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How Effective is First Step Next?

October 13, 2022

First Step Next is the current iteration of First Step to Success. It is designed to be an early elementary teacher-friendly intervention for students with disruptive behavior. Since 1998 it has been empirically evaluated to determine effectiveness giving us a large body of evidence to consider. The research methods have ranged from single case designs and quasi-experimental methods to randomized clinical trials. The authors of this synthesis reviewed only randomized clinical trials, generally considered the gold standard for research, that were conducted between 2009 and 2021. The review considered evidence from efficacy studies in which researchers were closely involved in the execution of the project, and effectiveness studies in which the researchers worked at “arm’s length” from the school and implementation was carried out by the existing personnel in the school. In addition, the researchers evaluated the effects of First Step Next alone and when combined with a home-based program, homeBase. Finally, the researchers assessed the impact of First Step Next on at-risk populations such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, anxiety, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The synthesis suggests that First Step Next results in small to large effect sizes across different outcome measures. Efficacy studies produced larger effect sizes than effectiveness studies. It is generally the case that efficacy studies yield larger effects. The effects were more robust in school than at home, as measured by the teacher and parent reports. The results for the clinical populations of ASD, ADHD, and anxiety were comparable to the overall population of students in the studies.  

This synthesis suggests that school leaders can expect to achieve positive outcomes when adopting First Step Next. The effects should be in the range of the effectiveness studies rather than the efficacy studies. It is also likely to yield positive results for students with ADHD and ASD.  

Overall, First Step Next is a well-researched, empirically-supported intervention for children from preschool through third grade. Teachers report satisfaction with the program and the ease of implementation. It is noteworthy that the developers of First Step Next have meticulously evaluated the program at each step of its development. It serves as an exemplar of how to develop intervention packages that are ready for schools to implement.


Frey, A. J., Small, J. W., Walker, H. M., Mitchell, B., Seeley, J. R., Feil, E. G., … & Forness, S. R. (2022). First Step Next: A Best-Evidence Synthesis of Replication Randomized Controlled Trials From 2009 to 2021. Remedial and Special Education, 07419325211068145.

Link for article:



Can Real Time Performance Feedback Improve Instructional Practice?

October 5, 2021

A review of the evidence for real-time performance feedback to improve instructional practice. Performance feedback, including real time performance feedback, has been implemented across many contexts including educational settings.  Sinclair, Gesel, LeJeune, and Lemons (2020) evaluated 32 studies that met their inclusion criteria to determine the effectiveness of real-time performance feedback in improving the instructional practices of educators. Interestingly, all but two of the studies utilized bug-in-the-ear technology in which the teacher wore an ear piece and a coach provided immediate feedback to the teacher as implementation of an intervention was occurring.  In this review, teachers implementing both academic instruction and behavior management interventions were considered.  Based on this review, the authors concluded that real time performance feedback was an evidence-based practice and could be used as a method for improving the performance of pre-service teachers, teachers, and paraprofessionals.  The bug-in-the-ear technology offers several advantages.  First, it is less intrusive than other methods for providing real time feedback.  With current technology, the coach can view implementation in the classroom without being in the classroom.  Technologies such as Go Pro and Swivl have sufficient flexibility for the coach to get a good sample of what is happening in the classroom.  A second advantage is that because the feedback is immediate it is more likely to be effective compared to when the feedback is delayed.  Finally, the bug-in-the-ear technology is time saving because the feedback is delivered in real-time.  Brief follow-up meetings to discuss issues related to the intervention can be scheduled.  Interestingly, bug-in-the-ear technology has been around for decades but has been under-utilized in educational settings.  An analysis of the barriers to utilizing this technology more broadly is warranted.  The potential for impact on implementation of an intervention is significant.

Citation: Sinclair, A. C., Gesel, S. A., LeJeune, L. M., & Lemons, C. J. (2020).  A review of the evidence for real-time performance feedback to improve instructional practice. The Journal of Special Education54(2), 90-100.




