Categories for Education Resources

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.




Are high rates of teacher turnover a serious problem for schools?

February 13, 2020

The trouble with teacher turnover: How teacher attrition affects students and schools. Schools in the United States continue to experience a shortage of classroom teachers. Teacher shortages negatively impact school systems, including but not limited to student learning and available district resources. This study finds higher turnover rates in the southern states; among mathematics, science, special education, English language development, and foreign language teachers; in schools serving students of color and from low-income families; and among teachers of color. The analysis reveals factors associated with higher turnover rates, ranging from insufficient administrative support to teacher compensation. Finally, the paper proposes strategies to address teacher turnover to ensure a stable teacher workforce.

Citation: Carver-Thomas, D., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2019). The trouble with teacher turnover: How teacher attrition affects students and schools. education policy analysis archives27, 36.




How important is teacher compensation?

February 13, 2020

The Unavoidable: Tomorrow’s Teacher Compensation. This research examines the issue of teacher compensation. The author finds that teachers earn significantly less than they could make working in other comparable fields. The results show teacher salaries have been stagnant as a result of money has been funneled to increasing the number of educators and support personnel in schools. An examination of school expenditures reveals substantial growth in the costs of teacher pensions, and health care coverage has negatively affected teacher compensation. Consequently, inadequate teacher compensation reduces teacher retention and, ultimately, the quality of instruction. The research cautions against merely throwing money at the problem, as is commonly the case in many policy initiatives that do not directly impact how teachers teach.

Citation: Hanushek, E. A. (2020). The Unavoidable: Tomorrow’s Teacher Compensation. Stanford Hoover Education Success Initiative.’s-teacher-compensation




How can teachers discourage inappropriate conduct? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

February 10, 2020

Decreasing Inappropriate Behavior Overview. Teachers place inappropriate conduct at the top of the list of challenges they face. Unacceptable behavior ranges from problematic speech to violence. Evidence supports a continuum of strategies to decrease inappropriate behavior, beginning with the least intrusive and progressing through increasingly restrictive interventions. A simple but effective intervention is explicit student reprimand, a brief correction defining the error and explaining how to improve. Performance feedback is a more formal strategy that uses comments, charts, graphs, and reports to assist students analyze and improve performance by specifying expected behavior, unacceptable performance, and the consequences for each. Basic to reducing inappropriate conduct is planned ignoring (extinction), or withholding attention when misbehavior occurs. A multiform intervention is differential reinforcement. It combines reinforcement for appropriate behavior and ignoring misbehavior in various arrangements by increasing desired behavior to replace or decrease misbehavior. Systems that award points for appropriate behavior and remove points for misbehavior (response cost) are also effective. A more restrictive option for serious disruptive conduct is time out. It is the removal of a student to a less reinforcing environment when undesired behavior occurs.

Citation: Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Decreasing Inppropriate Behavior. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.




How does class size reduction measure up to other common educational interventions in a cost-benefit analysis? (Wing Institute Data Mining)

January 23, 2020

Why is this question important? Given the limited resources that are available for the education of children, it is important to select interventions that have the greatest impact we can afford. Using Stuart Yeh’s effectiveness cost ratio formula, a rough comparison can be drawn comparing class size reduction with other educational interventions.

Citation: Yeh, S. S. (2007). The Cost-Effectiveness of Five Policies for Improving Student Achievement, American Journal of Evaluation, 28(4), 416-436.




How important is school financing to student success?

January 15, 2020

Does School Spending Matter? The New Literature on an Old Question. The impact of school finances on student achievement has long interested educators. Research conducted before the mid-1990s suggested a link between the available resources provided schools and student outcomes, but much of this research is correlational. Because correlational research cannot imply causation, studies of a more rigorous nature are needed if policymakers are to redesign school financing that predictably maximizes learning for all students, regardless of the parent’s socio-economic status. Recently published studies employing larger data-sets and based on quasi-experimental methods offer a clearer understanding of how schools might be better funded. This paper of American United States school finances finds evidence to support the importance of providing equitable funding across school districts. These results have important policy implications and suggest areas for future research.

