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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021116 Factors Associated with Grade 3 Reading Outcomes of Students in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System
Few elementary students on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are scoring at grade level or higher on the ACT Aspire reading assessment. To better understand factors associated with the reading proficiency of CNMI grade 3 students, stakeholders there asked the Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific to examine the demographic characteristics and education experiences of students who demonstrated reading proficiency by grade 3. The study focused on grade 3 students who were enrolled in CNMI public schools from 2014/15 to 2018/19. It found that female students, students who did not receive free or reduced-priced lunch, students who were older at the time of kindergarten entry, Filipino students, and students who did not change schools were more likely to demonstrate reading proficiency in grade 3 than other students. There was no difference in grade 3 reading proficiency between students who had enrolled in Head Start and students who had not.
9/21/2021
REL 2021113 Using Enhanced Coaching of Teachers to Improve Reading Achievement in Grades PreK–2 in Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools is working to improve early literacy outcomes through a multiyear professional development initiative for preK–2 teachers. The P–2 Balanced Literacy Initiative aims to improve literacy instruction by training teachers to implement effective early literacy instruction balancing systematic foundational skills instruction with reading and writing instruction involving rich, complex texts. The initiative began in 2016/17 and served 23 percent of all district elementary schools by 2018/19. The district designated 26 of the 115 elementary schools implementing the initiative in 2018/19 to receive enhanced supports, including intensive, site-based coaching, to support students’ independent reading. This study compared the reading achievement of students who attended schools that received the enhanced supports (priority schools) with the reading achievement of students who attended similar schools that received only the initiative’s standard supports (nonpriority schools). It also examined differences between priority and nonpriority schools in teachers’ and administrators’ participation in professional development sessions and looked at the successes and challenges of implementation. The study found that one year after implementation of the initiative, attending a priority school did not lead to higher end-of-year reading achievement than attending a nonpriority school after other factors were adjusted for. Teachers and administrators in priority schools were more likely than those in nonpriority schools to participate in the initiative’s core professional development sessions. Interviews with select district, network, and school leaders; instructional support coaches; and teachers suggest that several aspects of the initiative’s professional development were valuable, most notably the opportunities for teachers to deepen their understanding of the initiative’s professional development, receive feedback through observation and school-based coaching, and learn from one another. But instructional support coaches’ limited capacity, due to competing responsibilities, was a challenge. District leaders might consider increasing the number of coaches available and limiting their competing priorities so they can focus on the initiative.
9/15/2021
NFES 2021078 Forum Guide to Virtual Education Data: A Resource for Education Agencies
The Forum Guide to Virtual Education Data: A Resource for Education Agencies is designed to assist agencies with collecting data in virtual education settings, incorporating the data into governance processes and policies, and using the data to improve virtual education offerings. This resource reflects lessons learned by the education data community during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and provides recommendations that will help agencies collect and use virtual education data.
6/25/2021
NFES 2021058 Forum Guide to Attendance, Participation, and Engagement Data in Virtual and Hybrid Learning Models
The Forum Guide to Attendance, Participation, and Engagement Data in Virtual and Hybrid Learning Models was developed as a companion publication to the 2018 Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data, drawing upon the information included in that resource and incorporating lessons learned by state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The information is intended to assist agencies in responding to the current need for these data, as well as future scenarios, such as courses with blended/hybrid learning models or natural disaster situations in which extended virtual education is required.
6/2/2021
WWC 2021011 University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP)
This WWC intervention report summarizes the research on University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP), which is a core mathematics curriculum for middle school that includes materials and a routinized instructional approach with an option for teacher training. The curriculum is designed to teach students mathematics concepts, applications, and skills using an inquiry-based approach with a focus on active learning. The report focuses on two UCSMP courses: Pre-Transition Mathematics and Transition Mathematics. Pre-Transition Mathematics teaches arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. Transition Mathematics teaches more advanced arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, and connects these areas to measurement, probability, and statistics. Based on the research, the WWC found that implementing UCSMP has no discernible effects on general mathematics achievement and no discernible effects on algebra achievement for students in grades 6 to 9, relative to other math curricula used in study schools.
5/11/2021
WWC 2021006 Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades
The What Works Clearinghouse&TM; (WWC) developed this practice guide in partnership with a panel of experts including educators in both mathematics and special education. The panel distilled recent, rigorous mathematics intervention research into six practice recommendations for educators working with students in grades K-6. The guide can help educators tailor their math instruction approaches and small-group intervention programs and will also be useful to math specialists, math coaches, district and state personnel, and parents.
