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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021097 First-Year Effects of Early Indicator and Intervention Systems in Oregon

Although Oregon has made recent gains in its overall high school graduation rate, 21 percent of public school students entering grade 9 in 2014 did not graduate within four years, by 2018. To improve graduation rates, Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 98 in 2016 to fund dropout prevention and college and career readiness initiatives in high schools. Many districts used the funding to adopt an early indicator and intervention system (EIIS) to identify students who are not on track to graduate on time by monitoring related indicators, such as chronic absenteeism, disciplinary infractions, course progression, and academic performance, through a frequently updated data system. Districts can tailor the system by setting their own on-track thresholds for each indicator to identify students at risk of not graduating on time, assigning those students to interventions, and monitoring student response to the interventions.

This study took advantage of the additional funding being offered to districts across the state to look at first-year effects on chronic absenteeism, disciplinary infractions, course progression, and academic performance by comparing the outcomes in 65 districts that adopted an EIIS to the outcomes in a set of similar districts that used the additional funding for other dropout prevention or college and career readiness initiatives. The study offers insight into the effectiveness of early efforts to scale up EIISs, a popular school-level intervention. EIIS adoption appears to have reduced the percentage of students who were chronically absent by 3.9 percentage points but does not appear to have had positive effects on the three other student outcomes during the first year: the percentage of students with disciplinary infractions, the percentage of grade 10 students who had acquired enough credits by the end of grade 9 to be considered on track for on-time graduation, or the percentage of grade 11 students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards on state math and English language arts tests. The findings offer the Oregon Department of Education information on the early effects of its efforts to promote EIIS across Oregon. The findings can also be used by other state and district education leaders to inform their considerations to scale up EIIS or other similar programs.

8/30/2021
REL 2021111 Professional Development Incentives for Oregon's Early Childhood Education Workforce: A Randomized Study
Many states seek to increase the education levels of their early childhood education (ECE) workforce to improve the quality of care for children. Oregon encourages all ECE workforce members to sign up for a career lattice, a career pathway system that helps them determine goals related to increasing their education. The state also offers incentives for reaching specific steps in the career lattice and scholarships for college credit and community-based training. This study used two randomized controlled trials in 2018 and 2019 to test whether sending emails and offering different financial incentives to Oregon ECE workforce members increased career lattice sign-up and increased education and training levels or workplace retention. The study found that sending emails encouraging career lattice sign-up had no detectable impact on career lattice sign-up or workplace retention. Sending emails offering a monetary incentive at an earlier-than-usual step on the career lattice had a positive impact on training hours recorded but no detectable impact on career lattice movement, college credit hours earned, or workplace retention. Sending emails about automatic enrollment in a scholarship program had no detectable impact on scholarship use, career lattice movement, college credit hours earned, or workplace retention. Lastly, after participants were randomly assigned to study groups, the email campaigns were implemented as planned, reaching all intended participants, although the interventions ended sooner than planned because of a state policy change. The findings suggest that low-touch interventions such as emails have promise for increasing training hours but are not sufficient to induce changes in career lattice sign-up, continuing postsecondary education, or workplace retention for Oregon ECE workforce members. These results have implications for future research, in addition to demonstrating how better messaging and supports can mitigate barriers to further education and training and how email campaigns can be leveraged for workforce communication efforts. This information is particularly relevant for state agencies and education and training providers.
8/24/2021
REL 2021107 Characteristics and Performance of High School Equivalency Exam Takers in New Jersey
Since 2014 the New Jersey Department of Education has offered three high school equivalency (HSE) exams for nongraduates seeking credentials: the GED, the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). This study used data on exam takers who had been grade 8 students in a New Jersey public school between 2008/09 and 2013/14 and who had attempted at least one HSE exam in New Jersey between March 2014 and December 2018. It analyzed how the characteristics of exam takers differ across exams and from the characteristics of non–exam takers, how the performance of exam takers with similar backgrounds varies, and how a recent reduction in the passing threshold for two of the exams affected passing rates. Among all students who had been grade 8 students in a New Jersey public school during the study years, HSE exam takers completed fewer years of school, were more likely to have been eligible for the national school lunch program in grade 8, and were more likely to identify as Black or Hispanic than non–exam takers. GED takers had received higher grade 8 standardized test scores, were more likely to identify as White, and were less likely to have been eligible for the national school lunch program in grade 8 than HiSET and TASC takers. Under the New Jersey Department of Education's original passing thresholds, exam takers in the study sample were more likely to pass the HiSET and TASC than the GED on the first attempt (after grade 8 standardized test scores were controlled for). However, after the reduction in passing thresholds, the first-attempt passing rate was similar across the three exams. Under the new passing thresholds, two-thirds of GED takers and more than half of HiSET and TASC takers passed on the first attempt, and—when all exam attempts are included—three-quarters of all exam takers ever passed each exam.
