IES Blog

Institute of Education Sciences

High Job Satisfaction Among Teachers, but Leadership Matters

By Lauren Musu-Gillette

Are teachers satisfied with their jobs? Overall, the answer appears to be yes. However, a recent NCES report highlights that teacher job satisfaction differs by school characteristics.

Newly released data shows that at least 9 out of 10 teachers reported that they were satisfied with their jobs in 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12. A higher percentage of private school teachers than public school teachers reported that they were satisfied with their jobs in all of these years.


Percent of teachers reporting they were satisfied in their jobs: School years 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12

NOTE: “Satisfied” teachers are those who responded “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” to the statement: “I am generally satisfied with being a teacher at this school.”
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS).


Differences in teacher job satisfaction also emerged based on perceptions of administrative support.[i] In 2011–12, a higher percentage of teachers who believed that the administration in their schools was supportive were satisfied with their jobs. Among teachers who felt that the administration in their schools was supportive, 95 percent were satisfied with their jobs. This was 30 percentage points higher than the percentage of teachers did not feel the administration was supportive. This pattern was seen in private schools as well and is consistent with previous research that demonstrates the importance of schools administrators to teachers’ working conditions.[ii]   


Percent of satisfied teachers, by their perceptions of administrative support: School year 2011–12

NOTE: “Satisfied” teachers are those who responded “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” to the statement: “I am generally satisfied with being a teacher at this school.”
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS).


[i] Support was measured by teachers’ agreement or disagreement with the statement “The school administration’s behavior toward the staff is supportive and encouraging.”
[ii] Ladd, H. F. (2011). Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Working Conditions: How Predictive of Planned and Actual Teacher Movement? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(2): 235-261.

The What Works Clearinghouse Goes to College

By Vanessa Anderson, Research Scientist, NCEE

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was founded in 2002 and, in its first decade, focused mainly on reviewing studies of programs, policies, products and practices—or interventions—for improving student outcomes in pre-K, elementary and secondary schools. But in 2012, the WWC broadened its focus and has been using rigorous standards to review studies of interventions designed to increase the success of students in postsecondary education.

This week, the WWC launches a new topic—Supporting Postsecondary Success—and it is a good time to look at the work we’re doing, and will do, in the postsecondary area. 

The WWC postsecondary topic area includes reviews of studies on a wide range of interventions, including learning communities, summer bridge programs, multi-faceted support programs, academic mentoring, and interventions that aim to reduce performance anxiety. As of today, 294 postsecondary studies have been reviewed by the WWC. Those reviews are summarized in six Intervention Reports, 25 Single Study Reviews, and four Quick Reviews. And there’s much more in the works!  For instance, a WWC Educator’s Practice Guide that includes strategies for supporting students in developmental education is planned for publication later this year. (Learn more about Practice Guides)

Identifying Studies for Review

In the postsecondary topic area, there are currently three main ways that studies are identified by the WWC for review.

The first is studies that are reviewed for WWC Intervention Reports. All WWC Intervention Reports use a systematic review process to summarize evidence from all available studies on a given intervention. The WWC conducts a broad search for all publicly available studies of interventions that are related to the topic. This process often identifies hundreds of studies for review. The effectiveness studies are then reviewed against WWC standards. Only the highest quality studies are summarized in an Intervention Report.

We released two new intervention reports this week as part of our new Supporting Postsecondary Success topic. You can view the new Intervention Reports on Summer Bridge programs and first-year experience courses on the WWC website.

The second way that studies are reviewed by the WWC is through Quick Reviews, which are performed on studies that have received a great deal of media attention. In these reports, the WWC provides a brief description of the study, the author-reported results, and a study rating. We like to think of Quick Reviews as a way to help people decide whether to fully believe the results of a study, based on the research design and how the study was conducted. For example, we released a quick review earlier this month that focused on a study of computer usage and student outcomes for a class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Finally, the WWC reviews postsecondary studies submitted as supporting evidence for discretionary grant competitions funded by the U.S. Department of Education, such as the Strengthening Institutions Program, First in the World and TRIO Student Support Services. These grant competitions require applicants to submit studies as evidence of the effectiveness of the interventions they propose to implement. The WWC reviews these studies and includes the results of those reviews in our database.

