Categories for Education Outcomes

What is the impact of student absenteeism on important student outcomes?

October 29, 2018

11 Million Days Lost: Race, Discipline, and Safety at U.S. Public Schools: Part I

Research tells us that student engagement is one of the most important components of a classroom strategy to facilitate student learning, as is effective teaching, a systematic instruction pedagogy, and evidence-based curriculum.  Yet none of these interventions matter if a student is not in school. There are an increasing number of studies examining student absenteeism and its negative impact on student achievement.  This descriptive summary is one of the first reviews to examine the number of days of “lost instruction” resulting from student suspensions. The study examines the total number of days lost nationwide, disparities among different student subgroups, and differences across individual states. Read more Overall, students lost a total of 11,360,004 days of instruction as a result of school suspensions. In order to facilitate comparisons of student subgroups with different enrollment numbers, the study uses a metric of “days of lost instruction per 100 students enrolled”. The resulting analysis documents significant disparity between subgroups. Black students lost 66 days of instruction (for every 100 students) compared to 14 for White students (the national average was 23 lost days).  Students with disabilities lost 44 days of instruction, twice the 20 lost days of those without disabilities.  Individual states had radically different performance in this area, with North Carolina averaging 51 days lost instruction per 100 enrollment annually and Utah 5 days. When examined by subgroup data, some states have extremely large instructional day loss.  Black students lost over 100 days of lost instruction per 100 enrolled in Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. The impact of loss of instruction due to suspensions has a lifelong impact on students, including: lower graduation rates (Rumberger and Losen, 2017), increased involvement in the juvenile justice system (Mowicki, 2018), and arrests as adults Rosenbaum (2018)

Citations: Russell W. Rumberger and Daniel J.Losen, The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline, The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, (2017) Retrieved from

Janet Rosenbaum (2018). Educational and Criminal Justice Outcomes 12 Years After School Suspension. Youth & Society.

Jacqueline M. Mowicki, Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys and Students with Disabilities, GAO (March 2018).





What does research tell educators and public about reading?

October 26, 2018

Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?

This report and podcast examines the scientific basis for how to teach reading to children. This investigation reveals how children learn to read, emphasizing the five critical components of reading instruction. Unfortunately, most teacher preparation programs ignore the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail. This American Public Media documentary assesses the current knowledge base behind sound reading practices, the positive impact of effective reading practices can have on student reading performance, and the challenges faced in implementing these practices in the face of opposition from practitioners of whole language and proponents of balanced reading instruction.

Citation:Hanford, E, (2018). Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? American Public Media (APM).




Which elementary mathematics programs produce the best results?

October 15, 2018

Effective programs in elementary mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis

This research synthesis examines randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental research on the mathematics achievement outcomes for elementary school programs. The best outcomes were found for tutoring programs. One-to-one and one-to-small group models had equal impacts. The outcomes for tutoring had equally positive outcomes regardless if the person delivering the instruction was a teachers or paraprofessionals. Technology programs showed modest positive impacts. The findings suggest that programs emphasizing personalization, engagement, and motivation are most impactful in elementary mathematics instruction.

Citation:Pellegrini, M., Lake, C., Inns, A, & , Slavin, R. (2018). Effective programs in elementary mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis. Best Evidence Encyclopedia.




How shared book reading affects the English language and literacy skills of young children learning English as a second language.

October 15, 2018

Shared Book Reading Interventions With English Learners: A Meta-Analysis

In the United States there is a significant population of children whose second language is English. Research reveals English language learners are overrepresented among students who read at below basic levels. Identifying practices that can increase the proficiency of English learners is essential for these children in order to avoid achievement deficits in later grades. This meta-analysis examines how shared book reading impacts the English language and literacy skills of young children. The study finds a significant positive effect of using shared reading on English learner academic outcomes.

Citation:Fitton, L., McIlraith, A. L., & Wood, C. L. (2018). Shared Book Reading Interventions With English Learners: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 0034654318790909.





How effective is whole school restorative justice?

October 15, 2018

Restorative justice in Oakland schools. Implementation and impact: An effective strategy to reduce racially disproportionate discipline, suspensions, and improve academic outcomes.