Wing Institute announces RFP for 2021-2022 student grant applications

March 23, 2021

Graduate Research Grant 2021 RFP

The purpose of the Wing Institute Graduate Research Funding Program is to:

  1. Sponsor and promote new research in areas of evidence-based education, including: efficacy research, effectiveness research, implementation, and monitoring
  2. Sponsor and promote new research across disciplines, types of research, and venues
  3. Encourage graduate students to focus their future professional work in this subject area, increasing the number of professionals dedicated to the field of evidence-based education
  4. Disseminate research findings for application in real world” settings, further bridging the gap between research and practice.


Grants vary in size; the maximum grant is $5,000 per annum. These funds will be available to recipients as they achieve agreed upon “benchmarks” in the research process.

Applications available: Immediately
Application deadline: May 15, 2021
Funding decisions: June 15, 2021

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must be enrolled full-time and be in good standing in a masters or doctoral at a regionally accredited university or college.




Covid-19 Dashboard

November 20, 2020

SCHOOLS:  Covid-19 Data and K-12 Education

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.  This will have an impact on 55 million students, 6 million teachers and education staff, and all of the families of those involved.  It is being done despite significant uncertainty as to the impact Covid-19 will have on the health of students and education staff.  And ultimately, there is the question of how effective education will be in the context of different schedules, models, distractions, potential school closures, and remote learning. 

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.  It will provide relevant, up-to-date research and data on in the following areas:

       I.   Student health (recent research, data on exposure, infections, intensive care use, and deaths)

      II.   Staff health (recent research, data on exposure, infections, intensive ward, deaths

    III.   School health (recent research, models, school openings, school closings)

     IV.   Student performance (student absenteeism, academic performance, social behavioral issues)

Table of Contents

•   Student Health:  Total Number of Child Covid-19 Cases

•   Student Health:  Growth Rate in Covid-19 Total Cases Over Recent Weeks

•   Student Health:  Number and Growth Rate of Covid-19 Cases per 100,000 Children

•   Student Health:  Total Number of Children Hospitalized for Covid-19

•   Student Health:  Percent of Children Requiring Hospitalization

•   Student Health:  Total Number of Child Covid-19 Deaths 

•   Student Health:  Percent of Child Covid-19 Cases Resulting in Death

Figure 1.  Student Health: Total Number of Child Covid-19 Cases

As of November 12, 2020, there are over one million children who have been identified as having, or having had, the Covid-19 virus. 

Figure 2.  Student Health:  Growth Rate in Covid-19 Total Cases Over Recent Weeks

The percent growth in the number of children with Covid-19  had accelerated every week since April 16, 2020, rising from a 2.2% weekly increase to a 11.9% weekly growth.

Figure 3.  Student Health:  Number of Covid-19 Cases per 100,000 Children

The number of Covid-19 cases per children is an even more important number because it is a metric of infection that is irrespective of the number of children tested.  This data shows a growth rate of 20% over the last two weeks alone, and a doubling over the past ten weeks

Figure 4.  Student Health:  Total Number of Children Hospitalized for Covid-19

The total number of children who have been hospitalized due to Covid-19 continues to increase.

Figure 5.   Student Health:  Percent of Children Requiring Hospitalization

But the percent of children who require hospitalization due to Covid-19 remains very low and steady.

Figure 6.   Student Health:  Total Number of Child Covid-19 Deaths

The number of children who have died from the Covid-19 virus has been very small.

Figure 7.  Student Health:  Percent of Child Covid-19 Cases Resulting in Death

The percent of children who have died is extremely small, and has actually dropped steadily over the past four months. 




Wing Institute Hiring Research Writers

November 19, 2020

The Wing Institute is recruiting contract-based content writers in the field of evidence-based education. 
We are looking for professionals who can:
1. conduct literature reviews;
2. analyze the relevant data, research, and policies; and 
3. write succinct overviews for publication on our web site.

