August 29, 2019
The Feasibility of Collecting School-Level Finance Data: An Evaluation of Data from the School-Level Finance Survey (SLFS) School Year 2014–15. Few things are more complicated nor critical than collecting accurate and meaningful data on school finances at the individual school level. It is complicated because of the sheer size of the education system, diversity of spending categories, differing state laws and regulations governing finances, and accounting systems not designed for this task. It is critical because the education system puts high value on equitable and adequate funding for all students. Tracking spending at the individual school level is also a requirement of the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act.
This research and development report field-tested a new model for collection of finance data at the school level—the School- Level Finance Survey (SLFS). The pilot SLFS, collected for fiscal year (FY) 14 (school year 2013–14) and FY 15 (school year 2014–15), was designed to evaluate whether the survey is a viable, efficient, and cost-effective method to gather comparable school-level finance data. The results suggest that, regardless of the inherent challenges, it is highly feasible to collect and report on school-level finance data with acceptable accuracy. It also projects improved response rates and the increased availability of complete, accurate, and comparable finance data at the school level as the number of states participating in the SLFS increases and the collection continues to expand.
Citation: Cornman, S.Q., Reynolds, D., Zhou, L., Ampadu, O., D’Antonio, L., Gromos, D., Howell, M., and Wheeler, S. (2019). The Feasibility of Collecting School-Level Finance Data: An Evaluation of Data From the School- Level Finance Survey (SLFS) School Year 2014–15 (NCES 2019-305). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
August 29, 2019
Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look: The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) collects data from public and private K-12 schools, principals, and teachers across the United States. Its data provides critical data on core topics such as school characteristics and services, principal and teacher demographics, and teacher preparation. The most recent 2017-18 report examined public (traditional), charter, and private school principals in terms of: race/ethnicity, age, highest college degree, salary, years experience (as a principal and at their current school), level of influence on decision-making, and experience with evaluations. A few of the more notable points include:
• Twenty-seven percent of school principals are 55 or older. This represents a significant number of principals who likely to retire in five years.
• The average salary for school principals is $ 92,900.
• Over ninety percent (91.7%) of school principals have a Master’s Degree or higher.
• Almost half (44.3%) of school principals have less than three years experience in their current schools.
• Seventy percent of school principals received evaluations in the selected year (79% in traditional public schools, 69% in charter schools, and 51% in private schools).
Citation: Taie, S., and Goldring, R. (2019). Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look (NCES 2019- 141). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
August 27, 2019
Matching the availability of teachers to demand constantly evolves. During recessions schools are forced to layoff teachers. As economic times improve, schools acquire resources and rehire personnel. Currently, American schools are faced with the most severe shortages in special education; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and bilingual education. Shortages vary across the country and are most acute in areas with lower wages and in poor schools. Starting in the 1980’s schools began filling vacancies with under-qualified personnel hired on emergency or temporary credentials to meet needs. A 35% drop in pre-service enrollment and high teacher attrition currently impact the supply. Candidates and veteran teachers are influenced to leave teaching due to low compensation, stressful working conditions, and a perceived decline in respect. The demand side is influenced primarily by fluctuations in population, finances, and education policy. Matching supply to demand is a challenge but can be accomplished through better planning, procuring less volatile funding sources, and improving working conditions through improved pay and effective training.
Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R. Keyworth, R., & States, J., (2019). Teacher Retention Analysis Overview. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/teacher-retention-turnover-analysis.
August 15, 2019
How to teach critical thinking. Despite consensus on the need for critical thinking, considerable debate exists over how it is learned and, how educators can best support students to develop critical thinking capabilities. This paper considers what the research can tell us about how critical thinking is acquired, and the implications for how education might best develop young people’s critical thinking capabilities.
Willingham recommends a four-step process to develop a program to teach critical thinking:
- identify a list of critical thinking skills for each subject domain;
- identify subject matter content for each domain;
- plan the sequence in which knowledge and skills should be taught;
- plan which knowledge and skills should be revisited across years.
Citation: Willingham, D. (2019). How to teach critical thinking. New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education.
August 15, 2019
Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look. The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) collects data from public and private K-12 schools, principals, and teachers across the United States. Its data provides critical data on core topics such as school characteristics and services, principal and teacher demographics, and teacher preparation. The most recent 2017-18 report examined public (traditional), charter, and private schools in terms of their participation in the federal free or reduced-price lunch programs (FRLP), special education, English-language learners (ELLs) or limited-English proficient (LEP), extended school days, school start times, special emphasis schools, and minutes of instruction. One of the takeaways from the data is that public (traditional) and charter schools have almost identical statistics in these categories. Included in this data are the following:
- Approximately 12% of all K-12 students have IEPs or formally identified disabilities: public (traditional) 13% schools, charter schools 11%, and private schools 7.5%. Ten percent of all K-12 students required ELL/LEP services: public (traditional) 10.6% schools, charter schools 10.2%, and private schools 2.6%.
