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IES Grant

Title: Implementation of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards: Changes in Classroom Instruction and Student Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Allensworth, Elaine Awardee: University of Chicago
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2016-6/30/2019) Award Amount: $1,394,127
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A160162

Co-Principal Investigators: Cassata, Amy; Century, Jeanne

Purpose: Researchers explored the implementation of district and school-level plans to realize the goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in mathematics and science in Chicago Public Schools. Across the country, districts and schools are expending considerable resources to enable students to meet the new standards through revised instructional materials, professional development, and other strategies. The ways in which the strategies are implemented are key for whether they ultimately lead to improvements in student learning. The study examined relationships between different implementation strategies and changes in instructional practices and student achievement, including test scores, grades, pass rates, and student reports of their classroom experiences, as well as whether these relationships varied for different subgroups of students.

Project Activities: The research team conducted a mixed-methods examination of the effects of different standards implementation approaches in a large district with underserved and underrepresented populations. They used quantitative analysis of data from a large, longitudinal database to compare instructional experiences and achievement outcomes for cohorts of students throughout standards adoption. The research team also collected qualitative data including classroom observations and interviews with district leaders, school administrators and teachers to articulate district plans for realizing the standards, variation in the schools' implementation of those plans, and identify the most impactful resources and supports.

Key Findings: Information about key outcomes and study findings will be reported when peer reviewed publications are available.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study took place in Chicago, an urban setting.

Sample: The quantitative sample included over 500 schools and about 400,000 students. Most (85%) students receive free or reduced priced lunch, and 85% were African-American or Latino. About 13 percent of students had identified disabilities, and 16% were English learners. The qualitative sample included dozens of district documents, 16 district leaders, 12 principals and 16 teacher leaders.

Malleable Factor: The district plan for realizing the goals of the CCSS and NGSS was the intervention. Malleable factors were the range of school enactments of the district implementation plan, which varied by emphasis (e.g., emphasis on practice standards vs emphasis on content standards) and by the extent of participant commitment (e.g., amount of school leader and teacher leader participation in professional learning, use of a recommended core curriculum).

Research Design and Methods: Researchers used a multi-method approach. The quantitative work drew on the district's large, longitudinal database that combines district administrative data on students' transcripts, assessments, and college outcomes, with detailed data on school organization features and classroom instruction from annual surveys of teachers and students. The qualitative work included document analysis and qualitative analysis using open and axial coding of interview transcripts from interviews conducted with a sample of district leaders, school administrators and teachers. Early qualitative analysis also informed development of some survey items designed to measure the schools' enacted plans for reaching standards-based student outcomes.

Control Condition: There was no control condition in this project.

Key Measures: Measures included survey questions on implementation of strategies to realize the standards, student experiences in school, classroom instruction, and school organizational factors (e.g., teacher collaboration, school climate). Some of the survey measures were pre-existing, while other measures were created for the study, including survey banks measuring teachers' standards-aligned instructional practices, participation in different elements of the district's implementation plan, and perceptions of barriers to standards implementation. These questions are publicly available for others to use. Key student outcomes included test score gains, grades, attendance, classroom practices in math and science, perceptions of instructional clarity, challenge, order, and support in their classes.

Data Analytic Strategy: Longitudinal analyses used a difference-in-differences approach to examine changes in students' classroom instructional experiences and mathematics and science outcomes over time (before and after standards adoption) in relation to standards-related efforts in schools. Hierarchical linear models were used to explore the relationships of moderating contextual factors, and to examine the relationships of teachers' reports of their instructional practices with student achievement gains. Regression models were used to compare the relationships of teachers' use of different types of implementation supports with their instructional practices.

Publications and Products

Cassata, A. (2020). Leveraging Teacher Leadership for Instructional Change: Resources for Supporting Standards-Aligned Math and Science Instruction via a Teacher Leader Model. Chicago: Outlier Research & Evaluation, University of Chicago.

Publicly available data: The Chicago Consortium's Master Services Agreement with CPS does not allow us to grant access to the data used for this project to other researchers. Other researchers, however, can obtain the data used for this project from CPS directly. Detailed guidelines for accessing CPS data are available in the RRB guidelines and the Chicago Public Schools Policy Manual. CPS data access is governed by CPS policies. The UChicago Consortium can provide other researchers with guides and resources for using those data to replicate the analyses from this study.