If you want to see all the studies on postsecondary interventions that have been reviewed by WWC you can check out—and download—the Reviewed Studies Database. In the “Topic Areas” dropdown menu, just select “Postsecondary,” and then easily customize the search by rating, publication type, and/or reasons for the review (such as a grant competition).  

For more information, visit the WWC postsecondary topic area on the website. To stay up-to-date on WWC news, information, and products, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for the WWC newsflash!

Five ED/IES SBIR Companies Win National Industry Awards for Innovation

The U.S. Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the Institute of Education Sciences (ED/IES SBIR) has served as a catalyst for the research and development of innovative technology that seeks to transform how and where students learn.

In 2016, the program continues to be recognized for spurring innovation, with five companies winning national awards and recognition for their ED/IES SBIR-developed technologies.

In June, Strange Loop Games’ Eco won the Climate Change Challenge at the Games for Change Festival in New York City. Eco is a multi-player environment where students collectively work to build a virtual ecosystem. The game provides students the opportunity to see how individual and collective decisions and actions affect their environment and climate.

In May, mtelegence’s Readorium won the Best Reading/English/Language Arts Solution through the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) CODiE program. Readorium is a web-based intervention that provides engaging content and games to middle school students to improve reading comprehension of science content.

Science4us, in May, won the best Science Instructional Solution through the SIIA CODiE program, and won THE Best Science Program through the BESSIE awards in April. Science4Us is a web-based game and simulation platform that provides foundational science learning opportunities for students in Kindergarten through Grade 2.

Also in May, Electric Funstuff’s Mission US won the Website Gold from the Parents' Choice Awards. In 2016, Mission US was a finalist for three other awards, including Best Learning Game at Games For Change, Outstanding Interactive Series through the Daytime Emmy Awards, and Best Web Game through the Webby Awards.  Mission US, which is partially funded by ED/IES SBIR, is a series of tablet-based interactive role-playing game that immerses 5th through 9th grade students in history.

In February, Querium was recognized as one of the 10 Most Innovative Education Technology Companies of 2016 by Fast Company Magazine. Querium is developing the Stepwise Virtual Tutor, which is a mobile and desktop virtual tutor that provides real-time assessments and support to middle and high school students in Algebra.

For information on more ED/IES SBIR supported companies that have won awards and been recognized for innovation in technology, check out the program’s News Archive. Stay tuned for updates on ED/IES SBIR on Twitter and Facebook.

About ED/IES SBIR: The Small Business Innovation Research program at the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences funds firms and partners to develop commercially viable technology products to improve student learning or teacher practice in regular and special education.  ED/IES SBIR emphasizes rigorous research to inform the development process and to evaluate whether products show promise for delivering on the intended outcomes.

Spend Five Minutes Getting to Know IES

By Dana Tofig, Communications Director, IES
 
At the Institute of Education Sciences, we sometimes describe ourselves as the country’s “engine” that powers high-quality education statistics, research, and evaluation, or as the “infrastructure” that supports a steady supply of scientific evidence in education.  
 
But many users of IES resources are familiar with just a small slice of what we sponsor to provide quality evidence in education and support for its use across the country. While they may have heard of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the What Works Clearinghouse, or the ERIC database of research, studies, and periodicals, they may not know that all those programs, and many more, are housed under one roof at IES. 
 
To help people better understand our work and see how it is connected, we have developed a new video that gives an overview of IES and the six broad types of work that we do.  The video runs just under five minutes, so it doesn’t touch on everything, but it does give a good introduction to IES and our work to connect research to practice. 
 

Please share the video with friends and colleagues who might be interested in the work of IES. In the coming months, we will release additional videos that delve further into each of our focus areas.
 
