them to be well trained and prepared for the role of teacher. This report examined the effectiveness of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and My TeachingPartner Pre-K. The NBPTS is a professional certification program for teachers that have taught at least three years and can meet the NBPTS standards. My TeachingPartner Pre-K incorporates multiple media and coaching to prepare early education teachers. The results of the What Works Clearinghouse review of NBPTS is that it had mixed effects in mathematics in grades 3-8 and no discernable effect on English language arts achievement. There were no studies that met WWC standards for review so no judgment can be made about its effectiveness. The results of this review highlight the necessity of evaluating the effectiveness of teacher training programs. The stakes are very high for the students and families being served by teachers and nationally very large amount of money is spent on training teachers. It would be nice to know which approaches to teacher professional development are effective and which have no beneficial effect.
What Works Clearinghouse, Institute for Education Science (2018). National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Intervention Report. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/InterventionReport/689