Categories for Structural Interventions

What skills and knowledge should teacher preparation programs teach?

June 3, 2021

A substantial body of evidence is available to guide teacher preparation programs in developing a pre-service curriculum based on universal skills needed for success across settings, age ranges, and subjects being taught. These skills include instructional delivery, classroom management, formative assessment, and personal competencies (soft skills). Research tells us that better learning happens when teachers offer explicit instruction in which they select the learning area to be taught, set criteria for success, inform students of criteria, demonstrate the lesson through modeling, evaluate student learning, provide remedial opportunities, and offer closure after each lesson. Subject matter expertise is frequently identified as essential training for teachers, with substantial resources being allocated for such training. However, there is little research in support of emphasizing subject matter training, except for specialized training in reading, science, and mathematics. Time is better spent training new teachers to be fluent in universal skills. In its research and rating of teacher preparation programs, National Council of Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has found that many programs do not organize their curriculum around universal skills that evidence finds are essential to effective teacher preparation.

Citation: Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2021). Curriculum Content for Teacher Training Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/pre-service-teacher-curriculum-content.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/pre-service-teacher-curriculum-content

 


 

What do we know about standardized testing?

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.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/student-standardized-tests

 


 

How can schools improve student teacher mentors performance?

April 12, 2021

Making the Most of Student Teaching: The Importance of Mentors and Scope for Change. A growing literature documents the importance of student teaching placements for teacher development. Emerging evidence from this literature highlights the importance of the mentor teacher who supervises this placement, as teachers tend to be more effective when they student teach with a mentor who is a more effective teacher. But the efficacy of policies that aim to have effective teachers perform as mentors depend a great deal on the availability of effective teachers to serve in this role. This paper examines data from Washington State to identify ways for improving student-teacher placements. The authors propose if policymakers value teacher candidate development equivalently to teacher in-service development, they should be willing to pay substantially more than the current average compensation for mentor teachers to recruit effective teachers to serve in this role.

Citation: Goldhaber, D., Krieg, J., Naito, N., & Theobald, R. (2020). Making the most of student teaching: The importance of mentors and scope for change. Education Finance and Policy15(3), 581-591.

Link: https://direct.mit.edu/edfp/article/15/3/581/58672/Making-the-Most-of-Student-Teaching-The-Importance

 


 

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 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

 


 

How does professional development impact student mathematics and science outcomes?

November 10, 2020

Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Gains in Student Achievement: How Meta-Analysis Provides Scientific Evidence Useful to Education Leaders. This meta-analysis examines completed studies of effects of professional development for K-12 teachers of science and mathematics. The researchers wanted to answer the following questions: (1) What are the effects of content-focused professional development for math and science teachers on improving student achievement?; and (2) What characteristics of professional development programs (e.g., content focus, duration, coherence, active learning, and collective participation of teachers) explain the degree of effectiveness, and are the findings consistent with prior research on effective professional development? 

This meta-analysis of professional development programs in mathematics and science found that 16 studies reported significant effect sizes for teacher development in relation to improving student achievement. These studies reported effect sizes for student achievement gains for a treatment group as compared to a control group and the studies provided adequate data and documentation for the research team to compute or re-analyze effect sizes. The analysis also confirms the positive relationship to student outcomes of key characteristics of design of professional development programs. 

Citation: Blank, R. K., & De las Alas, N. (2009). The Effects of Teacher Professional Development on Gains in Student Achievement: How Meta Analysis Provides Scientific Evidence Useful to Education Leaders. Council of Chief State School Officers. One Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001.

Linkhttps://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544700.pdf

 


 

How effective is teacher prep program classroom management clinical practice for new teachers?

October 30, 2020

2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice & Classroom ManagementThis report is from the National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and organization that provides ongoing reviews of the effectiveness of the nation’s teacher preparation programs.  This particular report examines two critical components of teacher preparation—clinical practice (also known as student teaching) and classroom management—and the degree to which current teacher preparation programs have adopted and implemented best practices for each.

It is generally accepted that new teachers benefit from high quality student teaching.  The NCTQ report reviews specific evidence of just how beneficial quality clinical training can be, including research that: (1) identifies clinical practice as one of three “aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students, and (2) provides evidence that first-year teachers can be as effective as typical third-year teachers if they spent their student teaching experience in the classrooms of highly effective teachers.  

