Categories for Education Outcomes

What do we know about school principal turnover? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

March 25, 2020

School Principal Retention Overview. Principals are critical to determining teaching quality, and in turn, student learning and achievement; retaining effective principals therefore is paramount, particularly in schools striving for rapid improvement. Principal turnover is higher in public charter than traditional public schools, in part because many charter schools are located in economically disadvantaged areas which have higher turnover rates generally. Less effective principals are more likely to leave their schools, which may imply the chance for improved school outcomes if they are replaced by more effective principals; however, research has yet to explore the extent to which this occurs. Working conditions found to influence principal turnover include negative disciplinary environments, lack of autonomy in decision-making regarding personnel and finances, and salary, whose impact is moderated by job benefits and other nonmonetary working conditions. District and policy characteristics such as tenure/union membership and policies intended to reduce teacher turnover also reduce the likelihood of principal turnover, as do high-quality professional development and support programs. Principal turnover incurs significant financial costs, and often leads to increased teacher turnover and decreased student achievement, unless a ready supply of more effective principals is available to replace low-performing ones. Evidence-based strategies to improve principal retention include coaching, mentoring and leadership supports tailored to a principal’s school context, and pipeline initiatives designed to increase the supply of high-quality candidates through recruitment, preparation, and ongoing development and support. Targeted financial incentives to work in high-needs schools coupled with improvements to principals’ working conditions can enhance retention, as can principal accountability systems that given principals increased autonomy but that also focus on ensuring they can build teacher capacity for the use of evidence-based instructional strategies.

Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, (2020). Principal Retention Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-leadership-principal-retention.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-leadership-principal-retention

 


 

What activities facilitate the adoption of new curricula? (Wing Institute Student Research)

March 23, 2020

The Adoption of Curricula in K-12 Schools: An Exploratory Qualitative Analysis. This exploratory qualitative study investigated how school districts engage in the process of adopting curricula for use in grades K-12 and what factors influence administrators when making adoption decisions. The author and a graduate student used a semi-structured interview protocol to interview 21 building- and district-level administrators employed by an economically and geographically diverse sample of school districts in the United States. After completing the interviews, the author and four researchers employed thematic analysis to analyze the data. Results suggest that the curriculum adoption process varies between school districts and, for some, from one curriculum adoption to the next. Most respondents reported engaging in at least one of the following activities during the adoption process: gathering information, initial screening, engaging committees, reviewing potential programs, piloting, and obtaining approval. The factors that influence administrators’ adoption decisions fall into four categories: alignment, need, evidence, and aspects of programs. Based on the data obtained in this study, the author proposes a sequence of activities to follow during a curriculum adoption.

Citation: Rolf, K. (2020). The Adoption of Curricula in K-12 Schools: An Exploratory Qualitative Analysis. Utah State University. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O_rvmZKGE8rCf_nVTdOwgy4AVk-Gw6hH/view

Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O_rvmZKGE8rCf_nVTdOwgy4AVk-Gw6hH/view

 


 

What standards does the Institute of Education Sciences use to assess education practices?

March 12, 2020

What Works Clearinghouse: Procedures Handbook, Version 4.1. The WWC systematic review process offers educators and policy-makers a mechanism to assure consistent, objective, and transparent standards and procedures for assessing the impact of practices and interventions. The review procedures handbook includes the following changes: (1) Removal of the “substantively important” designation; (2) Addition of standard error calculations for all effect sizes; (3) Addition of single-case design (SCD) procedures for synthesizing SCD study findings using design-comparable effect sizes; (4) Addition of methods to estimate effects from regression discontinuity designs (RDDs); (5) Clarification of decision rules determining the use of difference-in-difference effect sizes; (6) Synthesis of studies within intervention reports using a fixed-effects model; (7) Modification of the intervention report effectiveness rating; and (8) Levels of evidence in practice guides.

Citation: What Works Clearinghouse: Procedures Handbook, Version 4.1. Princeton, NJ: What Works Clearinghouse https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED602035.pdf

Linkhttps://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED602035.pdf

 


 

Can surveys predict the quality of pre-service training?

March 6, 2020

What do surveys of program completers tell us about teacher preparation quality? Over the past twenty years, educators, policymakers, and the public have increasingly expressed interest in finding out which teacher preparation programs (TPP) produce the best teachers. One of the tools offered to identify exemplary pre-service training is satisfaction surveys of graduates. A 2019 teacher survey finds, “only 30 percent of general education teachers feel ‘strongly’ that they can successfully teach students with learning disabilities, and only 50 percent believe those students can reach grade-level standards.” Surveys highlight a misalignment between the intended outcomes of teacher preparation and the actual worth of the training teacher candidates receive. Given the potential importance of teacher surveys, it is imperative that policymakers and teacher educators better understand the efficacy of polling for providing program accountability and information for improving TTP performance. 

