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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2015031 Gearing up to teach the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in rural Northeast Region schools
This study describes key challenges and necessary supports related to implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) identified by rural math educators in the Northeast. The research team interviewed state and district math coordinators and surveyed teachers in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, to assess their most pressing challenges and associated needs. Key challenges included time and support for teachers to change their instructional practices to meet the CCSSM, availability of high-quality instructional materials, and opportunities for collaboration. The report was produced in response to input from the Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance (NRDRA), one of eight research alliances working with REL Northeast & Islands.
11/12/2014
REL 2015045 Online and Distance Learning in Southwest Tennessee: Implementation and Challenges
The purpose of this study was to increase the understanding among members of the Southwest Tennessee Rural Education Cooperative (SWTREC), a coalition of superintendents from 12 districts (half of which are rural) surrounding Memphis, about the online and distance-learning courses offered by schools that compose the Cooperative. Data for this report were collected through an online questionnaire administered by districts in the SWTREC in April 2013 and completed by one person from each participating school. Seventeen of the twenty-one high schools within the SWTREC districts responded to the survey. More than 80 percent of responding schools reported offering online or distance-learning courses in school year 2012/13. On average, schools provided more online than distance-learning courses, and they had higher enrollments in online courses. Both online and distance-learning courses were used to provide students with access to dual enrollment courses. Schools that offered online courses most often identified the opportunity for students to accelerate credit accumulation as a "very important" reason for offering the courses. Technological limitations – both the availability of technology and restricted periods when technology was available – were barriers schools perceived in offering online and distance-learning courses.
11/12/2014
REL 2015053 College Enrollment and Persistence in Rural Pennsylvania Schools
The purpose of this study was to examine the college enrollment and persistence rates of rural high schools in Pennsylvania; the types of postsecondary institutions in which students from such schools enroll; and the student, school, and college characteristics associated with enrollment and persistence outcomes. The study used extant data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In phase I, descriptive statistics were conducted to compare rural and non-rural immediate and delayed college-going rates, persistence rates, and types of postsecondary enrollment. In phase II, variations among Pennsylvania rural schools with higher and lower college-going rates were examined by grouping schools into quartiles based on college enrollment rates, then comparing the characteristics of the different quartiles. In phase III, multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the individual and combined influence of student-, school-, and college-level variables on college enrollment and persistence rates. Results indicate that rural high schools have higher rates of enrollment than city schools, but lower rates than suburban and town schools; rural schools located in closer proximity to urban areas have better postsecondary outcomes than more remote rural schools; rural schools with higher rates of economically disadvantaged students tend to have lower enrollment and persistence rates; and, regardless of locale, Pennsylvania high schools send the large majority of their students to public 4-year colleges and in-state colleges. Results suggest that the lower enrollment and persistence rates are associated with factors identified in the literature as key influences, particularly poverty. Educators and policymakers should focus attention on economically disadvantaged rural students to improve college enrollment and persistence.
10/14/2014
NCEE 20144013 A Focused Look At Rural Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants
The Study of School Turnaround is a set of case studies of the school improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program over a three-year period (school years 2010-11 to 2012-13). This evaluation brief focuses on the nine SIG schools that were in rural areas and how respondents in these schools perceived their rural context to influence specific turnaround activities. Key findings that emerged from the rural case study data collected in spring 2012 include:
  • Although rural SIG schools reported some challenges that nonrural SIG schools have also reported, such as low student motivation and staff morale, the rural schools reported additional challenges resulting from their schools' remote locations and large catchment areas. For example, respondents reported that these rural characteristics affected the recruitment or retention of teachers and, to a lesser extent, parents' involvement in the schools.
  • School and district administrators in eight of the nine schools suggested that long teacher commutes or isolated communities posed challenges to recruiting or retaining teachers. To counter these challenges, respondents in two schools reported offering direct support for teacher commutes (for example, gas stipends or vans), and respondents in three schools reported offering signing bonuses to incoming teachers.
  • School and district administrators and teaching staff in the nine schools mentioned multiple factors limiting parent involvement in school-based activities. Respondents from five schools perceived that a lack of access to transportation limited parent involvement, whereas respondents from three schools noted that the distance between schools and parents' homes was a contributing factor. Four schools focused on hiring or expanding the role of parent liaisons to increase parent involvement.
4/2/2014
NCEE 20124037 An Experimental Study of the Project CRISS Reading Program on Grade 9 Reading Achievement in Rural High Schools

For report NCEE 2011–4007 Experimental Study of the Project CRISS Reading Program on Grade 9 Reading Achievement in Rural High Schools http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?ProjectID=53

This file contains data from a study that examines the effectiveness of a teacher professional development program called Project CRISS (Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies). Through Project CRISS, high school teachers learn how to apply research-based learning principles and reading/writing strategies in all major subject or content areas using materials, training, and follow-up support provided by the developer. The ultimate goal of Project CRISS is to help students learn new ways to read and comprehend, practice reading and writing strategies in different classes, and eventually internalize and use successful reading and writing strategies independently, leading to improved reading comprehension. The final analysis sample consisted of 49 schools and 4,959 students: 23 schools and 2,460 students in the treatment condition and 26 schools and 2,499 students in the control condition.