This video is part of our ongoing efforts to ramp up our communication and dissemination efforts, including the launch of a new, mobile friendly website design and an IES Facebook page where you can get information about the latest reports, resources, and grant opportunities. In the fall, IES will also launch a new What Works Clearinghouse website, which will include an improved "Find What Works" tool. This will make it easier for educators to search for and compare the research about the effectiveness of interventions in education.
 
We are here to serve the public – and we always want to get better at what we do! If you have thoughts or ideas for how we can improve our communication and dissemination efforts, please send an email to dana.tofig@ed.gov.

Five Reasons to Visit the What Works Clearinghouse

By Diana McCallum, Education Research Analyst, What Works Clearinghouse

It’s been more than a decade since the first What Works Clearinghouse reports were released and we have a wealth of information and resources that can help educators and leaders make evidence-based decisions about teaching and learning. Since 2005, the WWC has assessed more than 11,500 education studies using rigorous standards and has published hundreds of resources and guides across many content areas. (View the full version of the graphic to the right.) 

The WWC website has already received more than 1.7 million page views this year, but if you haven’t visited whatworks.ed.gov lately, here are five reasons you might want to click over:

1) We are always adding new and updated reviews. Multiple claims about programs that work can be overwhelming and people often lack time to sift through piles of research. That’s where the WWC comes in. We provide an independent, objective assessment of education research. For example, we have intervention reports that provide summaries of all of the existing research on a given program or practice that educators can use to help inform their choices.  In addition, when a new education study grabs headlines, the WWC develops a quick review that provides our take on the evidence presented to let you know whether the study is credible. In 2015, we added 43 publications to WWC and we’re adding more every month this year.

2) We’ve expanded our reach into the Postsecondary area. In late 2012, the WWC expanded its focus to include reviews of studies within the Postsecondary area to capture the emerging research on studies on a range of topics, from the transition to college to those that focus on postsecondary success.  To date, the WWC has reviewed over 200 studies on postsecondary programs and interventions, and this area continues grow rapidly. In fact, several Office of Postsecondary Education grant competitions add competitive priority preference points for applicants that submit studies that meet WWC standards. (Keep an eye out for a blog post on the postsecondary topic coming soon!)

3) You can find what works using our online tool. Wondering how to get started with so many resources at your fingertips? Find What Works lets you do a quick comparison of interventions for different subjects, grades, and student populations. Want to know more about a specific intervention? We’ve produced more than 400 intervention reports to provide you the evidence about a curriculum, program, software product, or other intervention for your classroom before you choose it.  Recently, we’ve added a feature that allows a user to search for interventions that have worked for different populations of students and in different geographic locations. As we mentioned in a recent blog post, the Find What Works tool is undergoing an even bigger transformation this September, so keep visiting!

4) We identify evidence-based practices to use in the classroom. The WWC has produced 19 practice guides that feature practical recommendations and instructional tips to help educators address common challenges. Practice guides (now available for download as ebooks) provide quick, actionable guidance for educators that are supported by evidence and expert knowledge within key areas.  Some of our guides now feature accompanying videos and brief summaries that demonstrate recommended practices and highlight the meaning behind the levels of evidence. The work of practice guides are also actively disseminated during Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Bridge events. For instance, REL Southwest held a webinar on Teaching Math to Young Children, which was based on a WWC practice guide. For more information, read a previously published blog post on practice guides.

5) We compile information by topic. Our “Special Features” pages focus on common themes in education, such as tips for college readiness, information for heading back to school, and guidance for what works in early childhood education. These Special Features provide a starting point to access a variety of WWC resources related to a topic.

In the coming months, we’ll post other blogs that will explore different parts of the WWC and tell you about ongoing improvements. So keep visiting the What Works website or signup to receive emails when we release new reports or resources. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The What Works Clearinghouse is a part of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the independent research, evaluation, and statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Education. You can learn more about IES’ other work on its website or follow IES on Twitter and Facebook