- The majority of public schools (96.6% of traditional public schools and 83.6% of charter schools) participated in the FLRP, with over half of all students receiving these services (55% of total students in each). Private schools were much less likely to participate, with only 18.8% of private schools and 8.7% of the served population receiving FRLP.
Citation: Taie, S., and Goldring, R. (2019). Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look (NCES 2019-140). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
August 15, 2019
Classroom management for ethnic–racial minority students: A meta-analysis of single-case design studies. This meta-analysis looks at behavior management practices implemented with ethnically and racially diverse students. It examines single-subject designed studies implemented at the whole class level. Results indicate that class-wide management approaches applied in diverse classrooms are heavily behavioral and highly effective in improving student behavior.
Citation: Long, A. C., Miller, F. G., & Upright, J. J. (2019). Classroom management for ethnic–racial minority students: A meta-analysis of single-case design studies. School Psychology, 34(1), 1.
August 15, 2019
Teacher-Delivered Strategies to Increase Students’ Opportunities to Respond: A Systematic Methodological Review. This systematic review of the literature examines the evidence behind teacher-directed strategies to increase students’ opportunities to respond (OTR) during whole-group instruction. The results indicate teacher-directed OTR strategy of response cards in K-12 school settings to be a potentially evidence-based practice according to the Council for Exceptional Children’s Standards for Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education .
Citation: Common, E. A., Lane, K. L., Cantwell, E. D., Brunsting, N. C., Oakes, W. P., Germer, K. A., & Bross, L. A. (2019). Teacher-delivered strategies to increase students’ opportunities to respond: A systematic methodological review. Behavioral Disorders, 0198742919828310.
August 15, 2019
Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide examines the research on how teaching elementary students how to write. The report analyzes the evidence supporting those teaching methods commonly employed to increase student competency in becoming a fluent writer. The guide is for teachers, literacy coaches, principals, districts, and curriculum developers, and other educators. The paper summarizes the available research and provides recommendations on the types of activities and strategies teachers can use to increase student writing proficiency.
Citation: Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Olson, C. B., D’Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., & Olinghouse, N. (2012). Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. NCEE 2012-4058. What Works Clearinghouse.
August 6, 2019
Teacher turnover has been a persistent challenge; while the national rate has hovered at 16% in recent decades, more teachers are leaving the profession, contributing to teacher shortages in hard-to-staff subjects and schools. Higher attrition rates coupled with disproportionate teacher movement away from schools in economically disadvantaged communities has resulted in inequitable distributions of high-quality teachers across schools. Teacher turnover is quite costly, and primarily has negative consequences for school operations, staff collegiality, and student learning. Turnover rates are highest among minority teachers working in high-need schools, beginning teachers, and those who are alternatively certified; higher rates are also found for those teaching math, science, and English as a foreign language, and for special education teachers. Teachers are less likely to be retained in schools with poor working conditions, particularly those led by principals perceived to be less effective, and in schools where they are paid less. Teacher retention may be improved with combinations of targeted financial incentives and improved working conditions (e.g., better principal preparation), and through better supports for early career teachers through effective induction and mentoring programs. Linking financial incentives with enhanced leadership opportunities and career paths also offer potential for retaining effective teachers in classrooms where they are most needed.
Citation: Donley, J., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R., & States, J. (2019). Teacher Retention. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/quality-teachers-retention
July 30, 2019
The Effects of Targeted Professional Development on Teachers’ Use of Empirically Supported Classroom Management Practices. Research suggests teachers want and need to improve classroom management skills. Studies also find that teachers currently receive limited training and support in this critical area of instruction. This study examines brief, targeted professional development (brief training, email prompting, and self-management) to improve teacher classroom management skills. The training focused on increasing the effective use of prompting, increased active student responding, and delivery of praise. The results show that teachers increased their prompt and specific praise rates while they actively engaged in training. However, the effects of professional development did not maintain when training shifted to a new skill.
Citation: Simonsen, B., Freeman, J., Myers, D., Dooley, K., Maddock, E., Kern, L., & Byun, S. (2019). The Effects of Targeted Professional Development on Teachers’ Use of Empirically Supported Classroom Management Practices. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1098300719859615.