Positions to be filled by January 1, 2020.
Please send resume to Randy Keyworth at the Wing Institute:

Research topics will focus on the eight education drivers associated with student achievement and success in school. These drivers encompass essential practices, procedures, resources, and management strategies. Specific topics include but are not limited to:  skills for effective teaching, effective teacher training, quality of leadership, and external influences affecting student outcomes.

Those interested must be able to analyze both the quality and quantity of evidence studies to determine if current research meets a threshold of evidence for providing information to support the work of educators.
Criteria for inclusion is based on:

1. Quality: A continua of evidence prioritizing well designed randomized trials and single subject designed studies.
2. Quantity: A continua of evidence spotlighting meta-analyses and replications of single subject designed studies.

Each overview consists of a summary of the research, graphics as needed, and citations, and supporting conclusions.

1. $2,100 for each overview (2,500-5,000 words)
2. Authors name on the publication
3. Working with other professional is the field of evidence-based education

1. Work with internal teams to obtain an in-depth understanding of evidence-based research.
2. Work remotely and supply your own equipment (computer)
3. Plan, develop, organize, write the above documents.
4. Analyze documents to maintain continuity of style of content and consistency with prior Wing Institute documents.
5. Recommend updates and revisions derived from updates in research.

Master’s degree in Education, Behavior Analysis, English, Psychology, Communication, or related degrees, is required.

Ability to deliver high quality documentationAbility to communicate complex or technical information easilyExcellent written and verbal communication skills in EnglishAbility to write from the perspective of education policy makers, school administrators, teachers, and parents



What is distributed leadership? (Wing Institute Original Paper)

September 2, 2020

Distributed Leadership: Distributed leadership, in which the principal shares certain leadership work with teachers to optimize student and school outcomes, has emerged as a leading school leadership model, and indeed is reflected within recent principal leadership standards. The model’s origins lie in research that suggested that principals cannot “do it alone,” in today’s complex and challenging school environments, and that teachers have often performed leadership work that was not acknowledged. Rather than simple task delegation by principals, distributed leadership involves teacher leaders and administrators collaborating together to perform leadership practices, and sharing responsibility for outcomes. Research has shown positive associations between distributed leadership and a variety of teacher and student outcomes, including teachers’ professional efficacy and teaching effectiveness, and student academic performance. However, distributed leadership’s positive outcomes are contingent upon having leadership activities enacted based on patterns of staff expertise. Critics of distributed leadership note the potential for growing teacher workloads without corresponding compensation, and the possibility of exclusion of certain groups of teachers from leadership work. Careful planning and purposeful design, a collaborative work culture based on trust and respect, and having teachers at the school who possess leadership capacity, all appear to be needed ingredients in order for distributed leadership to be effective. School leadership teams, in which the principal works with a team of teacher leaders to share leadership work, represent an example of distributed leadership in action, and have been shown to accelerate and sustain school reform work.

Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, (2020). Distributed Leadership. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.




Wing Institute Web Site Improvements

June 10, 2020

The Wing Institute has redesigned both the structure and content of its web site home page to increase readers’ ability to navigate the site and locate the information they are seeking.  The new structure offers clear pathways for identifying and researching critical topics and effectively communicates what the Wing Institute’s web site has to offer. The home page content is driven by reader feedback derived from a wide range of sources, including Researchgate,, and Google Analytics.  The new home page is organized around the following categories:

Why Students Succeed (Education Drivers)

Educational systems are incredibly complex, and it is easy get overwhelmed looking for information across many topics.  The new homepage distills this search down to the three most critical education drivers: Quality Teachers, Quality Principals, and Explicit Instruction.

Why Education Practices Fail (Implementation)

Implementation is an essential, and too often overlooked, component of quality education programs.  It is often mentioned as an afterthought and can be difficult to locate on education sites.  The Wing homepage highlights its value and provides readers the opportunity to go directly to the latest research and practice strategies for effective implementation.

