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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2020023 What Grade 7 Foundational Knowledge and Skills Are Associated with Missouri Students' Algebra I Achievement in Grade 8?
Algebra I is considered a gateway course for advanced math. Consequently, there has been a trend toward enrolling students in Algebra I earlier in the middle grades in order to increase opportunities for students to take more advanced math courses in high school. The challenge for educators lies in determining which students are ready to take Algebra I in middle school and which students need more time to develop foundational knowledge and skills before taking Algebra I. To inform strategies that address this challenge, educators from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partnered with Regional Educational Laboratory Central to investigate the specific foundational knowledge and skills that are associated with achievement in Algebra I. This study examined whether student knowledge in five domains of math assessed in grade 7 was associated with Algebra I achievement. The study found that students’ scores in all five of the grade 7 domains were related to Algebra I achievement, but their performance in the expressions, equations, and inequalities domain was most strongly related. The number sense and operations domain was more strongly associated with Algebra I achievement for English learner students than it was for students without this designation. No clear differences in these associations were found between students who were receiving special education services and those who were not.
8/4/2020
REL 2020031 How Legacy High School Students Use Their Flexible Time
Legacy High School in Bismarck Public Schools, North Dakota, personalizes education through flexible time, which allows students to choose how they spend a portion of the school day, outside of their regularly scheduled classes. This report describes how students at Legacy High School used their flexible time and whether their use of flexible time varied by demographic characteristics and academic achievement level. The study used data that Legacy High School collected through a survey tool. Results show that students had approximately 80 minutes of flexible time on average per day and spent 19 percent of this time on academic pursuits. These findings did not vary significantly by academic achievement level or demographic characteristics.
7/21/2020
REL 2020020 Implementation of Career- and College‑Ready Requirements for High School Graduation in Washington
The Washington State Board of Education recently developed career- and college-ready (CCR) graduation credit requirements that are more aligned with career pathways and with admissions standards at the state’s universities. The requirements took effect for the class graduating in 2019, though some districts implemented them earlier and others received waivers to delay implementation until the class of 2021. Local and state education leaders in Washington state asked Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest to conduct a study of districts’ progress toward implementing the CCR graduation credit requirements from 2018 to 2019. The study looked at student groups from the class of 2018 that did and did not meet the CCR graduation credit requirements and also examined changes in student outcomes when districts increased fine arts, science, world languages, or total graduation credit requirements in any year between 2012/13 and 2017/18. The study found that the percentage of districts implementing all CCR graduation credit requirements increased from 9 percent in 2018 to 56 percent in 2019. The districts that adopted the new requirements by 2018 tended to have fewer students per teacher in required content areas than districts that did not meet all the requirements. About 27 percent of all 2018 graduates met the CCR graduation credit requirements, with gaps that suggest additional barriers exist for students of color, students eligible for the national school lunch program, current English learner students, and students who have low scores on grade 8 state assessments. Finally, past district-level increases in fine arts, science, world languages, and total graduation credit requirements showed little impact on student academic outcomes.
7/20/2020
REL 2020027 Using Data from Schools and Child Welfare Agencies to Predict Near-Term Academic Risks
This study provides information to administrators, research offices, and student support offices in local education agencies (LEAs) interested in identifying students who are likely to have near-term academic problems such as absenteeism, suspensions, poor grades, and low performance on state tests. It describes an approach for developing a predictive model and assesses how well the model identifies at-risk students using data from two LEAs in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It also examines which types of predictors—including those from school, social services, and justice system data systems—are individually related to each type of near-term academic problem to better understand the causes of why students might be flagged as at risk by the model and how best to support them. The study finds that predictive models which apply machine-learning algorithms to the data are able to identify at-risk students with a moderate to high level of accuracy. Data from schools are the strongest predictors across all outcomes, and predictive performance is not reduced much when excluding social services and justice system predictors and relying exclusively on school data. However, some out-of-school events are individually related to near-term academic problems, including child welfare involvement, emergency homeless services, and juvenile justice system involvement. The models are more accurate in a larger LEA than in a smaller charter network, and they are better at predicting low GPA, course failure, and below basic performance on state assessments in grades 3-8 than they are for chronic absenteeism, suspensions, and below basic performance on end-of-course high-school standardized assessments. Results suggest that many LEAs could apply machine-learning algorithms to existing school data to identify students who are at-risk of near-term academic problems that are known to be precursors to dropout.
