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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2022133 Branching Out: Using Decision Trees to Inform Education Decisions
Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis is a statistical modeling approach that uses quantitative data to predict future outcomes by generating decision trees. CART analysis can be useful for educators to inform their decisionmaking. For example, educators can use a decision tree from a CART analysis to identify students who are most likely to benefit from additional support early—in the months and years before problems fully materialize. This guide introduces CART analysis as an approach that allows data analysts to generate actionable analytic results that can inform educators’ decisions about the allocation of extra supports for students. Data analysts with intermediate statistical software programming experience can use the guide to learn how to conduct a CART analysis and support research directors in local and state education agencies and other educators in applying the results. Research directors can use the guide to learn how results of CART analyses can inform education decisions.
REL 2022122 Supporting Integrated English Learner Student Instruction: A Guide to Assess Professional Learning Needs Based on the Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School Practice Guide
This guide is designed to help district and school site leaders assess the professional learning needs of elementary school teachers to implement research-based recommendations for the instruction of English learner students. It comprises two tools—the Teacher Self-Reflection Tool and the Classroom Observation Tool—and outlines a 10-step process to help districts align their professional learning decisions with the data collected from these tools.
REL 2022120 Community Math Night Facilitators' Toolkit
The Community Math Night Facilitators’ Toolkit is a detailed resource for elementary school educators to plan and implement a Community Math Night event. Community Math Nights use interactive math activities to engage families in building positive math attitudes, facilitate their participation in children’s learning in grades K–5, and build a community of educators, students, families, and other caring adults. This toolkit includes planning and organizational resources, research findings on community engagement and math instruction strategies, and step-by-step instructions and printable materials for the interactive activities. It also includes a workbook that can be used as a professional learning resource on key math-learning research findings and how to apply them in practice.
REL 2021112 Program Evaluation Toolkit
Program evaluation is important for assessing the implementation and outcomes of local, state, and federal programs. The Program Evaluation Toolkit provides resources and tools to support users in contributing to evaluations of their own programs. The primary audience for the toolkit includes individuals responsible for evaluating and monitoring local, state, or federal programs. The toolkit comprises a series of eight modules that begin at the planning stages of an evaluation and progress to the presentation of findings. Resources in the toolkit will help users create a logic model, develop evaluation questions, identify data sources, develop data collection instruments, conduct basic analyses, and disseminate findings. By using the toolkit, users should develop an evaluation that provides easy-to-understand findings as well as recommendations or possible actions.
REL 2021105 Cost-Feasibility Analysis Toolkit for Supplemental Online Programs: User Guide
Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia researchers developed the Cost-Feasibility Analysis (CFA) Toolkit to help education leaders estimate whether implementing supplemental online programs is affordable given a school or district's available resources. The CFA Toolkit guides users through a four-stage process that yields cost information that can support decisionmaking about implementing such a program. The toolkit includes guidance, helpful resources, and an Excel-based cost-estimation tool that supports users with planning (stage 1), collecting data (stage 2), estimating program costs (stage 3), and determining the feasibility of implementing the supplemental online program (stage 4).
REL 2021096 A Guide to Identifying Similar Schools to Support School Improvement
To support school improvement efforts, school leaders and education agencies might need to identify groups of schools that are similar so that schools can compare their performance or share practices with other schools in the same group. This could also allow education agencies to provide tailored supports to schools in a group. This guide describes how an education agency can select a distance measure (a statistical rather than a geographic measure) to identify schools that are similar to a target school, using a variety of characteristics that enable school leaders to better understand their schools’ relative performance. This guide is based on work done with the Nebraska Department of Education and is designed to help staff in other education agencies who are interested in implementing a similar approach to support school improvement.
REL 2021081 Analyzing Teacher Mobility and Retention: Guidance and Considerations Report 2
This applied research methods report is a guide for state and local education agency policymakers and their analysts who are interested in studying teacher mobility and retention. This report is the second in a two-part set and builds on the foundational information in report 1. This report presents guidance on how to interpret differences in mobility and retention rates by teacher, school, or district characteristics; analyze year-to-year trends in mobility and retention; compare mobility and retention rates across districts or states; and examine how the implementation of a policy related to teachers might be associated with teacher mobility or retention.
REL 2021080 Analyzing Teacher Mobility and Retention: Guidance and Considerations Report 1
This applied research methods report is a guide for state and local education agency policymakers and their analysts who are interested in studying teacher mobility and retention. This report provides the foundational information needed to answer policy-relevant research questions related to teacher mobility and retention and presents the decision points and steps necessary for conducting basic mobility and retention analyses.
REL 2021086 A Third-Grade Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills
This Third Grade Teacher's Guide provides information for third grade 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) practice guide, 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.

