Categories for Societal Outcomes
December 14, 2017
U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups
The National Center on Education Statistics has released graduation rate data for the school year 2015-2016 (the most recent year in which data are available). The graduation rate for this school year is 84% making it the highest level reported since all states began using a standard measure for reporting graduation rates in the 2010-2011 school year. Not only is the overall graduation rate higher but there were improvements in each of the sub-groups as well.
Citation: Education Week, December 5, 2017
November 15, 2017
Two Models of Learning and Achievement: An Explanation for the Achievement Gap?
A 2015 paper by Stuart Yeh offers evidence on how to improve the performance of all students and close the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic statuses and races. A persistent gap in student achievement between disadvantaged minority students and their middle-class peers has existed in the United States for over 50 years. This gap continues despite decades of education reform. Yeh hypothesizes that the conventional school system is structured in a way that reduces student motivation to succeed. Students become disengaged after experiencing repeated failure, resulting in depressed achievement and grades. This cycle continues to feed on itself as low achievement and poor grades further decrease motivation, engagement, and achievement. Yeh’s research suggests that two critical factors may account for the phenomenon of substandard student achievement: lack of a system for individualizing task difficulty and insufficient rapid performance feedback. These factors appear to be significantly more powerful than sociocultural circumstances (socioeconomic status or race), lack of accountability, lack of choice and competition, and low teacher quality. The implication is that letter grades are not merely an indicator of performance but potentially a causal factor in perpetuating the achievement gap.
Citation: Yeh, S. S. (2015). Two models of learning and achievement: An explanation for the achievement gap? Teachers College Record, 117(12), 1–48.
October 18, 2017
The Effect of Career and Technical Education on Human Capital Accumulation: Causal Evidence from Massachusetts
Twenty percent of high school students take four or more courses in career and technical education (CTE). Despite this high rate of participation, little is known about what constitutes high-quality CTE and whether high-quality CTE allows participants to accumulate meaningful knowledge and skills to succeed in a career. This study from the Association for Education Finance and Policy examined the impact of participating in CTE on high school attendance, high school completion, professional certifications, and performance on standardized test scores. The evidence suggests that a high-quality CTE program boosts on-time graduation for higher income students and for lower income .
Citation: Dougherty, S. M. (2016). The effect of career and technical education on human capital accumulation: Causal evidence from Massachusetts. Education Finance and Policy. doi:10.1162/EDFP_a_00224.
September 26, 2017
Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools
This What Works Clearinghouse practice guide provides educators and administrators with four evidence-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and high schools. The guide offers specific, strategies; examples of how to implement the practices; advice on how to overcome obstacles; and a summary of the supporting evidence.
Citation: Rumberger, R. W., et al. (2017). Educator’s Practice Guide: Preventing Dropout in Secondary School. IES National Center for Education and Evaluation and Regional Assistance.
August 4, 2017
Find Out If Your Job Will Be Automated
Bloomberg has published an interactive graphic that reveals valuable information on the probability of a particular employment path being impacted by automation. The graphic also provides information on average annual wage, number of people employed in the sector, and academic degree required for the job. This data is especially important as schools consider models for preparing students’ future careers. As schools are increasingly held accountable for career preparation, how can educators use this data to create career pathways that will adequately equip students with the skills and knowledge required for well-paying jobs obtainable when they graduate?
Citation: Whitehouse, M., & Rojanasakul, M. (2017). Find out if your job will be automated. Retrieved from
August 3, 2017
The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL)
C-SAIL was established in July 2015 as a resource on the implementation and effects of college and career readiness standards. The Center is funded through a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.
The goals of C-SAIL are:
- Compare and contrast college and career readiness standards implementation in English language arts (ELA) and math across different states.
- Capture the differences in approaches to implementation between states, districts, schools, and classrooms, and between students within a classroom, and determine their effects.
- Measure college and career readiness standards’ impact on student achievement, through NAEP scores, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment and employment rates.
- Create and make available new tools for teachers to monitor in real-time how well-aligned the content of their enacted curriculum is to their states’ college and career readiness standards in ELA and math.
- Test the Feedback on Alignment and Support for Teachers (FAST) Program to support teachers through feedback and coaching.
- Engage policymakers, education practitioners, and researchers in national discussions of the Center’s work and its findings.