8/23/2021
REL 2021106 The reliability of shorter assessments in New Jersey for group-level inferences
Education policymakers must balance the reliability of assessments to measure academic knowledge and skills with the burdens that assessments place upon students, teachers, and schools. In 2019, New Jersey began using the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA), shorter assessments based on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Regional Educational Laboratory researchers examined the reliability of test results for the NJSLA by comparing results at the school, test, and subgroup levels from 2016 to 2019. The findings indicated a high degree of reliability across most measures the researchers examined; during the transition to the NJSLA, the reliability did not decrease for any test results—except the Algebra 2 test—reported by the New Jersey Department of Education. The instability of the Algebra 2 results was most likely not attributable to changes in the assessment but instead to changes in the student population that was required to take the test following a change in the state’s testing requirements .
7/20/2021
REL 2021095 Examination of the Validity and Reliability of the Kansas Clinical Assessment Tool

Although national assessments for evaluating teacher candidates are available, some state education agencies and education preparation programs have developed their own assessments. These locally developed assessments are based on observations of teaching and other artifacts such as lesson plans and student assignments. However, local assessment developers often lack information about the validity and reliability of data collected with their assessments. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has provided guidance for demonstrating the validity and reliability of locally developed teacher candidate assessments, yet few educator preparation programs have the capacity to generate this evidence.

The Regional Educational Laboratory Central partnered with educator preparation programs in Kansas to examine the validity and reliability of the Kansas Clinical Assessment Tool (K-CAT), a newly developed tool for assessing the performance of teacher candidates. The study was designed to align with CAEP guidance. The study found that cooperating teachers reported that the K-CAT accurately represented existing teaching performance standards (face validity). Two skilled raters found that the content of the K-CAT was mostly aligned to existing teaching performance standards (content validity). In addition, K-CAT scores for the same teacher candidate, provided by cooperating teachers and supervising faculty, were positively related (convergent validity). K-CAT indicator scores showed internal consistency, or correlations among related indicators, for standards and for the tool overall (reliability). K-CAT scores showed small relationships with teacher candidate scores on other measures of teaching performance (criterion-related validity).

7/7/2021
REL 2021094 Pathways to Teaching: Teacher Diversity, Testing, Certification, and Employment in Washington State
The number and percentage of students of color are growing in Washington state, yet the teacher workforce remains largely White (non-Hispanic). This means that few students of color have teachers who share their race or ethnicity, which could have consequences for student achievement and wellbeing. To better understand the state’s shortage of teachers of color, this study investigated six steps in the teacher preparation and career pathway at which teacher candidates and teachers are likely to drop out or leave the profession: three teacher preparation tests, certification, employment, and retention. Among all teacher candidates who took at least one of these steps during 2010-19, Hispanic candidates and non-Hispanic candidates of color were less likely than White candidates to complete each step, took longer to complete each step, and were less likely to become a certificated educator in a Washington K-12 public school. The descriptive findings suggest that education policymakers consider revising policies and programs to increase the number of teachers of color. The state has already made changes, such as revising testing requirements for teacher candidates.
6/21/2021
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.
6/9/2021
REL 2021090 Indiana and Minnesota Students Who Focused on Career and Technical Education in High School: Who Are They, and What Are Their College and Employment Outcomes?
In Indiana and Minnesota the state education agency, state higher education agency, and the state workforce agency have collaborated to develop career and technical education courses intended to improve high school students' college and career readiness. These agencies partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to examine whether high school graduates in each state who completed a large number of career and technical education courses in a single career-oriented program of study (concentrators) had different college and workforce outcomes from graduates who completed fewer (samplers) or no career and technical education courses (nonparticipants). The study found that in the 2012/13–2017/18 graduation cohorts, male graduates were more likely to be concentrators than female graduates, and graduates who received special education services were more likely to be concentrators than those who did not receive services. Graduates who were not proficient in reading in grade 8 also were more likely to become concentrators than those who were proficient. Graduates who attended urban and suburban schools were more likely than students who attended town and rural schools to be nonparticipants. Concentrators were less likely than samplers and nonparticipants with similar characteristics to enroll in college, but the differences reflect mainly enrollment in four-year colleges. Concentrators were more likely to enroll in two-year colleges. Concentrators also were less likely than similar samplers and nonparticipants to complete a bachelor's degree within four to six years. Finally, compared with similar samplers and nonparticipants, concentrators were employed at higher rates in the first five years after high school and had higher earnings.
