Categories for Policy Initiatives

What is the latest data on Covid-19 and schools?

January 25, 2021

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, States are struggling to reopen and keep open, most, if not all, of their 138,000 K-12 schools.  Given this level of uncertainty, it is critical to track data that will help schools identify problems quickly, assess their nature, and respond in timely and effective ways to safeguard the health of students and education staff while providing a quality education. This Wing Institute dashboard will on track issues regarding the reopening of schools under the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Citation: American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report. 2021. Available in: https://downloads.aap.org/AAP/PDF/AAP%20and%20CHA%20-%20Children%20and%20COVID-19%20State%20Data%20Report%201.14.21.pdf

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/covid-19-impact

 


 

What do school leaders need to support low performing schools?

January 19, 2021

The Next Generation of State Reforms to Improve their Lowest Performing Schools: An Evaluation of North Carolina’s School Transformation Initiative. Over the past 20 years, significant resources have been spent to raise low-performing schools’ performance. This research examines the impact of federally mandated school reforms under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on North Carolina schools. The revised education legislation allows states more discretion in reforming their lowest-performing schools, removes requirements to disrupt the status quo, and does not allocate substantial additional funds. This study relies on a regression discontinuity design to evaluate North Carolina’s turnaround initiative aligned with ESSA requirements. The results reveal no significant growth in student test performance and decreased performance in year two. Schools also continued to experience high teacher turnover despite the school reform intervention. 

The study authors suggest current reform interventions that do not disrupt the status quo of how schools go about instruction are likely to fail. The paper also highlights the need for school leaders to embrace implementation science to ensure that adequate resources are available to implement initiatives as designed.  

Citation: Henry, G. T., & Harbatkin, E. (2020). The Next Generation of State Reforms to Improve their Lowest Performing Schools: An Evaluation of North Carolina’s School Transformation Intervention. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness13(4), 702-730.

Linkhttps://www.edworkingpapers.com/sites/default/files/ai19-103.pdf

 


 

How can policy makers contribute to school principal quality?

January 12, 2021

Using State-Level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality: Lessons from Seven States Partnering with Principal Preparation Programs and DistrictStates play a role in fostering an environment that develops and supports effective school principals. This report identifies key levers that states can pull to try to improve the principal performance: standards for the job; recruitment; oversight of principal preparation programs; principal licensure; evaluation of principals; professional development; and development of “leader tracking systems”. 

Citation: Gates, S. M., Woo, A., Xenakis, L., Wang, E. L., Herman, R., Andrew, M., & Todd, I. Using State-Level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality. Santa Monica, CA: Wallace Foundation. https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Using-State-level-Policy-Levers-to-Promote-Principal-Quality.pdf

Link: https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Using-State-level-Policy-Levers-to-Promote-Principal-Quality.pdf

 


 

How important is implementation science to effective leadership?

January 11, 2021

Implementation Science: Fidelity Predictions and Outcomes. This paper examines the importance of science in the effective implementation and sustainability of new practices and initiatives. The authors provide examples of significant attempts to remedy critical social issues over the past 50 years and how the failure of systematic implementation and, in particular, the lack of implementation fidelity has hindered progress in the use of practices found useful in research but have failed in the general application in the community.

Citation: Fixsen, D. L., Van Dyke, M., & Blase, K. A. (2019). Implementation Science: Fidelity Predictions and Outcomes. Retrieved from Chapel Hill, NC: Active Implementation Research Network: www.activeimplementation.org/resources.

Linkhttps://www.activeimplementation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Implementation-Science-FidelityPredictionsOutcomes.pdf

 


 

What is the future of standardized testing?

December 8, 2020

The Big Test: The Future Of Statewide Standardized Assessments. Standardized testing has been a cornerstone of school reform for two decades. But a bipartisan backlash against testing in recent years and the suspension of statewide testing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have left the future of state assessments in question. Standardized testing has a vital role to play in building effective schools. Unfortunately, the purpose of testing is misunderstood to the detriment of schools, teachers, parents, and students. The report examines the evolution of the testing backlash, the current landscape, and how state testing systems must change to survive.

Citation. Olson, L. & Jerald, C. (2020). The Big Test: The Future Of Statewide Standardized Assessments. Future Ed. Georgetown University. https://www.future-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TheBigTest_Final.pdf

Link: https://www.future-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TheBigTest_Final.pdf

 


 

Fidelity of Implementation in Educational Research and Practice

December 2, 2020

Fidelity of implementation is a critical but often neglected component of any new system, practice, or intervention in educational research and practice. Fidelity is a multidimensional construct focused on providing evidence of adherence, quality, dosage, differentiation, and responsiveness following implementation. Unfortunately, fidelity has not always been prioritized, although evidence suggests that is changing, at least in published research. Further, although there are myriad methods for measuring fidelity, psychometric evaluations of fidelity tools have been limited, except in the SWPBIS literature. Calls for a science of fidelity have been made (Gresham, 2017) and are beginning to be answered. Overall, there appears to be more research focused exclusively on fidelity, including measurement approaches, psychometric evaluations, and relation to outcomes. As this research expands, we hope that the broad use and integration of fidelity in practice follows. We believe that the days of neglecting fidelity are behind us in education and see fidelity playing a central role in education moving forward. Through reliable and valid measurement of fidelity, scalable evidence-based practices can be developed and proliferated, positively impacting students’ academic and behavioral outcomes. 

