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|Time to lead: An illustrative look at how elementary school principals spend their workweek
Principals can improve their teachers' classroom practice, either directly or indirectly by arranging resources, to support improvement. However, there is limited information about how principals spend their time. This snapshot provides insights on this front for principals in 100 schools.
|State and District Use of Title II, Part A Funds in 2018-19
Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides over $2 billion per year in funding to states and districts to support effective instruction through the preparation, recruitment, and training of educators. The 2015 reauthorization of ESEA, as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provided greater flexibility for states and districts in how they use Title II A funds, by expanding the option to transfer funds to other ESEA programs, authorizing states to set aside additional funds for training principals and other school leaders, and authorizing new allowable uses of the funds. This report describes the use of those flexibilities and provides a national picture of state and district priorities for Title II A funds in the 2018-19 school year. The report finds that 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. Half of the states and a quarter of districts used the new flexibility provided under ESSA. Subsequent rounds of these annual surveys will show the evolving responses of states and districts to the new ESSA provisions.
|Drawing across school boundaries: How federally-funded magnet schools recruit and admit students
A key goal of many magnet programs is to improve student diversity in schools. This snapshot, based on surveys completed by most of the more than 160 schools recently funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grants and interviews with their district coordinators, describes how MSAP-funded magnet schools recruit and admit students. Schools report using a variety of strategies to recruit students, targeting those the schools believe are likely to exercise choice. These schools are most likely to give preference in admissions to siblings of students already enrolled in the magnet and students in nearby neighborhoods or schools.
|How States and Districts Support Evidence Use in School Improvement
The Every Student Succeeds Act encourages educators to use school improvement strategies backed by rigorous research. This snapshot, based on national surveys administered in 2018, describes what guidance states provided on improvement strategies and how districts selected such strategies in lowest-performing schools. Most states pointed districts and schools to evidence on improvement strategies, but few required schools to choose from a list of approved strategies. In turn, most districts reported that evidence of effectiveness was "very important" when choosing improvement strategies, but the evidence districts relied on probably varies in quality.
|Do Charter Middle Schools Improve Students' College Outcomes?
A study from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) obtained college enrollment and completion data for students who — more than a decade ago — entered lotteries to be admitted to 31 charter middle schools across the United States. College outcomes were compared for 1,723 randomly selected "lottery winners" and 1,150 randomly selected "lottery losers". The study found that being admitted to a charter middle school did not affect college outcomes. Also, there was not a consistent relationship between a charter school's impact on middle school achievement and the school's impact on college outcomes.
|Preparing for Life after High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education. A Summary of Key Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012
The National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012 (NLTS 2012) is the third study conducted over several decades to examine the characteristics, experiences, and post-high school outcomes of a nationally representative sample of youth with disabilities and is part of the congressionally-mandated National Assessment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004). The evaluation brief summarizes key findings from previously released report volumes describing youth with an individualized education program (IEP) and their activities in school in relation to other students without an IEP (Volume 1), across the federally defined disability groups (Volume 2), and over time (Volume 3).
The brief indicates that, although their engagement and use of school supports have increased over the past decade (2003-2012), high school youth with an IEP are more socioeconomically disadvantaged and less likely to have experiences and expectations associated with success after high school than were other students in 2012. Among the disability groups in 2012, youth with intellectual disability, autism, deaf-blindness, multiple disabilities, and orthopedic impairments were found to be most at-risk for not transitioning successfully beyond high school.
The report volumes are available at https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20184007/
|Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Final Report on Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance Across Four Years
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) provides grants to support performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in high-need schools. The study measures the impact of pay-for-performance bonuses as part of a comprehensive compensation system within a large, multisite random assignment study design. The treatment schools were to fully implement their performance-based compensation system. The control schools were to implement the same performance-based compensation system with one exception—”the pay-for-performance bonus component was replaced with a one percent bonus paid to all educators regardless of performance. The report provides implementation and impact information after four school years. Implementation was similar across the four years, with most districts implementing at least 3 of the 4 required components for teachers. In a subset of 10 districts participating in the random assignment study, educators' understanding of performance measures improved over time. However, many teachers were unaware that they were eligible for a bonus, and their understanding did not improve after the second year of implementation. Teachers also underestimated the maximum amount they could earn. The pay-for-performance bonus policy had small, positive impacts on students' reading and math achievement.
|Does Content-Focused Teacher Professional Development Work? Findings from Three Institute of Education Sciences Studies
Subject knowledge is widely viewed as important for teaching, and professional development (PD) often aims to build such knowledge. This brief synthesizes findings from three large-scale random assignment studies of PD that were conducted by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in the Institute of Education Sciences. Although the PD programs in each study were different, they all emphasized building teachers' content knowledge or knowledge about content-specific pedagogy. The programs combined summer institutes with periodic teacher meetings and coaching during the school year. These programs were compared to the substantially less intensive PD that teachers typically received in study districts. The studies found that the PD boosted teachers' subject knowledge and some aspects of instructional quality, but did not have a positive impact on student achievement. The studies also found that most of the measured aspects of teachers' knowledge and practice were not correlated with student achievement. This consistent pattern of findings suggests that future studies should seek to better understand on what aspects of teacher knowledge and practice PD should focus, and how PD can achieve a larger impact on this knowledge and practice.
|Applying to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: How Do Parents Rate Their Children's Current Schools at Time of Application and What Do They Want in New Schools?