6/18/2012
REL 2012021 Prekindergarten Participation Rates in West Virginia
This report compares the shares of preK seats provided by public school systems and collaborative partners—federal or private—and analyzes participation based on socioeconomic and racial/ethnic subgroups and district characteristics. This report updates through 2010/11 a previous report that covered school years 2002/03–2006/07.

The study found that the statewide participation rate in preK more than doubled between 2002/03 and 2010/11, from 26 percent to 63 percent of eligible students.
4/26/2012
REL 2012124 Differences in Spending in School Districts Across Geographic Locales in Minnesota
This study examines differences in spending in school districts across geographic locales in Minnesota and factors that might contribute to these differences. The study finds that district spending per student in 2008/09 varied across locale types in Minnesota. These differences are largely accounted for by differences in regional characteristics and level of student need.
2/23/2012
REL 20124021 Access to Algebra I: The Effects of Online Mathematics for Grade 8 Students
This report presents findings from a randomized control trial designed to inform the decisions of policymakers who are considering using online courses to provide access to Algebra I in grade 8. It focuses on students judged by their schools to be ready to take Algebra I in grade 8 but who attend schools that do not offer the course. The study tested the impact of offering an online Algebra I course on students' algebra achievement at the end of grade 8 and their subsequent likelihood of participating in an advanced mathematics course sequence in high school. The study was designed to respond to both broad public interest in the deployment of online courses for K–12 students and to calls from policymakers to provide students with adequate pathways to advanced coursetaking sequences in mathematics (National Mathematics Advisory Panel 2008).
12/13/2011
REL 20114007 An Experimental Study of the Project CRISS Reading Program on Grade 9 Reading Achievement in Rural High Schools
Students entering high school face many new academic challenges. One of the most important is their ability to read and understand more complex text in literature, mathematics, science, and social studies courses as they navigate through a rigorous high school curriculum. The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest conducted a study to examine the effectiveness of a teacher professional development program called Project CRISS, which stands for Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies. Through Project CRISS, high school teachers learn how to apply research-based learning principles and reading/writing strategies in all major subject or content areas using materials, training, and follow-up support provided by the developer. The ultimate goal of Project CRISS is to help students learn new ways to read and comprehend, practice reading and writing strategies in different classes, and eventually internalize and use successful reading and writing strategies independently, leading to improved reading comprehension.
4/11/2011
REL 2011099 Do Schools in Rural and Nonrural Districts Allocate Resources Differently? An Analysis of Spending and Staffing Patterns in the West Region States
This study of differences in resource allocation between rural and nonrural districts finds that rural districts in the West Region spent more per student, hired more staff per 100 students, and had higher overhead ratios of district- to school-level resources than did city and suburban districts. Regional characteristics were more strongly related to resource allocation than were other cost factors studied.
1/24/2011
REL 2011100 Applying an On Track Indicator for High School Graduation: Adapting the Consortium on Chicago School Research Indicator for Five Texas Districts
This study uses a measure of the on-track or off-track status of students at the end of grade 9 as an indicator of whether students in five Texas districts would graduate from high school in four years. In all five districts, on-time graduation rates were higher for students who were on track at the end of grade 9 than for students who were off track, both for students overall and for all racial/ethnic groups.
1/3/2011
REL 2010089 Student Mobility in Rural and Nonrural Districts in Five Central Region States
Research suggests that highly mobile students (students who enter and leave school other than at the beginning or end of the school year) are less successful academically, drop out of school at higher rates, and require more frequent disciplinary action. This study, Student mobility in rural and nonrural districts in five Central Region states, calculated student mobility percentages in five Central Region states and compared mobility by locale (city, suburb, town, and rural locale) and found no consistent patterns.

The report also describes districts in each state with extremely high student mobility. In particular, the study found that
  • Districts with extremely high student mobility are often rural, have higher-than-state-average shares of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and are on or near American Indian reservations.
  • Only in Wyoming did rural locales have higher student mobility than did city and town locales. In North Dakota mobility percentages were higher in both towns and rural areas than in cities or suburbs.
  • Comparisons in each state among the three rural locale codes did not show a consistent pattern of mobility levels.
Because each state calculated student mobility differently, mobility percentages cannot be compared across states.
6/28/2010
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