Categories for Policy Initiatives
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
Evidence-Based Policies in Education: Initiatives and Challenges in Europe. This article examines the state of progress of evidence-based educational policies in Europe and identifies organizations for the generation and dissemination of evidence. Further, it discusses some of the most relevant challenges facing the development of evidence-informed education policies in Europe.
Citation: Pellegrini, M., & Vivanet, G. (2020). Evidence-based policies in education: Initiatives and challenges in Europe. ECNU Review of Education, 2096531120924670.
May 19, 2021
Standardized Testing and the Controversy Surrounding It. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general understanding of standardized testing as well as the current controversy surrounding it, particularly in the context of performance-based accountability systems. The overview addresses the following questions related to standardized testing:
- What do stakeholders need to understand about standardized testing?
- What is the history of standardized tests and how have the tests been used?
- What are the reasons for the current controversy over standardized testing?
Citation: Polster, P.P., Detrich, R., & States, J., (2021). Standardized Testing: The Controversy Surrounding It. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/student-standardized-tests.
May 18, 2021
Playing like you practice: Formative and Summative Techniques to Assess Student Learning. This chapter offers a practical review of formative and summative assessment techniques, the evidence for their effectiveness in the classroom, and provides concrete strategies and resources for a range of classroom contexts and formats. The formative assessment techniques can be incorporated into virtually any class, in-person or online. Each of these strategies are adaptable to many different course contexts and virtually any topic. The most common form of summative assessment is the multiple-choice exam. Beyond examinations, summative assessment can involve a wide range of projects and other written assignments. At the most complex and challenging end of the spectrum of summative assessment techniques, the portfolio involves a collection of artifacts of student learning organized around a particular learning outcome.
Citation: Beers, M. J. (2020). Formative and Summative Techniques to Assess Student Learning. High impact teaching for sport and exercise psychology educators.
May 17, 2021
For many teachers, the image of students sitting in silence filling out bubbles, computing mathematical equations, or writing timed essays causes an intensely negative reaction. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002 and its 2015 update, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), every third through eighth grader in U.S. public schools now takes tests calibrated to state standards, with the aggregate results made public. In a study of the nation’s largest urban school districts, students took an average of 112 standardized tests between pre-K and grade 12. The pushback on high-stakes testing has also accelerated a national conversation about how students truly learn and retain information. This paper acknowledges the validity of teachers concerns, but discusses the need for well-designed classroom tests and quizzes and standardized exams.
Citation: Berwick, C. (2019). What Does the Research Say About Testing? Marin County, CA: Edutopia.
May 5, 2021
NEPC Review: “Student Assessment During COVID-19. School closings and the ever-increasing number of deaths provide the backdrop for a proposal by the Center for American Progress (CAP) to deny waivers of the federally mandated administration of standardized tests in spring 2021. Further, the federal government proposes to add to those assessments in ways that CAP argues would make the test results more useful. In its recent report, CAP sides with the Department of Education’s policy of denying such requests for waivers, and it calls for additional assessments that “capture multiple as- pects of student well-being, including social-emotional needs, engagement, and conditions for learning” as well as supplementary gathering of student information. The report contends this will ensure greater equity in the time of the pandemic, supposedly through the addition of the new measures to annual assessments.
Citation: Glass, G.V., Mathis, W.J., & Berliner, D.C. (2020). NEPC Review: “Student Assessment During COVID-19.” Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved May 5, 2021 from http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/pandemic-assessment
April 14, 2021
Cost-Effectiveness of Instructional Coaching: Implementing a Design-Based, Continuous Improvement Model to Advance Teacher Professional Development. Schools devote substantial resources to teacher professional development each year. Yet studies show much of this investment is directed toward ineffective short-term workshops that have little impact on instructional change or student outcomes. At the same time, more intensive job-embedded forms of professional learning, such as instructional coaching, require substantially more resources than traditional professional development. The authors report the results of a two-year study assessing the cost-effectiveness of instructional coaching through a design-based, continuous improvement research model. Our findings suggest that coaching programs can become more cost-effective over time, as coaches and teachers refine their work together.
Citation: Knight, D. S., & Skrtic, T. M. (2020). Cost-Effectiveness of Instructional Coaching: Implementing a Design-Based, Continuous Improvement Model to Advance Teacher Professional Development. Journal of School Leadership, 1052684620972048.
April 12, 2021
Does Teacher Learning Last? Understanding How Much Teachers Retain Their Knowledge After Professional Development. Teacher professional development (PD) is seen as a promising intervention to improve teacher knowledge, instructional practice, and ultimately student learning. While research finds instances of significant program effects on teacher knowledge, little is known about how long these effects last. If teachers forget what is learned, the contribution of the intervention will be diminished. Using a large-scale data set, this study examines the sustainability of gains in teachers’ content knowledge for teaching mathematics (CKT-M). Results show that there is a negative rate of change in CKT after teachers complete the training, suggesting that the average score gain from the program is lost in just 37 days.
Citation: Liu, S., & Phelps, G. (2020). Does Teacher Learning Last? Understanding How Much Teachers Retain Their Knowledge After Professional Development. Journal of Teacher Education, 71(5), 537-550.
April 12, 2021
Exploring the impact of student teaching apprenticeships on student achievement and mentor teachers.The authors examine the impact of preservice teachers on student achievement during the apprenticeship training and in the future. While the average causal effect of hosting a student-teacher on student performance in the internship year is indistinguishable from zero in both math and reading, hosting a student-teacher has modest positive impacts on student math reading achievement in a teacher’s classroom in the following years. These findings suggest that schools can participate in the student teaching process without fear of short-term decreases in student test scores while potentially gaining modest, long-term increases in test scores.
Citation: Goldhaber, D., Krieg, J. M., & Theobald, R. (2020). Exploring the impact of student teaching apprenticeships on student achievement and mentor teachers. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 13(2), 213-234.