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|NCEE 2021011||State and District Use of Title II, Part A Funds in 2019–20
Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides over $2 billion per year to states and districts to support effective instruction through the preparation, recruitment, and training of educators. This report provides a national picture of state and district priorities for Title II-A funds in the 2019–20 school year. The report finds that half of the states and a quarter of districts used the new flexibility provided in the 2015 reauthorization. Districts most often used Title II-A funds to provide professional development. Other common uses included reducing class sizes and recruiting and retaining effective teachers and principals.
|NCEE 2021005||Study of College Transition Messaging in GEAR UP: Impacts on Enrolling and Staying in College
Text-message-based college advising is a popular strategy to get students timely information and support, including among states and districts that participate in the federal college access program Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). In this study, about 4,800 college-intending seniors in high-need GEAR UP high schools across the country were randomly divided into two groups: one received their regular GEAR UP supports in the summer before and during their first year of college, and the other group received these regular supports along with 37 text messages customized to their college and the option to communicate with an advisor. The study found that students sent text messages were no more likely to enroll or persist in college than were students not sent messages. The messages also did not affect whether students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
|NCEE 2021001||The Effects of Expanding Pell Grant Eligibility for Short Occupational Training Programs: Results from the Experimental Sites Initiative
Pell Grants are the cornerstone of federal financial aid for low-income students enrolled in postsecondary education. Between 2012 and 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) conducted pilots of two experimental expansions to Pell Grant eligibility. The first experiment allowed income-eligible students with a bachelor’s degree, not normally eligible for Pell Grants, to obtain them for short-term occupational training programs. The second experiment allowed income-eligible students to obtain Pell Grants for very short-term programs lasting as little as eight weeks, under the normal minimum of 15 weeks of instruction. This report presents the findings from a study that tested whether these experimental expansions to Pell Grant eligibility were effective. Both pilots improved enrollment in and completion of postsecondary programs, a first step toward improving individuals’ success in the labor market. However, the labor market returns from the two experiments and how these compare to the cost of expanding Pell Grant eligibility—about $1,800 per student in this study—remain important open questions for the future.
|NCEE 2021002||The Transition to ESSA: State and District Approaches to Implementing Title I and Title II-A in 2017-18
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) retained certain K-12 schooling federal requirements under prior law while shifting many decisions to states and districts. This report, based on national surveys administered in 2018, describes state and district policies and practices in the law’s core areas of content standards and assessments, identification of and support for low-performing schools, and educator effectiveness (Title I and II-A). The report also compares the policies and practices in 2018 to 2014, prior to ESSA. Between 2014 and 2018, most states made few substantive changes to their content standards while broadening the measures used to identify low-performing schools and increasingly using performance data to support effective teaching. Districts increasingly provided supports to implement state content standards, and a larger share of districts reported specific improvement activities in their low-performing schools in 2018 compared to 2014. Districts also increasingly used performance measures such as evaluation results to identify and support low-performing teachers.
|NCEE 2020006||Can Texting Parents Improve Attendance in Elementary School? A Test of an Adaptive Messaging Strategy
Chronic absence is a nationwide problem, even among young students. This report presents findings from a study that tested four versions of an adaptive text messaging strategy to see which, if any, would reduce chronic absence and improve achievement among 26,000 elementary school students. All four versions of the adaptive text messaging strategy reduced chronic absence but did not improve achievement after one school year.
|NCEE 20200002||The Effects of a Principal Professional Development Program Focused on Instructional Leadership
Helping principals improve their leadership practices is a common use of federal funds and one way to improve instruction and student achievement. This study sought to better understand the effectiveness of an intensive principal professional development program focused primarily on helping principals conduct structured observations of teachers' classroom instruction and provide targeted feedback based on those observations. The report found that the program did not change principal practices as intended or improve students' achievement. However, improvements in some of the targeted principal practices were positively associated with improved student achievement. Attention on how to change these practices might be a potential avenue for improving the program.
|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.
