Categories for Effective Instruction
December 17, 2021
One of the most important decisions educators make is what reading curriculum to adopt. The consequences of that decision can have profound implications for students. Adopting a curriculum not based on the science of reading is likely to produce a generation of poor readers. Education Week recently reviewed a report from EDReports that reported two of the most commonly adopted reading curricula failed to meet their new review standards. The review covered both K-2 and grades 3-8 for Fountas and Pinnell Classroom and Units of Study from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Neither program met expectations for text quality or alignment to standards. In 2019, EdWeek Research Center reported that 44% of K-2 early reading and special education teachers used Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention, a companion intervention to Fountas and Pinnell Classroom.
Additionally, it was reported that 16% of teachers used Units of Study for Teaching Reading. Approximately 60% of K-2 and special education students are taught reading with curricula that do not meet standards for reading instruction. This is distressing given the importance of early reading on the educational trajectory for students.
Link for Ed Week article: https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/new-curriculum-review-gives-failing-marks-to-popular-early-reading-programs/2021/11
Kurtz, H., Lloyd, S., Harwin, A., Chen, V., & Furuya, Y. (2020). Early Reading Instruction: Results of a National Survey. Editorial Projects in Education.
November 5, 2021
Praise is generally recognized as an empirically-supported approach to improving student behavior (Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch, Myers, & Sugai, 2008); however, in spite of the research evidence, praise is often under-utilized in classrooms (Floress & Jenkins, 2015; Gable, Hendrickson, Shores, & Young, 1983; Sutherland, Wehby, & Copeland, 2000) highlighting the research to practice gap. Why don’t teachers implement praise more often and more consistently? Shernoff and colleagues (2020) attempted to answer this question. In this study, they recruited 41 teachers who identified praise as a professional development goal to participate in a coaching program with the goal of increasing praise. After the study was completed, the teachers were asked about facilitators (helpful factors) and barriers (obstacles) to using praise. During the study, the teachers slowly increased the frequency and quality of praise over a three-month period. This suggests that it takes time to make practice changes and it may be more complex to implement praise than is generally considered. The teachers identified a number of facilitators to using praise including feedback to students without having to criticize them, positive student reactions, and deliberate planning and reminders (planning how to use praise in the context of a specific lesson). Teachers also identified barriers to using praise including it interferes with instruction, conflicts with education, training and beliefs, and the context dependent nature of praise. Using praise in classrooms is an innovation when there is initially a very low level. From an implementation science perspective, the process leading to adoption can be complex and influenced by factors that are unrelated to the intervention. For example, if an innovation conflicts with a teacher’s education, training, and beliefs, then the innovation will likely be met with resistance. One way to reduce the resistance to the innovation is to have someone that is credible to the teacher champion the intervention rather than outside consultants, trainers, or researchers. Often the most credible person to a teacher is another teacher. This highlights that introducing interventions that are seemingly simple is not a simple process.
Citation: Shernoff, E. S., Lekwa, A. L., Reddy, L. A., & Davis, W. (2020). Teachers’ use and beliefs about praise: A mixed-methods study. School Psychology Review, 49(3), 256-274.
- Floress, M. T., & Jenkins, L. N. (2015). A preliminary investigation of kindergarten teachers’ use of praise in general education classrooms. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 59(4), 253–262. doi:10.1177/0198742917709472.
- Gable, R. A., Hendrickson, J. M., Shores, R. E., & Young, C. C. (1983). Teacher-handicapped child classroom interactions. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 6(2), 88–95. doi:10.1177/019874299301800405.
- Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S., Briesch, A., Myers, D., & Sugai, G. (2008). Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice. Education and Treatment of Children, 3, 351–380. doi:10.1353/etc.0.0007.
- Sutherland, K. S., Wehby, J. H., & Copeland, S. R. (2000). Effect of varying rates of behavior-specific praise on the ontask behavior of students with EBD. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 8(1), 2–8. doi:10.1177/ 106342660000800101.
