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Works in Progress

REL Northeast & Islands conducts applied 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. We invite you to learn about our projects underway.

Works in Progress are posted after project proposals have gone through a rigorous external peer review process that ensures all scientifically based REL work meets IES standards for research and evaluation.

Relationship Between Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Program Participation and Secondary and Postsecondary Academic Outcomes

Partnership: Rhode Island Pipelines to College and Career Research Partnership

Given the fast growth and high interest in dual and concurrent enrollment, and the large and persistent gaps in postsecondary outcomes among different student groups, stakeholders in Rhode Island would like to understand the relationship between student participation in such programs and postsecondary outcomes for students who graduate from high school and enroll in college. This study will examine the effect of participation in Rhode Island's accelerated college credit programs on students' secondary and postsecondary academic outcomes. Researchers will also explore the relationship between the type of accelerated college credit program—such as dual versus concurrent enrollment—and student outcomes.

Continuous Improvement: Toolkit

Continuous improvement processes engage key players within a system to focus on a specific problem of practice and use a series of iterative cycles to test changes, gather data about the changes, and study the potential influence of these changes on outcomes of interest. This practitioner-friendly toolkit will provide an overview of continuous improvement processes in educational settings, with a focus on the use of Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. The toolkit will include a customizable workbook, reproducible templates, and short informational videos that education practitioners can use to implement continuous improvement processes in their own schools, districts, or agencies.

Creating and Using Performance Assessments: An Online Course for Practitioners

This online course will introduce participants to the basic concepts of assessment literacy and then focus on how to develop, score, and use performance assessments within a balanced assessment system. Throughout the course, participants will be able to create and administer their own performance assessment and review it for its technical quality. Participants will receive a certificate of completion upon finishing the course.

Examining the Association between Schoolwide Instructional Measures and School-level Student Outcomes in Massachusetts' Low-Performing Schools

Partnership: Massachusetts School Turnaround Research Partnership

Since 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education (ESE) has made a significant investment to develop a coherent, aligned system for supporting and monitoring its low-performing schools. The monitoring process includes collecting schoolwide observation data of classroom instructional practices, which ESE then uses to provide formative feedback to schools on their turnaround practices. This study with ESE is conducting analyses of this schoolwide instructional observation data, collected using Teachstone's Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tool. Researchers are examining whether the schoolwide CLASS observation data are associated with improved schoolwide student achievement and growth.

Characteristics of Approved Universal Prekindergarten Programs in Vermont

Partnership: Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership

Using data from the first year of universal preK implementation in Vermont (2016/17), this second study will focus on the characteristics of the different programs children attend. It will explore program characteristics beyond their status as public or private or their quality rating level—including location, teacher licensure information, days and hours that preK is offered, curriculum use, and other characteristics that may be related to family choice of programs or program quality.

Analyzing Teacher Mobility and Retention: Guidance and Considerations

Alliance: Teacher Preparation Research Alliance

This set of two applied research methods reports will offer a guide for stakeholders interested in analyzing teacher mobility and retention. Report 1 will explain the process of calculating mobility and retention rates. It will describe each analytic step and key considerations, and provide examples from relevant literature. Report 2 will illustrate how the mobility and retention rates might be used in three typical analyses: analyzing a trend in mobility and retention; comparing mobility or retention across districts or across states; and examining relationships where the outcome is retention or mobility.

Boston Public Schools’ New Teacher Development Program: Mentoring Practices and New Teacher Retention

Alliance: Professional Learning and Development Research Alliance

Given that beginning teachers are often retained at lower rates and are rated as less effective than more experienced teachers, many states have adopted mandatory teacher induction programs to help alleviate some of the challenges associated with early-career teaching. REL Northeast & Islands is collaborating with Boston Public Schools to examine the association between the mentoring practices of its first-year teacher mentoring program—the New Teacher Development program—and new teacher retention. Researchers will perform a series of descriptive and correlational analyses using survey data collected by the program in the 2018/19 school year.

Practitioner Brief: Understanding the Link Between Fidelity of Implementation and Professional Development Outcomes

Alliance: Professional Learning and Development Research Alliance

This project aims to address the need for practitioner-friendly resources to support district leaders in evaluating professional development activities in their districts. The brief will introduce district leaders and others involved in professional development (PD) management to key concepts related to PD evaluation, with a special focus on implementation fidelity and the role it plays in evaluating teacher and student outcomes.

Teacher Supply in New York: Pathways, Placement, and Retention

Partnership or Research Alliance: Teacher Preparation Research Alliance

Teacher shortages are prevalent in specific districts and content areas in New York State. For this study, REL Northeast & Islands is working with the New York State Education Department to examine certification pathways by which new teachers enter the workforce, the content areas of their certificates, where new teachers are employed, and their retention rates.

Connecticut Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM): Fidelity of Implementation and Teacher Retention

Partnership: Professional Learning and Development Research Alliance

This study being conducted with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CT SDE) is investigating the extent to which a statewide teacher induction program is implemented with fidelity to the required program elements and whether the fidelity of implementation is associated with retention of beginning teachers.

From Pre-Service to Persistence: Educator Preparation and Outcomes

Alliance: Teacher Preparation Research Alliance

Education leaders in Rhode Island are concerned that many early-career teachers are leaving the profession or not teaching in the grade level or subject area in which they were initially trained and certified. To better understand these trends, the Rhode Island Department of Education has partnered with REL Northeast & Islands to investigate the mobility and retention rates of early-career teachers. Specifically, the study is exploring whether there is a relationship between where a teacher is prepared in Rhode Island and teacher mobility, retention, employment in the certificate area in which the teacher was prepared, and whether the teacher is working in a high-needs district.

Center- and Program-level Factors Associated with Early Childhood Workforce Turnover

Partnership or Research Alliance: Early Childhood Workforce Development Research Alliance

High-quality early education is positively associated with children's academic and social skills, yet states face major challenges in retaining a qualified and high-quality early childhood workforce. For this study, the Northeast & Islands is collaborating with Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to identify promising policies and practices that can reduce turnover among early childhood educators, beyond raising wages.