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 evaluation brief describes findings using data from more than 2,000 applicants' parents, who applied to the program from spring 2011 to spring 2013 following reauthorization under the Scholarships for Opportunity and Result (SOAR) Act of 2011. The application form asked parents to rate elements of their child's current school with which they were satisfied or dissatisfied and to indicate which elements were top priorities for them when looking for a new school. The ratings provide insights about school-related reasons parents may have had for applying for a voucher and what they were looking for in a new school.
|Usage of Policies and Practices Promoted by Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 injected $7 billion into two of the Obama administration's signature competitive education grant programs: Race to the Top (RTT) and School Improvement Grants (SIG). While RTT focused on state policies and SIG focused on school practices, both programs promoted related policies and practices, including an emphasis on turning around the nation's lowest-performing schools. Despite the sizable investment in both of these programs, comprehensive evidence on their implementation and impact has been limited to date.
This report focuses on two implementation questions: (1) Do states and schools that received grants actually use the policies and practices promoted by these two programs? (2) Does their usage of these policies and practices differ from states and schools that did not receive grants? Answers to these questions provide context for interpreting impact findings that will be presented in a future report.
The first volume of this report details our RTT findings, which are based on spring 2012 interviews with 49 states and the District of Columbia.
The second volume of this report details our SIG findings, which are based on spring 2012 surveys of approximately 470 schools in 60 districts and 22 states.
|New Findings on the Retention of Novice Teachers From Teaching Residency Programs
This brief is based on a study of residency programs that received funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Quality Partnership program. Residency programs are a model of teacher preparation in which prospective teachers complete graduate-level coursework alongside a year-long fieldwork experience in the district in which the prospective teacher will be hired.
The brief examines two cohorts of teachers trained through residency programs (TRPs)—those who were in their first year of teaching and those who were in their second year of teaching as of spring 2012. It looks at the rates at which the TRP teachers were retained in the same district and the same school as of fall 2013, thereby tracking two successive cohorts of teachers into their third or fourth year as a teacher of record. The brief updates earlier study findings (Silva et al. 2014) which examined retention as of fall 2012. For context, like the earlier report, the brief also includes retention findings based on a representative sample of teachers with similar experience and teaching in the same districts as the residency teachers, but who were trained through other (non-TRP) programs.
| State Capacity to Support School Turnaround
One objective of the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) program is to help states enhance their capacity to support the turnaround of low-performing schools. This capacity may be important, given how difficult it is to produce substantial and sustained achievement gains in low-performing schools. There is limited existing research on the extent to which states have the capacity to support school turnaround and are pursuing strategies to enhance that capacity. This brief documents states' capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013. It examines capacity issues for all states and for those that reported both prioritizing turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Key findings, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia, include the following:
|Building Teacher Capacity to Support English Language Learners in Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants
The Study of School Turnaround examines the improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 case study schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program over a three-year period (2010–11 to 2012–13 school years). This brief focuses on 11 of these SIG schools with high proportions of English Language Learner (ELL) students (a median of 45 percent ELLs), describing their efforts to improve teachers' capacity for serving ELLs through staffing strategies and professional development (PD). Key findings that emerged from the ELL case study data collected during the 2011–12 and 2012–13 school years include:
|Are Low-Performing Schools Adopting Practices Promoted by School Improvement Grants?
The federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program aims to improve student achievement by promoting the implementation of four school intervention models: transformation, turnaround, restart, and closure. Previous research provides evidence that low-performing schools adopt some practices promoted by the four models, but little is known about how schools combine these practices.
This brief describes both the individual SIG-promoted improvement practices and the combinations of these practices that low-performing schools reported adopting. Key findings, based on spring 2013 survey responses from 480 school administrators in low-performing schools that were and were not implementing a SIG intervention model, include the following:
|State Requirements for Teacher Evaluation Policies Promoted by Race to the Top
This brief describes the extent to which states required teacher evaluation policies aligned with the Race to the Top (RTT) initiative as of spring 2012. Although teacher evaluation policies appear to be rapidly evolving, documenting policy requirements in the early years of RTT implementation can help inform policymakers about the pace of policy innovation nationally. This brief examines the presence of state-level requirements for certain practices but not the actual district- or school-level implementation of such practices. Key findings, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia (12 Round 1 and 2 RTT states, 7 Round 3 RTT states, and 31 non-RTT states), include the following: