December 16, 2019
Examining racial/ethnic disparities in school discipline in the context of student-reported behavior infractions. Research strongly supports the existence of bias in human beings. Discrepancies between how teachers handle behavior management incidents for students of color and white students has been a concern of education researchers for well over a decade. This paper looks at the disproportionality of consequences for disciplinary infractions between these groups of students. The researchers were interested in determining whether students of color would show similar rates of suspensions, office referrals, personal warnings from a teacher, or warnings about their behavior sent home based on ethnicity, as is the case for white students. Wegman’s study finds that African American students are less likely to receive warnings for behavior infractions than white peers, resulting in escalating consequences for students of color. The unequal handling of disciplinary actions reflects a pressing need for schools to address issues of implicit and explicit bias as a means to address this central issue in education.
Citation: Wegmann, K. M., & Smith, B. (2019). Examining racial/ethnic disparities in school discipline in the context of student-reported behavior infractions. Children and Youth Services Review, 103, 18-27.
December 5, 2019
The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. This meta-analysis finds a positive relationship between school principals spending time on five commonly assigned roles and student achievement. These principal responsibilities are instructional management, internal relations, organizational management, administration, and external relations. The study finds that a principal cannot focus on a select few of the categories, but must carve out adequate time for each role. The need to be proficient across all leadership categories offers little comfort to U.S. principals who report average work-weeks of 58.6 hours (U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). The paper recommends school principals be provided with additional resources if they are to adequately meet the needs of the students, teachers, and the community. Although these roles differ from the responsibilities researched by Viviane Robinson (goal expectations, strategic resourcing, teaching and curriculum, teacher development, and supportive environment), there does appear to be a significant overlap with those identified in the Liebowitz meta-analysis (Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008).
Citation: Liebowitz, D. D., & Porter, L. (2019). The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher, and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. Review of Educational Research, 89(5), 785-827.
December 5, 2019
The Effect of Linguistic Comprehension Training on Language and Reading Comprehension. Children who begin school with proficient language skills are more likely to develop adequate reading comprehension abilities and achieve academic success than children who struggle with poor language skills in their early years. Individual language difficulties, environmental factors related to socioeconomic status, and having the educational language as a second language are all considered risk factors for language and literacy failure. This review considers whether language-supportive programs are effective. The research aims to examine the immediate and long-run effects of such programs on generalized measures of linguistic comprehension and reading comprehension. Examples of linguistic comprehension skills include vocabulary, grammar, and narrative skills.
The effect of linguistic comprehension instruction on generalized outcomes of linguistic comprehension skills is small in studies of both the overall immediate and follow-up effects. Analysis of differential language outcomes shows small effects on vocabulary and grammatical knowledge and moderate effects on narrative and listening comprehension. Linguistic comprehension instruction has no immediate effects of on generalized outcomes of reading comprehension. Only a few studies have reported follow-up effects on reading comprehension skills, with divergent findings.
Citation: Rogde, K., Hagen, Å. M., Melby-Lervåg, M., & Lervåg, A. (2019). The Effect of Linguistic Comprehension Training on Language and Reading Comprehension: A Systematic Review. Campbell Systematic Reviews.
November 15, 2019
A Powerful Hunger for Evidence-Proven Technology. The technology industry and education policymakers have touted the benefits of computers in learning. As a consequence, schools in the United States now spend more than $2 billion each year on education technology. But what are schools getting in return for this significant investment in technology learning? Robert Slavin examines the results from five studies designed to answer this question. Slavin concludes that the impact of technology-infused instruction on reading, mathematics, and science in elementary and secondary schools is very small. His analysis finds a study-weighted average across these five reviews to be a +0.05 effect size. This effect size appears to be an insignificant return on investment for such a substantial allocation of resources. Slavin concludes that how software is designed is at the heart of the problem. Commercial companies most often develop education technology. Given technology companies are market-driven, education software developers value profit margins, attractiveness, ease of use, low cost, trends, and fads, over evidence of efficacy. Slavin proposes a solution to improve upon this current model needs to include boosting the incentives to technology developers for creating products based on rigorous research and proven technology-based programs. Regardless of how best to solve the problem, educators need to take seriously this call to address this issue.
Citation: Slavin, R. (2019). A Powerful Hunger for Evidence-Proven Technology. Baltimore, MD: Robert Slavin’s Blog. https://robertslavinsblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/14/a-powerful-hunger-for-evidence-proven-technology/.
November 14, 2019
Using Resource and Cost Considerations to Support Educational Evaluation: Six Domains. Assessing cost, along with the effectiveness of an initiative is common in public policy decision-making, but is frequently missing in education decision-making. Understanding the cost-effectiveness of an intervention is essential if educators are to maximize the impact of an intervention given limited budgets. Education is full of examples of practices, such as class-size reduction and accountability through high-stakes testing, that produce minimal results while consuming significant resources. It is vital for those making critical decisions to understand which practice is best suited to meet the needs of the school and the schools’ students that can be implemented using the available resources. The best way to do this is through the use of a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA).
A CEA requires an accurate estimation of all added resources needed to implement the new intervention. Costs commonly associated with education interventions include; added personnel, professional development, classroom space, technology, and expenses to monitor effectiveness. The second variable essential to a CEA is the selection of a practice supported by research. In the past twenty years, a significant increase in the quality and quantity of research supporting different education practices has occurred. A CEA compares the extra expenditures required to implement a new intervention to current practices against targeted education outcomes. Examples of educational outcomes are standardized test scores, graduation rates, or student grades.
