Categories for Policy Initiatives

Remote Instruction (Wing Institute Original Paper)

June 30, 2020

Remote forms of K-12 instruction have become increasingly prevalent as schools expand their use of educational technologies to allow for learning beyond that which takes place in brick and mortar classrooms. Remote instruction may offer a number of benefits, including reduced costs and increased student access to courses and instruction that would not be available otherwise. However, while research is limited, evidence to date suggests that fully remote instruction and virtual schools are not as effective as the face-to-face instruction that takes place in traditional schools, particularly for struggling students. Blended instructional models have shown more promise, particularly those that enable differentiated instruction through technologies such as intelligent tutoring. The success of remote instruction likely in part depends on a number of implementation factors, such as the degree to which equitable access to digital tools and resources is provided, whether and how students’ metacognitive skills that are essential for more independent, self-regulated learning are developed, the capacity of preparation and professional development to foster teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge, and the extent to which parents can engage in ways that allow them to effectively support their children’s learning at home.

Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, (2020). Remote Learning Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/effective-instruction-computers.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/effective-instruction-computers

 


 

Rules and Procedures (Wing Institute Original Paper)

June 30, 2020

Research suggests that starting each year by teaching rules and procedures results in increased appropriate conduct and higher academic achievement. Both rules and procedures are proactive strategies that set expectations and instruct students on both appropriate and unacceptable ways to interact with peers and adults. Clearly stated, they define and operationalize acceptable behavior necessary to maintain an orderly and well-functioning school or classroom. To be effective, each precept must specify consequences, describing what happens when it are followed or is broken. Rules and procedures must be enforced consistently if they are to produce best results. When expectations are clearly stated and supported, they lend credibility to a teacher’s authority, reduce disruptive behavior that impedes learning, and enhance job satisfaction. Rules are constructed around broad classes of behavior (be safe, be responsible, be respectful) and apply in all settings. Procedures are guidance about what to do in a specific context. For example, elementary schools have procedures to guide students in how to enter the class in the morning (put backpack away, take a book, and read silently at desk).

Citation: Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Rules and Procedures. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/classroom-rules-procedures.

Link: http://Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Rules and Procedures. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/classroom-rules-procedures.

 


 

Wested Responds to Covid

June 8, 2020

WestEd is a nonprofit organization tasked with promoting excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. WestEd offers consulting and technical assistance, evaluation, policy, professional development, and research and development to support and improve education outcomes.

As the world rallies to respond to the current public health crisis, schools across the globe have closed their doors to stop the spread of the new coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19. Wested has developed and compiled resources to assist schools in responding to this crisis.

The resources include;
Distance & At-Home Learning
Early Childhood
English Learners
Health, Safety, & Well-Being
Online Professional Development
Resource Planning & Management
Science & Mathematics
Special Education

Link: Wested

 


 

Why Practices Fail

May 29, 2020

The 2020 pandemic is unprecedented in living memory. This event necessitates schools adopting new technologies and teachers mastering new ways of delivering instruction. Education is engaged in a grand experiment, implementing new practices in fifty states with over 13,000 school districts. Change on this magnitude would be daunting even in normal times, and is particularly difficult in a decentralized system such as in the United States. What we know is there are bound to be many failures. Fortunately, the past 15 years have seen remarkable progress in the creation of a science of implementation to address such hurdles. This paper offers examples of failed practices in guiding schools to avoid making similar mistakes over the coming year. 

Citation: States, J., & Keyworth, R. (2020). Why Practices Fail. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/roadmap-overview

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/roadmap-overview

 


 

What do we know about school principal turnover? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

March 25, 2020

School Principal Retention Overview. Principals are critical to determining teaching quality, and in turn, student learning and achievement; retaining effective principals therefore is paramount, particularly in schools striving for rapid improvement. Principal turnover is higher in public charter than traditional public schools, in part because many charter schools are located in economically disadvantaged areas which have higher turnover rates generally. Less effective principals are more likely to leave their schools, which may imply the chance for improved school outcomes if they are replaced by more effective principals; however, research has yet to explore the extent to which this occurs. Working conditions found to influence principal turnover include negative disciplinary environments, lack of autonomy in decision-making regarding personnel and finances, and salary, whose impact is moderated by job benefits and other nonmonetary working conditions. District and policy characteristics such as tenure/union membership and policies intended to reduce teacher turnover also reduce the likelihood of principal turnover, as do high-quality professional development and support programs. Principal turnover incurs significant financial costs, and often leads to increased teacher turnover and decreased student achievement, unless a ready supply of more effective principals is available to replace low-performing ones. Evidence-based strategies to improve principal retention include coaching, mentoring and leadership supports tailored to a principal’s school context, and pipeline initiatives designed to increase the supply of high-quality candidates through recruitment, preparation, and ongoing development and support. Targeted financial incentives to work in high-needs schools coupled with improvements to principals’ working conditions can enhance retention, as can principal accountability systems that given principals increased autonomy but that also focus on ensuring they can build teacher capacity for the use of evidence-based instructional strategies.

Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, (2020). Principal Retention Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-leadership-principal-retention.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-leadership-principal-retention

 


 

What activities facilitate the adoption of new curricula? (Wing Institute Student Research)

March 23, 2020

The Adoption of Curricula in K-12 Schools: An Exploratory Qualitative Analysis. This exploratory qualitative study investigated how school districts engage in the process of adopting curricula for use in grades K-12 and what factors influence administrators when making adoption decisions. The author and a graduate student used a semi-structured interview protocol to interview 21 building- and district-level administrators employed by an economically and geographically diverse sample of school districts in the United States. After completing the interviews, the author and four researchers employed thematic analysis to analyze the data. Results suggest that the curriculum adoption process varies between school districts and, for some, from one curriculum adoption to the next. Most respondents reported engaging in at least one of the following activities during the adoption process: gathering information, initial screening, engaging committees, reviewing potential programs, piloting, and obtaining approval. The factors that influence administrators’ adoption decisions fall into four categories: alignment, need, evidence, and aspects of programs. Based on the data obtained in this study, the author proposes a sequence of activities to follow during a curriculum adoption.

Citation: Rolf, K. (2020). The Adoption of Curricula in K-12 Schools: An Exploratory Qualitative Analysis. Utah State University. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O_rvmZKGE8rCf_nVTdOwgy4AVk-Gw6hH/view

Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O_rvmZKGE8rCf_nVTdOwgy4AVk-Gw6hH/view

 


 

What standards does the Institute of Education Sciences use to assess education practices?

March 12, 2020

What Works Clearinghouse: Procedures Handbook, Version 4.1. The WWC systematic review process offers educators and policy-makers a mechanism to assure consistent, objective, and transparent standards and procedures for assessing the impact of practices and interventions. The review procedures handbook includes the following changes: (1) Removal of the “substantively important” designation; (2) Addition of standard error calculations for all effect sizes; (3) Addition of single-case design (SCD) procedures for synthesizing SCD study findings using design-comparable effect sizes; (4) Addition of methods to estimate effects from regression discontinuity designs (RDDs); (5) Clarification of decision rules determining the use of difference-in-difference effect sizes; (6) Synthesis of studies within intervention reports using a fixed-effects model; (7) Modification of the intervention report effectiveness rating; and (8) Levels of evidence in practice guides.

Citation: What Works Clearinghouse: Procedures Handbook, Version 4.1. Princeton, NJ: What Works Clearinghouse https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED602035.pdf

Linkhttps://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED602035.pdf

 


 

How can schools reduces student absenteeism?

March 4, 2020

Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism. Student absenteeism has significant negative impacts on students and school systems. Nearly 8 million students are chronically absent. Excess absenteeism impacts student achievement as the chances of a 9th-grade student graduating drops by 20% for every week of missed instruction. Chronically absent students cost schools financially. Over six years (2008–2009 through 2013–2014), school districts in California lost an estimated $7.3 billion ($1.22 billion per year) in funding due to student absences (Harris, 2016). This report examines 24 of the most effective and scalable interventions employed to remediate the impacts of chronic absenteeism. For additional information, please see Wing Institute Chronic Student Absenteeism: A Significant and Overlooked Obstacle to Student Achievement.

Citation: Jordan, P. (2019). Attendance Playbook. Washington D.C.: FutureEd. https://www.hsredesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Attendance-Playbook.pdf

Linkhttps://www.hsredesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Attendance-Playbook.pdf

 


 

What do we know about teacher preparation? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

March 3, 2020

Teacher Preparation: Overview. Because research has shown that, of all school factors, teachers have the greatest influence on student achievement it is not surprising the United States invests significant time and money in the preparation of new teachers. The available research highlights the importance of preparation programs recruiting and selecting the highest quality candidates, training prospective teachers in evidence-based practices, and employing pedagogical practices including extensive time in actual classrooms teaching students as necessary to developing exemplary teachers. Research comparing traditional 4-year teacher schools of education, graduate degree credential models, and alternative routes suggest that current approaches to credentialing are falling far short of expectations. Efforts to hold preparation programs accountable to higher standards by making better use of program evaluation and holding institutions accountable by linking graduates to student achievement are hopeful signs and offer viable options for improving existing models and replacing outdated training methods so prevalent in many of todays pre-service programs.

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2020). Overview of Teacher Preparation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-teachers-pre-service.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-teachers-pre-service

 


 

Use of Four-Day School Week Schedules Increasing Despite Lack of Evidence on Outcomes

February 24, 2020

Shortened School Weeks in U.S. Public Schools”There is an increasing trend among schools and districts to reduce the school week from five days to four (longer) days.  Much of the impetus of this structural intervention comes from the perception that this schedule would generate significant cost savings.  Additionally, there is a belief that it positively impacts student achievement, teacher recruitment, and other quality indicators.  Unfortunately, the lack of experimental evidence makes it difficult to prove or disprove most of the claims.  

In the 2017-18 school year approximately 1.9% of public schools provided shortened school weeks.  Eight states had more than 10% of their schools on this schedule, with Wyoming having almost twenty percent of its schools on a four-day week.  In general, rural schools and those in the West were more likely to adopt this model.  (NCES, 2020).

The number of school districts operating on a four-day schedule grew by 466% over the last three years.   There were 120 districts in 21 states in 2016 and 560 districts in 25 states in 2019.  Over half of Colorado’s districts now operate on four-day weeks. (Walker, T., 2019)

Proponents claim that the model saves money, improves student performance, helps with teacher recruitment and retention, reduces student absenteeism, and improves the quality of life for all involved as they have an extra day away from school to take care of personal business.  Opponents challenge these claims and highlight the potential new costs for parents, loss of wages for support professionals, and reduced access to services for low income students.

Regarding potential savings, the analysis is straightforward.  The Education Commission of the States conducted a detailed analysis calculating that the maximum savings for a district was 5.43%, but that the more likely average is in the .4% to 2.5% range. Many of the largest costs such as salaries, facilities, administrative costs, etc. are not affected by fewer days (Griffith, M., 2011).

Unfortunately, large-scale experimental studies on the other stated pros and cons of this intervention are as of yet nonexistent.  The studies that have been completed are often non- or quasi-experimental and produce results that are inconsistent, inconclusive, or show negative impact (Heyward, G., 2018).  Additionally, it is difficult to evaluate the impact of this intervention because, as with most structural interventions, the 4 day school schedule does not represent any particular teaching or educational model.  It is just a work schedule.  Regardless, “the idea has proved contagious because adults like it”.  (Hill, 2017).

Citation(s):  NCES. (2020). Shortened School Weeks in U.S. Public Schools. NCES 2020-011. National Center for Education Statistics.

Griffith, M. (2011). What Savings Are Produced by Moving to a Four-Day School Week?. Education Commission of the States (NJ3).

Heyward, G. (2018). What Do We Actually Know About the Four-Day School Week? Center on Reinventing Public Education 

Hill, P.T. & Heyward, G.,  (2017).  A Troubling Contagion: The Rural 4-Day School Week.  Brookings Institute, Brown Center Chalkboard.

Long, C. (2019). Four-Day School Weeks More Popular, But Impact on Students and Educators Unclear. neaToday 

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). (2019). Four-Day School Week Overview 

Walker, T. (2019). After Moving to a Four-Day School Week, There May Be No Going Back. neaToday

Link: https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/Instructional-Time-Trends_revised-1.pdf