3/3/2021
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.
2/24/2021
REL 2021078 Students' Use of School-Based Telemedicine Services and Rates of Returning to Class After These Services in a Small Elementary School District
In 2018, a small elementary school district in California introduced school-based telemedicine services for K–6 students to address the health, well-being, and attendance challenges that can interfere with school success. During the first two years of implementation, about a quarter of the students used telemedicine services at least once, and nearly one in ten used telemedicine services multiple times. Descriptive results indicated that students in the lower and upper elementary grades did not differ in their use of telemedicine, though there were some differences in telemedicine use and reasons for seeking services by student race/ethnicity. This suggests that the needs, awareness, level of comfort, or rate of parent/guardian consent for receiving these services may vary across student groups. Results also indicated that telemedicine can treat students during the school day, enabling them to attend classes for the remainder of instruction the day of the visit. For these students, this resulted in an average of 3 hours of instruction instead of being sent home with an unmet health need. Telemedicine may hold promise to help students stay healthy and in school, whether they are learning from home during the pandemic or when schools buildings are open.
2/18/2021
REL 2021061 Changes in Exclusionary and Nonexclusionary Discipline in Grades K-5 Following State Policy Reform in Oregon
Oregon has enacted policy reforms to reduce exclusionary discipline and increase racial equity in school discipline practices. One such reform passed in 2015 limits the use of exclusionary discipline (i.e., removing students from classroom instruction through suspension and expulsion) for students in grades K-5 for infractions that do not pose a direct threat to the safety of others. This study examined school discipline practices in a voluntary sample of 401 Oregon elementary schools to determine whether the 2015 policy reform was associated with shifts in how exclusionary discipline and nonexclusionary discipline was applied among racial and ethnic student groups. Nonexclusionary discipline does not remove students from classroom instruction and may include teacher conferences, parent/guardian contact, detention, and other consequences. Descriptive findings indicate that there was an increase in the total number of exclusionary and nonexclusionary discipline actions after the 2015 policy reform compared to the pre-policy years. Black students, in particular, experienced the largest increase in exclusionary discipline after the 2015 policy reform than before the reform, and were two to three times more likely to experience exclusionary discipline than all other students across study years. For most racial and ethnic student groups, office discipline referrals for minor, disruptive, and/or aggressive behavioral infractions that were not a school safety concern became less likely to result in exclusionary discipline, and therefore more likely to result in nonexclusionary discipline than before the reform. However, for Black students the opposite was true. Office discipline referrals issued to Black students after the 2015 policy reform became more likely to result in exclusionary discipline for all office discipline referrals and referrals issued for disruptive behaviors. The study findings provide information that will help state policymakers better understand the changes in exclusionary and nonexclusionary discipline practices before and after the 2015 policy reform and identify areas for improving racial equity in school discipline actions.
2/16/2021
REL 2021058 Trends and Gaps in Reading Achievement across Kindergarten and Grade 1 in Two Illinois School Districts
To assess educational progress in the early grades and identify achievement gaps, the Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance examined reading achievement data among students in kindergarten and grade 1 in two districts in Illinois. The study documents overall reading achievement in these and examines disparities in achievement among groups defined by race/ethnicity, eligibility for the national school lunch program, English learner status, participation in special education, and gender. District administrators, policymakers, and educators can use the findings to make decisions about allocating resources to students and schools. This study analyzed student records and assessment data from two cohorts of kindergarten and grade 1 students—one from Elgin Area Schools (District U–46) and one from Springfield Public Schools (District 186). District U–46 used the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System—a formative reading assessment administered by teachers—to assess the reading proficiency of kindergarten and grade 1 students. District 186 used the Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades assessment, an adaptive assessment that is appropriate for universal screening and growth measurement of students’ reading. The study team performed separate analyses for both districts given a discrete, categorical outcome variable for District U–46 and a continuous outcome variable for District 186. The study found that reading achievement increased across the kindergarten and grade 1 years for all students. However, there were differences in reading achievement across student demographic groups. In both districts, Asian and White students had higher achievement than Black and Hispanic students, and students not eligible for the national school lunch program and students not in special education had higher achievement than students with this eligibility and this status. In District U–46, non-English learner students had higher achievement levels than English learner students. In District 186, female students started kindergarten and ended grade 1 with slightly higher levels of reading achievement than male students. District administrators, policy makers, and educators can use these findings to make decisions about allocating resources—such as professional development, literacy coaches, or books—to schools that serve larger concentrations of Black or Hispanic students, students eligible for the national school lunch program, students in special education, or English learner students. Examining achievement patterns by student demographic group is an important first step in identifying whether districts or schools need to distribute resources or opportunities differently to achieve more equitable outcomes across student demographic groups. District administrators, policy makers, and educators can use the results to motivate conversations about the root causes of inequities and how to resolve them.