Citation: Gage, N., MacSuga-Gage, A., and Detrich, R. (2020). Fidelity of Implementation in Educational Research and Practice. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/systems-program-fidelity

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/systems-program-fidelity

 


 

What do teacher preparation programs and school principals need to get right to train new teachers during covid-19?

November 17, 2020

Sustaining Teacher Training in a Shifting Environment. Brief No. 7. This brief is a part of a series of briefs that address critical issues schools face because of the coronavirus. This paper provides K-12 education policymakers and school administrators with an evidence base about how best to provide teacher practicum experience and professional development during the coronavirus. Evidence supports student teaching placements are a critical training opportunity for new teachers. The covid-19 pandemic has constrained student teaching experiences. Acknowledging this fact, educators need to develop new ways of providing alternative clinical training during certification training and when these new teachers enter the workforce. This summary examines what we know about training, offers strategies to overcome the obstacles to be confronted by covid-19, and warns professional development planners to avoided specific practices unsupported by evidence.

Citation: Goldhaber, D., & Ronfeldt, M. (2020). Sustaining Teacher Training in a Shifting Environment. Brief No. 7. EdResearch for Recovery Project.

Linkhttps://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED607712.pdf

 


 

What is implementation fidelity and why is it important to student success?

November 16, 2020

Fidelity of implementation is a critical but often neglected component of any new system, practice, or intervention in educational research and practice. Fidelity is a multidimensional construct focused on providing evidence of adherence, quality, dosage, differentiation, and responsiveness following implementation. Unfortunately, fidelity has not always been prioritized, although evidence suggests that is changing, at least in published research. Further, although there are myriad methods for measuring fidelity, psychometric evaluations of fidelity tools have been limited, except in the SWPBIS literature. Calls for a science of fidelity have been made (Gresham, 2017) and are beginning to be answered. Overall, there appears to be more research focused exclusively on fidelity, including measurement approaches, psychometric evaluations, and relation to outcomes. As this research expands, we hope that the broad use and integration of fidelity in practice follows. We believe that the days of neglecting fidelity are behind us in education and see fidelity playing a central role in education moving forward. Through reliable and valid measurement of fidelity, scalable evidence-based practices can be developed and proliferated, positively impacting students’ academic and behavioral outcomes. 

Citation: Gage, N., MacSuga-Gage, A., and Detrich, R. (2020). Fidelity of Implementation in Educational Research and Practice. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/systems-program-fidelity

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/systems-program-fidelity

 


 

What practices are the core practice elements of teacher professional development?

November 13, 2020

Effective teacher professional development. For the past 20 years, school systems have heavily relied on professional development as the primary means for improving student performance, as evidenced by the massive allocation of funds for in-service training. Few educators or policymakers challenge the importance of teacher training that ensures teachers have the knowledge and skills required to be effective in the classroom. Despite the overwhelming support for teacher professional development, research has shown that most teacher training is ineffective in changing how teachers teach and students perform. This paper analyzed 35 studies that found a link between professional development and positive teacher and student outcomes.

The authors identified the following features significant if professional development is to produce meaningful results;

  1. They are content focused. 
  2. They incorporate active learning strategies. 
  3. They engage teachers in collaboration. 
  4. They use models and/or modeling. 
  5. They provide coaching and expert support. 
  6. They include time for feedback and reflection. 
  7. They are of sustained duration. 

The authors conclude that professional development should incorporate the identified features and training needs to link to teachers’ experiences in preparation, induction, and teaching standards and evaluation. 

Citation: Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development.

Link: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56b90cb101dbae64ff707585/t/5ade348e70a6ad624d417339/1524511888739/NO_LIF%7E1.PDF

 


 

How can schools best provide teacher inservice training?

November 12, 2020

Teacher Inservice Professional Development. he American education system values in-service training to improve teacher performance, spending an average of $18,000 annually per teacher. Like many promising practices, it has failed to produce as promised. Schools invest extensively in teacher induction in the early years of a teacher, supplemented with in-service training throughout the teacher’s career. Unfortunately, this training is often delivered in unproductive ways, for example, workshop sessions that commonly rely on passive didactic techniques, such as lecturing or reading, shown to have minimal or no impact on the teacher’s use of the practices in the classroom. This is especially true when the outcome, using the practices in the classroom, is assessed. Coaching-based clinical training, with the teacher practicing skills on students in a classroom setting and receiving feedback from the coach, has been found to produce the best results. Sustained professional development with scope and sequence curriculum, accompanied by manuals for interventions in which the teacher is being trained, is superior to single events. Computer-assisted instruction as a companion to systematic training techniques identified above has been found to be a cost-effective adjunct staff development tool.

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2020). Overview of Teacher Inservice. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/in-service-professional-development

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/in-service-professional-development