Schools around the United States continue to use zero-tolerance disciplinary policies and practices to suspend or expel students for minor behavioral infractions, such as verbal disrespect, fighting, or truancy Compelling evidence suggests that zero tolerance disciplinary policies and practices used for decades have proven ineffective. This study examines the impact of The Whole School Restorative Justice Program (WSRJ). WSRJ utilizes a multi-tiered strategy. Tier 1 is regular classroom circles, Tier 2 is repair harm/conflict circles, and Tier 3 includes mediation, family group conferencing, and welcome/re-entry circles to initiate successful re-integration of students being released from juvenile detention centers.The key findings of this report show decreased problem behavior, improved school climate, and improved student achievement. In WSRJ schools, suspensions were cut in half (34% to 14%). Chronic absences diminished in WSRJ middle and high schools. Reading levels for ninth graders increased more in WSRJ schools than in non-WSRJ schools and four-year graduation rates increased over control schools.

Citation: Jain, S., Bassey, H., Brown, M. A., & Kalra, P. (2014). Restorative justice in Oakland schools. Implementation and impact: An effective strategy to reduce racially disproportionate discipline, suspensions, and improve academic outcomes.




Data Matters: Using Chronic Absence to Accelerate Action for Student Success

October 1, 2018

Excessive student absenteeism (chronic absences) can have a devastating impact on student achievement.  It’s significance was recognized in the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which now requires all states to include in their school report cards how many students are chronically absent.  The Data Matters report analyzes the data in an attempt better understand the relationship between chronic absences and a wide range of variables: chronic absences by year, state, schools, poverty, ethnicity, and other school characteristics.  Key findings include:  (1) Nearly eight million students in the nation (15%) were chronically absent in the 2015-16 school year, (2) While chronic absenteeism affects all states, there is great variability between individual states ranging from 12% to 31% students with chronic absences, (3) over half (52%) of chronic absenteeism comes from students in schools with high or extreme levels of chronic absenteeism, and (4) schools with higher concentrations of low income students are more likely to experience chronic absenteeism.  The report provides recommendations and strategies for managing chronic absenteeism at all levels of education leadership, from state agencies through individual schools.  It also has an interactive web site where the reader can drill down on specific data at all levels of the education system.

Citation: Chang, Hedy N., Bauer, Lauren and Vaughan Byrnes, Data Matters: Using Chronic Absence to Accelerate Action for Student Success, Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center, September 2018.




Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales: Results From the 2015 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessments

October 1, 2018

Standardized tests play a critical role in tracking and comparing K-12 student progress across time, student demographics, and governing bodies (states, cities, districts).  Each individual state establishes its own curricula, standardized tests, and achievement (proficiency) standards.  As these decisions vary significantly across states and time, it becomes difficult to establish common metrics that would assess the true picture of a state’s performance. One methodology is to benchmark the each state’s proficiency standards against those of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test.  This study does just that.  Using NAEP as a common yardstick allows a comparison of different state assessments. The results confirm the wide variation in proficiency standards across states.  It also documents that the significant majority of states have standards are much lower than those established by the NAEP.

At the national level, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is the gold standard.  It has been administered annually since 1970 and establishes student achievement standards using rigorous and independent evaluation methodology to ensure they are reasonable, valid, and informative.  The achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced) identify what students should know and be able to do at each grade level in a specific subject area. Students performing at or above the Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter.  Proficiency is the target academic performance benchmark for students.

The study provides two sets of data regarding this issue: (1) how the individual state standards themselves compare to NAEP standards and (2) where students would have been placed for both the state and national tests.  In 2015, only two states had proficiency standards for reading at the same range as those of NAEP.  Forty-one states had proficiency standards that corresponded with the Basic Level in NAEP.    One state had standards that corresponded with below Basic.  In other words, the achievement levels in most states for being identified as proficient are much lower than those identified by NAEP.

The second analysis examined the percent of students identified as proficient in each state and compares it to the percent of the same student population that would be considered proficient by NAEP standards.  For example, Louisiana standards identified 66.8% of its students as being proficient across reading and math, only 24.8 % of the students would have been classified as proficient by NAEP.  In Nebraska, 76.2% of students were classified as proficient as opposed to only 40.2% meeting the proficiency standard for NAEP.

