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IES Grant

Title: Boston Public Schools Expanded Learning Time Research Collaborative
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Therriault, Susan Awardee: American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (8/1/2015 7/31/2017) Award Amount: $397,278
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H150013

Co-Principal Investigator: Donna Muncey (Boston Public Schools)

Partner Institutions: American Institutes for Research and Boston Public Schools

Purpose: This researcher-practitioner partnership will systematically study practices used during extended learning time (ELT), a school improvement strategy that is widely used in Boston Public Schools (BPS), in order to guide continuous improvement and refinement of the BPS ELT initiatives. Through a combination of School Improvement Grants (SIG), Investing in Innovation (i3) grants, and other grants, BPS has been implementing ELT in low-performing schools in 2006 and now has 36 schools offering ELT. In BPS, ELT consists of 300 additional hours for instruction (in core subjects and enrichment), and additional time for teacher collaboration and professional development. Although ELT is seen by education policymakers as a strategy for realizing improved student outcomes, there is limited information about whether or how the amount or use of expanded time is related to student outcomes. The proposed study is designed to build a partnership to track and categorize how much additional time is being added to BPS schools as well as how that time is being used. It will also provide preliminary evidence of impact and a cost analysis for ELT implementation.

Partnership Activities: American Institutes for Research and Boston Public Schools (BPS) will build on their partnership, which began in 2012 during an Investing in Innovation (i3) project to implement ELT in BPS. For the current project, the partnership will accomplish two aims: (1) create a typology of ELT practices in BPS and (2) examine the relationship between types of ELT implementation and student outcomes. Because it is one of the earliest states to systematically implement ELT as a school improvement strategy, MA has the potential to be a valuable source of information about key elements for successful ELT implementation.

The partnership will focus on explicit procedures in five areas: planning, governance, decision making, use of research evidence, and sustainability. Both partners will contribute to defining research goals and questions, evaluating research findings, writing reports, and are equally responsible for maintaining the partnership.

Setting: This project will take place in an urban public school district. In 2014–15, eight of its schools, including three middle schools, two high schools, and three K–8 schools, will offer ELT, and at least 38 other schools in the district will add time to their schedules.

Population/Sample: The sample includes almost 21,000 students in 36 schools. Students are 7% white, 40% African American, and 45% Hispanic. One third (31%) are English Language Learners, and one fifth (20%) have a disability.

Data Analytic Strategy: The study is using several analytic approaches, including (1) descriptive analyses to define an ELT typology based on ELT practices, (2) coding and qualitative analyses of principal interview data, (3) correlational analyses to examine relationships, and (4) a regression using a comparative interrupted time series (CITS) design to provide preliminary evidence of impact. The partners will work together to create a dataset of the ELT practices being used in BPS schools to merge with BPS administrative data. The partners will develop instruments, including fidelity protocols for each ELT practice, and conduct an initial cost analysis of various ELT practices. Outcome measures in the correlation analysis include student achievement, engagement, disciplinary incidences, and attendance.

Outcomes: The outcomes of the partnership project are:

  • A report that describes the partnership and lessons learned from this work and potential avenues for future research.
  • A typology of ELT practices that delineates and categorizes the key components of different approaches to implementing ELT. Such a typology will provide BPS and the field as a whole with an in-depth descriptive picture of the various approaches to implementing ELT.
  • Findings from a correlation analysis and a preliminary impact analysis of ELT.
  • A preliminary cost analysis linking data on program effectiveness and program costs to assess the overall cost effectiveness of implementing ELT.

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