Regional Educational Lab (REL) Mid-Atlantic partners with key stakeholders in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to develop evidence that can inform consequential decisions about policy, programs, and practice. Key stakeholders include organizations with decision-making authority and the ability to influence education policy and practice, such as state and local education agencies, school boards, institutes of higher education, and student, family, and community organizations. RELs partner with these organizations on applied research and development; training, coaching and technical supports; and dissemination. Click here to learn more about the REL Program.
This partnership will work with the Maryland Department of Disabilities to support and improve the coordination and tracking of services for students with disabilities, to increase connection to career readiness and post-school career services and to post-secondary education opportunities. This partnership will also collaborate with the Center for Transition and Career Innovation at the University of Maryland, and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division of Rehabilitation Services, and Charles County Public Schools.Learn more
REL Mid-Atlantic is led by Mathematica with support from the following partners:
The REL Governing Board helps REL Mid-Atlantic prioritize the education needs of the region, provides strategic guidance on REL work to maximize local effectiveness, and leverages members’ regional networks to amplify and disseminate REL products. REL Mid-Atlantic Governing Board members represent diverse expertise and experience.
This TCTS project will focus on the new system’s observation component. The project will help the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) collect and learn from data from the two pilot years of the new system (2021/22 and 2022/23) as DDOE prepares to implement the system statewide in 2023/24. REL staff will partner with DDOE to help them collect and make sense of data on teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions of the system’s observation component, factors supporting and limiting effective implementation of the observation component, and needed changes or additional support.
REL Mid-Atlantic will conduct a study to support Delaware Department of Education’s (DDOE’s) learning from the pilot implementation of its new teacher observation tool in preparation for statewide implementation of the tool. In the short term, the goal of the project is to better understand teachers’ ratings using the new system by learning (1) how consistently the indicators in the tool measure each of the three performance areas (the tool’s reliability); (2) the extent to which ratings on each of the nine indicators and three performance areas vary across teachers; (3) how strongly teachers’ ratings are associated with their estimated contributions to student achievement growth (the tool’s validity); and (4) whether ratings differ based on the characteristics of teachers or their students (potential bias in the ratings). Next, a second short-term goal is to use the information about reliability, validity, variation, and bias to suggest changes needed to facilitate effective implementation so that DDOE’s evaluation system can support teachers in improving their instructional practices. The study will also support DDOE’s long-term goal of implementing a teacher observation tool that reliably and validly assesses teachers’ instructional performance and effectively distinguishes performance to help teachers improve statewide by 2025-26. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve student outcomes.
This study will assess whether implementing the Toolkit to Support Evidence-Based Writing Instruction in Grades 2 Through 4 helps teachers use recommended, evidence-based practices for writing instruction and improves students’ writing quality. The toolkit builds on the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers, to (1) make it accessible and engaging for busy educators, (2) create a structure for learning and applying practices throughout a school year, (3) promote collaborative learning and planning among teachers, and (4) offer tools for sustaining practices over time. The toolkit will be a one-stop shop that enables schools and educators to access all supports in one place, complemented by diagnostic tools to assess practices and resources for school leaders to institutionalize practices over time. This study is critical for understanding how the toolkit can support teachers and students.
This project aimed to increase the robustness of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) accountability system to measurement error, thereby improving its accuracy. The REL team applied a Bayesian statistical model to historical subgroup data and compared the reliability of the stabilized Bayesian proficiency rates to the un-stabilized proficiency rates typically used to inform Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) determinations. Stabilization substantially improved statistical reliability, especially for small subgroups. Education agencies seeking to make the best use of data on subgroups in schools (or any data with small numbers of students) should consider stabilizing their measures to increase reliability and reduce the risk of being fooled by random variation.