Categories for Societal Outcomes

Teacher Professional Development (Wing Institute Original Paper)

July 6, 2020

The story of professional development is illustrative of problems common to educational interventions. The American education system values in-service training, spending range from $18,000 annually per teacher. Like many promising practices found effective in controlled conditions, in-service training fails in the field. Ample evidence points to new teachers being insufficiently prepared, and in-service training is used to fill the gap. Schools invest extensively in teacher induction in the early years of a teacher and supplement this with continuous development over a career. Unfortunately, training is delivered in the least productive ways, such as emphasizing theory and demonstrating skills in simulated exercises rather than on real students. These efforts produce poor results—not surprising since they ignore the research, which shows the value of giving teachers opportunities to practice in real-world settings, tying training to existing procedures, and following up with monitoring and feedback. Only a fraction of the money is directed toward coaching, the method that research shows produces long-lasting results.

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2020). Overview of Teacher Evaluation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. quality-teachers-in-service.

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

 


 

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

 


 

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

 


 

Remote Instruction: What Do We Know About What Works?

May 29, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in school closings for the remainder of the year in 48 of 50 states and a sharp turn toward remote instruction in order to finish the year as best as possible. Issues and concerns previously in the background, such as inequitable access to technology including internet access for online learning at home, are now front and center. Districts and states have been exploring creative ways to bridge the digital divide, such as delivering Wi-Fi hotspots and devices to children without technology and internet access, using public television, creating printed packets, and making creative use of the mobile and smartphones that most families in the United States now have.

Citations: 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

 


 

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 does the latest research say about classroom management?

February 28, 2020

An Evidence-Based Review and Meta-Analysis of Active Supervision. In teacher surveys, classroom management comes up as one of the more significant challenges facing teachers. One of the most common strategies available to teachers is Active Supervision. Active Supervision is defined by the teacher frequently circulating, scanning, interacting with students, and reinforcing demonstrations of expected academic and social behaviors. Although teachers often employ Active Supervision, what does the research tell us about this classroom management strategy? This paper synthesizes and evaluates 12 studies to calculate the effect size on Active Supervision and student conduct. The authors conclude that Active Supervision is a necessary and powerful tool in the prevention of problem behavior. The study recommends that additional research is needed as the current research is limited in quality and quantity and does not meet What Works Clearinghouse standards.

Citation: Gage, N. A., Haydon, T., MacSuga-Gage, A. S., Flowers, E., & Erdy, L. (2020). An Evidence-Based Review and Meta-Analysis of Active Supervision. Behavioral Disorders, 0198742919851021.

Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0198742919851021

 


 

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

 


 

I thought we knew how to teach reading?

February 21, 2020

The Current Controversy About Teaching Reading: Comments for Those Left with Questions After Reading the New York times Article. This Op-Ed commentary by Daniel Willingham discusses the current knowledge base on effective reading instruction in the context of a recent New York Times article on the topic. For over twenty years, the core components of effective reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension) have been available to educators. Despite ample evidence, a large number of teacher preparation programs do not adequately train teachers on the best available evidence, many relying on an approach, “Balanced Literacy.” Balanced literacy was offered as a compromise to end the conflict between those advocating for phonics instruction and instructors promoting the immersion in relevant texts designed to motivate student’s learning. In practice, when Balanced Literacy is implemented, phonics instruction is frequently not included in the curriculum. Willingham concludes that decoding is the most thoroughly researched aspect of reading, decoding’s efficacy is well documented, and he suggests it is about time educators take advantage of this work.

Citation: Willingham, D. (2020). The Current Controversy About Teaching Reading: Comments for Those Left with Questions After Reading the New York times Article. University of Virginia: Daniel Willingham-Science & Education. http://www.danielwillingham.com/daniel-willingham-science-and-education-blog

Linkhttp://www.danielwillingham.com/daniel-willingham-science-and-education-blog

New York Times Article: An Old and Contested Solution. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/us/reading-phonics.html