6/8/2021
REL 2021091 Identifying Indicators that Predict Postsecondary Readiness and Success in Arkansas
Arkansas has identified college and career readiness indicators for schools that can be used to monitor students' performance and to improve their postsecondary readiness and success. Using two cohorts of grade 6 students, this study examined the extent to which Arkansas’s middle school and high school indicators of postsecondary readiness predict a student postsecondary readiness outcome (an ACT score of 19 or higher) and success outcomes (enrolled in college for at least one term within eight years of beginning grade 6, and persisted in college by enrolling for more than one term within eight years of beginning grade 6). The study estimated the accuracy and strength of the middle school and high school indicators for predicting the outcomes. While fewer than half of students met the Arkansas postsecondary readiness standard, more than half enrolled in college and about half persisted for more than one term within eight years of beginning grade 6. Middle school and high school indicators, when combined with student background characteristics, predicted readiness and success outcomes with greater accuracy than did student background characteristics alone. Middle school indicators that were major predictors for at least two of the three outcomes examined included proficiency in English language arts and math, regular school attendance, no suspensions, and no expulsions. High school indictors that were major predictors for at least two of the outcomes included grade point average, enrollment in an advanced course, regular school attendance, and no expulsions.
6/7/2021
REL 2021103 The Effects of Accelerated College Credit Programs on Educational Attainment in Rhode Island
This study examined participation in accelerated college credit programs dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and Advanced Placement courses in Rhode Island high schools to understand their effects on educational attainment in the 2013/14 grade 9 cohort. The state, which has funded and promoted these opportunities for students to earn college credit during high school over the past five years, sought evidence of the programs' effects on participants' high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment rates, and enrollment rates in developmental education courses in college. The study found that male, economically disadvantaged, and racial/ethnic minority students were underrepresented in accelerated college credit programs. Participation in these programs had positive effects on students' rates of high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment. Among students in the cohort who enrolled in Rhode Island public colleges, participation was associated with lower rates of developmental education course enrollment in the first year of college. The effects of participating in an accelerated college credit program were similar for economically disadvantaged students and for their peers.
6/1/2021
REL 2021088 Alaska Native Students as English Learner Students: Examining Patterns in Identification, Classification, Service Provision, and Reclassification
This report examines the population of Alaska Native students who are classified as English learner (EL) students and how EL policies function for these students, focusing on EL identification, classification, service provision, and reclassification as fluent English proficient. Alaska is one of several states where Indigenous students make up a large segment of the EL population. Drawing on Alaska state data from 2011/12 to 2018/19, this study found that roughly a quarter of Alaska Native kindergarten students statewide were classified as EL students. Alaska Native EL students are a diverse group. The Alaska Native EL students in the study spoke 24 different home languages and had varied demographic and education characteristics. Compared with non–Alaska Native EL kindergarten students, Alaska Native EL students had lower English proficiency levels and higher rates of economic disadvantage in a cash-based economy (defined in box 1). The percentage of kindergarten students who were Alaska Native EL students was highest in schools that were rural, schools that had higher rates of economic disadvantage, and schools that employed fewer English as a second language teachers. In interviews, four district leaders shared that identification, classification, service provision, and reclassification practices were the same for Alaska Native EL students as for other Alaska EL students. These interviewees shared that limited financial and human resources compromised the quality and availability of EL supports. However, a review of 26 district EL Plans of Service revealed that less than a third of districts described policies and services directed specifically toward Alaska Native EL students, including heritage language programs, community outreach, and collaboration between Alaska Native education programs and EL programs. Statewide, EL reclassification rates were low for all EL students but especially low among Alaska Native EL students. By the end of grade 7, only 11 percent of Alaska Native EL students had been reclassified compared with 30 percent of non–Alaska Native EL students. This report identifies implications for Alaska, and for other states serving Indigenous EL students, for ensuring that EL education policy, funding, and service provision support Alaska Native and other Indigenous EL students equitably and with excellence.