7/6/2020
REL 2020019 Assessing the Alignment between West Virginia’s High School Career and Technical Education Programs and the Labor Market
To help students leave high school on a path toward success in the labor market, education policymakers and practitioners often focus on improving career and technical education (CTE) opportunities in high school. Understanding the alignment between high school CTE programs and the labor market is an important step in this process. To support CTE improvement efforts, this study quantitatively assessed the alignment between West Virginia’s high school CTE programs and the labor market, with a focus on alignment to regional high-demand occupations that require moderate occupational preparation. These “high-demand study occupations” are the 20 occupations in each region of West Virginia with the largest number of long-term projected employment openings from 2014 to 2024 that require more than a high school diploma (for example, a license or work-related experience) but less than a bachelor’s degree. The study found that 70 percent of West Virginia’s long-term projected employment openings typically require some occupational preparation beyond a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Further, 93 percent of the regional long-term projected employment openings in high-demand study occupations were served by at least one aligned CTE program in the same region. However, students in only 53 percent of the state’s CTE programs were in a program that aligned to at least one high-demand study occupation within their region. West Virginia stakeholders can use the findings to improve their CTE system’s alignment and better prepare students for a postsecondary career. This study also serves as an example for policymakers and practitioners in other states who are interested in quantifying their CTE system’s alignment in order to make data-informed decisions.
5/11/2020
REL 2020025 Self-Study Guide for Evidence-Based Practices in Adult Literacy Education
The purpose of this self-study guide is to help adult literacy education providers collect, organize, and analyze evidence that they can use to improve program performance. It was designed to help educators consider which types of evidence to collect and which components of adult education instruction may be important for evaluating implementation. Sources of evidence for this review include records and data such as lesson plans, rosters, and student results confirming that processes are in place to monitor teacher and student success. The components important to evaluation of implementation were determined based on a thorough review of the literature on adult education. The guide was developed in partnership with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast's Florida Career Readiness Research Alliance. It was pilot tested with Florida adult literacy educators through the support of the Institute for the Professional Development of Adult Educators.
5/4/2020
REL 2020017 What Tools Have States Developed or Adapted to Assess Schools’ Implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports/Response to Intervention Framework?
Educators in Tennessee use Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2), a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), to help address problems early for students at risk for poor learning outcomes. Tennessee Department of Education officials sought to support schools and districts implementing RTI2 with a tool that educators can use to align their RTI2 implementation with the state’s expected practices and determine next steps for improving implementation. To support the development of a research-informed tool, Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia staff reviewed the websites and relevant documents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as interviewed state education officials from eight states to examine how others have adapted or developed similar tools and supported their use. The study focused on 31 tools that 21 states developed or adapted to measure MTSS/response to intervention (RTI) implementation. Methods included assessing tools for key MTSS/RTI practices that are informed by the research literature and coding qualitative data to identify themes. Findings showed that although most tools assessed broad MTSS/RTI practices, such as whether schools administer assessments for students in need of intervention, fewer tools measured more specific practices such as whether schools are expected to administer universal screenings twice a year. Report findings can serve as a useful resource for state education officials interested in selecting or adapting a tool to measure and improve MTSS/RTI implementation, which can ultimately provide educators with data to inform their instruction and enhance learning outcomes for students at risk.
3/23/2020
REL 2020018 Guide and Checklists for a School Leader’s Walkthrough during Literacy Instruction in Grades 4–12
This tool was developed to assist school leaders in observing specific research-based practices during literacy instruction in grade 4–12 classrooms and students’ independent use or application of those practices. The tool aims to help school leaders conduct brief and frequent walkthroughs throughout the school year. The tool consists of three parts to be used with students in three grade bands: grades 4 and 5, grades 6–8, and grades 9–12. The first is the Pre-Walkthrough Meeting Guide, for use in all grade bands, to facilitate conversation between school leaders and teachers before the walkthrough. The second is a set of eight walkthrough checklists, differentiated by grade band and classroom type (that is, whole class, English language arts class, content area class, and literacy intervention class), which are based on best practices in literacy instruction. The third is the Post-Walkthrough Meeting Guide, for use in all grade bands, to facilitate debriefing between school leaders and teachers.
3/9/2020
REL 2020016 Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
This Kindergarten Teacher's Guide provides information for kindergarten teachers on how to support families as they practice foundational reading skills at home. It serves as a companion to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade. Both guides present four research-based recommendations and how-to steps: the WWC guide is for teaching children at school, and this guide is to help teachers support families in practicing foundational reading skills at home.
br/> The information in this Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide is designed to assist teachers in supporting out-of-school literacy activities that are aligned to classroom instruction, informed by student need, grounded in evidence-based practices, and facilitated by ongoing parent-teacher communication. The Teacher’s Guide provides a framework for literacy support activities presented during schools’ family literacy nights and parent-teacher conferences.
