Categories for Implementation

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.




How effective is the use of video in professional development?

November 12, 2019

A systematic review of single-case research on video analysis as professional development for special educators. Professional development is viewed as essential to providing teachers with the skills needed to be successful in the classroom. Research strongly supports the need to go beyond the typical in-service training that is commonly provided teachers. Coaching and feedback have been found to be very effective in increasing the likelihood that training will be implemented in classrooms. The use of video has been offered as a cost-effective way to trainers to provide feedback to teachers in training based on actual performance in classroom use of the new skill(s).

Citation: Morin, K. L., Ganz, J. B., Vannest, K. J., Haas, A. N., Nagro, S. A., Peltier, C. J., … & Ura, S. K. (2019). A systematic review of single-case research on video analysis as professional development for special educators. The Journal of Special Education53(1), 3-14.




What practices increase teacher praise?

November 8, 2019

Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis. This research examines the literature supporting teacher training in the use of behavior-specific praise. One of the most common problems confronting classroom teachers concerns managing student behavior. Praise is a straight forward cost-effective intervention used to increase appropriate behavior and decrease troublesome student conduct. In the absence of training, teachers fail to adequately use behavior-specific praise and frequently fall back on the use of negative statements to control student conduct. The current knowledge base finds this approach to be counter-productive. 

On the other hand, rigorous research indicates that when teachers receive training in the use of praise, disruptive behavior decreases, and appropriate conduct increases. This meta-analysis examined 28 single subject designed studies. The authors found an aggregate large effect size for teachers who received training increase the use of behavior-specific praise with students.

Citation: Zoder-Martell, K. A., Floress, M. T., Bernas, R. S., Dufrene, B. A., & Foulks, S. L. (2019). Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 1-30.




What tools do state departments of education provide for districts to evaluate curriculum?

October 24, 2019

State Department of Education Support for Implementation Issues Faced by School Districts during the Curriculum Adoption Process. The results of this systematic review of the websites of all 50 of the departments of education in the United States show that relatively few states provide state-created curriculum evaluation tools in the areas of English/language arts and mathematics, and only one state provides a curriculum evaluation tool that thoroughly addresses issues of implementation. In the area of English/language arts, the implementation issue most commonly addressed is fit of an instructional program with the district. Evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of a curriculum and the district’s capacity to effectively implement a curriculum are the next two most frequently addressed implementation-related issues. In the area of mathematics, fit with the district is also the most commonly addressed implementation-related issue. The next two most frequently addressed implementation-related issues are supports for the personnel implementing the curriculum and the capacity of the district to successfully implement. Only one state provided a state-created evaluation tool that thoroughly addressed all aspects of implementation as defined by The Hexagon Tool. Interestingly, this tool was generic. It was not designed to be used with English/language arts or mathematics curricula specifically, but with a variety of innovations that districts may consider adopting.

Citation: Rolf, R., R. (2019). State Department of Education Support for Implementation Issues Faced by School Districts during the Curriculum Adoption Process. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.




Teacher Retention Strategies (Wing Institute Original Paper)

October 22, 2019

Teacher turnover is an enormous burden on education systems, both in terms of student achievement and dollars. High turnover necessitates the recruitment of large numbers of novice teachers, whom research shows are less skilled. This situation is exacerbated by a steady exodus of veteran teachers opting to move from challenging assignments in poorer performing schools with higher percentages of lower socio-economic students to preferred assignments more affluent areas. The high rate of turnover destabilizes the system, forcing diversion of valuable resources from ongoing improvements to recruitment, hiring, and training of novice instructors. Teachers seem to be particularly at risk for higher turnover at the beginning of their careers. Nearly half of teachers leave within 5 years of entering the profession. Efforts to improve retention have been inadequate as evidenced by steadily increasing departures from the profession. This tendency toward turnover is even more striking in private schools than in public schools. Turnover represents a major obstacle to long-term stability, diverts valuable resources, and derails many efforts at reform.

Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, R. (2019). Teacher Retention Strategies Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.




Is all feedback alike?

