Categories for Policy Initiatives
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 25, 2021
Effective teacher retention bonuses: Evidence from Tennessee. The data are clear that students in high poverty schools perform worse on most measures of educational attainment; however, the discrepancy between high poverty schools and more affluent schools is reduced when there are quality teachers in the high poverty schools. The challenge is that teachers leave these schools at a higher rate. This turnover contributes to the poor outcomes for students in high poverty schools. Recruiting and training replacement teachers is an expensive proposition for districts. One approach to increasing retention in high poverty schools is to offer retention bonuses to teachers in these schools. There are two questions with respect to the use of retention bonuses: 1) are they effective over the long term, and 2) does having a more stable teachering corps increase student outcomes? A recent report examined the impact of teacher retention bonuses in Tennessee (Springer, Swain, & Rodriguez, 2016). The main findings are that teachers that participated in the retention bonus program were significantly more likely to stay in their school than teachers who did not participate. Importantly, the students in the classrooms of participating teachers had significantly higher academic gains than students of non-participating teachers. Looking at these data through the Active Implementation Frameworks lens, the retention bonus represents a usable innovation. The teacher retention bonuses are also an element of the Competency driver, specifically Selection. Finally, this innovation links to the Organizational driver since to effectively implement it, the innovation has to be considered a system level intervention.
Citation: Springer, M. G., Swain, W. A., & Rodriguez, L. A. (2016). Effective teacher retention bonuses: Evidence from Tennessee. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(2), 199-221.
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.
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