This study provides a large-scale examination of how new teacher’s perception of the quality TTP training is associated and predictive of quality instruction. The study finds that perceptions of TTP are modestly associated with the effectiveness and retention of first and second-year teachers. The authors find that new teachers who perceive training to be supportive in critical skills were more productive on the job, and were more likely to remain a teacher after the first year in the classroom. Supportive learning environments were associated with extensive training in establishing orderly and positive classroom learning environments, communicating high expectations for students, and forming supportive relationships with all students. Those teachers who received training in classroom management were more effectively develop strategies for addressing conduct issues that arise on the job. This evidence of supportive learning environments suggests that TPPs should consider ways, to enhance the quality of preparation opportunities to master classroom management, building relationships with students, and creating high expectations for student success.

Citation: Bastian, K. C., Sun, M., & Lynn, H. (2018). What Do Surveys of Program Completers Tell Us About Teacher Preparation Quality?. Journal of Teacher Education, 0022487119886294.

Linkhttps://aefpweb.org/sites/default/files/webform/AEFP_NTPS_final.pdf

 


 

How effective is Peer Assessment?

March 4, 2020

Does Peer Assessment Promote Student Learning? A Meta-Analysis. Peer assessment has become a popular education intervention. In a peer assessment, student’s work is evaluated by a peer as opposed to the teacher. Extensive research is available on the reliability and validity of peer assessment results. A review of the literature finds few studies on the impact of Peer Review on student outcomes. This meta-analysis examines the effect sizes found in 58 studies. The paper finds a positive relationship for peer assessment on student outcomes. The study went on to identify the specific practice elements that comprise the practice of Peer Assessment to identify those elements that have the most significant impact on student performance. The study identified five components rater training, rating format, rating criteria, and frequency of peer assessment. The most critical factor of those examined is rater training.

Citation: Li, H., Xiong, Y., Hunter, C. V., Guo, X., & Tywoniw, R. (2020). Does peer assessment promote student learning? A meta-analysis. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education45(2), 193-211.

Linkhttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hongli_Li4/publication/333571244_Does_peer_assessment_promote_student_learning_A_meta-analysis/links/5d276f9d92851cf4407a70c2/Does-peer-assessment-promote-student-learning-A-meta-analysis

 


 

How can schools reduces student absenteeism?

March 4, 2020

Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism. Student absenteeism has significant negative impacts on students and school systems. Nearly 8 million students are chronically absent. Excess absenteeism impacts student achievement as the chances of a 9th-grade student graduating drops by 20% for every week of missed instruction. Chronically absent students cost schools financially. Over six years (2008–2009 through 2013–2014), school districts in California lost an estimated $7.3 billion ($1.22 billion per year) in funding due to student absences (Harris, 2016). This report examines 24 of the most effective and scalable interventions employed to remediate the impacts of chronic absenteeism. For additional information, please see Wing Institute Chronic Student Absenteeism: A Significant and Overlooked Obstacle to Student Achievement.

Citation: Jordan, P. (2019). Attendance Playbook. Washington D.C.: FutureEd. https://www.hsredesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Attendance-Playbook.pdf

Linkhttps://www.hsredesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Attendance-Playbook.pdf

 


 

What do we know about teacher preparation? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

March 3, 2020

Teacher Preparation: Overview. Because research has shown that, of all school factors, teachers have the greatest influence on student achievement it is not surprising the United States invests significant time and money in the preparation of new teachers. The available research highlights the importance of preparation programs recruiting and selecting the highest quality candidates, training prospective teachers in evidence-based practices, and employing pedagogical practices including extensive time in actual classrooms teaching students as necessary to developing exemplary teachers. Research comparing traditional 4-year teacher schools of education, graduate degree credential models, and alternative routes suggest that current approaches to credentialing are falling far short of expectations. Efforts to hold preparation programs accountable to higher standards by making better use of program evaluation and holding institutions accountable by linking graduates to student achievement are hopeful signs and offer viable options for improving existing models and replacing outdated training methods so prevalent in many of todays pre-service programs.

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Teacher Preparation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-teachers-pre-service.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-teachers-pre-service

 


 

What does the latest research say about classroom management?

February 28, 2020

An Evidence-Based Review and Meta-Analysis of Active Supervision. In teacher surveys, classroom management comes up as one of the more significant challenges facing teachers. One of the most common strategies available to teachers is Active Supervision. Active Supervision is defined by the teacher frequently circulating, scanning, interacting with students, and reinforcing demonstrations of expected academic and social behaviors. Although teachers often employ Active Supervision, what does the research tell us about this classroom management strategy? This paper synthesizes and evaluates 12 studies to calculate the effect size on Active Supervision and student conduct. The authors conclude that Active Supervision is a necessary and powerful tool in the prevention of problem behavior. The study recommends that additional research is needed as the current research is limited in quality and quantity and does not meet What Works Clearinghouse standards.

