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Participation in a Professional Development Program on Culturally Responsive Practices in Wisconsin

Region:
Midwest
Description:

State and school district leaders in Wisconsin are interested in improving educational outcomes among Black students across the state. Implementing culturally responsive practices aims to improve the academic achievement and behavioral outcomes of minority students. Through continued support from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, a professional development training program for culturally responsive practices, Building Culturally Responsive Systems, has been one of the primary models to inform culturally responsive practices. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and education stakeholders in Wisconsin have asked for more comprehensive information about schools' participation in this program. Using data from the 2012/13–2018/19 school years, this study examined the program's uptake and reach across the state and its relationship to school outcomes. The study used data on Wisconsin school characteristics from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data. Also, the study used data on attendance at the professional development training program for culturally responsive practices and data on implementation of culturally responsive practices from the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center. The study team calculated descriptive statistics to examine the number and percentage of schools that participated in the program and to compare school characteristics between schools that participated in the program and schools that did not participate. The study team examined the relationship between participation in the program and school outcomes. The study found that 4 percent of schools in Wisconsin sent teachers and administrators to participate in the professional development program for culturally responsive practices. Among the schools that participated in the program, only 17.2 percent reported implementing culturally responsive practices in reading instruction. Schools that participated in the program had larger school enrollment, were more likely to be eligible for Title I funds, were more often from cities and suburbs, and had similar percentages of Black students than schools that did not participate in the program. Finally, participation in the program was not meaningfully related to any school outcome after accounting for other factors. The results of this study suggest that state and local leaders might want to consider collecting data through surveys or interviews to better understand why more schools are not participating in the program. Second, researchers may consider collecting data on the types of support teachers would need for sustained effective implementation of culturally responsive practices after completing the program. Third, because the intervention is at the teacher level, researchers may consider tracking teacher-level changes in instruction before and after the program rather than school-level outcomes, which may take longer to change. Last, a follow-up study could examine whether the changes in teacher practice lead to changes in educational outcomes for students, specifically for Black students.

Publication Type:
Descriptive Study
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
November 2020