How are we doing (Systems Dashboard)

In this age of complexity and uncertainty, it is more critical than ever to identify and track relevant data that will help education stakeholders make informed decisions about school issues.  The systems dashboard provides a continually updated analysis of what we are doing and how we are doing.  The home page highlights five topic areas, which can be changed easily to reflect the most 


The new homepage spotlights the Wing Institute Newsletter, which offers readers the latest research on important issues, along with original research from Wing Institute writers. It also provides easier access to past newsletters, which contain relevant research.

We hope you find these changes have improved your reading experience.



What are the negative health impacts of student absenteeism?

February 1, 2019

The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a policy statement regarding the negative impact that chronic student absenteeism has on children’s health.  They cite numerous ways the two are linked.  First, evidence clearly documents that chronic absenteeism puts children at a much higher risk of dropping out of school and not graduating. There is a significant amount of research associating poor school performance (resulting in lower education attainment) and poor adult health outcomes, including increased mortality risk and lower life expectancy.  The act of missing school itself is also linked to increased risk behaviors, including alcohol consumption, drug use, smoking and risky sexual behavior.  Also, children with chronic absenteeism are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested or referred to the juvenile justice system.  The policy statement finishes with a discussion of roles the medical community can play working with schools and families to help address this problem.  It reviews the evidence regarding possible physical and mental health interventions, including:  infection prevention programs, school nurses, school-based health centers, mental health care, health awareness school policies and programs, parent interventions, and coordinated school health models.

Citation: Allison, M. A., & Attisha, E. (2019). The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. Pediatrics, e20183648.




Digest of Education Statistics 2017 Released

January 31, 2019

Digest of Education Statistics 2017: The Digest of Education Statistics 2017was just released by The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual publication is thedefinitive compendium of data on virtually every aspects of education from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Its chapters include: All Levels of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Federal Funds for Education and Related Activities, Outcomes of Education, International Comparisons of Education, and Libraries and Use of Technology. It draws from a wide range of government and private sources and applies rigorous review to everything published. It has been published annually since 1962, providing over 50 years of data with which to benchmark education performance at the system level in this country.

Citation: Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018-070). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.




2016-17 High School Graduation Rates Show Continued Improvement

January 31, 2019

Digest of Education Statistics 2017. The most recent high school graduation rate data were just released for the 2016-17 school year. The following graph shows consistent improvement in this critical student and school performance metric. Student graduation increased by 12 percentage points during the fifteen years from 2002 and 2017.  While there is still much work to be done to identify and implement graduation standards that translate into meaningful and life long benefits, this type of consistent performance improvement should be acknowledged.

AFGR:   The Average Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) was used by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) from 2002 through 2013.

•ACGR: The Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) was established by DOE in 2008, establishing a uniform and more accurate measure for calculating the rate at which students graduated from high school. 

Both models co-existed for threes years and had comparable graduate rate data during that time.

A second area of the report disaggregates graduation rate data by students from different ethnic backgrounds.  There remains an unacceptable graduation rate gap between White and Black students, and White and Hispanic students.  The resulting graduation rate for Black students (77.8%) and Hispanic students (80.0%) are failures of the system.  While progress will always be too slow in this area, the data do show steady progress in closing the gap over the last six years.  The graduation gap between White and Black students decreased by 6.2 percentage points (from 17% in 2010-11 to 10.8% in 2016-17).  The graduation gap between White and Hispanic students decreased by 4.4 percentage points (from 13% in 2010-11 to 8.6% in 2016-17). 

A third area of disaggregated data was that of graduation rates by individual states.  The variation between states continues to be extreme with the top ten states averaging a 89.7% graduation rate and the bottom ten states averaging 77.4%.  

Improving graduation rates continue to be a clear focus of the education system, and while there is a long way to go, it is one of the few areas where progress is being made.

Citation: Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018-070). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.