Categories for Education Resources
March 15, 2018
The Campbell Collaboration: Providing Better Evidence for a Better World
News Summary: This paper provides the history and summarizes the development of the Campbell Collaboration. The Campbell Collaboration is a “nonprofit organization with the mission of helping people make well-informed decisions about the effects of interventions in the social, behavioral, and educational domains. The paper looks at the organization’s efforts to build a world library of accurate, synthesized evidence to inform policy and practice and improve human well-being worldwide. The Education section of the Campbell research library produces reviews on issues in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Topics range from academic programs, teacher qualifications, testing, to a wide variety of school-based interventions. Campbell systematic reviews and related evidence synthesis provide unbiased summaries of bodies of empirical evidence. The Campbell Collaboration has recently implemented new changes in its practices designed to significantly increase the production, dissemination, and use of rigorous syntheses of research. Following the acquisition of new funding, The Campbell Collaboration embarked on a process of reform culminating in the appointment of a new Board of Directors and the creation of an annual members conference.
Citation: Littell, J. H., & White, H. (2018). The Campbell Collaboration: Providing better evidence for a better world. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(1), 6-12.
February 28, 2018
Digest of Education Statistics 2015 Report Released
News Summary: The Digest of Education Statistics 2015 was just released by The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual publication provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. Topics include: the number of schools and colleges; teachers; enrollments; graduates; educational attainment; finances; federal funds for education; employment and income of graduates; libraries; technology; and international comparisons. It has been published annually since 1962, providing over 50 years of data with which to benchmark education performance at the system level in this country.
Citation: Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics 2016 (NCES 2017-094). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
September 6, 2017
Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
This news item offers a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. In an era in which we are bombarded with volumes of research, it becomes ever more challenging to decide which journals and publishers are reputable. This web site reviews, assesses, and provides guidelines on how to decide which are trustworthy, whether you want to submit articles, serve as an editor, or serve on an editorial board. The web site provides a list that mostly consists of open access journals, although, a few non-open access publishers whose practices match those of predatory publishers have been added to the list.
Citation: Beall, J. (2012). Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, 489(7415), 179.
Web Site: Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
August 8, 2017
A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?
This meta-analysis of early childhood education programs in the U.S. examines the impact of class size and child to teacher ratios on the cognitive, achievement, and socioemotional outcomes for children. The study found no socially significant relationship with cognitive and achievement effect size for either class size or child to teacher ratios. The only notable improvement in effect size was found when child to teacher ratios were lower than 7.5-1.
Citation: Bowne, J. B., Magnuson, K. A., Schindler, H. S., Duncan, G. J., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017). A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373716689489.
August 1, 2017
A Guide to Calculating District Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios Using Publicly Available Data
Efficient use of educational resources is a perennial challenge for school systems. Maximizing the impact of education interventions to magnify student achievement is an important goal for all school districts. This guide examines the use of expenditure-to-performance ratios as a critical indicator for school systems to help decide which interventions make sense when education dollars are at a premium. It describes how states and districts can use available data on district expenditures and student academic achievement to calculate six district-level expenditure-to-performance ratios.
Citation: Ryan, S., Lavigne, H. J., Zweig, J. S., & Buffington, P. J. (2017). A guide to calculating district expenditure-to-performance ratios using publicly available data. (REL 2017-179). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands.
July 13, 2017
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on Department of Education Staffing
A recently released report from the GAO finds that overall staffing in the Department of Education has fallen from a high of 6,391 in 1981 to 4,077 in 2015, while contracting levels have remained relatively stable. It is important to note that the workload for Department of Education has grown as the budget for the department has increased significantly during this same period. More eliminations of personnel are expected as the Trump administration has called for a further 13.5% reduction. It is interesting to note that the entire federal workforce has experienced a 4% reduction in staffing from 1991 through 2015, while the Department of Education lost 12% of it’s personnel.
Citation: Foxx, V., Guthrie, B., Rokita, T. and Rothmam, G. (2107). Department of Education: Staffing Levels Have Generally Decreased Over Time, While Contracting Levels Have Remained Relatively Stable. US Government Accountability Office GAO-17-669R.
June 15, 2017
School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance
Providing children with nutritious school meals continues to be a topic of interest in education policy. It has been argued that a healthy diet can have a positive impact on childhood obesity as well as student achievement. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this popular intervention. A working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research offers insights to help policy makers decide whether to select this option as a way to make a difference in children’s lives. The study, a natural experiment conducted in California public schools, uses a difference-in-difference regression statistical analysis of data from a treatment group and a control group at two or more different time periods, pre-treatment and post-treatment. The study found no evidence to support a reduction in obesity, but it did discover that introducing healthy meals was associated with a 0.036 standard deviation increase in test scores. The improved student achievement, although small, makes nutritious school lunches a viable cost-effective intervention that can boost test scores. It is important to remember that this is a correlational study and thus cannot establish a cause and effect relationship between healthy eating and student achievement.
Citation: Anderson, M. L., Gallagher, J., & Ritchie, E. R. (2017). School lunch quality and academic performance (NBER Working Paper No. 23218). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
June 2, 2017
In early February, the IDEA hosted website that provides special education resources disappeared prompting concern among some in the special education community and members of Congress that the new administration was permanently eliminating this support for special education. After a prolonged outage, the U.S. Department of Education Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website, has been revamped and is now back online. The website offers useful information on special education law and policy, topic area reports, grants and funding resources, links to outside resources, and a blog for use by policy makers, parents and educators.
March 24, 2017
Endrew F., A Minor, By And Through His Parents And Next Friends, Joseph F. Et Al. V. Douglas County School District
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on March 22, 2017 that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to provide education programs that enable students to make progress from year to year. Delivering the opinion for the Court, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that an education program must be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” This ruling does not require an ideal individualized education program (IEP), but it does charge schools to provide services that will enable a student to make progress achieving passing marks and advancing from grade to grade. Roberts also wrote that for a child for whom a regular classroom is not appropriate, an education program must be “appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances.” This overturns the previous lower standard. The ruling continued, “But whatever else can be said about it, this standard is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.”
February 28, 2017
Reimagining the School Day: Innovative Schedules for Teaching and Learning
A new report from the Center for American Progress suggests that American students would be better served if teachers were allowed more time to collaborate with colleagues, plan lessons, and review the effects of instruction. Education reform efforts in the United States have resulted in notable increases in the average length of the school day and the school year, expanding total instructional time for students. This means that teachers spend about 27 hours per week in face-to-face time teaching. Disappointingly, these efforts have not increased student achievement scores. An unintended consequence has been that American teachers typically spend significantly less time planning lessons than peers in nations such as Singapore and Finland, which are achieving better results. This report examines scheduling options that increase educator time to plan lessons. Examples of school schedules from across the United States are offered as a resource for schools systems looking to improve performance in this critical area of instruction.
Benner, M., & Partelow, L. (2017). Reimagining the School Day: Innovative Schedules for Teaching and Learning. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.