Categories for Decision Making
May 17, 2021
For many teachers, the image of students sitting in silence filling out bubbles, computing mathematical equations, or writing timed essays causes an intensely negative reaction. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002 and its 2015 update, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), every third through eighth grader in U.S. public schools now takes tests calibrated to state standards, with the aggregate results made public. In a study of the nation’s largest urban school districts, students took an average of 112 standardized tests between pre-K and grade 12. The pushback on high-stakes testing has also accelerated a national conversation about how students truly learn and retain information. This paper acknowledges the validity of teachers concerns, but discusses the need for well-designed classroom tests and quizzes and standardized exams.
Citation: Berwick, C. (2019). What Does the Research Say About Testing? Marin County, CA: Edutopia.
May 12, 2021
Back-to-school metrics: How to assess conditions for teaching and learning and to measure student progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is featuring a blog series addressing the many challenges that educators, caregivers, and students are facing. In this post, Susan Bowles Therriault, Ed.D., a managing researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), describes school- and classroom-level metrics that administrators and teachers can use to assess teaching and learning conditions and measure student progress and engagement in a remote or hybrid learning setting.
Citation: Therriault, S. B. (2020). Back-to-school metrics: How to assess conditions for teaching and learning and to measure student progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional Education Laboratory Program (REL).
May 12, 2021
Formative assessment: A systematic review of critical teacher prerequisites for classroom practice. Formative assessment has the potential to support teaching and learning in the classroom. This study reviewed the literature on formative assessment to identify prerequisites for effective use of formative assessment by teachers. The results show that (1) knowledge and skills (e.g., data literacy), (2), psychological factors (e.g., social pressure), and (3) social factors (e.g., collaboration) influence the use of formative assessment. The prerequisites identified can inform professional development initiatives regarding formative assessment, as well as teacher education programs.
Citation: Schildkamp, K., van der Kleij, F. M., Heitink, M. C., Kippers, W. B., & Veldkamp, B. P. (2020). Formative assessment: A systematic review of critical teacher prerequisites for classroom practice. International Journal of Educational Research, 103, 101602.
May 12, 2021
Formative Assessment As A Tool To Enhance The Development Of Inquiry Skills In Science Education. Formative assessment (FA) is considered a powerful tool to enhance learning. However, there have been few studies addressing how the implementa- tion of FA influences the development of inquiry skills so far. This research intends to determine the efficacy of teaching using FA in the development of students’ inquiry skills.
Citation: Ganajová, M., Sotáková, I., Lukáč, S., Ješková, Z., Jurková, V., & Orosová, R. (2021). Formative Assessment As A Tool To Enhance The Development Of Inquiry Skills In Science Education. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 20(2), 204.
May 5, 2021
NEPC Review: “Student Assessment During COVID-19. School closings and the ever-increasing number of deaths provide the backdrop for a proposal by the Center for American Progress (CAP) to deny waivers of the federally mandated administration of standardized tests in spring 2021. Further, the federal government proposes to add to those assessments in ways that CAP argues would make the test results more useful. In its recent report, CAP sides with the Department of Education’s policy of denying such requests for waivers, and it calls for additional assessments that “capture multiple as- pects of student well-being, including social-emotional needs, engagement, and conditions for learning” as well as supplementary gathering of student information. The report contends this will ensure greater equity in the time of the pandemic, supposedly through the addition of the new measures to annual assessments.
Citation: Glass, G.V., Mathis, W.J., & Berliner, D.C. (2020). NEPC Review: “Student Assessment During COVID-19.” Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved May 5, 2021 from http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/pandemic-assessment
March 23, 2021
Mastery Learning. Mastery learning is an instructional approach that relies on students successfully mastering material before moving on to the next lesson. It has been found to be a very powerful instructional method, with effect sizes ranging from 0.50 to 0.58, and is the fundamental component of many education interventions such as Response to Intervention (RtI), Personalized System of Instruction (PSI), and computer-based instruction. Mastery learning requires that instructional materials be sequenced so that instruction builds on what has been previously mastered until the overall learning objectives are mastered. Using formative assessment procedures, teachers frequently assess how each student is progressing toward mastering the objectives in each learning unit. Students who demonstrate competency move on to the next unit. Students may study in groups or alone, working through each unit, but progress is assessed individually. For students who have not mastered the lesson, additional group or individual instruction is provided. Remediation may include tutoring, peer monitoring, small group discussions, or additional homework. Mastery learning has been found to be effective at all levels of education.
Citation: Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2021). Overview of Mastery Learning. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/instructional-delivery-learning.
March 19, 2021
Are Scientific Reading Instruction and Dyslexia Interventions the Same? Distinctions for Elementary Education Preparation Programs. Dyslexia is a language-based disability that can hinder the fluent acquisition of reading skills. Dyslexia poses a particular challenge to teachers instructing students in reading. It is estimated that approximately 15%-20% of the population is impacted by dyslexia. This paper compares the tenets of structured literacy, the reading method used in many dyslexia programs, to scientific reading instruction. Directed content analysis of documents relevant to the research topic revealed three themes which accounted for concepts from the National Reading Panel report, Scientific Reading Instruction, and the International Dyslexia Association.
Citation: Woods, L., & Graham, K. K. (2020). Are Scientific Reading Instruction and Dyslexia Interventions the Same? Distinctions for Elementary Education Preparation Programs. SRATE Journal, 29(1), n1.
March 19, 2021
Effective programs for elementary science: A best-evidence synthesis. This article presents a systematic review of research on the achievement outcomes of all types of approaches to teaching science in elementary schools. The review concludes that science teaching methods focused on enhancing teachers’ classroom instruction throughout the year, such as cooperative learning and science-reading integration, as well as approaches that give teachers technology tools to enhance instruction, have significant potential to improve science learning.
Citation: Slavin, R. E., Lake, C., Hanley, P., & Thurston, A. (2012). Effective programs for elementary science: A best-evidence synthesis. Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University.
March 17, 2021
Research-Based Writing Practices and the Common Core: Meta-analysis and Meta-synthesis. To meet writing objectives specified in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), many teachers need to make significant changes in how writing is taught. While CCSS identified what students need to master, it did not provide guidance on how teachers are to meet these writing benchmarks. The current article presents research-supported practices that can be used to meet CCSS writing objectives in kindergarten to grade 8. This paper identified these practices by conducting a new meta- analysis of writing intervention studies, which included true and quasi-experiments, as well as single-subject design studies.
Citation: Graham, S., Harris, K. R., and (2015). Research-Based Writing Practices and the Common Core: Meta-analysis and Meta-synthesis. The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 115, No. 4 (June 2015), pp. 498-522.
March 17, 2021
What constitutes a science of reading instruction? Recently, the term science of reading has been used in public debate to promote policies and instructional practices based on research on the basic cognitive mechanisms of reading, the neural processes involved in reading, computational models of learning to read, and the like. In this article, the author cautions against instructional over- generalizations based on various kinds of basic research without an adequate consideration of instructional experiments. The author provides several examples of the premature translation of basic research findings into wide-scale pedagogical application.
Citation: Shanahan, T. (2020). What constitutes a science of reading instruction?. Reading Research Quarterly, 55, S235-S247.