Eight reports have been published in 2017.
- How is policy affecting classroom instruction?
- Standards Implementation in Kentucky: Local Perspective on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction
- Standards Implementation in Texas: Local Perspective on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction
- Standards Implementation In Ohio: Local Perspectives on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction
- Year 1 State Report: Texas
- Year 1 State Report: Ohio
- Year 1 State Report: Massachusetts
- Year 1 State Report: Kentucky
- Edgerton, A. Polikoff, M., Desimone, L. (2017). How is policy affecting classroom instruction?. Evidence Speaks Reports. Volume 2, #14. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Edgerton, A. Polikoff, M., Desimone, L. (2017). Standards Implementation in Kentucky: Local Perspective on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Edgerton, A. Polikoff, M., Yang, R. (2017). Standards Implementation in Texas: Local Perspective on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Edgerton, A. Polikoff, M., Yang, R. (2017). Standards Implementation in Ohio: Local Perspective on Policy, Challenges, Resources, and Instruction. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Flores, N., Nichols, T. P., Pak, K., Plummer, E., Stornaiuolo, A., and Desimone L. (2017). Year 1 State Report: Texas. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Stornaiuolo, A., Flores, N., Nichols, T. P., Pak, K., Plummer, E., and Desimone L. (2017). Year 1 State Report: Ohio. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Nichols, T. P., Plummer, E., Flores, N., Pak, K., Stornaiuolo, A., and Desimone L. (2017). Year 1 State Report: Massachusetts. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
- Pak, K., Flores, N., Nichols, T. P., Plummer, E., Stornaiuolo, A., and Desimone L. (2017). Year 1 State Report: Massachusetts. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
July 12, 2017
Characteristics and Education Outcomes of Utah High School Dropouts Who Reenrolled
Reducing the dropout rate of high school students remains one of the great challenges facing education. The consequences for those who do not obtain a high school diploma are real and long lasting. Individuals who do not complete high school are more likely to face unemployment, earn less income over a lifetime, experience poverty, rely on public assistance, suffer health problems, and spend time in prison. This study undertaken by WestEd researchers provides valuable information necessary for developing interventions to support the approximate 20% of students who reenroll after initially dropping out of school.
Citation: Barrat, V. X.,& Berliner, B. (2016). Characteristics and education outcomes of Utah high school dropouts who re-enrolled (REL 2017–206). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory West.
June 15, 2017
School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance
Providing children with nutritious school meals continues to be a topic of interest in education policy. It has been argued that a healthy diet can have a positive impact on childhood obesity as well as student achievement. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this popular intervention. A working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research offers insights to help policy makers decide whether to select this option as a way to make a difference in children’s lives. The study, a natural experiment conducted in California public schools, uses a difference-in-difference regression statistical analysis of data from a treatment group and a control group at two or more different time periods, pre-treatment and post-treatment. The study found no evidence to support a reduction in obesity, but it did discover that introducing healthy meals was associated with a 0.036 standard deviation increase in test scores. The improved student achievement, although small, makes nutritious school lunches a viable cost-effective intervention that can boost test scores. It is important to remember that this is a correlational study and thus cannot establish a cause and effect relationship between healthy eating and student achievement.
Citation: Anderson, M. L., Gallagher, J., & Ritchie, E. R. (2017). School lunch quality and academic performance (NBER Working Paper No. 23218). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
March 21, 2017
The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline: And the Localized Economic Benefits from Suspending Fewer High School Students
This research from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project, UCLA, and California Dropout Research Project shows that the overuse of suspensions in California schools is harming student achievement and graduation rates, and causing billions of dollars in economic damage. The financial consequences of school suspensions, including both additional costs borne by taxpayers as a result of suspensions and lost economic benefit, are quantified. The impact of school suspension varies widely by school district, with California’s largest districts incurring the greatest losses. For example, suspensions in the Los Angeles Unified School District for a 10th grade cohort are estimated to cause $148 million in economic damage. The report calculates a total statewide economic burden of $2.7 billion over the lifetime of the single 10th grade cohort.
Rumberger, R., & Losen, D. (2017). The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline: And the Localized Economic Benefits from Suspending Fewer High School Students. The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project, UCLA, and California Dropout Research Project.