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What's New for June 2016

Primary Early Care and Education Arrangements and Achievement at Kindergarten Entry (June 30, 2016)
The report explores the relationship between children’s primary early care and education (ECE) arrangements the year before kindergarten and their academic skills and learning behaviors at kindergarten entry, after accounting for child and family background characteristics.

Instructional Staff Salary and Benefits Spending: 1991–2011 (June 30, 2016)
This Data Point uses expenditure data from the Common Core of Data (CCD) "National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS)" for fiscal years 1991 to 2011 and instructional staff data from the CCD "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education" for school years 1990–91 to 2010–11. This study includes information about expenditures on elementary and secondary education, expenditures on instructional staff salaries, and instructional staff benefits.

Teacher Job Satisfaction (June 30, 2016)
This Data Point uses Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data from 2003—04, 2007—08, and 2011—12 to examine job satisfaction among teachers in both public and private schools. This study describes job satisfaction overall and also for teachers who had varying perceptions of administrative support.

Updated WWC Report on enVisionMATH Highlights the Need for Additional Research (June 28, 2016)
An updated What Works Clearinghouse report on enVisionMATH incorporates re-reviews of studies using current WWC standards and reviews of five new studies published since the original 2013 report. Based on the updated review of the research, the WWC found that no studies of enVisionMATH meet WWC group design standards. Therefore, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the curriculum on the mathematics achievement of primary students in grades K–6.

REL Central report describes how states can intervene in their lowest-performing schools (June 28, 2016)
A new report from Regional Educational Laboratory Central provides a summary of current policies in all 50 states related to state interventions with chronically low-performing schools. The report describes laws and regulations related to six broad categories of interventions: school improvement plans, staffing, closing a school, financial incentives or interventions, the day-to-day operation of the school, and the entity that governs or operates a school.

Who Takes Online Credit Recovery Courses and How Well Do They Do? (June 28, 2016)
A REL Northwest analysis of online credit recovery students in Montana shows slightly less than 60 percent receive a passing grade, with passing rates in math the lowest.

REL Midwest examines whether Minnesota high schools are able to implement Ramp-Up to Readiness (June 28, 2016)
REL Midwest examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness differs from other college-readiness supports that schools offer and whether schools implementing the program are able to do so with adequate fidelity.

Computer-adaptive assessments used to monitor literacy growth in English learner students (June 28, 2016)
A new study from REL Southeast examines how teachers and school staff in three schools individually administered computer-adaptive assessments of literacy to English learner students in grades 3-5, and how they used the assessments to monitor students' growth.

Research on Music Training's Effect on Auditory and Literacy Skills Does Not Meet WWC Standards (June 28, 2016)
In this quasi-experimental study, researchers examined the effects of music training on the auditory and literacy skills of high school students. The study compared auditory and literacy outcomes of students in a music training program with those in a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program in the same schools. These groups had differences in the auditory and literacy skills at the beginning of the study, and, because statistical adjustments were not made for these differences, the study does not meet WWC group design standards.

WWC Review of a Recent Study on the Impacts of Sleep for Success (June 22, 2016)
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviewed a study that examined whether a school-based supplementary sleep education program improved sleep in elementary school students. The study assigned two schools to receive the Sleep for Success program and one school to a comparison group. The study authors reported that students assigned to receive Sleep for Success improved more in terms of both sleep and grades than the comparison group. The WWC reviewed this study and determined it does not meet group design standards because the comparison group included only one school, so the difference in outcomes between the intervention and comparison groups cannot be attributed solely to the intervention.

How many college credits do Kentucky high schoolers earn through dual enrollment programs before graduation? (June 22, 2016)
A new REL Appalachia study found that nearly one-fifth of Kentucky 11th and 12th graders attempted a dual enrollment course earning, on average, almost 8 college credits before high school graduation.

How do nonurban schools implement dual credit programs? (June 22, 2016)
REL Appalachia examined dual credit programs in six nonurban school districts in Kentucky. The report describes dual credit program policies and practices, student participation, partner postsecondary institutions, course offerings, course location and scheduling, instructors and credentialing, student supports, quality assurance, program costs and funding, and successes and challenges.