The focus of this essay is on which economic methods can complement and enhance impact evaluations. The authors propose the use of six domains to link intervention effectiveness to the best technique needed to determine which practice is the most cost-effective choice. The six domains outlined in the paper are outcomes, treatment comparisons, treatment integrity, the role of mediators, test power, and meta-analysis. This paper provides examples of how analyzing the costs associated with these domains can complement and augment practices in evaluating research in the field of education.
Citation: Belfield, C. R., & Brooks Bowden, A. (2019). Using Resource and Cost Considerations to Support Educational Evaluation: Six Domains. Educational Researcher, 48(2), 120-127.
November 12, 2019
A systematic review of single-case research on video analysis as professional development for special educators. Professional development is viewed as essential to providing teachers with the skills needed to be successful in the classroom. Research strongly supports the need to go beyond the typical in-service training that is commonly provided teachers. Coaching and feedback have been found to be very effective in increasing the likelihood that training will be implemented in classrooms. The use of video has been offered as a cost-effective way to trainers to provide feedback to teachers in training based on actual performance in classroom use of the new skill(s).
Citation: Morin, K. L., Ganz, J. B., Vannest, K. J., Haas, A. N., Nagro, S. A., Peltier, C. J., … & Ura, S. K. (2019). A systematic review of single-case research on video analysis as professional development for special educators. The Journal of Special Education, 53(1), 3-14.
November 8, 2019
Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis. This research examines the literature supporting teacher training in the use of behavior-specific praise. One of the most common problems confronting classroom teachers concerns managing student behavior. Praise is a straight forward cost-effective intervention used to increase appropriate behavior and decrease troublesome student conduct. In the absence of training, teachers fail to adequately use behavior-specific praise and frequently fall back on the use of negative statements to control student conduct. The current knowledge base finds this approach to be counter-productive.
On the other hand, rigorous research indicates that when teachers receive training in the use of praise, disruptive behavior decreases, and appropriate conduct increases. This meta-analysis examined 28 single subject designed studies. The authors found an aggregate large effect size for teachers who received training increase the use of behavior-specific praise with students.
Citation: Zoder-Martell, K. A., Floress, M. T., Bernas, R. S., Dufrene, B. A., & Foulks, S. L. (2019). Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 1-30.
November 7, 2019
What Do Surveys of Program Completers Tell Us About Teacher Preparation Quality? Identifying which teacher preparation programs produce highly qualified teachers is understood to be a means to improve the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs (TTP). One proposed method for measuring TTP effectiveness is surveying recent graduate’s satisfaction with the training received. Research suggests that analysis of the surveys correlate satisfaction with teacher classroom performance, evaluation ratings, and retention data. If correct, this data offers schools a wealth of information to aid in deciding which pre-service programs to focus recruiting efforts. It also suggests that surveys can provide data for holding TTP accountable.
But much of the available research lacks sufficient rigor. This paper uses survey data from teachers in the state of North Carolina to gauge graduate’s satisfaction with TTP training to raise the validity and reliability of the study’s findings. The study concludes perceptions of preparation programs are modestly associated with the effectiveness and retention of first and second-year teachers. The researchers find, on average, those who feel better prepared to teach are more effective and more likely to remain in teaching. These results indicate that surveys of preparation program graduate satisfaction be monitored to assure validity and reliability of polling, given the interest accreditation bodies, state agencies, and teacher preparation programs show in using this data for high stakes decision making. The results also imply that surveys alone do not provide sufficient data to identify which programs offer the best teacher training.
Citation: Bastian, K. C., Sun, M., & Lynn, H. (2018). What do surveys of program completers tell us about teacher preparation quality? Journal of Teacher Education, November 2019.
October 25, 2019
A Quantitative Synthesis of Research on Writing Approaches in Grades 2 to 12. This paper looks at randomized or well-matched control group research on outcomes of writing programs. The average effect size for those writing programs reviewed was a small effect size of 0.18. The writing programs fell into three categories; those that focus on the writing process, cooperative learning, or interactions between reading and writing.
The core characteristics of programs that produced the best writing outcomes include:
• Use of cooperative learning
• Structured approaches that give students step-by-step guides to writing
• Programs that teach students to assess their own and peer writing,
• Programs that balance writing with reading
• Programs that attempt to build students’ motivation to write and enjoy self-expression
• Programs that teach writing conventions (e.g., grammar, punctuation, usage) explicitly, but in the context of creative writing
• Programs that provide extensive professional development to teachers, in which teachers experience the writing strategies they will employ
Citation: Slavin, R. E., Lake, C., Inns, A., Baye, A., Dachet, D., & Haslam, J. (2019). A Quantitative Synthesis of Research on Writing Approaches in Grades 2 to 12. Best Evidence Encyclopedia.
October 24, 2019
Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools: a systematic review. This Campbell Collaboration systematic review examines the impact of class size on academic achievement. The review summarizes findings from 148 reports from 41 countries. Reducing class size is viewed by many educators as an essential tool for improving student performance, and is especially popular among teachers. But smaller class sizes come at a steep cost. Education policymakers see increasing class size as a way to control education budgets. Despite the real policy and practice implications, the research on the educational effects of class‐size differences on student performance is mixed. This meta-analysis suggests, at best only, a small impact on reading achievement. The study finds a small negative effect on mathematics. Given the fact that class size reduction is minimally effective while being costly, aren’t there better solutions that are both cost-effective, benefits students, and can help teachers be successful in a very challenging profession?
Citation: Filges, T., Sonne‐Schmidt, C. S., & Nielsen, B. C. V. (2018). Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 14(1), 1-107.