Citation: Bandeira de Mello, V., Rahman, T., and Park, B.J. (2018). Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Results From the 2015 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessments (NCES 2018-159). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics.




How Can Educators Standardize the Practice of Coaching?

September 10, 2018

Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards

The New Teacher Center has released guidelines and standards for the implementation of coaching as a powerful means of improving school, teacher, and ultimately student performance. The Instructional Coaching Program Standardsdefine the essential elements of a coaching program designed to accelerate teacher effectiveness. Districts can then use the Instructional Coaching Practice Standards as a framework to implement the components in a strategic, quality practice. The components consist of selection, roles, and responsibilities of coaches who will provide focused instructional assistance to teachers; preparation, development, and ongoing support for those coaches; a collaborative system of formative assessment of practice for teachers and coaches; and targeted, differentiatedprofessional learning opportunities for teachers. Formal standards are necessary for overcoming deficits inherent in previous in-service and teacher induction efforts that often left implementation of teacher training up to each personto define. This transformation is essential in assuring a consistency of practice for all the differing interventions currently bundled under the coaching label. These new coaching standards are a clarification and distillation of current practice elements, and are designed to make coaching more productive and cost effective.


New Teacher Center (2018). Instructional Coaching Program and Practice Standards. New Teacher Center.




What Is the Evidence Behind Learning Styles?

September 10, 2018

Does Tailoring Instruction to “Learning Styles” Help Students Learn?

In this 2018 analysis, Daniel Willingham revisits his 2005 review of the literature on learning styles. Thirteen years ago he concluded there is no evidence supporting theories that distinguish between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles and improved achievement. To update his earlier study, Willingham examined research published since 2005. Learning style theorists have postulated that teaching to a specific learning style will help struggling students achieve success in school. Willingham begins by differentiating between learning style and ability. He defines learning style as the way a person completes tasks, and ability as how well the person executes the tasks. Learning style advocates believe that having a student focus on a preferred style will lead to improved performance. The recent research examined by Willingham supports his earlier conclusion: “There is not convincing evidence to support the idea that tailoring instruction according to a learning-styles theory improves student outcomes.” Matching instruction to learning style ultimately offers no credible benefit to students.Willingham did find new research confirming that people do show a preference for one style over another, but acting on the preference does not improve performance.

The implications from this research are that educators do not need to match learning style to student. Finally, it is worthwhile for teachers to teach students strategies that are effective and necessary for solving specific problems such as memorizing information, reading with comprehension, overcoming math anxiety, and avoiding distraction.

Citation: Willingham, D. T. (2018). Does tailoring instruction to “learning styles” help students learn? Ask the cognitive scientist. American Educator, 28–43.




Results from the 2018 Education Next Opinion Poll

August 23, 2018

Education Next releases 12thAnnual Survey of public opinion regarding education

Few issues engender stronger opinions in the American population than education, and the number and complexity of issues continue to grow.  The annual Education Next Survey of Public Opinion examines the opinions of parents and teachers across a wide range of topic areas such as: student performance, common core curriculum, charter schools, school choice, teacher salaries, school spending, school reform, etc.  The 12thAnnual Survey was completed in May, 2018.

The survey tracks opinions in the current year, and the trends in opinions over a 12 year period.  Several highlights from the 2018 survey include:  (1) Forty-nine percent of respondents who were informed of current teacher salary levels thought that teachers should be paid more, up 13 points from 2017 and the highest percentage since 2008.  Sixty seven percent of those who were not informed felt that teacher salaries should increase, also the highest since 2008.  (2) Fifty-four percent of the public supports some form of school voucher, up from forty-five percent in 2017.  Opposition to vouchers dropped to from 37% to 31%. (3) Public support of charter schools increased five percentage points from the previous year to 44%, with 35% opposed.  This number represents a rebound from a substantial decline in support in the previous two-year period (down from 52% support in 2016.

The Survey disaggregates the data by parents and teachers, union and non-union teachers, race, income levels, and political affiliations (Republicans and Democrats).  It also has an interactive data base on its website.

Citation: Cheng, A., Henderson, M. B., Peterson, P.E. & West, M. R. (2019). The 2018 EdNext poll on school reform. Education Next19(1).

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