September 26, 2019

What Is My Next Step? School Students’ Perceptions of Feedback. The power of feedback is touted as one of the most powerful practices for improving performance. Research consistently reports large effect sizes for feedback improving performance, yet variability relating to the effects of feedback exists. The Kluger and DeNisi 1996 meta-analysis was one such study that found a medium 0.41 effect size for the general impact of feedback. What Kluger and DeNisi found was that not all feedback is alike. This 2019 study attempts to increase our knowledge base by examining the power of different forms of feedback as a means to increase the impact of teacher delivered feedback. The paper aims to investigate student perceptions of feedback through designing a student feedback perception questionnaire (SFPQ) based on a conceptual model of feedback. The questionnaire was used to collect data about the helpfulness for learning resulting from different feedback types and levels. Findings from this study demonstrate that the SPFQ tool partially affirms Hattie and Timperely’s (2007) conceptual model of feedback. Feeding forward (information about improvement) was found to be a unique feedback type that was perceived by participants as being most helpful to learning compared to other feedback.

Citation: Brooks, C., Huang, Y., Hattie, J., Carroll, A., & Burton, R. (2019). What is my next step? School students’ perceptions of feedback. In Frontiers in Education (Vol. 4, p. 96). Frontiers.




Which teaching practices produce the best elementary school writers.

August 15, 2019

Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide examines the research on how teaching elementary students how to write. The report analyzes the evidence supporting those teaching methods commonly employed to increase student competency in becoming a fluent writer. The guide is for teachers, literacy coaches, principals, districts, and curriculum developers, and other educators. The paper summarizes the available research and provides recommendations on the types of activities and strategies teachers can use to increase student writing proficiency. 

Citation: Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Olson, C. B., D’Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., & Olinghouse, N. (2012). Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. NCEE 2012-4058. What Works Clearinghouse.




Looking at cost effective means to deliver classroom management training to teachers

July 30, 2019

The Effects of Targeted Professional Development on Teachers’ Use of Empirically Supported Classroom Management Practices. Research suggests teachers want and need to improve classroom management skills. Studies also find that teachers currently receive limited training and support in this critical area of instruction. This study examines brief, targeted professional development (brief training, email prompting, and self-management) to improve teacher classroom management skills. The training focused on increasing the effective use of prompting, increased active student responding, and delivery of praise. The results show that teachers increased their prompt and specific praise rates while they actively engaged in training. However, the effects of professional development did not maintain when training shifted to a new skill.

Citation: Simonsen, B., Freeman, J., Myers, D., Dooley, K., Maddock, E., Kern, L., & Byun, S. (2019). The Effects of Targeted Professional Development on Teachers’ Use of Empirically Supported Classroom Management Practices. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1098300719859615.




Evaluation of a Principal Development Model: the Principal Pipeline

April 11, 2019

Principal Pipeline:  A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools. The Rand Corporation just released its report evaluating the impact of the Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI),a project supported by the Wallace Foundation to create and implement a strategic process for school leadership talent management.  PPI was operated from 2011 to 2016 in six large school districts. It was composed of leadership standards, pre-service preparation opportunities for assistant principals and principals, selective hiring and placement, and on-the-job induction, evaluation and support.  The Rand Study evaluated PPI’s feasibility, effectiveness, and affordability.  It concluded that the model was feasible as each participating district was able to implement all components of the model at scale in different ways depending on the unique aspects of the district. From an effectiveness standpoint, newly placed principals in PPI districts had a greater statistically significant impact on student reading and math scores than non-PPI principals, they were more likely to stay ion their schools for at least two years, and the novice principals rated the program’s hiring, evaluation, and support process higher than non-participating principals rated the baseline model. And finally, the study found the model affordable at $ 42 per student per year, which represented a significant return on investment.  Note:  It is hoped that future studies will include outcome measure such as teacher retention, effectiveness, and satisfaction in the context of principal development.  

Citation: Gates, Susan M., Matthew D. Baird, Benjamin K. Master, and Emilio R. Chavez-Herrerias, Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-2666-WF, 2019. 




Why do evidence-based practices frequently fail to produce positive results?

January 22, 2019

Citation: Gonzalez, N. (2018). When evidence-based literacy programs fail. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(4), 54–58.