Citation: Gage, N. A., Haydon, T., MacSuga-Gage, A. S., Flowers, E., & Erdy, L. (2020). An Evidence-Based Review and Meta-Analysis of Active Supervision. Behavioral Disorders, 0198742919851021.

Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0198742919851021

 


 

How effective are reading instruction programs?

February 25, 2020

Comparing Reading Research to Program Design: An Examination of Teachers College Units of Study. This report is the first of a new initiative by Student Achievement Partners to review different reading instructional programs that have been adopted and are widely used in schools.  The goal is to examine the programs in the context of best available research evidence regarding the critical components of teaching reading. Specifically, the components identified include:  phonics and fluency, text complexity, building knowledge and vocabulary, and English learner supports.  The first program reviewed was Units of Study from the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project.  The findings were detailed, but the overall conclusion was that, despite the curriculum’s many qualities, it would “be unlikely to lead to literacy success for all of the American public schoolchildren, given the research.”  The curriculum would support children who show up at school already reading or primed to read.  It would not meet the needs of children who need practice opportunities in a specific area of reading or language development.

Citation: Adams, M.J., Fillmore, L.W., Goldenberg, C., Oakhill, J., Paige, D.D., Rasinski, T., & Shanahan, T. (2020). Comparing Reading Research to Program Design: An Examination of Teachers College Units of Study. Student Achievement Partners.

Link: https://achievethecore.org/page/3240/comparing-reading-research-to-program-design-an-examination-of-teachers-college-units-of-study

 


 

Use of Four-Day School Week Schedules Increasing Despite Lack of Evidence on Outcomes

February 24, 2020

Shortened School Weeks in U.S. Public Schools”There is an increasing trend among schools and districts to reduce the school week from five days to four (longer) days.  Much of the impetus of this structural intervention comes from the perception that this schedule would generate significant cost savings.  Additionally, there is a belief that it positively impacts student achievement, teacher recruitment, and other quality indicators.  Unfortunately, the lack of experimental evidence makes it difficult to prove or disprove most of the claims.  

In the 2017-18 school year approximately 1.9% of public schools provided shortened school weeks.  Eight states had more than 10% of their schools on this schedule, with Wyoming having almost twenty percent of its schools on a four-day week.  In general, rural schools and those in the West were more likely to adopt this model.  (NCES, 2020).

The number of school districts operating on a four-day schedule grew by 466% over the last three years.   There were 120 districts in 21 states in 2016 and 560 districts in 25 states in 2019.  Over half of Colorado’s districts now operate on four-day weeks. (Walker, T., 2019)

Proponents claim that the model saves money, improves student performance, helps with teacher recruitment and retention, reduces student absenteeism, and improves the quality of life for all involved as they have an extra day away from school to take care of personal business.  Opponents challenge these claims and highlight the potential new costs for parents, loss of wages for support professionals, and reduced access to services for low income students.

Regarding potential savings, the analysis is straightforward.  The Education Commission of the States conducted a detailed analysis calculating that the maximum savings for a district was 5.43%, but that the more likely average is in the .4% to 2.5% range. Many of the largest costs such as salaries, facilities, administrative costs, etc. are not affected by fewer days (Griffith, M., 2011).

Unfortunately, large-scale experimental studies on the other stated pros and cons of this intervention are as of yet nonexistent.  The studies that have been completed are often non- or quasi-experimental and produce results that are inconsistent, inconclusive, or show negative impact (Heyward, G., 2018).  Additionally, it is difficult to evaluate the impact of this intervention because, as with most structural interventions, the 4 day school schedule does not represent any particular teaching or educational model.  It is just a work schedule.  Regardless, “the idea has proved contagious because adults like it”.  (Hill, 2017).

Citation(s):  NCES. (2020). Shortened School Weeks in U.S. Public Schools. NCES 2020-011. National Center for Education Statistics.

Griffith, M. (2011). What Savings Are Produced by Moving to a Four-Day School Week?. Education Commission of the States (NJ3).

Heyward, G. (2018). What Do We Actually Know About the Four-Day School Week? Center on Reinventing Public Education 

Hill, P.T. & Heyward, G.,  (2017).  A Troubling Contagion: The Rural 4-Day School Week.  Brookings Institute, Brown Center Chalkboard.

Long, C. (2019). Four-Day School Weeks More Popular, But Impact on Students and Educators Unclear. neaToday 

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). (2019). Four-Day School Week Overview 

Walker, T. (2019). After Moving to a Four-Day School Week, There May Be No Going Back. neaToday

Link: https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/Instructional-Time-Trends_revised-1.pdf