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Publications

REL Midwest conducts research studies and offers training, coaching, and technical support to address our partners' research questions, provide policymakers and practitioners with information they need to make decisions, and build individual and organizational capacity to understand and use research in education policy and practice. These efforts have resulted in the following published reports and tools for practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and other interested stakeholders.

 

Cover of the report titled: Children’s Knowledge and Skills at Kindergarten Entry in Illinois: Results from the First Statewide Administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey

Children’s Knowledge and Skills at Kindergarten Entry in Illinois: Results from the First Statewide Administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey

October 2019

This REL Midwest study analyzed the psychometric properties of the survey’s 14 required items and examined average skills and the variation in skill levels at kindergarten entry. It also interviewed teachers and principals about administration barriers and suggestions for improvement. A related infographic [229 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Postsecondary Education and Employment Pathways of Minnesota Public High School Graduates: Investigating Opportunity Gaps

Postsecondary Education and Employment Pathways of Minnesota Public High School Graduates: Investigating Opportunity Gaps

September 2019

This REL Midwest study examined differences in graduates’ postsecondary pathways one year after graduation and their college certificate and degree attainment and employment outcomes six years after graduation. A related video highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Past and Projected Trends in Teacher Demand and Supply in Michigan

Past and Projected Trends in Teacher Demand and Supply in Michigan

August 2019

This REL Midwest study examined trends in teacher supply and demand in Michigan over the past five years and projected those trends five years into the future to better understand where potential teacher shortages might occur. A related infographic [313 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Technology Use in Instruction and Teacher Perceptions of School Support for Technology Use in Iowa High Schools

Technology Use in Instruction and Teacher Perceptions of School Support for Technology Use in Iowa High Schools

June 2019

This REL Midwest study examined the instructional technology practices and perceptions of high school teachers in a rural region of Iowa, and described how these practices and perceptions varied among teachers of different subjects and experience levels. A related infographic [231 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Student and School Characteristics Associated with Academic Outcomes for English Learner Students

Student and School Characteristics Associated with Academic Outcomes for English Learner Students

June 2019

This REL Midwest study examined the characteristics of English learner students in grades 3–8 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the characteristics of the schools they attend, and the association of student and school characteristics with English learner student performance on statewide assessments. A related infographic [460 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Evidence-Supported Interventions Associated with Black Students' Education Outcomes: Findings from a Systematic Review of Research

Evidence-Supported Interventions Associated with Black Students’ Education Outcomes: Findings from a Systematic Review of Research

February 2018

REL Midwest conducted a systematic review of research on interventions that may improve academic outcomes for Black students. A related infographic [347 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Predicting Early College Success for Indiana's High School Class of 2014

Predicting Early College Success for Indiana’s High School Class of 2014

January 2018

This study examined the relationship between receiving Pell Grants and 21st Century Scholarships and early college success among the 2014 cohort of Indiana public high school graduates entering public Indiana colleges in the fall after graduation. A related infographic [289 KB PDF icon ] highlights the study’s key findings.

Cover of the report titled: Getting students on track for graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System after one year

Getting students on track for graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System after one year

April 2017

This study examines the impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS), a systematic approach to early identification and intervention with students at risk of not graduating on time.

Cover of the report titled: Workshop on Survey Methods in Education Research: Facilitator’s guide and resources

Workshop on Survey Methods in Education Research: Facilitator's guide and resources

April 2017

This training resource can be used to help staff in schools, districts, and state agencies more effectively design and conduct surveys on education topics.

Cover of the report titled: Establishing and sustaining networked improvement communities: Lessons from Michigan and Minnesota

Establishing and sustaining networked improvement communities: Lessons from Michigan and Minnesota

April 2017

This report shares lessons learned by REL Midwest researchers as they worked with educators in Michigan and Minnesota to establish and sustain two networked improvement communities.

Cover of the report titled: Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ after one year of implementation

Impacts of Ramp-Up to Readiness™ after one year of implementation

March 2017

This study examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness program (Ramp-Up) produced impacts on high school students' college enrollment actions and personal college readiness following one year of program implementation. The study also looked at Ramp-Up's impact on more immediate outcomes, such as the emphasis placed on college readiness and the amount of college-related teacher-student interactions taking place in high schools.

Cover of the report titled: Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students

Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students

March 2017

This study examined rural-nonrural differences in postsecondary educational expectations and the attainment of expectations for grade 10 students attending rural and nonrural high schools in the REL Midwest region and how these differences compare with rural-nonrural differences in the rest of the nation.

Cover of the report titled: Quality improvement efforts among early childhood education programs participating in Iowa’s Quality Rating System

Quality improvement efforts among early childhood education programs participating in Iowa's Quality Rating System

March 2017

This study examined the use and outcomes of quality improvement activities among early childhood education programs participating in the Iowa Quality Rating System.