|NCEE 2020001||National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Centers Program Final Report
Between 2012 and 2018, the U.S. Department of Education invested nearly $350 million in 22 Comprehensive Technical Assistance (TA) Centers operating across the nation. These Centers were charged with delivering TA that builds the capacity of state education agencies (SEAs) to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in improving student outcomes. Centers were given broad discretion in interpreting and enacting this mandate. This evaluation sought to address the open questions about how the Centers designed and implemented the TA, what challenges they encountered, and what outcomes they achieved. With thorough documentation of how this process played out, stakeholders will be in a better position to inform future program improvement.
|NCEE 20194007||Teacher Preparation Experiences and Early Teaching Effectiveness
This report examines the frequency of particular teacher preparation experiences and explores their relationships to beginning teachers' effectiveness in improving student test scores once they get to the classroom. The report found both differences in how teachers prepare for their certification in the field and that certain experiences are related to improving test scores in the classroom. The findings provide a detailed look into current teacher preparation practices and identify potential avenues for improving them.
|NCEE 20194008||Evaluation of Support for Using Student Data to Inform Teachers' Instruction
Most districts help teachers use data to improve student learning, often supporting this effort with federal funds. But many teachers feel unprepared to use student data to inform their instruction — referred to as data-driven instruction (DDI) — and there is little evidence of whether it improves student achievement. This report assesses an intensive approach to supporting teachers' use of student data to tailor their instruction. The report found that this specific approach to DDI did not improve students' achievement, perhaps because the approach did not change teachers' reported use of data or classroom practices.
|NCEE 20194006||Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After Three Years
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), established in 2004, is the only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents in the United States. This report examines impacts on achievement and other outcomes three years after eligible students were selected or not selected to receive scholarships using a lottery process in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The report found that the OSP had no effect on either math or reading achievement. The OSP did have positive effects on students' – but not parents' – satisfaction with their schools and perceptions of school safety.
|NCEE 20194001||Are Ratings from Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Valid Measures of Program Quality? A Synthesis of Validation Studies from Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge States
The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant program (RTT-ELC) promoted the use of rating systems to document and improve the quality of early learning programs. These publications assess the progress made by RTT-ELC states in implementing Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS). The publications are based on interviews with state administrators, administrative TQRIS data on early learning programs and ratings, and validation studies from a subset of RTT-ELC grantee states. The publications find that states made progress in promoting program participation in TQRIS but that most programs did not move from lower to high rating levels during the study period and higher TQRIS ratings were generally not related to better developmental outcomes for children.
|NCEE 20194003||Presenting School Choice Information to Parents: An Evidence-Based Guide
Presenting School Choice Information to Parents: An Evidence-Based Guide, from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), presents findings from an online experiment conducted with 3,500 low-income parents. Each parent viewed one of 72 different web pages displaying information about schools in a hypothetical district. They study examined how variations in the displays affected parents' understanding of the information; perceived ease of use and satisfaction; and which schools they would choose given what was shown. Findings suggest parents generally preferred looking at school information displays that had graphs as well as numbers, more rather than less data, and a list of choices ordered by each school's distance from home. But showing schools ordered by their academic performance made parents more likely to pick a higher performing school for their child.
|NCEE 20194002||Study of Enhanced College Advising in Upward Bound: Impacts on Steps Toward College
The U.S. Department of Education tested a set of promising, low-cost advising strategies, called Find the Fit, designed to help low-income and "first generation" students enrolled in the Department's Upward Bound program choose more selective colleges and stay in until they complete a degree. About 200 Upward Bound projects with 4,500 seniors agreed to participate. The projects were randomly assigned to receive Find the Fit to supplement their regular college advising (treatment group) or to offer their regular advising (control group). This first of three reports looks at Find the Fit's effects on students' steps toward enrolling in a more selective college. The study found that the enhanced advising increased the number and selectivity of colleges to which students applied.
|NCEE 20184013||The Investing in Innovation Fund: Summary of 67 Evaluations
The Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund is a tiered-evidence program that aligns the amount of funding awarded to grantees with the strength of the prior evidence supporting the proposed intervention. One of the goals of i3 is to build strong evidence for effective interventions at increasing scale. The i3 program requires grantees to conduct an independent impact evaluation. This report, from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), assesses the quality of the 67 i3 grant evaluations completed by May 2017 and summarizes the findings of the evaluations. The report found that 49 of the first 67 completed i3 grant evaluations were implemented consistent with What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards and 12 of the evaluations found a positive impact on at least one student academic outcome.
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