Citation: Jackson, C. K. (2018). Does school spending matter? The new literature on an old question (No. w25368). National Bureau of Economic Research.




What does the latest data tell us about student dropout rates?

January 15, 2020

Trend in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2018. This report provides the most recent year of data available for each dropout and completion rate, summarizes long-term trends, and examines the characteristics of high school dropouts and completers. Five rates are presented to provide a broad perspective on high school dropouts and completers in the United States: the event dropout rate, the status dropout rate, the status completion rate, the adjusted cohort graduation rate, and the averaged freshman graduation rate. The report also provides information about individuals who completed an alternative high school credential. 

Citation: McFarland, J., Cui, J., Rathbun, A., and Holmes, J. (2019). Trend in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States:2018. National Center for Education Statistics. NCES 2019-117 US Department of Education.




What does the research tell us about principal turnover?

December 17, 2019

A Review of the Literature on Principal Turnover. When it comes to variables that impact student achievement, school principals consistently come up second, behind teachers. They play a critical role in supporting teachers and students to ensure a school’s success.   Hiring and maintaining qualified school principals is as important as it is challenging.  Yet, principal turnover remains high, impacting the consistency of services and school improvement efforts. 

This paper examines research on what we know about the causes and impact of principal turnover. The author is interested in answering three questions: how principal turnover is defined and measured, identifying the causes of turnover, and understanding the consequences of high rates of turnover. The review of the literature shows that there are insufficient numbers and quality of studies on this topic. The current knowledge base consists of case studies and correlational research. The fact there is a shortage of experimental research is not surprising given challenges confronted in implementing research on principal turnover. Because of this, the author was unable to conduct a meta-analysis for this paper. It appears that principal turnover is closely related to student achievement and teacher turnover, but the research is not sufficient to make definitive conclusions at this time. Snodgrass concludes the field needs additional quality studies on this topic.

Citation: Snodgrass Rangel, V. (2018). A review of the literature on principal turnover. Review of Educational Research88(1), 87-124.




Is Dyslexia a Genuine Phenomenon?

December 16, 2019

On the Reality of Dyslexia. This paper assesses research on the topic of dyslexia. Willingham’s piece is in response to comments made by literacy researcher, Dick Allington, in which he questions the legitimacy of the label, dyslexia. Answering this question is more than an academic exercise as having a clearer understanding of dyslexia is crucial if educators are to understand why 10% of students struggle to master reading, the skill essential to success in academic learning.  Willingham highlights the etiology of the disorder, and he concludes that the ability to read is the product of the home environment, instruction at school, and genetics within the child. Dyslexia is a problem in the child’s ability to successfully master the skills of reading and is closely related to fluency in language. Dyslexia is not like measles in which you are ill, or you aren’t. Dyslexia is more like high blood pressure where individuals fall on a bell curve. Falling somewhere on the bell curve is supported by the hypothesis that the disorder is the complex interaction between multiple causes. Although it does not have a single source, dyslexia is successfully remediated through evidence-based language and reading instruction.

Citation: Willingham, D. (2019). On the Reality of Dyslexia. Charlottesville, VA.

LinkOn the Reality of Dyslexia



What roles are essential for school principals to be successful?

December 5, 2019

The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. This meta-analysis finds a positive relationship between school principals spending time on five commonly assigned roles and student achievement. These principal responsibilities are instructional management, internal relations, organizational management, administration, and external relations. The study finds that a principal cannot focus on a select few of the categories, but must carve out adequate time for each role. The need to be proficient across all leadership categories offers little comfort to U.S. principals who report average work-weeks of 58.6 hours (U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). The paper recommends school principals be provided with additional resources if they are to adequately meet the needs of the students, teachers, and the community. Although these roles differ from the responsibilities researched by Viviane Robinson (goal expectations, strategic resourcing, teaching and curriculum, teacher development, and supportive environment), there does appear to be a significant overlap with those identified in the Liebowitz meta-analysis (Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008).

Citation: Liebowitz, D. D., & Porter, L. (2019). The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher, and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. Review of Educational Research89(5), 785-827.