1/6/2020
REL 2020015 Enrollment rates of children in universal prekindergarten programs in Vermont in 2016/17
The purpose of this study was to examine the enrollment patterns in Vermont's universal, mixed-delivery prekindergarten (preK) program and the child characteristics associated with the likelihood of being enrolled in different program types. This study describes the characteristics of children enrolled in universal preK programs in 2016/17, which was the first year of full implementation of universal preK in Vermont. Secondary data for 5,662 children enrolled in 282 preK programs were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Results showed that vulnerable children in preK—that is, those with individualized education programs and those identified as eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—were more likely to enroll in public school programs and in programs with higher quality ratings than their peers. While most children enrolled in a program within the geographic boundaries of their local education agency, children with individualized education programs and those identified as eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were more likely to do so. Overall, these findings indicate higher proportions of higher-needs students were enrolled in public school programs compared to private programs. In future efforts to examine how changes to Vermont’s preK program may affect families’ access to preK, Vermont could conduct additional research on how families make decisions about enrolling their children in different preK programs.
1/2/2020
REL 2020013 Limited certificated teachers in Washington: Barriers to becoming fully certificated and needed supports
Many states, including Washington, are attempting to address teacher shortages by encouraging limited certificated teachers to become fully certificated. Before investing in efforts to support these teachers as they seek full certification, Washington policymakers want to understand more about their interests and needs. This study presents the findings of a statewide survey of limited certificated teachers in Washington. Survey results show that more than two-thirds of the limited certificated teachers who completed the survey expressed interest in becoming fully certificated, and many expressed interest in becoming fully certificated in subject areas that currently face staffing shortages. Those who expressed interest in becoming fully certificated identified substantial barriers to doing so, however, including time and financial concerns. This was particularly true for limited certificated teachers of color, who identified a broader range of supports they would need if they were to pursue full certification. These findings have important implications for the state’s effort to address teacher shortages and to increase the diversity of its teacher workforce.
12/9/2019
REL 2020012 Children's knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry in Illinois: Results from the first statewide administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey
Starting in fall 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education required kindergarten teachers to use an observational kindergarten entry assessment called the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey. This study examined whether the measures formed using the assessment data were valid and reliable and described the means and variation in children's knowledge and skills at school entry. To inform future professional development on data collection and use, the study team also interviewed teachers and administrators about their experience with the assessment.
10/28/2019
REL 2020006 Adoption of, enrollment in, and teacher workload for the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum in California high schools
The Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) is a college preparatory English language arts course designed to enhance the abilities of students through rhetorical analyses of compelling issues and interesting texts. In order to inform the organizations that support the infrastructure of the ERWC as they seek to make the ERWC more widely available across the state, this study was designed to explore the characteristics of schools that have adopted the ERWC, the characteristics of students enrolled in the course, and the teacher workloads for the course. The study was also intended to inform a wider audience of policymakers and educators who are interested in strengthening postsecondary readiness by expanding opportunities for high school students to take courses similar to the ERWC. This study used two data sources: 1) data collected by the Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing at the California State University Chancellor’s Office, which includes all the schools that have adopted the ERWC, and 2) data from the California Department of Education, which includes data on all courses taught at California public schools and the demographic characteristics of the students enrolled in each course.
10/22/2019
REL 2020010 A review of instruments for measuring social and emotional learning skills among secondary school students
This purpose of this resource is to support state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments that measure collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulated learning among secondary school students. This resource, developed by the Regional Education Laboratory Northeast & Islands in collaboration with its Social and Emotional Learning Alliance, presents social and emotional learning instruments and the reliability and validity information available for those instruments. Specifically, this resource indicates whether psychometric information was available for reliability and seven components of validity—content, substantive, structural, external, generalizability, consequential, and fairness. To identify and review instruments, researchers conducted a literature search, determined the eligibility of instruments, reviewed the reliability and validity information available for eligible instruments; and determined whether the reliability and validity information provided met conventionally accepted criteria. In total, 17 instruments were eligible for inclusion in the resource. Eligible instruments included six measures of collaboration, four measures of perseverance, four measures of self-regulated learning, and three measures of both perseverance and self-regulated learning. With 12 instruments developed for use in research and 5 instruments developed for formative instruction, practitioners should use caution when using any measure for summative use that has not been developed and validated for that specific purpose. With schools and districts ramping up their efforts to measure social and emotional learning for formative and summative use, practitioners would benefit from the development of additional measures for these specific purposes. Among the 17 instruments eligible for inclusion in this resource, 16 instruments have information on reliability and at least one component of validity. The component of validity most commonly available for eligible instruments was content validity whereas only three instruments had information on fairness and no instruments had information on substantive validity. Practitioners should use caution when using instruments that lack information on substantive validity or fairness, since these measures may not be appropriate for all students that are evaluated.
10/16/2019
REL 2020005 Associations between the qualifications of middle school Algebra I teachers and student math achievement
This report describes the associations between middle school teacher qualifications and student achievement in Algebra I. The authors used data provided by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Results suggest that the teacher qualification most strongly associated with middle school student achievement in Algebra I was performance on mathematics certification exams, followed by years of experience teaching mathematics. Teacher performance on mathematics certification exams and years of experience teaching mathematics were also strongly associated with achievement in Algebra I for under-represented and disadvantaged student subgroups.
10/15/2019
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