5/18/2021
REL 2021085 Relationship between State Annual School Monitoring Indicators and Outcomes in Massachusetts Low‑Performing Schools
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports low-performing schools through a process that draws on qualitative and quantitative data from monitoring visits. The data are used to produce ratings for 26 turnaround indicators in four turnaround practice areas relating to school leadership, instructional practices, student supports, and school climate. This study analyzed data on school indicator ratings collected during school years 2014/15–2018/19 from 91 low-performing schools, with a focus on the distribution of the ratings among schools during their first year in the monitoring system and on the relationship of ratings to school outcomes. During the first year in which ratings data were available for a school, a majority of schools were in the two highest rating levels for 21 of the 26 indicators. Schools generally had lower rating levels for indicators in the student supports practice area than in the other three practice areas. Ratings for half the indicators were statistically significantly related to better schoolwide student outcomes and had a practically meaningful effect size of .25 or greater, and none was statistically significantly related to worse outcomes. Two indicators in the leadership practice area (school leaders' high expectations for students and staff and trusting relationships among staff) were related to lower chronic absenteeism rates. Ratings for five indicators in the instructional practices area were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math; two of these indicators (use of student assessment data to inform classroom instruction and school structures for instructional improvements) were related to higher growth in both English language arts and math. Ratings for four indicators in the student supports practice area (teacher training to identify student needs, research-based interventions for all students, interventions for English learner students, and interventions for students with disabilities) were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math. Two indicators in the school climate practice area (schoolwide behavior plans and adult–student relationships) were related to higher student academic growth in English language arts or math or lower chronic absenteeism rate. Eight indicators were not statistically related to any of the outcomes of interest.
5/17/2021
REL 2021087 The Impact of Career and Technical Education on Postsecondary Outcomes in Nebraska and South Dakota
Education leaders in Nebraska and South Dakota partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Central to examine how completing a sequence of career and technical education (CTE) courses in high school affects students' rates of on-time high school graduation and their rates of postsecondary education enrollment and completion within two and five years. The study found that CTE concentrators (students who complete a sequence of CTE courses aligned to a specific career field such as manufacturing or education and training) were 7 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to graduate from high school on time and 10 percentage points more likely to enroll in any type of postsecondary education within two years of their expected high school graduation year. The study also found that CTE concentrators were 3 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to earn a postsecondary award, such as a professional certificate, diploma, or associate’s or bachelor’s degree, within five years of their expected high school graduation year. CTE concentrators were 4 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to obtain up to an associate’s degree as their highest postsecondary award within five years of their expected high school graduation year but 1 percentage point less likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher.
5/11/2021
REL 2021079 Outcomes for Early Career Teachers Prepared through a Pilot Residency Program in Louisiana
Louisiana's Believe and Prepare pilot program, supported by grants from the Louisiana Department of Education, aimed to prepare teacher candidates or in-service teachers through a residency with a mentor and a competency-based curriculum. To improve teacher preparation and teacher residencies, state and teacher education leaders in Louisiana sought to better understand the early career outcomes for participants in the pilot program. This study analyzed data for the three cohorts that participated in the program between 2014/15 and 2016/17. A majority (76 percent) of pilot participants were enrolled in a university-based teacher preparation program. The study examined certification, employment, and retention outcomes for a subset of pilot participants who were teacher candidates or early career teachers (together referred to as early career Believe and Prepare pilot participants). About 30 percent of early career Believe and Prepare pilot participants who attained a Level 1 professional certificate in 2015/16–2017/18 were certified in a high-need subject, as defined by the Louisiana Department of Education (middle grades math and science, secondary math and science, or special education), and 28 percent of participants who entered teaching in 2015/16–2018/19 taught in a high-need subject in their first year of teaching. Early career pilot program participants who completed a residency in a primary school were more likely than those who completed a residency in a nonprimary school to attain a Level 1 professional certificate. Participants who completed a residency in a charter school were less likely than those who completed a residency in a noncharter school to attain a Level 1 professional certificate. (Louisiana does not require Level 1 certifications for charter schools.) Of early career Believe and Prepare teachers who entered teaching in 2015/16–2017/18, 89 percent were retained in the state for a second year, 76 percent were retained in the same district, and 71 percent were retained in the same school. Among these teachers the within-state retention rate was lowest for teachers in high-need subjects, and the within-school retention rate was lowest for secondary and middle grades math and science teachers.
5/10/2021
NCES 2021126 Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Survey Analysis: Descriptive Statistics
This report presents aggregate summary statistics of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) capacity based on state-level response to the 2018 SLDS survey collection, as well as a data file of individual-level state response.
4/19/2021
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