The information in this Third Grade 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. This Teacher's Guide includes:
  • Recommendation Reminders that provide a snapshot of each recommendation and how-to steps from the WWC guide.
  • Teacher Scaffolds that model the language teachers can use with families to describe a specific skill, why it is important in learning to read, and how to support that skill.
  • Family Activities that contain evidence-based literacy activities with easy-to-follow plans, and materials that teachers model and share with families.
  • Family Literacy Videos that show families engaging their child in activities related to the skills teachers modeled during family literacy nights or at parent-teacher conferences.
REL 2021068 Measuring Civic Readiness: A Review of Survey Scales
This resource supports state and local education agencies in identifying, comparing, and contrasting survey scales that measure a variety of civic readiness categories. It describes the format and structure of survey scales, details the civic readiness categories measured by the scales, and summarizes the reliability and validity evidence associated with the scales.
REL 2021074 Steps to Develop a Model to Estimate School- and District-Level Postsecondary Success
This tool is intended to support state and local education agencies in developing a statistical model for estimating student postsecondary success at the school or district level. The tool guides education agency researchers, analysts, and decisionmakers through options to consider when developing their own model. The resulting model generates an indicator of a school's or district's contribution to the postsecondary success of its students after contextual factors are accounted for that might be outside a school's or district's control, such as student demographic characteristics and community characteristics. State and local education agencies could use the information generated by the models they develop to help meet federal and state reporting requirements and to inform their own efforts to improve their students’ postsecondary success.
REL 2021075 Evaluating the Implementation of Networked Improvement Communities in Education: An Applied Research Methods Report
The purpose of this study was to develop a framework that can be used to evaluate the implementation of networked improvement communities (NICs) in public prekindergarten (PK)–12 education and to apply this framework to the formative evaluation of the Minnesota Alternative Learning Center Networked Improvement Community (Minnesota ALC NIC), a partnership between Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, the Minnesota Department of Education, and five alternative learning centers (ALCs) in Minnesota. The partnership formed with the goal of improving high school graduation rates among students in ALCs. The evaluation team developed and used research tools aligned with the evaluation framework to gather data from 37 school staff in the five ALCs participating in the Minnesota ALC NIC. Data sources included attendance logs, postmeeting surveys (administered following three NIC sessions), a post–Plan-Do-Study-Act survey, continuous improvement artifacts, and event summaries. The evaluation team used descriptive analyses for quantitative and qualitative data, including frequency tables to summarize survey data and coding artifacts to indicate completion of continuous improvement milestones. Engagement in the Minnesota ALC NIC was strong, as measured by attendance data and post–Plan-Do-Study-Act surveys, but the level of engagement varied by continuous improvement milestones. Based on postmeeting surveys, NIC members typically viewed the NIC as relevant and useful, particularly because of the opportunities to work within teams and develop relationships with staff from other schools. The percentage of meeting attendees agreeing that the NIC increased their knowledge and skills increased over time. Using artifacts from the NIC, the evaluation team determined that most of the teams completed most continuous improvement milestones. Whereas the post–Plan-Do-Study-Act survey completed by NIC members indicated that sharing among different NIC teams was relatively infrequent, contemporaneous meeting notes recorded specific instances of networking among teams. This report illustrates how the evaluation framework and its aligned set of research tools were applied to evaluate the Minnesota ALC NIC. With slight adaptations, these tools can be used to evaluate the implementation of a range of NICs in public PK–12 education settings. The study has several limitations, including low response rates to postmeeting surveys, reliance on retrospective measures of participation in continuous improvement activities, and the availability of extant data on a single Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. The report includes suggestions for overcoming these limitations when applying the NIC evaluation framework to other NICs in public PK–12 education settings.
REL 2021067 Early Childhood Data Use Assessment Tool
The Early Childhood Data Use Assessment Tool is designed to identify and improve data use skills among early childhood education (ECE) program staff so they can better use data to inform, plan, monitor, and make decisions for instruction and program improvement. Data use is critical in quality ECE programs but can be intimidating for some ECE program staff. This tool supports growth in their data use skills. The tool has three components: (1) a checklist to identify staff skills in using child assessment and administrative data, (2) a resource guide to identify professional development resources for improving data use skills, and (3) an action plan template to support planning for the development and achievement of data use goals. Results obtained from using the tool are meant by the developers to support instruction and program improvement through increased and structured use of data.
REL 2021060 Integrating Reading Foundations: A Tool for College Instructors of Pre‑service Teachers

The College Instructor’s Guide is designed to assist college instructors build pre-service teacher knowledge of evidence-based strategies to help kindergarten through grade 3 students acquire the language and literacy skills needed to succeed academically. This tool is intended to be used in conjunction with the Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an investment of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. College instructors may use the lessons in this tool to provide collaborative learning experiences which engage pre-service teachers in activities that will expand their knowledge base as they read, discuss, share, and apply the key ideas and strategies presented in the WWC Practice Guide.

Each lesson in this College Instructor's Guide includes the following:

  • A recommendation reminder that provides a snapshot of the WWC practice guide recommendation and how-to steps for pre-service teachers.
  • Guidance to support college instructors as they teach pre-service teachers about a specific skill, why it is important in learning to read, and how to support that skill in the classroom.
  • Videos that explain foundational reading skills and demonstrate the use of activities intended to improve foundational reading skills with students in grades K-3. Pre-service teachers are asked to complete a video reflection worksheet for each video.
  • Activities for pre-service teachers to complete with peers in the college setting that reinforce foundational skills taught to students in grades K-3.
  • Observation forms to be used in the practicum setting that include guiding questions related to each recommendation to help pre-service teacher’s compare newly learned strategies to observed practices.
REL 2021064 Welcoming, Registering, and Supporting Newcomer Students: A Toolkit for Educators of Immigrant and Refugee Students in Secondary Schools
Meeting the unique educational and social needs of newcomer students (students who were born outside of the United States and have arrived in the country within the past three years) is an ongoing challenge for educators and community stakeholders across the country. This resource toolkit is intended to help educators and other stakeholders identify and use research-based practices, policies, and procedures for welcoming, registering, and supporting newcomer immigrant and refugee students who are attending secondary schools (grades 6-12) in the United States. The research and resources in the toolkit are divided into four areas: welcoming and engaging newcomer immigrant and refugee students, registering newcomer immigrant and refugee students, building educators' capacity to support newcomer immigrant and refugee students, and supporting newcomer immigrant and refugee students. Resources include professional development curricula, policy and implementation guides, evaluation reports, and sample surveys and assessments.
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