Cover of the report titled: Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances

Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances

March 2017

This publication shares lessons learned about the challenges that REL Midwest researchers brought to a professional learning community and the strategies and tools that they used to overcome them.

Cover of the report titled: Characteristics and postsecondary pathways of students who participate in acceleration programs in Minnesota

Characteristics and postsecondary pathways of students who participate in acceleration programs in Minnesota

February 2017

This study examined participation in the various acceleration programs available to Minnesota high school students, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate coursework, postsecondary enrollment options, concurrent enrollment, and other/unknown programs.

Cover of the report titled: The “I” in QRIS Survey: Collecting data on quality improvement activities for early childhood education programs

The "I" in QRIS Survey: Collecting data on quality improvement activities for early childhood education programs

February 2017

Working closely with the former Early Childhood Education Research Alliance and Iowa's Quality Rating System Oversight Committee, REL Midwest developed a new tool to help states collect data on the improvement activities and strategies used by early childhood education providers participating in a Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Cover of the report titled: State strategies to facilitate adult learners’ transitions to postsecondary opportunities

State strategies to facilitate adult learners' transitions to postsecondary opportunities

January 2017

The purpose of this study was to catalog the array of strategies Midwest states use to support adult learners' transitions to postsecondary opportunities.

Cover of the report titled: Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data

Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data

December 2016

The Minnesota Department of Education partnered with REL Midwest to redesign the state's teacher supply and demand study in order to increase its utility for stakeholders. This report summarizes the four-step process that was followed in redesigning the study.

Cover of the report titled: Measuring the implementation fidelity of the Response to Intervention framework in Milwaukee Public Schools

Measuring the implementation fidelity of the Response to Intervention framework in Milwaukee Public Schools

November 2016

The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of a newly-developed hybrid system to measure the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI), to determine schools’ progress toward implementing RTI; and to determine whether implementation ratings were related to contextual factors.

Cover of the report titled: An examination of the movement of educators within and across three Midwest Region states

An examination of the movement of educators within and across three Midwest Region states

November 2016

REL Midwest, in partnership with its Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance, conducted a study on the mobility of teachers and administrators in public schools within and between Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This study was the first to examine educator mobility within and among these three states using the same methodology across the states.

Cover of the report titled: How to Use the School Survey of Practices Associated with High Performance

How to Use the School Survey of Practices Associated with High Performance

September 2016

REL Midwest, in partnership with its School Turnaround Research Alliance, developed a survey that state education departments and school districts can use to measure the degree to which schools are engaging in practices associated with high performance. This guide includes information regarding ways that principals and educators can use the survey, as well as the development of the survey and its psychometric validation.

Cover of the report titled: Identifying Early Warning Indicators in Three Ohio School Districts

Identifying Early Warning Indicators in Three Ohio School Districts

July 2016

This study sought to identify a set of data elements for students in grades 8 and 9 in three Ohio school districts that could serve as accurate early warning indicators of their failure to graduate high school on time and to comparatively examine the accuracy of those indicators.

Cover of the report titled: An Analysis of Student Engagement Patterns and Online Course Outcomes in Wisconsin

An Analysis of Student Engagement Patterns and Online Course Outcomes in Wisconsin

July 2016

This study sought to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students' engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course. The study used data collected by Wisconsin Virtual School's learning management system and student information system.

Cover of the report titled: Ramping Up for College Readiness in Minnesota High Schools: Implementation of a Schoolwide Program

Ramping Up for College Readiness in Minnesota High Schools: Implementation of a Schoolwide Program

June 2016

This study examined whether the Ramp-Up to Readiness program differs from college readiness supports that are typically offered by high schools, whether high schools were able to implement Ramp-Up to Readiness to the developer's satisfaction, and how staff in schools implementing Ramp-Up to Readiness perceive the program.

Cover of the report titled: Development and Implementation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems in Midwest Region States

Development and Implementation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems in Midwest Region States

June 2016

This study examined quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) in use across the Midwest Region to describe approaches that states use in developing and implementing a QRIS. The purpose was to create a resource for QRIS administrators to use as they refine their systems over time.

Cover of the report titled: Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a Survey About Training and Challenges

Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a Survey About Training and Challenges

November 2015

This study analyzed the results of a survey administered to Wisconsin Virtual School teachers about the training in which they participated related to online instruction, the challenges they encounter while teaching online, and the type of training they thought would help them address those challenges. The report includes a copy of the survey that states, districts, or other online learning programs can use to collect data about the professional experiences of their online teachers.

Cover of the report titled: College Enrollment Patterns for Rural Indiana High School Graduates

College Enrollment Patterns for Rural Indiana High School Graduates

June 2015

This study examined 1) average distances traveled to attend college, (2) presumptive college eligibility, (3) differences between two-year and four-year college enrollment, (4) differences in enrollment related to differences in colleges’ selectivity, and (5) degree of “undermatching” (i.e., enrolling in a college less selective than one’s presumptive eligibility suggested) for rural and nonrural graduates among Indiana’s 2010 high school graduates.

Cover of the report titled: Who Will Succeed and Who Will Struggle? Predicting Early College Success with Indiana’s Student Information System

Who Will Succeed and Who Will Struggle? Predicting Early College Success with Indiana's Student Information System

March 2015

This study examined whether data on Indiana high school students, their high schools, and the Indiana public colleges and universities in which they enroll predict the students' academic success during their first two years in college.

Cover of the report titled: Examining Ratings and Dimensions of Quality in an Early Childhood Education Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Examining Ratings and Dimensions of Quality in an Early Childhood Education Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

March 2015

This study described how early childhood programs were rated in Michigan's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and examined how alternative approaches to calculating ratings affected the number of programs rated at each quality level.

Cover of the report titled: How Methodology Decisions Affect the Variability of Schools Identified as Beating the Odds

How Methodology Decisions Affect the Variability of Schools Identified as Beating the Odds

February 2015

This study examined how a list of beating the odds (BTO) schools might change depending on the methodological choices and selection of indicators used in the BTO identification process.

Cover of the report titled: Online Course Use in Iowa and Wisconsin Public High Schools: The Results of Two Statewide Surveys

Online Course Use in Iowa and Wisconsin Public High Schools: The Results of Two Statewide Surveys

January 2015

This study involved the development and administration of a survey to describe online course use in Iowa and Wisconsin brick-and-mortar public high schools during the 2012–13 school year.

Cover of the report titled: The Utility of Teacher and Student Surveys in Principal Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation

The Utility of Teacher and Student Surveys in Principal Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation

November 2014

This study examined whether adding student and teacher survey measures to existing principal evaluation measures increases the overall power of the principal evaluation model to explain variation in student achievement across schools.

Cover of the report titled: Evaluation of the Content Literacy Continuum: Report on Program Impacts, Program Fidelity, and Contrast

Evaluation of the Content Literacy Continuum: Report on Program Impacts, Program Fidelity, and Contrast

December 2012

This study examines impacts of the Content Literacy Continuum (CLC) on high school students’ reading comprehension and accumulation of credits in core subject areas. CLC combines whole-school and targeted approaches to supporting student literacy and content learning using instructional routines and learning strategies developed by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.

Cover of the report titled: The Impact of the Measures of Academic Progress Program on Student Reading Achievement

The Impact of the Measures of Academic Progress Program on Student Reading Achievement

December 2012

This study examined the impact of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) program on student reading achievement and teachers’ use of differentiated instructional practices. The MAP program is one of the most widely used commercially available systems incorporating benchmark assessment and training in differentiated instruction.

Cover of the report titled: Performance in Science on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments–Series II for Students in Grades 5 and 8

Performance in Science on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments–Series II for Students in Grades 5 and 8

April 2012

This report examines how grade 5 and grade 8 student achievement on the 2009/10 MCA–II science assessment differed by student and school characteristics. The study found that most of the variation in scores was associated with demographic differences among students rather than with differences between schools.

Cover of the report titled: Using the Freshman On-Track Indicator to Predict Graduation in Two Urban Districts in the Midwest Region

Using the Freshman On-Track Indicator to Predict Graduation in Two Urban Districts in the Midwest Region

April 2012

This report examines how well the freshman on-track indicator developed by the Consortium on Chicago School Research predicts on-time graduation in two urban districts in the Midwest Region. This indicator classifies students at the end of the first year of high school as on-track or off-track to graduate based on grade 9 course credits earned and failures.

Cover of the report titled: Changes in Student Populations and Teacher Workforce in Low-Performing Chicago Schools Targeted for Reform

Changes in Student Populations and Teacher Workforce in Low-Performing Chicago Schools Targeted for Reform

April 2012

This REL Midwest report examines changes in student populations and teacher workforce in 31 chronically low-performing Chicago public schools. These schools were selected for district-led reform interventions following five distinct types of reform models.

Cover of the report titled: A Descriptive Analysis of the Principal Workforce in Wisconsin

A Descriptive Analysis of the Principal Workforce in Wisconsin

March 2012

National and state policymakers are concerned that the principal workforce is aging, that fewer new principals are joining the workforce, and that fewer female and racial/ethnic minority educators are entering and remaining in the principal workforce. This study describes trends in demographic characteristics and retention rates in the Wisconsin principal workforce between 1999 and 2009.

Cover of the report titled: Characteristics of Midwest Region School Districts Identified for Improvement

Characteristics of Midwest Region School Districts Identified for Improvement

March 2012

Like other states across the country, the seven REL Midwest Region states have been striving to meet the performance targets established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This report presents statistical profiles of school districts designated as “in improvement” in the Midwest Region states as of 2009/10. It compares the prevalence and characteristics of these districts and those of districts not in improvement.

Cover of the report titled: Differences in Spending in School Districts Across Geographic Locales in Minnesota

Differences in Spending in School Districts Across Geographic Locales in Minnesota

February 2012

This REL Midwest study uses comparative descriptive analysis to examine five types of district spending per student for prekindergarten–grade 12 in seven locale types.

Cover of the report titled: State Policies and Procedures on Response to Intervention in the Midwest Region

State Policies and Procedures on Response to Intervention in the Midwest Region

June 2011

Based on a review of state documents and interviews with state and local officials in six Midwest Region states, this qualitative study describes state education agency policy development and planning for response to intervention approaches to instruction. It also looks at the support provided to districts and schools implementing response to intervention.

Cover of the report titled: Parent Involvement and Extended Learning Activities in School Improvement Plans in the Midwest Region

Parent Involvement and Extended Learning Activities in School Improvement Plans in the Midwest Region

April 2011

Analysis of school improvement plans in five Midwest Region states reveals that more than 90 percent of plans included at least one “potentially effective” parent involvement activity and 70 percent included at least one extended learning activity (a before-school, afterschool, or summer program). Few extended learning programs were described as providing academic support.

Cover of the report titled: Methodologies Used by Midwest Region States for Studying Teacher Supply and Demand

Methodologies Used by Midwest Region States for Studying Teacher Supply and Demand

September 2009

This report describes how state education agencies in the Midwest Region monitor teacher supply, demand, and shortage; details why they monitor these data; and offers estimates of the monetary costs incurred in performing such studies.

Cover of the report titled: Snapshots of Indiana’s Full-Day Kindergarten Programs Before and After the State's Funding Increase for the Program

Snapshots of Indiana’s Full-Day Kindergarten Programs Before and After the State’s Funding Increase for the Program

July 2009

Following an increase in full-day kindergarten funding, the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana State Board of Education requested assistance from REL Midwest to analyze Indiana administrative data so that the agencies could report to the legislature. This technical brief describes Indiana’s full-day kindergarten enrollment patterns before and after the legislation (in 2006/07 and 2007/08) both in the state at large and in individual school corporations (equivalent to school districts).

Cover of the report titled: State Policies on Teacher Evaluation Practices in the Midwest Region

State Policies on Teacher Evaluation Practices in the Midwest Region

July 2008

This technical brief describes state-level policies and procedural requirements for guiding teacher evaluation practices at the district level in the seven states served by REL Midwest. Building on the report Examining district guidance to schools on teacher evaluation policies in the Midwest Region (Brandt et al. 2007), this brief reveals how teacher evaluation practices are addressed by state policies and other state-level initiatives that include teacher evaluation features.

Cover of the report titled: Calculating the Ability of Within-School Teacher Supply to Meet the Demands of New Requirements: The Example of the Michigan Merit Curriculum

Calculating the Ability of Within-School Teacher Supply to Meet the Demands of New Requirements: The Example of the Michigan Merit Curriculum

July 2008

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Education and the Center for Educational Performance and Information requested assistance in estimating Michigan’s capacity to adequately staff its high schools to meet the course requirements of the new Michigan Merit Curriculum. The study team devised a formula to estimate the number of additional full-time equivalent teachers needed for each subject at each Michigan high school. Schools can adjust the variables in the formula to fit their own needs.

Cover of the report titled: Examining District Guidance to Schools on Teacher Evaluation Policies in the Midwest Region

Examining District Guidance to Schools on Teacher Evaluation Policies in the Midwest Region

November 2007

This descriptive study provides a snapshot of teacher evaluation policies across a demographically diverse sample of districts in the Midwest Region. It aims to lay the groundwork for further research and inform conversations about current policies at the local, district, and state levels.

Cover of the report titled: New Data Needed: Improving Survey Research on Two-Year College Experiences

New Data Needed: Improving Survey Research on Two-Year College Experiences

August 2007

Research can improve understanding of two-year colleges, but new detailed indicators are needed to capture the complexities of this changing sector.

Cover of the report titled: Getting the Evidence for Evidence-Based Initiatives: How the Midwest States Use Data Systems to Improve Education Processes and Outcomes

Getting the Evidence for Evidence-Based Initiatives: How the Midwest States Use Data Systems to Improve Education Processes and Outcomes

June 2007

States in the Midwest Region are developing innovative approaches to collecting and providing access to high-quality data in order to improve educational decision making. Additional capacity-building and increased technical assistance at the state and local levels would enhance this work.