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|Stated Briefly: Examining changes to Michigan's early childhood quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. Documenting and improving early childhood program quality is a national priority, leading to a rapid expansion of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs). QRISs document and improve the quality of early childhood education programs and provide clear information to families about their child care choices. This study described how early childhood programs were rated in Michigan's QRIS and examined how alternative approaches to calculating ratings affected the number of programs rated at each quality level. Using extant data from 2,390 early childhood education programs that voluntarily participated in Michigan's QRIS, the study found that programs in Michigan self-rated at low quality (level 1) and high quality (level 5) more often than at moderate quality (levels 2 through 4). The study also found that programs with both a self-rating and an independent observation of quality generally had higher self-ratings than observational ratings. The study used simulated data to compare the distributions of ratings in the original QRIS, the newly revised QRIS with relaxed domain requirements, and an approach that only used programs' overall scores. Findings revealed that in the new relaxed system and the total score approach, programs were rated at higher levels of quality when compared to the original QRIS. Implications of changes to the calculation systems in QRIS are discussed in terms of program ratings and financial implications for states.
|Development and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems in Midwest Region states
Recent federal and state policies that recognize the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and care, such as the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool for All initiative, have led to a rapid expansion of quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs). Although 49 states implement a QRIS in some form, each system differs in its approach to defining, rating, supporting, and communicating program quality. This study examined QRISs in use across the Midwest Region to describe approaches that states use in developing and implementing a QRIS. The purpose was to create a resource for QRIS administrators to use as they refine their systems over time. Researchers used qualitative techniques, including a review of existing documents and semistructured interviews with state officials in the Midwest Region to document the unique and common approaches to QRIS implementation. Findings suggest that the process of applying for a Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant helped advance the development of a QRIS system, even in states that were not awarded funding. Also, all seven states in the Midwest Region use a variety of direct observations in classrooms to measure quality within each QRIS, despite the logistical and financial burdens associated with observational assessment. Five of the states in the Midwest Region use alternate pathways to rate certain early childhood education programs in their QRIS, most commonly for accredited or state prekindergarten programs. Finally, linking state subsidies and other early childhood education funding to QRIS participation encouraged early childhood education providers to participate in a QRIS. Developing and refining a QRIS is an ongoing process for all states in the Midwest Region and systems are continually evolving. Ongoing changes require policymakers, researchers, providers, and families to periodically relearn the exact requirements of their QRISs, but if changes are based on evidence in the field of changing needs of children and families, revised QRISs may better measure quality and better serve the public. Findings from this report can help inform the decisions of state QRIS administrators as they expand and refine their systems.
|Can Online Learning Communities Achieve the Goals of Traditional Professional Learning Communities? What the Literature Says
Professional learning communities (PLCs)—teams of educators who meet regularly to exchange ideas, monitor student progress, and identify professional learning needs—reflect a growing interest in promoting professional development that engages teachers and administrators. Increasingly, teachers are able to participate in online and hybrid PLCs in addition to PLCs that meet face-to-face. This report examines: characteristics of PLCs, as reported in the literature; advantages and challenges of online and hybrid PLCs, compared to face-to-face PLCs; and considerations for the design and setup of online and hybrid PLCs.
|Forum Guide to the Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation
This publication is a practical guide for implementing a teacher-student data link (TSDL) that supports a range of uses at the local, regional, and state levels. The guide addresses the considerations for linking teacher and student data from multiple perspectives, including governance, policies, data components, business rules, system requirements, and practices. It provides references to promising practices for high quality data linkages, including TSDLspecific processes such as roster verification and the establishment of the Teacher of Record. The information and opinions published here are those of the Forum and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or NCES.
|Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data
The Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data provides stakeholders with practical information about the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to more effectively access, interpret, and use education data to inform action. The document includes an overview of the evolving nature of data use, basic data use concepts, and a list of skills necessary for effectively using data. The Guide recommends a question-driven approach to data use, in which the following questions can help guide readers who need to use data to take action: What do I want to know? What data might be relevant? How will I access relevant data? What skills and tools do I need to analyze the data? What do the data tell me? What are my conclusions? What will I do? What effects did my actions have? and what are my next steps? The Briefs that accompany the Introduction are written for three key education audiences: Educators, School and District Leaders, and State Program Staff.
|Characteristics of Midwest Region School Districts Identified for Improvement
Like other states across the country, the seven REL Midwest Region states have been striving to meet the performance targets established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Under the act, districts are identified as "in improvement" and schools as "in need of improvement" after two successive years of not meeting adequate yearly progress performance targets. The report, Characteristics of Midwest Region school districts identified for improvement, presents statistical profiles of school districts designated as in improvement in the Midwest Region states as of 2009/10. It compares the prevalence and characteristics of these districts and those of districts not in improvement. It also reports the prevalence of districts in improvement under three states’ own accountability systems.
|Comparing Achievement Trends in Reading and Math Across Arizona Public School Student Subgroups
This technical brief examines the 2008/09 reading and math proficiency levels of four categories of Arizona public school students (comprising 11 student subgroups): ethnicity (American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White), English language learner status (English language learner students and non–English language learner students), disability status (students with disabilities and students without disabilities), and economic status (receiving free or reduced-price meals and not receiving free or reduced-price meals). Responding to an Arizona Department of Education request, the brief describes how student subgroup performance differs by school level (elementary, middle, and high) and across three school types: Title I Schools in Improvement (schools serving economically disadvantaged students and participating in the federal school improvement program intended to improve academic performance in schools not meeting adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years); Title I Schools Not in Improvement; and non–Title I schools. The same analyses were conducted for charter schools.
|Achievement Trends of Schools and Students in Arizona’s Title I School Improvement Program
This technical brief responds to an Arizona Department of Education request to study academic performance in schools receiving funding through the federal Title I compensatory education program, the section of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 governing resources for schools and districts serving disadvantaged populations. The brief describes for 2005/06-2008/09 the numbers and distribution of Arizona public schools and students across school levels (elementary, middle, high) for three school types: Title I Schools in Improvement (participating in the school improvement program, a public program to improve the academic performance of students in schools not meeting adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years); Title I Schools Not in Improvement; and non-Title I schools. It reports how Schools in Improvement are distributed across school improvement statuses, compares trends in reading and math proficiency for students attending each school type, and examines patterns of movement in and out of school improvement among Title I schools.
|What are the Characteristics, Qualifications, Roles, and Functions of School Support Teams? An Examination of Survey Results for Four Northwest Region States
School support teams work as external facilitators of improvement in schools and districts designated as in need of improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. This study finds that team members in four Northwest regions states share many characteristics and qualifications and work primarily in schools, meeting with administrators on school improvement planning and implementation. Team members differ in time spent on the activities that support these functions.
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