NCTQ has reviewed existing teacher preparation clinical programs in 2013, 2016, and 2020, assigning grades (A to F) based on their performance on three indicators (length, supervisory visits, and selection of the mentor teacher). Unfortunately only 9% earned an A or B, and 91% earned C’s or D’s.  The data also showed that there had been no improvement over the seven-year time period between first and most recent reports.

The second critical component reviewed—classroom management—showed great progress but still lags in one of the most critical strategies for effective management.  NCTQ identifies five critical components that should be taught in teacher preparation programs:  1) Establishing rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;, 2) Maximizing learning time by managing time, class materials and the physical setup of the classroom, and by promoting student engagement; 3) Reinforcing positive behavior by using speci c, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement; 4) Redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior, and; 5) Addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful and appropriate consequences.  The good news is that there has been a 26% increase in the number of programs looking to research-based approaches to classroom management.  The bad news is that one of the most effective and well documented classroom management strategies—praising good behavior—is the least likely to be taught. 

Citation(s): Pomerance, L. & Walsh, K. (2020). 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice
and Classroom Management. Washington, D.C.: National Council on Teacher Quality.   

Link:  https://www.nctq.org/review/docs/NCTQ%202020%20Teacher%20Prep%20Review_Clinical%20Practice%20and%20Classroom%20Management_Final_10.19.pdf

 


 

What do we know about the use of restraint and seclusion in schools?

October 27, 2020

2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection: The Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Children with Disabilities in K-12 Schools. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights released a detailed survey on the use of restraint and seclusion in K-12 schools to address the possible inappropriate use of thee procedures.  The survey was in part a response to a previous GAO report that flagged the significant absence or reliable data collection on the use of these procedures (Nowicki, J. 2020).  This survey also makes available detailed school district and school level data at ocrdata.ed.gov

The survey also provides the following summary of the use of physical restraint, seclusion and mechanical restraint.  Under the CRDC, physical restraint is a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely. Mechanical restraint is the use of any device or equipment to restrict a student’s freedom of movement. Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. 

Students with disabilities make up 13% of the total student enrollment in U.S. schools. They account for 80% of students subjected to physical restraint, 41% to mechanical restraints, and 77% to seclusion.

Forty-eight percent of students with disabilities are white.  They account for 52% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 33% to mechanical restraints, and 60% to seclusion.  Black students are 1.3 times more likely to experience physical restraints and 2.8 times more likely to experience mechanical restraints than white students.

Eighteen percent of students with disabilities are Black.  They account for 26% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 34% to mechanical restraints, and 22% to seclusion. 

Twenty-seven percent of students with disabilities are Hispanic.  They account for 14% of the students subjected to physical restraint, 28% to mechanical restraints, and 9% to seclusion.  It appears that Hispanic students experience these procedures at lower rates than Whit and Black students.This survey suggests somewhat widespread use of these procedures and possible inequity in their application.  Much more analysis needs to be completed to answer these critical questions fully. 

Citation(s): Nowicki, J. (2020). K-12 Education: Education Needs to Address Significant Quality Issues with Its Restraint and Seclusion Data. Report to Congressional Committees. GAO-20-345. US Government Accountability Office.

2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection: The Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Children with Disabilities in K-12 Schools,U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, October 2020 

Link: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/restraint-and-seclusion.pdf

 


 

What is the impact of Covid-19 on children?

September 28, 2020

Combatting COVID-19’s effect on childrenThis extremely thorough report provides the latest information on the impact that Covid-19 is having on children, particularly those who are poorest.  It also outlines steps for governments to take to mitigate these impacts.  From a purely medical perspective, early evidence suggests that children are not the most affected by Covid-19.  It is the Covid-19 related economic and social effects that are having the greatest impact.  Children increasingly face negative consequences from confinement, social distancing, being in challenging living environments, and facing worsening economic situations.   The result is an exacerbation of problems such as poor nutrition, maltreatment, poor sanitation, sexual exploitation, etc.  Additionally, poor children often live in environments that not suite for home learning, with little or no internet and computer resources to participate in remote learning.  The report exhorts governments to greatly accelerate their efforts at providing food, protecting children from child abuse and neglect, offer ongoing physical and mental health services, and create more employment opportunities to help families.   

Citation(s): Home, O. E. C. D. Combatting COVID-19’s effect on children.

Web Address: https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=132_132643-m91j2scsyh&title=Combatting-COVID-19-s-effect-on-children