November 5, 2021
Disruptive behavior is one of the biggest challenges facing classroom teachers today. Many of the students with the most disruptive behavior are classified as having emotional and behavioral disorders or at risk of developing them. These students take up a disproportionate amount of classroom time, reducing time spent of instruction. Generally, these students have not been responsive to class-wide behavior management approaches and require more individualized and intensive intervention. This raises the question what are the effective practices that will benefit the student? A recent review by Riden and colleagues attempted to answer this question through a systematic review of the literature. They identified eight practices that met critieria to be considered evidence-based: (check in/check out (2) functional assessment-based intervention (3) group contingencies (4) peer- mediated interventions (5) self-management (6) self-regulated strategy development for writing (7) token economies (8) video modeling. Another eleven practices were identified as promising and include: (1) praise (2) opportunities to respond (3) behavior contracting (4) cooperative learning (5) goal setting (6) good behavior game (7) high probability requests (8) instructional choice (9) self-determination (10) social skills (11) time out. It is important to recognize that practices described as promising may well be effective but the empirical data base is not yet strong enough to warrant inclusion as evidence-based. These practices should be considered when selecting approaches for addressing significant behavior problems.
These data are important because they can guide educators about which practices to adopt when addressing the behavior problems posed by disruptive students.
Citation: Riden, B. S., Kumm, S., & Maggin, D. M. (2021). Evidence-Based Behavior Management Strategies for Students With or At Risk of EBD: A Mega Review of the Literature. Remedial and Special Education, 07419325211047947.
October 4, 2021
Overview of Professional Judgment. Educators make many decisions regarding services for students. Even when there is abundant evidence to guide their decisions, educators must use their judgment about what is appropriate in a given situation. Only on rare occasion does the available evidence perfectly match the service context of concern to the educator. To bridge the gap between research and local circumstance, the educator must make a series of judgments such as defining the problem, determining which evidence is relevant, and deciding which features of the local context are likely to require adaptations to the selected evidence-based intervention. Professional judgment is a cornerstone of evidence-based practice, as are best available evidence, stakeholder values, and the context in which services are provided. In this definition of evidence-based practice, the integration of these variables influences decisions. No one cornerstone can be substituted for the others. Judgment must be informed and constrained by the best available evidence, stakeholder values, and context.
Citation: Guinness, K., and Detrich, R. (2021). Overview of Professional Judgment. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/evidence-based-decision-making-professional-judgment.
August 31, 2021
Principal Evaluation. The field of principal evaluation, while gaining increased research interest in recent years, lags behind teacher evaluation in terms of conclusions that can be made regarding effective practice. Prior to Race to the Top and ESEA waivers, principal evaluation was implemented inconsistently and evaluation systems lacked instruments with validity and/or reliability, had a tenuous relationship with leadership standards, failed to include measures of student/school outcomes, and had mixed purposes as to their intended use (e.g., sometimes as formative information to help principals improve, while other times as summative information to make personnel decisions). However, today’s evaluation systems have evolved to incorporate multiple measures of principal performance that evaluate principals on research-based principles of effective leadership, often include student outcomes (which is often controversial, however), and are used both to help principals improve and to hold them accountable for their performance. Ongoing and more frequent observations, often conducted by the principal supervisor, who often also serves as a coach/mentor and directs the principal towards needed professional learning, show promise as an effective practice. Using the results from principal evaluations for personnel decisions, such as offering incentives through pay-for-performance programs, yields mixed results and warrants further research attention.
Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, (2021). Principal Evaluation Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-leadership-principal-evaluation
August 15, 2021
Teacher Preparation Program Models Overview. Teacher preparation began in the mid-19th century with the normal school, a 2-year course of study that prepared candidates for teaching. This model remained unchanged until the early 20th century, when universities created the undergraduate model, which currently predominates. Teacher candidates are required to spend 4 years obtaining a bachelor’s degree built around a prescribed course of education study. A second relatively recent modification is the 5-year credential model, requiring candidates to obtain a bachelor’s degree before beginning a 5th year of instruction in teaching. The driving force behind the postgraduate model was the belief that teachers were not respected. It was assumed that a post-bachelor’s and/or graduate degree certificate would confer greater esteem on the profession. This model is offered across the country and is mandated for all new teachers in California. A third option, the alternative credential (AC) model, arose as a solution to teacher shortages. The AC model is distinct from the traditional models in that candidates receive formal preparation coursework while already employed in the classroom. Currently, little evidence exists to support the superiority of any one method over the others.
Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2021). Teacher Preparation Models. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institutehttps://www.winginstitute.org/pre-service-teacher-program-models.
August 3, 2021
Teacher Preparation: Instructional Effectiveness Overview. Discussions of teacher preparation generally focus on content (what to teach) rather than pedagogy (how to teach). Teacher training has changed little in 100 years. Preparation programs rely on lectures supplemented with 8 weeks of student teaching under minimal university oversight. Lecturing persists for various reasons: It requires nominal effort, instructors have greater control of what is presented, and assessing mastery of the material is easy using tests and papers. There are significant disadvantages to lecturing. Listening to a lecturer and answering questions during the lecture are very different from being able to perform skillfully in a real-world setting. Research shows that the most effective training of complex skills occurs when the training follows the elementary paradigm “I do,” “we do,” “you do.” This model relies on introducing skills through lectures and discussions, in tandem with demonstrating the skills (I do). This is followed by learners practicing the skills alongside a coach (we do), and finally the student teacher performing independently with feedback from the coach (you do). Research suggests it is only when coaching is added to the mix that skills are fully mastered and used effectively in the classroom.
Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2021). Teacher Preparation: Instructional Effectiveness. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/pre-service-teacher-instructional-effectiveness.
July 7, 2021
Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Research on data-based decision making has proliferated around the world, fueled by policy recommendations and the diverse data that are now available to educators to inform their practice. Yet, many misconceptions and concerns have been raised by researchers and practitioners. This paper surveys and synthesizes the landscape of the data-based decision-making literature to address the identified misconceptions and then to serve as a stimulus to changes in policy and practice as well as a roadmap for a research agenda.
Citation: Mandinach, E. B., & Schildkamp, K. (2021). Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 69, 100842.
June 18, 2021
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: A Component of Evidence-Based Education. Including cost-effectiveness data in the evaluation of programs is the next step in the evolution of evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice is grounded in three complementary elements: best available evidence, professional judgment, and client values and context. To fully apply the cost-effectiveness data, school administrators will have to rely on all three of these elements. The function of cost-effectiveness data is to guide decisions about how limited financial resources should be spent to produce the best educational outcomes. To do so, it is necessary for decision makers to choose between options with known cost-effectiveness ratios while working within the budget constraints. In this article, I discuss some of the considerations that have to be addressed in the decision-making process and implications of including cost-effectiveness analyses in data-based decision making.
Citation: Detrich, R. (2020). Cost-effectiveness analysis: A component of evidence-based education. School Psychology Review, 1-8.
June 18, 2021
How could evidence-based reform advance education? This article presents a definition and rationale for evidence-based reform in education, and a discussion of the current state of evidence-based research, focusing on China, the U.S., and the UK. The article suggests ways in which Chinese, U.S., UK, and other scholars might improve the worldwide quality of evidence-based reform in education. One indicator of this partnership is an agreement among the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanjing Normal University, and Johns Hopkins University to work together on Chinese and English versions of the website Best Evidence in Brief and a collaboration between Johns Hopkins and the ECNU Review of Education at East China Normal University.
The Wing Institute would like to acknowledge the contributions of Robert Slavin to the field of education. Our condolences go out to Robert Salvin’s family on the loss of one of America’s premier proponents of evidence-based education, who recently passed away on April 24, 2021. Robert Slavin was an education researcher who sought to translate the science of learning into effective teaching practices. Dr. Slavin was a distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, where he directed the Center for Research and Reform in Education
Citation: Slavin, R. E., Cheung, A. C., & Zhuang, T. (2021). How could evidence-based reform advance education?. ECNU Review of Education, 4(1), 7-24.