Examining the Research on Individual Cognitive Tutor Courses and Their Effectiveness (June 21, 2016)
The Cognitive Tutor secondary mathematics curriculum offers a variety of courses designed to improve mathematics achievement. The WWC found that Cognitive Tutor Algebra I has mixed effects on algebra achievement and no discernible effects on general mathematics achievement for secondary students. In addition, the WWC found that Cognitive Tutor Geometry has potentially negative effects on geometry achievement for secondary students. No studies that examine Cognitive Tutor Algebra II or Cognitive Tutor Integrated Math I, II, and III meet WWC group design standards; therefore, more research is needed to determine their effectiveness.

School reading performance and implementation of extended school days (June 16, 2016)
A new REL Southeast study examines school reading performance and how schools extended the school day in Florida's 100 lowest-performing elementary schools.

RCT-YES Software to Expand Program Evaluation in Education (June 14, 2016)
IES has launched a new tool that can make it easier and more cost-effective for states and school districts to evaluate the impact of their programs. RCT-YES™ is free, user-friendly software that supports sophisticated analysis and reporting of results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and other types of evaluation designs.

WWC Reviews Study of Reading Partners on Struggling Readers (June 14, 2016)
A study of the supplementary program Reading Partners, which provides struggling elementary readers with individualized tutoring, has found the program to have positive impacts on reading comprehension, reading fluency, and sight word efficiency for a sample of over 1,200 students in 19 elementary schools in California, New York, and Washington, DC. The study is a randomized controlled trial with low attrition, and the research meets WWC group design standards without reservations.

Reference Guides Support Schools in Registering Students with Non-English Names (June 14, 2016)
REL Northwest's naming conventions reference guides provide districts with guidance for accurately and consistently entering non-English students' names in school, district, and state databases.

Updated WWC Review of Accelerated Reader Includes the Latest Research (June 14, 2016)
This report on Accelerated Reader incorporates re-reviews of studies using current WWC standards and reviews of 25 new studies. Accelerated Reader is a computerized supplementary reading program that provides guided reading instruction to students in grades K-12. This review of the program focuses on studies that examine outcomes for beginning readers (students in grades K-3). Based on the updated review of the research, the WWC found Accelerated Reader to have mixed effects on comprehension and no discernible effects on reading fluency for beginning readers.

Research on School Closure and Academic Achievement Does Not Meet WWC Standards (June 14, 2016)
In this quasi-experimental study, researchers examined the impacts of public elementary and middle school closures on more than 22,700 displaced students in Ohio. To measure impacts, researchers compared test scores of displaced students and comparison students. However, these groups had differences in test scores in the year prior to the school closures, and the equivalence of the two groups prior to the closures could not be established. Therefore, the research does not meet WWC group design standards.

IES Funds Center to Improve Virtual Learning (June 13, 2016)
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded an $8.9 million grant to the University of Florida for a new Research and Development (R & D) Center that will focus on personalizing and improving virtual learning.

WWC Reviews a Recent Study on How Learning About Scientists' Struggles Affects Students' Grades (June 7, 2016)
This study examined whether students who read stories about the personal or intellectual struggles of famous scientists had higher science grades than students who read only about the scientists' achievements. The study authors randomly assigned students in four New York City high schools to three groups within the same science classrooms. One group of students was assigned to read about the personal struggles of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Michael Faraday, while another read about their intellectual struggles. A third group was assigned to read about their achievements without mention of their struggles. The study authors reported that students who read stories about the scientists' personal or intellectual struggles had higher science grades than students who read about their achievements only. This study meets WWC group design standards with reservations.

Improving and Diversifying Education Research (June 7, 2016)
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is awarding more than $4.2 million in grants to four universities to develop training programs that will help improve and diversify the education research field. More info

See How ERIC Selects New Sources (June 2, 2016)
A new video provides the answer to how ERIC selects new sources, including education-focused journals, grey literature reports, and conference papers. Watch this video if you want to learn about the types of resources ERIC will and will not index, the source selection process, and how to recommend a new resource.

Implementation of Quality Rating Improvement Systems (June 1, 2016)
REL Midwest examined the use of quality rating improvement systems (QRISs) across the Midwest Region to describe the approaches that states use in developing and implementing a QRIS.