2/9/2021
REL 2021053 A Second Grade Teacher’s Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills

This Second Grade Teacher's Guide provides information for second 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 Second 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.
2/8/2021
NFES 2020137 Forum Guide to Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Data
The Forum Guide to Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Data provides timely and useful best practice information to help education agencies proactively prepare for, appropriately mitigate, and responsibly recover from a cybersecurity incident. It provides recommendations to help protect agency systems and data before, during, and after a cybersecurity incident and features case studies from state and local education agencies.
10/21/2020
NCEE 2020006 Can Texting Parents Improve Attendance in Elementary School? A Test of an Adaptive Messaging Strategy
Chronic absence is a nationwide problem, even among young students. This report presents findings from a study that tested four versions of an adaptive text messaging strategy to see which, if any, would reduce chronic absence and improve achievement among 26,000 elementary school students. All four versions of the adaptive text messaging strategy reduced chronic absence but did not improve achievement after one school year.
9/15/2020
REL 2020030 Identifying North Carolina Students at Risk of Scoring below Proficient in Reading at the End of Grade 3
This study examines how students’ performance on North Carolina’s assessments taken from kindergarten to the beginning of grade 3 predicts reading proficiency at the end of grade 3. The study used longitudinal student-level achievement data for 2014/15–2017/18. The sample consisted of students in grade 3 who took the 2017/18 grade 3 end-of grade assessment in reading for the first time and had reading assessment data when they were in kindergarten in 2014/15. The analyses modeled associations between student performance on grade-level interim assessment measures and proficiency on the grade 3 end-of-grade assessment in reading using classification and regression tree analyses. The results indicated that less than 80 percent of students who failed the grade 3 state assessment were correctly identified as being at risk. The only exception to this finding was when a test better aligned to the end-of-grade state assessment was used as a predictor. These results suggest that more information is needed to use test score data from grades K–2 to reliably identify who is at risk of not being proficient on the grade 3 end-of-grade assessment. Educators may want to consider supplementing screening and progress monitoring assessments with informal, curriculum-based assessments that measure student vocabulary, syntax, and listening comprehension skills because research has identified these skills as important predictors of reading comprehension.
8/24/2020
REL 2020024 Progress of Arizona Kindergartners toward English Proficiency in Grade 3 by English Learner Student Classification
This study was prompted by the Arizona Department of Education’s interest in learning more about the progress of English learner students toward English proficiency in the early grades. The study examined the English language proficiency and English language arts (ELA) proficiency (reading and writing at grade level) of non-native English speaker students in kindergarten and in grade 3. About 11 percent of 2013/14 kindergartners in Arizona were initially classified as English learner students. At the end of that school year, Arizona retested all non-native English speaker kindergartners after setting a higher threshold for English language proficiency. After reassessment, the proportion of kindergartners classified as English learner students rose to 18 percent. Students initially classified as English language proficient and reclassified as English learner students at the end of kindergarten were no more likely to achieve proficiency by the end of grade 3 than were students initially classified at the basic/intermediate (below proficient) level. This finding suggests that students who were reclassified likely needed English learner services at kindergarten entry. One group of students outperformed native English speakers on grade 3 proficiency assessments: non-native English speakers who were proficient when they entered kindergarten and confirmed as proficient when reassessed at the end of the school year. This finding increases confidence that these non-native English speaker students were appropriately classified as not needing English learner services. A small amount of the variation in English language proficiency and ELA proficiency in grade 3 was attributable to school characteristics, but most of the variation in outcomes was attributable to student characteristics. This suggests that practitioners and policymakers might want to investigate how to reduce gaps in achievement within schools in addition to increasing students’ achievement levels overall. Student characteristics associated with lower outcomes in grade 3 included lower English language proficiency level at kindergarten entry, being eligible for special education services, being a racial/ethnic minority student, and being male. Being socioeconomically disadvantaged was associated with a lower probability of achieving ELA proficiency by the end of grade 3 but not with reaching English language proficiency.
8/12/2020
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